cutting tenons on the tie-beam

NOTE: for those (few) of you who still read blogs on computers, I posted my workshop/teaching schedule for 2016 both at the header of the blog and on the sidebar. There’s other stuff there too – links to the spoon carving DVD for sale, Maureen’s etsy site, Plymouth CRAFT – just so you can find any of that stuff without slogging around. On phone & devices – I have no idea what it all looks like. Hmm, the sidebar doesn’t show on the ipad…I guess I continue to be a dinosaur. I like to see it LARGE. The menu above has some other content, articles, snippets about my furniture work, stuff for sale; boxes and baskets – DVDs, and the schedule. OK – tour over, now for tonight’s post about the timber framing project.


You can fit what I know about timber framing on the head of an (oak) pin. I took part in some workshops back in the 1980s, and had aspired to build a frame of my own one day. Never thought it would take over 30 years…but life is funny. I’m thrilled to have Pret’s expertise to guide me through the process, he did the layout. Now I have started cutting the joints. The other day it rained, so I pulled a couple of the frame’s posts in the house to cut some joinery. These are 10′ long, so barely enough room to work on them. Through mortises, and a tenon at each end. Brace mortises still need to be laid out.

2 posts

There were a couple of other pieces laid out, but those 12-footers had to wait for the weather to improve, which it did today. Here I’m sawing the shoulder on a full-width tenon. Daniel took some photos for me, the 2nd one he caught the sawdust flying! Rose shot some of them too.



Then comes splitting the cheeks – when the wood is straight-grained enough. Just like the furniture work I do…


splitting detail

then paring the tenon’s cheeks. The frame is really like a grossly-oversized joint stool.


A finished tenon. Then I had some actual furniture work to get started. Some white oak for a change! I’ll shoot it next time. 

I’ve been posting snippets on Instagram – some of you might have seen this, but if not – here’s the splitting again.

6 thoughts on “cutting tenons on the tie-beam

  1. Nice work, Peter. Glad to see you carving on that beam. Years ago when I did alot of timber framing, I showed a group of woodland owners the big dairy barn I was framing. I said it was just a giant piece of furniture (that being my usual work.) This brought howls of laughter.

    Have you got a big crosscut saw, like for bucking up trees? They do wonders with this kind of work.

    Happy New Year

  2. Hi Mr Peter.

    Can You give a hand…
    Here the internet is so primitive that we still have pigeons delivering it.
    So I still use a scroll of papyrus to read your blog. So please update the papyrus format as well!

    All the best of luck and lots of good work for 2016.
    Happy New Year for you and your family.


  3. Looks warm for this time of year. I’m enjoying these snippets of progress and see there is unlikely to be an undecorated beam when you are done, cool.

  4. Peter, I am registered to attend the Greenwood Fest in June. I don’t have an hatchet. Do you give be some suggestion for what I should get and from where? Thanks. Looking forward to meeting you.

    David Lyon

    Sent from my iPhone


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