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When Might Makes Right

joint at guild competitionNew England has timber frame buildings that have withstood everything this coastal climate has thrown at them for three hundred years.  Their ruggedness is in large part due to the interlocking wooden joints that hold the timbers together.

In 1984 Hardwick Post & Beam met with other timber framers in Alstead New Hampshire to form the Timber Framers Guild (“the art and science of timber framing”).  Now hundreds of craftsmen from all over the country come to the Guild’s annual conferences for information sharing, training, fellowship—and bragging.

guild competitionAnd when Guild members brag about their favorite framing joints, it comes down to this: just how strong is it.  Hence the  Guild’s friendly-but-fierce, annual joint-busting competition. Companies bring on their joints to be tested against a pneumatic device that puts increasing amounts of pressure directly on the joint.

And the 2013 winner for the strongest all-wood joint?  Hardwick Post & Beam. Our double-tapered dovetail joint withstood 31,000 pounds of pressure.  Of course no joint in an erected structure would ever meet such a force. Then who needs to know that a frame is that well built? We do.

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