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Basic Timber Framing Exposed by H. Weber Wilson The era before 1840 can be called the time of the hand-hewn house. It was a time when pre-cut dimensioned lumber was not readily available in most areas of the U.S., and when nails were still a rare and expensive item. As a result, the basic method of building a house was radically different from the techniques used today. The Basic Difference These hand-hewn houses were started by completely framing up the structure with large, hand-cut timbers held together with wooden pegs ("tree nails"). The entire weight of the structure was carried on the massive beams, rather than through the whole wall as is the case with balloon framing. The studs and