outdoor kitchen pavilion kit

When you can take off your shoes, kick up your feet, eat, lounge, nap, and other at home-like behaviors— it is an indicator of your comfort level. An outdoor space can be beautifully designed, but if the area does not provide comfort it will lack that intimate feel and remain unused. Being in a familiar space where you feel entirely at ease  is not an extra luxury; it is a basic human need.

Timber frame arbors, awnings, gazebos, pavilions, pergolas, and trellises are the protective shelter to create a more inviting and comfortable environment that will be enjoyed all year-round. But before you plan to build an outdoor living shelter, read this:

Before after deck pergola install

The strength and stability of an awning, arbor, gazebo, pavilion, pergola or trellis
depends HEAVILY on the joints that hold all parts together.

6 post pergola kit

With beefed-up construction, a ShadeScape® outdoor living shelter is engineered with a unique joint design that is 500% greater in strength and its load carrying capacity as compared to traditional lags and hangers. ShadeScape® is simply a brand name of Western Timber Frame that features The Dovetail Difference® —a patented sure support with wood-to-wood connections that joins all of the structure together.

As an added BENEFIT, it is =Faster= and Easier to connect all the parts together than a conventional awning, arbor, gazebo, pavilion, pergola or trellis kit.

Envision 500% Greater Strength

If a grizzly bear cubs slept in cribs after birth, a newborn cub could comfortably fit inside of a teacup. When a baby grizzly bear is born it is naked, blind, and helpless and weighs between 12 to 24 ounces.

Typically, a newly born bear cubs weighs about ONE POUND and is between one three-hundredth to one five-hundredth the size of their mother. Compare that to a human who would likely have weighed somewhere between 3.5 to 6 ounces at birth —around about the weight of a size “D” battery.

Although, bears may appear like a cuddle-some creature —as they grow up, they are not a lovable Winnie-the-Pooh or Paddington style teddy bear. Grizzly bears grow to be rather large in size and not a creature you’d hope to meet on a hiking trail.

Perspective of your weight at 500 times

Relative to where they live and the food they eat —a mature female grizzly weighs anywhere from 300 to 500 pounds; the male grizzly between 400 to 700 pounds. A tiny bear cub could NEVER fend for itself against a 500-pound grizzly bear by throwing its one pound around.

Exponential Strength — 500% On Each Joint!

elephant in a red high heel shoe

Imagine an elephant balanced with all of its weight on a high-heel shoe. The inch area beneath the heel would inflict a considerable increase in weight force than if it the elephant had all of its weight balancing in one running shoe that covered one square foot. By spreading the force per unit area the load factor is much less.

On every single joint connection, the ShadeScape® outdoor living shelter is 500 times more resilient. With each individual joint carrying its own weight, an arbor, gazebo, pavilion, pergola, or trellis built with The Dovetail Difference® joint system is exponentially stable. ShadeScape® outdoor living structures will stand up against other conventional shade shelters.

phillips deck gazebo

Every person carries their weight differently. Because people put on weight gradually, they can easily add a few pounds over time without realizing the extra strain on their body. This is due in part as to how the weight is distributed. When the weight force is divided across a larger surface area, it can make it much easier to carry. If an elephant stepped on your foot, would you rather it be wearing a running shoe or a high heeled shoe? A high-heeled shoe would be more painful when all that weight is centered on one point.

An item carried in a different manner also impacts how heavy or how light it feels overall. This is not a physics trick. It is simply gaining efficiency by using your skeleton to bear the weight rather than your muscles. To simply demonstrate, a modular brick weighs about 3.5 pounds. Hold a modular brick or other similar 3-pound item in your hand and extend your arm out fully away from your body. You will soon notice the strain in your arm muscles. Then raise your arm vertically, straight up over your shoulder. Now, that the weight is supported by the bones in your arm, there is much less effort for your muscles to hold it in that position. It’s amazing how the elements of the human body all work together in ways we don’t consciously think about often.

How a structure connects and works as a whole will also be a together be a critical factor in its role in staying strong over time. Take for instance, a full gallon of water weighs about just over 8 lbs. If you pick it up and set it down it may not seem that heavy. But hold that gallon jug of water for 5 minutes and you would start to feel tired. The design of The Dovetail Difference® is not only stronger, it will endure longer over time.

The Dovetail Difference®

pressure test dovetail difference joint

The patented design The Dovetail Difference®, the massive mortise and tenon dovetail joint system throughout our timber construction process creates very strong, rigid joints. On the test pictured this joint did not give until it reached over 11,000 pounds!

The Dovetail Difference Joint Connection

Similar to a three dimensional puzzle, the tenon —a reverse image of the mortise— slides in to create a tight fit. With the wood-to-wood connection, it allows the wood to naturally expand and contract, virtually eliminating gaps!

rusted hangers on pergola

As an additional benefit, beyond the amazing strength of The Dovetail Difference®, much more beautiful with wood-to-wood connections. As seen below, The Dovetail Difference® virtually eliminates all exposed hardware, bolts, screws, hangers or other mechanical fasteners unless they are decorative in nature.

timber frame pavilion

Tight fitting joints in which little movement is allowed between the mortise and tenon can shoulder greater loads than loose, bolt or peg joints. The dovetail mortise and tenon gives the timber the ability to expand and contract while remaining tight, minimizing gap exposure, reducing twisting and warping.

