St. Charles / St. Peters Store
3909 Mid Rivers Mall Drive
St. Peters, MO 63376
Phone: (636) 926-2000


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What are Hand Hewn Timbers?

In the times of early construction, craftsmen and builders did not have access to complex machinery and tools. Therefore, men resorted to cutting and shaping wood by hand. Hewing is a process whereby a tree is shaped into a square or rectangular beam. These hand hewn timbers, as they came to be known, were used to build and maintain the structural integrity of homes and buildings.

While automated machinery now enables us to perform tasks like hewing much quicker, hand hewn timbers retain their charm, making them popular design elements in many modern homes and buildings.

St. Charles Hardwoods can supply hand hewn timbers from all types of wood and in all sizes for a variety of construction projects. To see our selection of hand hewn beams and timbers or to purchase hand hewn timbers, visit either of our St. Louis area stores today!

Hand Hewn Timbers: How They are Made

To truly understand the beauty behind hand hewn timbers, one must first appreciate the mastery and skill that goes into creating these practical works of art. Creating and using hand hewn timbers in construction was no small feat and only the best woodwork specialists could manage it. Today, thanks to their aesthetic and structural value, hand hewn timbers are in huge demand in many modern construction projects.

While the process of creating hand hewn timbers is time consuming many believe, the final product is worth the effort. Here is a closer look at the process.

  • When dealing with hand hewn timbers, one of the most important things to understand is that the tree must be cut down during the right season. Cutting trees during the hotter months means that sap will still be present. The sap acts as a lubricant during the debarking process, which makes this step easier.
  • After the tree has been cut, small branches around the trunk are removed to avoid interruptions during the hewing process. Once this is complete, the actual process of hewing may begin.
  • During the hewing process, the large log is supported with two or three smaller pieces of wood underneath it. These pieces are known as dogs. The log is then divided into foot-long sections and wedges are created at these intervals. The reason for creating intervals with wedges is so that when the axe is cutting through the tree, only small portions of the tree will splinter off.
  • A square or a rectangle is then marked on the face, or end, of the log with the dimensions of the hand hewn beam to be made.
  • The hewing process typically usually involves the use of a broadaxe. A broadaxe does the heavy duty cutting while a smaller axe known as an adz is used in detailing and smoothing of the log.
  • Once one side of the log is complete, the supports can be removed and the log can be placed on its flat end. After completion of all four sides, logs are ready to be used as hand hewn timbers.

St. Charles Hardwoods: A One-Stop Shop for Hand Hewn Timbers

As you can see, making hand hewn timbers is an art in itself. No amateur woodwork artist would be able to undertake such a complex project. Hand hewn timbers are highly sought after commodities precisely because of their imperfections. The wedges and scoring marks that remain on hand hewn timbers, serve as symbols of the skill and effort that has been put into creating them. These imperfections have a rustic appeal that no machine can match.

For the best hand hewn timbers in the market, visit one of our St. Louis area stores or contact us today!