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Custom Frames         Traditional Joinery        Hand Hewn Timbers        Natural Building  

STRUCTURE

The ancient craft of timber framing is not only a beautiful art form but is also a very practical and relevant structural form even in our modern age. The structural design components as well as materials used in traditional timber frames have been tested through trial and error over the course of thousands of years. There is good reason why you will find timber framed homes and barns in New England still standing strong after hundreds of years, or why you can still enjoy visiting Japanese Pagodas or Norwegian stave churches which reach back much further into history. All of these frames share a common theme; they were built with earth-based materials (stone foundations, clay or wood-based enclosure systems, high quality timber often containing little to no sapwood), and the joinery and design elements employed were tried and true methods passed down from craftsman to craftsman. 

Bear Branch Timber Framing honors the past, present, and future by studying and utilizing these proven materials and methods as much as each situation will allow, by creating structures which are healthy for both its inhabitants and the land it rests on, and by building with the intention that what we produce will last many generations and can eventually be returned to the earth. 

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SUSTAINABILTY & BEAUTY

We believe very deeply that beauty is just as critical to sustainability as is procuring the proper materials in an intentional and responsible manner. If an individual or even a community is going to maintain a structure over time, thus extending the lifetime and sustainability of its materials, this individual or community has to want to maintain this structure. This can be seen in practice all over the world. The longest lasting structures are often the most beautiful. Perhaps it is an exquisite temple, or maybe just a very well designed and cherished home with high functionality and pleasing traits. Either of these will produce a desire to maintain them properly. 

 

Bear Branch Timber Framing procures timbers from one of two methods.

Ideally, timbers are milled directly from trees on the build site. If the proper species and size of tree is available, this can be a great way to produce a frame. If this not an option, we source timber from a local sawmill in East Tennessee utilizing slow growth, high quality white pine from higher elevations. We trust this mill and have a great relationship with them. Furthermore, we put extensive time into the design process in order to produce a frame that meets a perfect balance of functionality, structural integrity, and beauty. 

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TOOLS & CRAFTSMANSHIP 

We deeply love the craft of timber framing. We love the wood itself as well as our connection to it, and while you will certainly see power tools laying around our shop, hand tools are predominately used when we create joinery. Framing chisels, hand planes, even broad axes and adzes are part of the tool chest. Simply put, our frames are not designed and cut by computers and CNC machines. Our frames are always produced by human hands, with deep love and respect for the material we work with. 

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WORKSHOPS

Bear Branch Timber Framing seeks to educate and empower people with the knowledge to build their own structures in a way that is accessible, sustainable, and beautiful. Learning builder’s math (specifically trigonometry) is the gateway to becoming your own designer/architect (everyone is capable!). Couple that with the physical skills to produce a frame and you have a powerful combination. 

 

The workshops are located in Wartburg, Tennessee, on a gorgeous 42-acre parcel of land right next door to the Obed Wild and Scenic River national park. World class rock climbing and kayaking are a short drive away, as well as excellent hiking either at the Obed or at Frozen Head state park. Check with us for upcoming spring and fall workshops, or inquire about hosting a workshop at your own land.

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