Part three of Introduction to Square Rule joinery series
Back to the Beginning
Let’s go back the original issue of what to do with timbers that vary in size and regularity, i.e. dealing with imperfect timbers; a question you might have considered was why not just use "perfect timbers" whose dimensions are known. Some modern timber framers do and these timbers are known as S4S, but the availability and practicality of acquiring these timbers is often cost prohibitive and/or impossible. The difference in material costs between rough sawn and S4S timber could easily be a factor of 4 or more. Imagine the machine required to accurately dimension an 1/2 ton 8 x 14 x 20′ timber, imagine the building that houses the machine and imagine the utility bill and imagine …. well you get the point. They do exist, but not many, and they certainly did not exist historically when timber framing was widely practiced as a trade. So how did the craftsman of the past solve the problem of creating accurate and sturdy frames if they could not produce perfectly dimensioned timbers? Because lets be honest it would be a lot simpler; at least in so far as cutting joinery is concerned.