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By Chris | November 11, 2009 - 6:55 pm - Posted in Big Timbers, New Products, Structural Components

This is a pretty concise “list” (pdf) with images of timber truss designs you can pick from. It covers the basics – the timber trusses most used. To repeat, these are for TIMBER trusses – not pressed or manufactured trusses – so, please, no emails about all the dainty little truss designs I missed. Oh, and yes, there are TONS of custom designs available, too.

scissor timber truss design from American Pole and TimberIt’s no secret I think American Pole and Timber is one of the coolest companies because of their ability to make just about anything and their willingness to say yes to just about any project thrown at them. There are not many companies that could handle the diversity of products American Pole and Timber handles but they have been doing it for nearly two decades now with steady growth.

Aside from their pdf of timber truss designs, you will be interested in the timber truss options they offer and, especially, how they ship exceptionally large timber trusses – timber trusses that are too large to fit on a truck assembled.

Shipping Large Trusses

Kind of off-topic here… They ship nationwide but some of their trusses are GIANT so they actually build the timber truss in their shop in Houston, TX (fully assembled) to ensure the truss is made properly and meets all the required dimensions and specs once assembled. They then mark each component and disassemble each truss for shipment. Depending on the client and truss, they will send one of their employees with the truss to guide and/or help with the reassembly on the job site.

After 10 years in and around the lumber business, I still think that’s pretty cool.

By Chris | February 8, 2009 - 10:11 pm - Posted in Big Timbers, Plans, Structural Components

MERIDIAN, ID–(Marketwire – January 27, 2009)

In October 2008, Mountain Architects launched a new line of log cabin plans referred to as the Rustic Luxury™ series. With each passing month, people worldwide have watched the team at Mountain Architects transform simple, low-end cabin designs that log home enthusiasts know all too well, to distinctive cabin designs blending rustic elements with high end finishes and inspiring design attributes, at attractive turnkey costs.

With the close of the first month in 2009 just around the corner, Mountain Architects releases its final design in the Rustic Luxury™ Log Cabins & Plans series. The Truckee log cabin plan is a unique log post and beam design with stone integrated throughout. This single-level log cabin home, with just over 1,500 square feet of livable space, brings together rustic tradition with a touch of elegance. Its layout is simple yet offers the perfect blend of warmth combined with attractive natural materials.

Work one-on-one with Mountain Architects to design your own Rustic Luxury™ Log Cabin home. Or, let Mountain Architects modify the Truckee to fit your own lifestyle and architectural taste:

— Change its layout or size to accommodate your lifestyle.
— Choose between handcrafted log, milled log, and timber frame, in combination with other materials that will make your home stand out.
— Make your own architectural statement by varying roof ridge lines, roof pitches, corners, etc.

Learn more about how you can customize a log home plan with Mountain Architects.

A look over the past three months reveals an eclectic and moving collection of cabin plans designed for discriminating homeowners who seek the best in mountain style living, but in a smaller, more intimate home. The Rustic Luxury™ series kicked off in October 2008 with the introduction of the Telluride, a milled log cabin home featuring a unique combination of stone, bark siding, beautifully crafted character logs, glass and milled log walls. In November, the team at Mountain Architects released the Trian, a cozy timber frame cabin home complete with barreled tile roofing and stone commonly seen in the French countryside. And, more recently, Mountain Architects showcased its December plan, the Targhee — a three-level cabin design with a master suite on each level. View the entire Rustic Luxury™ Log Cabin collection at

What’s next for the team at Mountain Architects? As a sponsor of the 2009 GREEN LOG Homes & Lifestyle Awards (an awards program created to shine the spotlight on those companies that are working to provide green alternatives in the building industry), Mountain Architects now turns their attention to highlighting green design techniques. Stay tuned for an exciting kick off to a 3 month long endeavor focused on designing and building green, including examples of green homes designed and built over the last couple of years.

Together, Mountain Architects and PrecisionCraft offer a proven team approach. From initial design through completed construction, your Mountain Architects and PrecisionCraft team is there every step of the way. Visit PrecisionCraft’s Log Homes & Timber Frame Design Center at to learn more about creating your dream home!

By Chris | October 21, 2008 - 7:51 am - Posted in Big Timbers, Plans, Structural Components, Treated Wood

Wood bridges offer ways of crossing natural settings with structures that fit the surroundings.? Although wood bridges are not practical for every application they are perfect for many – affordable, simple, durable, and beautiful.

Affordable:? Depending on the design, wood bridges can be built for as little as 1/3 the cost of steel and concrete bridges and have lower maintenance costs as well. Building wood bridges over crossings might be a great way for landowners and small municipalities to save money as well as add aesthetic value to their byways.

Simple:? Many practical wood bridge designs require less skilled labor (no welders or concrete workers and smaller equipment) to assemble and less time than steel and concrete bridges.? Simplicity equates to a savings of time and money.

Durable:? Effectively designed and constructed wood bridges should easily last 50 years and there are many that have been in services for much longer than that. Wood treatments and coatings available today should protect the foundational structure of a bridge so it will last virtually forever.

Materials for Wood Bridges

Like any project, wood bridges will last longer when built with three major components in mind.

  • Quality Design
  • Quality Materials
  • Quality Construction

We will focus on quality materials for wood bridges here.? You can buy bridge plans or have yours custom engineered and you can hire a bridge building company, local contractor, or build the bridge yourself with the proper design and instructions.

Use properly treated wood for your bridge components, especially for the pilings and other foundation materials.? .60 pcf treated wood should be sufficient for most locations but if you are building around saltwater, you should probably use a stronger treatment for the foundation components – especially if the bridge will actually be in contact with saltwater.

To add longevity to your bridge use poly coated wood like the stuff from American Pole And Timber (they also have a full line of bridge timbers and bridge decking) for all of the ground contact components.? It is sprayed onto treated wood before installation and provides an extra layer of protection that should easily add another 25 years to the wood (at least). It actually bonds to the wood but you can still cut, nail, or drill into it.? It is really good stuff – initially designed for use on saltwater marine pilings (where is has a 25 year warranty).

Your wood bridge’s hardware should all be stainless steel, galvanized, or zinc coated.? There are other special hardware coatings out there but stainless, galvanized, and zinc are proven and affordable.

Plans for Wood Bridges

Buy Wood Bridge Plans Online:? There are numerous places to buy wood bridge plans online – so many, that I will not even link to them here.

Bridge Plans from Competition:? Here are some great bridge designs and plans I found recently. It is a wood bridge building competition for University-level engineering students. “The? National Timber Bridge Design Competition? is open to student chapters of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Forest Products Society (FPS) in the United States and Canada. Joint or cooperative entries (ASCE and FPS working together) are eligible and even encouraged. A chapter may also submit multiple entries.”

The young folks in this competition come up with some creative, effective, and practical designs for wood bridges.? You might be able to apply a few of them to your wood bridges. Note:? That is not a suggestion to copy the designs or use them directly as reliable and tested plans but there are some great ideas there.

Book about How to Build Wood Bridges:? This is a really nice book that has some designs and plans for building wood bridges as well as plans for building other wood projects.

Wood bridges can certainly be built as a diy project. Please make sure you have your bridge professionally designed, though, or at least hire a professional contractor to help you. Using the right materials will not only improve the safety of your structure but will ensure that your bridge will be long-lasting as well. Wood bridges should be built to last – they should stand as legacies to be used for generations to come. That might sound nostalgic or something but, well, I guess it is.