Hand-hewn beams are a wooden wonder — the product of intensive muscle-powered labor and old-fashioned craftsmanship. Hand-hewn beams are a prized commodity among builders and homeowners who prefer antique building materials and the carpentry techniques used to create them that are still used by traditional builders today.
What is a hand-hewn beam? It’s any long piece of timber that has been transformed from round log to square using only hand-held tools. These timbers can then be sawed to different lengths and used as beams, joists, or trusses.
What makes hand-hewn beams so prized are such characteristics as:
- Their age, which creates beautiful colors and textures
- The often-rare woods used to create them – many species now unavailable
- Their strength and stability
- Their versatility
“Hewn” is a term that refers to a rougher texture created by the use of hand tools. True hand-hewn beams were created by carpenters and craftsmen using an Adze and a Slick, one hundred or more years ago. You’ll see the characteristics of real hand hewing on only the oldest of pieces, such as the lumber used in many antique New England buildings. This was back when the only way to turn a round tree into a square beam was by taking the time and effort to chip away pieces of wood from cut tree trunks to create flat, workable construction surfaces.
Hewn beams typically contain mortise and tenon joints and fit together to create and stabilize the structure. When people think of a rustic, reclaimed piece this is usually what they are looking for. Hand-hewn beams are prized for use as fireplace mantels, exposed ceiling beams, and other structural supports that lend beauty, character, and a unique charm to a wide range of architectural styles.
If you’d like to know more about hand-hewn timber and check out a variety of reclaimed and reconditioned lumber, give us a call or come visit us at Bingham Lumber.