Choosing a Finish for Your Timber Frame

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We are often asked for our recommendation on a finish for a timber frame. When choosing a finish for your timber frame, you should consider these points:

  • First and foremost, do I want a finish applied?
  • Is the finish nontoxic and environmentally friendly?
  • Is it durable and easy to touch up if needed?
  • Will it give me the look I want?
  • Is it easy to apply and reasonably priced?

Application of a finish will deepen and darkens the grain of your timbers. The finish also offers protection from stains and marks. It is important to use a breathable finish on a timber frame: moisture trapped underneath a non-breathable finish can lead to mold. When choosing a finish look for one this will be easy to apply, simple to maintain, safe to use – both to you and to the environment.

What finish do we use on our timber frames? We use Heritage Natural Finishes. In the shop, we apply wax end grain sealer anywhere we cut. The wax end grain sealer has the same ingredients as Heritage’s oil, with the addition of beeswax. Heritage Natural Finishes are composed of tung oil, special aged linseed oil, pine rosin, pure citrus solvent, and beeswax. Pure citrus solvent is our favorite for clean up, not only does it work well but it smells great!

Here’s what Stephen said when asked about Heritage Natural Finishes: “We have been using Heritage Natural Finish since before it was Heritage. We started using it as an oil finish for timber frames and an end seal for the ends of our timbers. But over the years we have used it on furniture, cabinets and most recently as a hardwood floor finish. I have a couple pieces of furniture we take to display at home shows, they sit in the back of the truck in rain, sun, ice and snow. Dry them off and rub on a quick coat of Heritage, and it’s back to new. I love it, and will always use it.”

Second floor in timber frame home
Interior view of multi-level timber frame
Great room timber frame