Timber Homes

Welcome to Seargeant Picard Timber Frame Homes located in Northwestern Ontario. We work with you, creating the home of your dreams.

What it is

When creating our Timber Frames we use large timbers, hand-carved and joined together with time-tested joinery techniques, including a combination of mortise and tenon, dovetails and scarf joints. These timbers are then pinned together using 1" hardwood dowels like the beams and cathedrals of the past.

It seems that people often mistake us for either a log home builder or a post and beam home builder.

Although Timber Framing is a form of post and beam construction, the two are very distinct forms of construction. In post and beam construction, metal plates and bolts are used to connect the posts and beams, and the floors are usually built on top of one another, like platform framing.

In Timber Framing the posts run in a continuous piece and hand-carved joinery is used to connect the beams into the posts. Timber frame structures work with the true characteristics of the tree. Trees grow upright in the forest and in this form they have the most strength and the least shrinkage. Wood shrinks most across the growth rings; width and depth.

Log structures are created by stacking one log on top of the other. In this fashion you are working with the greatest shrinkage and applying compressive weight. In the forest, the temperature surrounding the tree is equal. Once the logs are used to build a log home the log is subjected to freezing temperature on the outside (in the winter) and at the same time room temperature on the inside of the house. This creates unequal shrinkage and stress on the wood fibres. This is why there is more movement in log structures.

With the timber frame, the enclosure system is completely on the outside of the frame. Insulation and vapour barrier enclose the frame, leaving the timbers in a controlled environment. The first winter usually takes in most of the shrinkage in these homes.

Style of Home

Having a Timber Frame home does not determine the exterior look of your home, you do! Your home's exterior look can be Contemporary, Country, Victorian or Modern. And the interior look does not have to be determined by the exterior look either. Your timbers can be either oiled, stained or painted to establish an interior look that can range from Rustic to Ultra Modern. In the Timber Frame design you are utilizing the upper space that would normally be considered attic space in a conventional home and incorporating this are into your living space.


In order to truly appreciate timber framing you need to know a little bit about the history of timber framing and about the building style itself. When building a Timber Frame home we like to carry on "Olde Worlde" tradition of building to last forever. Way back in history, carpenters took a lot of pride in constructing buildings that could survive at least seven generations. If you couldn't build it to last that long their theory was, why build it at all?!

The Timber Frames Guild originated in the 13th century. However, Timber Framing dates as far back as B.C. The principles of timber framing joinery have been passed down from generation to generation. These same principles have stood the test of time. Today we are still using some of the same techniques in our modern timber frame homes. The original timber frames were designed to be practical and efficient in their use of both the timbers and the space. The fact that some of the buildings are still standing today attests to their strength and durability.

Throughout the world there are various forms of timber framing created by all nationalities.

The Basics

The structure itself is a series of (vertical) posts and (horizontal) beams, combined with corner braces and connecting joints to create a trussing action. To elaborate; trusses are based on a right angle triangle and by combining triangles, we create a simple truss. Three rigid members for the outside of the truss.

By adding bracing, we create more triangles and in turn every triangle increases the strength of the truss. Therefore, timber framing can be be seen as a series of large trusses, and they are known as bents.

Posts and timber are utilized to separate individual rooms. The timbers give the illusion of separating the rooms without necessitating walls, thereby creating large open flowing spaces. Every corner brace (knew brace, as we call them) forms a triangle which adds truss action throughout the post, and transfers the load down to the foundation.

Joining the timbers together is the most important part of these structures which we call "joinery". Hand cut mortise and tenon joints, dovetail joints and scarf type of connection that must be employed for each of the different stress and load points. The joints are fitted together and then cross pegged with 1" hardwood dowels.

There are two types of joinery that can be used in your home. The first is simple joinery which is employed to connect most pieces of the timber frame. The second is compound joinery, used to connect valley rafters and intersecting gable roofs. Compound joinery creates more pieces, making the structure more complex and more labour intensive.


The price of your timber frame is based on material and labour. The more complicated the frame, the more pieces needed, the more time spent cutting and joining, and consequently the higher the cost of the frame. Timber frames are cut with "green" timbers. As the timbers shrink (dry with age) the frame tightens. The engineering in the frame makes every joint and timber work as one unit. Forces causing tension in one part of the frame will cause compression in the next member of the frame and so on throughout the entire structure increasing the strength in the frame as it ages.