Hand Hewn Beams

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Forum topic by grog posted 12-10-2011 08:14 PM 1240 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1779 days

12-10-2011 08:14 PM

I’m wondering if anyone would have any advice for hand hewn beams that have been out in the weather for some time. I’m looking to take these beams, have them cut down to 2” material in width to wrap an existing 19’ header that my brother and I have installed in a customer’s house. I think these big timbers need kiln dried, etc. but not sure of the steps on what to do with these timbers and where to go here in Cincinnati or close to it. Does anyone have suggestions? Thanks

5 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2488 days

#1 posted 12-10-2011 09:17 PM

How old are the beams? If they’re old, they have probably dried to be stable in whatever environment they were in.

Someone with a portable bandsaw mill could slab them for you and then you could store them inside for a few weeks while they acclimate.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View grog's profile


3 posts in 1779 days

#2 posted 12-10-2011 10:00 PM

So I think the barn that was taken down was from the 1800’s. The wood has been outside and pretty wet too. I was going to have an amish man cut the beams down but do you suggest I have them cut a little wider and then bring them to the house where they will be installed or should the whole beam be stored inside and then cut down to pieces where I can wrap my headers in the house? thanks

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4405 posts in 3380 days

#3 posted 12-11-2011 01:37 AM

Cut ‘em first. A bit oversize won’t hurt. Let them stabilize before final cuts. Do ya have a moisture meter? Ideal % would be 6% to 8%. Note that I said “ideal”.


View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 1895 days

#4 posted 12-12-2011 02:14 AM

grog, what about bugs? an acquaintance of mine mentioned using barn wood similar to your use, except he did alot of it, sort of creating a post and beam effect. they ‘smoked’ ??? the lumber to kill any resident bugs that might be present. i would assume a temperature kiln treatment would accomplish the same thing. just a thought.

View grog's profile


3 posts in 1779 days

#5 posted 12-21-2011 04:39 PM

Thanks for the comments. I ended up getting the barn siding because the beams were so big and didn’t have access to someone to cut them down. I’ve taken all of the siding and put it in piles separated from each other with fans blowing on it and with 2 vents from the heating so it’s even warmer. Hopefully this works though I’d love to find a kiln in Cincinnati that would take this would as that would be much better to do I think for the complete dryness. Thanks again

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