Wooden beams function as two-in-one architectural design elements. The beams provide structural support and enhance the visual appeal of a space. Different types of beams generate varying looks. The characteristics of a hand-hewn beam give off a more rustic and earthy aesthetic than machine-cut wooden beams. What are the characteristics of hand-hewn beams? Read on to find out.
Wood from older trees has more layers and durability than wood cut from younger trees. Old-growth woods' many layers also make them rich in density, adding extra weight to the structure. Hand-hewn beams typically feature old-growth wood because beams are meant to be support structures; therefore, durable wood is required. Hand-hewn beams are heavy and use old-growth wood, distinguishing themselves from other beam cuts.
Automated cutting machines create smooth and even cuts. A machine-cut beam will have smooth edges and clean 90-degree angles. Hand-hewn beams feature more irregularities and rougher edges. However, this doesn't hinder the appeal of hand-hewn beams. In fact, it does the opposite. What you lose in clean edges, you gain in character.
The adze is a hand blade for smoothing and shaping lumber. Unlike an axe, which cuts across a plane, the adze cuts parallel to it. Cutting with an adze leaves distinct wedge-shaped marks along the way—even timber artists leave behind brushstrokes, so to speak. These notches distinguish hand-hewn beams from newer machine-cut equivalents.
Varying Grain Patterns
Automated cutting machines repeatedly generate the same types of cuts. Many people use machinery when cutting wood as a means to create consistent and equal cuts of wood. Cutting wood by hand leads to more variety. In a pile of machine-cut beams, wood grain patterns will tend to look very similar. Among hand-hewn beams, however, no two grain patterns are exactly alike. Antique hand-hewn beams provide even more uniqueness and variety because they feature extra markings from years of wear and tear, like worm and mortise holes.
The characteristics of hand-hewn beams give them a rustic and unique appearance with lots of texture. If you are looking to add more character to your home, office, or commercial building, hand-hewn beams are just what you need.