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Timber Frame Sacred Geometry

Doing restoration and appraisal & assessment on historic timber frame structures I have found some very interesting things about the geometry of buildings. This began with a seminar I attended in 2003 at a Timber Framers Guild conference about the implementation of regulatory lines used to define window and door locations and trim details, and enhanced by a weeklong workshop at a conference in the UK with the Carpenters Fellowship in 2007 on the use of the daisy wheel to determine building lay out.

Clearly the use of geometric shapes to begin the process of building did happen and was widely in use up until fairly recently in the Midwest (stopping for the most part after WW2)

What find most common as a base measurement tool is the rod in agricultural structures. The rod (or pole and perch). It follows that a rod would be used since everybody would have had to use that as measurement to define property, an acre is four rods long (or a furlong), land was parceled beginning in 80 acre increments.

Many older barns (like threshing barns) are 16' 6" tall (or thereabouts give or take a few inches) or some ratio of 16' 6". The width of those barns and other buildings is quite usually 2x that wide, or quite simply following the golden ratio (building a golden rectangle) This is where the daisy wheel fits in nicely which as you now is great and simple tool for defining boundaries using a string or compass.

Without going to overboard with this at this point, here is what I actually find. There is a clear understanding of this basic geometry in almost all buildings prior to WW2, and that understanding begins with some basic unit of measurement the builder understands like a rod, roof pitch, plan, wall ht., etc. are determined using a tool like the daisy wheel (or some variation).

Many times the builders understanding and interpretations are weak and the dimensions are off, or the entire structure deviates because they just mimicked something they saw without understanding the fundamentals of using tools like this.

I can draw a strong correlation between this basic premise and the many buildings I have surveyed.

Attached are some basic sketches I, Laurie Smith and Curtis Milton did of a building where this true. Wall height is 16' 7", width is 32' 4". 

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