Unlike conventional framing, which is destined to be hidden by other building materials, timberframe homes leave massive beams and smaller supports exposed to be seen and admired as a finished and an architectural element. Tedd Benson divides Timberframe: The Art and Craft of the Post-and-Beam Home
into four sections--"In the Country," "On the Water," "In the Mountains," and "In Addition"--to reveal how the proud owners of timberframe dwellings strive to make those architectural elements fit their surroundings. This is not a how-to book--though there are plenty of sketches and even a few simplified plans sprinkled among 400 color photos--as much as an effort to foster appreciation and inspiration of this unique home style. With case-by-case overviews of 29 American homes from coast to coast, Benson explores a craftsmanship that was largely replaced by stud framing in the late 1800s with the development of the wire nail, the circular saw mill, and the need to build houses more quickly. But Benson also calls attention to a renewed interest in timberframe dwellings. Norm Abram, of This Old House
fame, not only wrote the foreword to this book but also serves as a case study of someone incorporating this old framing technique into his new house. For Abram, the attraction to timberframing is its sense of durability. "I look at its sturdiness and know it will be standing for many decades, maybe a century or two," he writes. Another sign of timberframing's resurgence is seen in the recent selling off of more than 7 million board feet of old-growth timber from the defunct Long-Bell Lumber mill in Longview, Washington. As Benson tells the story, word about the auction spread quickly among a new breed of timberframers who knew that wood of that size and quantity might never be seen again. The bidding quickly rose above the meager means of the average timberframer, and it was later learned that Bill Gates purchased the timbers for his multimillion-dollar home in Seattle. --John Russell
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From Library Journal
Benson is a master of the timberframe craft, in which large structural timbers are left exposed and thus enhance the decoration of a building. His third book on the topic is another classic in its own right. Benson runs a timber framing business from a hamlet in New Hampshire and is regularly featured on PBS, particularly This Old House. His craft is evident here, but his new book presents his art as wellAit is full of magnificent ideas and examples of thoughtful execution. Benson delineates two dozen projects of various sizes and styles. With 400 full-color photographs and dozens of line drawings, images are more prominent than text. The effect is nearly overwhelming, but it is leavened by an introduction from Norm Abram, the master carpenter of This Old House and New Yankee Workshop. Essential for woodworking collections. This may even find a place in art collections. (Index and epilogs not seen.)AAlexander Hartmann, Bloomsburg Univ. Lib., PA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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