Old World Timber Framing

pavilion-planHalf Round Pergola Kit

With a thorough understanding of load paths and design properties, well-seasoned timbers with the mortise and tenon joint systems have supported wide open spaces including cathedral ceilings, great rooms in castles, commercial constructions, expanded bridges and more. Timber frame structures have lasted for centuries; in some cases, even millenniums.

Timber framing is an elegant and beautiful style of construction. For millenniums of time, timber-wrights around the world have used mortise and tenon joints to securely join two pieces of wood together.

Archeologists unearthed four wooden water wells that were built using a mortise and tenon joint system. Located near the town of Leipzig in Germany, the wells are believed to be the world’s oldest preserved timber frame construction. They are dated to have been constructed somewhere between 5206 and 5098 B.C.

The skill of artisan timberwrights have been passed down through the generations and their mastered skills have withstood the test of time. One example, is the Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet.

The Jokhang Monastery is believed to be the oldest, still in use —timber frame architecture in the world. It dates back to the 7th century.

timber frame timbers ancient craftsmanship

Sketch of Jokhang Monastery timber frame columns. Built in 674 A.D., the Jokhang Monastery, is the oldest known timber frame architectural dwelling in the world.

For centuries dovetail mortise joints have been used for wood-to-wood joinery. We have used dovetail mortise and tenon joinery on our pergolas and pavilion for many years, and our customers can attest to the strength and durability of The Dovetail Difference®.

ShadeScape® Pergola Stood Strong Through Hurricane Irma!

“Are you kidding pavilion-planthis Pergola has already been through its first hurricane, Irma. She stood tall and proud and never wavered.

Our neighbors with us sat under her and watched as men from Texas cut trees down off the lines and restored our power. Thank you for your wonderful product she gave our neighbors shade when there was none.
Be proud of your product. Thanks.” — Kenneth Baker, Florida

Types of Wood-to-Wood Timber Frame Joinery

timber frame joinery

There are many different types of wooden joint connections used in traditional joinery. The most basic joint in timber framing is the mortise and tenon joint. Traditional timber frame joints are variations on this joint.

To give more strength to joint connections —a conscientious timberwright may house the mortise and tenon joints. This is to help take some of the heavy load carrying weight of the beams as to not rest solely on the tenon.

mortise tenon joint connection plan

Mortise and Tenon before sliding into connection.

wood to wood mortise tenon conatural

Mortise and Tenon after sliding into a joint connection.

Unlike nails, (the most common fastener used in construction today) the union of timbers by mortise and tenon joints are superior in strength, time-proven to hold steadfast.

Withdrawal resistance of a nail depends upon the condition and diameter of the nail, the depth of penetration, and the density of the wood. Wood naturally expands and contracts through seasonal weathering and eventually nails loose their grip.

This is why, even though timberwrights may even go so far as to reinforce their joint connections with steel plates and ties, it will not have the same staying power over time as a wood-to-wood joint connection.

History of Western’s The Dovetail Difference® Unrivaled Design
— Immaculate Craftsmanship, Dependability & Quality

The award winning patented joint system, we call The Dovetail Difference® was engineered by its originator, Hyrum Thompson, co-owner of Western Timber Frame™. Hyrum had envisioned a more architecturally responsible timber frame construction.

Hyrum’s ingenuity in this innovative patented design of The Dovetail Difference® joint system is recognized as an artisan engineering masterpiece, exceptionally superior to traditional timber frame joinery.

Hyrum believed there had to be a way to cut a mortise without compromising the integrity of the timber. The idea came to him to bevel the mortise with a tapered joint on the outer portion of the post instead of cutting out the center of the post.

christmas party
chainsaw traditional timber frame mortise tenon

Traditional timber framing requires notching with a chainsaw cut or a “U” shape —mortising out of the center of a post— which weakens the integrity of the timber. The smaller remaining portions of extended wood are the tenons left to support on the sides. They are almost sure to eventually separate, leave gaps, and eventually even break off. Eventually could mean in a season for over several seasons.

Timber is strong and is still one of man’s best and finest building materials but as with every material you much understand its properties to allow it to perform at its best.

decorative post pergola kit

At Western Timber Frame, plates and ties are at times added but they are only for aesthetics —decorative purposes only — NOT as a support.

tights joints

When wood interlocks with wood-to-wood joint connections it is as though it becomes a beautiful extension of itself. And with the help of modern industrial tools in timber frame construction we now have the means to create cuts and designs that our forefathers could only dream of.

Kit Timber Sizes

14x22 timber frame pergola comparison

6000 Series

6000 Series comparison

8000 Series

8000 shadescape series

10,000 Series

shadescape kit 14 x 22
12000 series kit

12,000 Series

12000 series shadescape compare

There are four standard sizes of ShadeScape® timber frame kits to choose from:

The ShadeScape® 6,000 Series features true to size 6” x 6” rough-sawn timber posts and is is popular for arbors, trellises, garden entries, breezeways, privacy trellises, and wedding backdrops.

The 8,000 Series is our most popular size for awnings, pavilions, pergolas and gazebos. It features true to size 8” x 8” rough-sawn timber posts.

The ShadeScape® 10,000 Series creates a stunning heavy-weight structure. It features true to size 10” x 10” rough-sawn timber posts.

The ShadeScape® 12,000 Series features true to size 12” x 12” rough-sawn timber posts. Pound-for-pound it tips the grandiose scale to the max for a breathtaking masterpiece.

wooden deck wedding

At Western Timber Frame™, we believe in quality. We are not just building for the present; we are building responsible and aesthetically pleasing architecture for the future — so America’s grandchildren’s grandchildren will enjoy it, too.

2-tone pergola kit