A ShadeScape® shade structure from Western Timber Frame™ is. . .

How can installing a massive, oversized timber frame structure be a fun


For many reasons, but firstly,

there is an essential element that makes a Western Timber Frame™ architectural structure:

  • Stronger
  • More Durable
  • More Aesthetically Pleasing
  • Faster & so Much Easier to Install

than modern conventional timber frame structures or ancient time-proven architectural timber frame structures.

The essential element is the
innovative Western Timber Frame
The Dovetail Difference™

dovetail difference mortise post

A revolutionary State of the Art award-winning patent pending design The Dovetail Difference™ connection system.

First, take a look at how traditional timber frame joints are made. . .

conventional chainsaw joint

The Dovetail Difference™ is an Engineering Architectural Masterpiece

Innovation is a blending of inspiration and hard work. Hyrum is an a natural born innovator, passionate about woodworking since he was a kid. To Hyrum, growing a beard, hard work and creating sawdust is mostly play and having a good time. Timber framing became his love but as always his focus was on making a better product, stronger and easier for other people to experience the same pleasure he feels in putting together a structural masterpiece, built after old world craftsmanship architectural principles that are time-proved and built to last for generations. Yet, he also saw that even in these fine examples of architectural masterpieces there was a weakness in the overall conventional designs.

A timberwright, Hyrum, feels a deep connection with nature in these massive sized timbers.

Traditional “U” Weakens the Structure

In traditional dovetail timber frame joints the integrity of the post was weakened by cutting out the center of the post. Using a chainsaw or skill saw method to cut a timber framer would hack out a “U” shape through the post on both sides, then slide the other post through, lock it in and then bolt it in.

If a timber framer was really good they could get a pretty tight seam and it can look great. However, after a few months, six months to a year, maybe two years, the timber would begin to have gaps and separations because of the nature of wood and the design of mortise and tenon systems. Wood expands and contracts especially in the outdoors wherein thin posts can become brittle and break off and it does not look as nice.

Hyrum shifted his focus and envisioned a new, better and stronger dovetail connection. Hyrum designed a was he termed ‘The Dovetail Difference™’.

The primary factor in determining the strength and long term durability of the mortise and tenon when loaded with tension is the strength and size of the frame material in connection and Hyrum did not want to weaken the post by cutting out the integral core of it center leaving vulnerable tenons without the strength of mass for long-term durability.

The idea came to him to create and invest in equipment wherein he could mortise a beveled notch on the beams and the tails without cutting out the center of the beam.

Hyrum Thompson, Invented, Engineered and Designed The Dovetail Difference™, a patent pending design and award-winning mortise and tenon Post-to-Beam™ dovetail connection system.

  • diagram of dovetail difference
  • diagram of dovetail difference

With The Dovetail Difference™, even on a large oversized 20′ beam, a post will just slide in, lock in place with a extremely tight seam without unsightly gaps. It allows the wood to naturally expand and contract in the outdoors, wherein you will not see any gaps as it is behind the dovetail mortise notch. Not only did The Dovetail Difference™ prove to be stronger it also adds to the beauty of the structure by maintaining a tighter more aesthetically pleasing joint.

We use The Dovetail Difference™ design, a massive mortise and tenon dovetail joint system throughout our timber construction process that creates very strong, rigid joints. On the pressure test featured here the load bearing The Dovetail Difference™ joint didn’t give until over 11,000 lbs.!

we do all the hard work for you.

Timber frame DIY ShadeScape™ pavilion kit in the process of being pre-cut and pre-tested for an installation.

Every single piece is pre-cut, then assembled completely together in our shop and tested & pre-stained before it is ever shipped out.

An Oriental style timber frame pergola kit in the shop, in the process of being pre-cut and pre-tested for an installation.

