About Our Frames — Why Choose Arlington?

At Arlington,  we run a small three-man shop, cutting one frame at a time. Over the years, our frames have evolved in a different direction than most: toward old time mortise & tenon joinery, not away from it. 

Cutting a mortise by handOur highly gifted craftsmen have carefully honed their skills until they can quickly and efficiently cut even the most sophisticated joinery as a matter of course. This method creates a much more satisfying frame to design, cut, and erect - not to mention the enjoyment of standing inside the finished home with the proud owners.

It turns out that this method is surprisingly no more expensive. There is no need to buy any hardware, or have metal plates made up in a machine shop to be wrestled into place on raising day.  There are no timbers fitted into shallow housings and fastened in place by hidden screws, toenailed from the back side.

Prefitting the frame in our shopAll of the layout and cutting of the more complex joints is done on the sawhorses at once. It may take 20 minutes to carve a nice tenon for that mortise, ready for a wooden peg to be tapped in on the big day of the raising. We leave the screw guns for the drywallers.

Sixteen years ago we had several of our joints tested by TUNS (Technical University of Nova Scotia, now part of Dalhousie University). The results were surprising, to say the least,  with our connections far exceeding any expectations.  We have found no reason to change to more "modern" methods.

Looking down a dormer valleyNo beam left behind

The other main difference in our timberframes is the fact that we build them to stand alone. They don’t require structural panels, or S.I.P.S. Of course, panels work fine on our structures, and we have no problem with them, but our frames just don’t need them, especially in the areas of dormers and open valleys.  The dormers and valleys have a nailing surface everywhere you'll need one for the 3/4” v-groove or other sheathing material. The general contractor doesn't have to figure out how he's going to frame a dormer in the great big hole we might otherwise have left for it; the dormer is ready for sheathing and the beautiful timber frame joinery will be visible from the inside for the owner to enjoy.

Read about our enclosure method