When dismantling historic barns and shelters in timber frames from the past, different types of timber are often found that make up the structural framework. If function – and not aesthetics – is always a priority, the most likely candidate is a tree that is easily accessible and close together.
Premade house & wall frames are maples, poplar, and beech can do the job – but so can chestnut or walnut timber. Restorers of refurbished warehouses and floors will find this a valuable find.
Individual timber frames are standard. Our choices are usually based more on stability, color, and price if not dictated by engineering requirements for length and strength.
In general, the trees from which the timber is taken are divided into two categories: deciduous and coniferous trees. Deciduous trees can be identified because every year they lose their leaves. Maple and ash fall into this category but are not usually chosen as the timber for a variety of reasons.
Other hardwoods favored by logging companies, such as cherry and oak are very attractive and strong but difficult to find in high-quality suitable sizes. All hardwoods are more prone to "inspection" to dry. An inspection is a crack that forms in the vertical grain of the timber.
All timber checks to some extent, it is not uncommon for hardwoods to form a check that is deep and wide enough for your fingertips to insert. The inspection does not necessarily affect the structural integrity of the timber – especially if care is taken to guard the heart in the timber.