All this to ensure your installation will be

When it comes to talking about timber frame pergolas, arbors, gazebo and pavilions and trellis structures, I have to say that my favorite topic is the amazing ease and speed that one of these massive structures can be installed. There is not an easier heavy timber pavilion or gazebo kit to install than the kits from Western Timber Frame™. In many aspects, they are often easier to install than even typical hardware store kits because their sheer size and strength allow for posts to stand upright. This combined with the interlocking joints makes for a straightforward installation.

There are many components that create a faster and easier DIY shade structure. Here are two more features that make these massive timber frame structures a no trouble star.


The Drop-in-Rafter™ Layouts & Post-to-Beam™ Connection System

Hyrum designed an easy Drop-in-Rafter™ and Post-to-Beam™ Connection System succeeding in his vision, by creating new innovative ideas that are easier applications, engineering timber frame ShadeScape™ DIY pergolas, pavilions, gazebos, arbors and other timber frame structures that are as enjoyable for the do-it-yourself client as it is for the client who wants to have it all done for them.

cutains timber frame pergola

There are two main benefits of the drop-in rafter layout:

#1 Ease of installation.

Because the timber beam that supports the rafters is already marked and slotted, you don’t have to measure anything or try to figure the proper spacing of your rafters.

#2 Prevents Warping & Twisting

The primary benefit of the drop-in rafter layout is that it helps prevent warping and twisting of the rafters year after year.

Below is a pavilion in progress with easy Drop-in-Rafter™ and Post-to-Beam™ Connection Systems.

Each and every kit is unique and custom to each homeowners specific needs and specs. These are not cookie cutter kits.

King post set in place with rafters on a DIY timber frame pavilion kit in the shop being pre-tested for a fast and easy installation.

Side top beam of the timber frame DIY ShadeScape™ pavilion kit in progress in the Western Timber Frame™ shop.

Top beam rafters are tested and set in place on the top beam of the timber frame DIY pavilion kit in progress in the Western Timber Frame™ shop.

Top beam connects into the King post where you can see The Dovetail Difference™ mortise cuts ready to receive the rafters in place on the DIY timber frame pavilion kit inside of the Western Timber Frame™ assembly area.

Here on the top beam is The Dovetail Difference™ connection system with the adjoining Drop-in Rafter-Layout™ in place on the DIY timber frame pavilion kit.

The side view of the top center beam of the DIY timber frame pavilion kit with The Dovetail Difference™ connection system and three rafters in place on the Drop-in Rafter-Layout™.

Here is a beautiful view DIY timber frame pavilion kit with the notched in Drop-in Rafter-Layout™ already marked and slotted, so there is no need to have to measure anything or try to figure the proper spacing of your rafters.

Bottom of timber frame pavilion posts pre-cut to receive the knife plates for a stronger, cleaner finish without the view of unsightly hardware.

Knee braces and dovetailed post ends featured with The Dovetail Difference™ and one post is pre-drilled for the pre-wired TimberVolt® power post to maximize the outdoor living experience.

View of the Queen post set in place for the roof of the DIY timber frame pavilion kit being pre-tested in the Western Timber Frame™ shop for a fast and easy installation.

The DIY timber frame pavilion ShadeScape™ kit roof is being squared up.

A DIY timber frame ShadeScape™ pergola kit finished in a Rich Cordoba stain getting ready for shipping.

All the measuring, cutting and layout work is done by experienced craftsman.

Our DIY backyard timber frame shade structure is as fast and as easy as

elementary child’s play.


A DIY timber frame ShadeScape™ pergola kit packaged for shipping.

Even though these are tough, durable, solid timbers, every effort is made to protect the kit through every step, from beginning to completion.

Shipping is Free Across the Contiguous United States

A great semi truck driver pulling out with a new timber frame ShadeScape™ kit to another happy homeowner. One more addition to a more beautiful, family-friendly America!

Combining the Best in Old World Craftsmanship with New Technologies

Get the Free Ultimate Pergola and Pavilion Guide

Get the Free Ultimate Pergola and Pavilion Guide