List of timber framing tools

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Illustration of carpentry (charpente) in the French Encyclopédie showing hewing, mortising, pit sawing on trestles. Tools include dividers, axes, chisel and mallet, beam cart, pit saw, trestles, and bisaigue . The men talking may be holding a story pole and rule (or walking cane). Shear legs are hoisting a timber. Below, the sticks on the log are winding sticks used to align the ends of a timber.

Tools used in traditional timber framing date back thousands of years. Similar tools are used in many cultures, but the shapes vary and some are pulled rather than pushed.

Gallery[edit]

Preparing timbers[edit]

Marking and measuring tools[edit]

Tools for marking out and measuring:

  • A rule, now better known as a ruler and similar to a yard stick, is used to measure.
  • Repeated measurements often use a storey pole
  • Carpenter's marks were made with a race knife, chisel, gouge, saw, grease pencil, chalk pencil, or lead pencil.
  • Chalk line or ink line used to snap lines on the wood. Ink and a slurry of charcoal were used like chalk.
  • Carpenter pencil
  • Scratch awl or similar tools were used to scratch lines on wood before the pencil was commonly used beginning in the 19th century in the U.S.
  • Try square
  • Steel square is also known as a framing square. Historically a square with measurement markings on it was known as a "square rule" which is also a layout method.
  • Combination square
  • A Plumb-bob on a string is sometimes used with a plumb-rule or plumb-square to measure vertical or horizontal and to transfer marks between timbers while scribing.
  • Spirit level
  • Dividers Used in measuring and proportioning
  • Layout floor - a large, flat surface to mark lines and scribe timbers.

Hand powered cutting tools[edit]

  • Saw
    • Crosscut saws to cut timbers to length and in making joints.
    • Japanese saws are special saws used in woodworking including timber framing
  • Axes were sometimes used to cut timbers to length and in joinery.
  • Hatchet
  • Adzes are of many shapes and names.
  • Framing Chisels are heavy duty. In Western carpentry common sizes are 1 1/2 and 2 inches wide. They are designed to be struck with a mallet
  • A slick is a very large chisel designed to be pushed by hand, not struck.
  • drills for boring holes in timber framing were typically T-auger. The cutting edge of the bit can be of many shapes, the spiral auger being the standard shape since the 19th century.
  • Timber framers boring machines were invented by 1830 and hold an auger bit. They made mortising easier and faster.
  • Draw knives are used to chamfer edges of beams and shape pegs (treenails)
  • Sometimes, particularly in wooden bridge building the pegs were shaped by being driven through a hole in a heavy piece metal.
  • Historically timbers meant to be seen in houses were smoothed with a hand plane (Japanese plane including what is called a spear plane, yariganna or yari-kanna) and decorated with a chamfer or bead.
  • Twybil The name literally "two blades", historically rare in the U.S.
  • Bisaigue A French tool with similarities to a long handled twybill

Powered cutting tools[edit]

Splitting tools[edit]

A Froe is struck with a mallet to split blocks of wood into rough sizes for making pegs. Large and long timbers are split (riven) with wedges

Holding tools[edit]

  • Shaving horse may be used in making pegs
  • Draw-bore pins temporarily hold a frame together during construction.
  • Iron dogs or log dogs are used to hold timers during hewing, scribing or historically to repair or reinforce a joint
  • Sawhorses, short sawhorses are called ponies.

Material handling tools and equipment[edit]

  • Gin pole or shear legs may be used in lifting wall sections or timbers.
  • Pike pole used to push wall sections up during a barn raising
  • Rope is used to lift or pull objects, sometimes in combination with a windlass, bullwheel, or block and tackle.
  • Cranes are sometimes used to lift assemblies and materials.
  • Commander or beetel is a large, long handled mallet for forcing timbers together or apart.
  • Rollers, carts, or other lifting equipment are used to move the heavy timbers

Tool maintenance[edit]

Tools require sharpening and replacing handles.

Access[edit]

Safety[edit]

External links[edit]