White Oak Stair Treads

I was having lunch with Derek Best of Best Custom Homes back in August of 2017. We had run into each other previously at a Christmas party years earlier and then an architect I was speaking with told me I should contact him. I was just there to introduce our company and see if we could help him with any timber framing he had coming up. He asked me if I could do white oak stair treads for him. He said everyone he talked to told him that they could laminate up some white oak to make the treads but he wanted solid timbers. I have built trusses out of white oak in the past.

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The Times They Are A Changin’

I started Three Elements Timberworks in 1999. Before that, I was framing during the days and timber framing during the evenings and weekends. I stumbled across some old photos from the mid 90’s. (Wow, am I really that old?) It was a shock to see how much things have changed. Here is a brief (ridiculously brief) synopsis of our story; where I started and where we are now. Oh, and don’t miss the video at the end. It’s my favorite part   🙂 .

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The Iceman Cometh

The Iceman Cometh is a play written by American playwright Eugene O’Neill. I have never seen it or read it. I don’t even know what it is about. I just like the title. I was reminded of it when I decided to write about one of my life experiments. It seems that I have been coming up with ideas for life experiments now that I am getting dangerously close to the half-century mark. I remember when I was 10 years old one of my mother’s friends read palms. She looked at my palm and said I had a strong life line and that I would live to be 110. I remember thinking “great, I have 100 years left ahead of me.” If that is the case I am not quite at the mid-point. Although, according to Wikipedia’s definition I am middle aged. So the question is how to stay young. A friend of our family is in his late 70’s. He still team ropes on his favorite horse. I saw him last fall building a deck on the back of his house. When he was done with that he was pouring a sidewalk. Not with a pre-mixed concrete like Quikrete. He had bags of cement and a big pile of sand. He did have an electric mixer. Oh yeah, and he volunteers at CTRC. Doing what he loves, helping others and keeping active seems to be working for him. Those three things seem to be big pieces of the puzzle. 

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A single version of the truth

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I am an advocate for 3d solid modeling. Not just 3d modeling but parametric modeling. Parametric modeling allows us to make changes to the model without having to start from scratch. Click here to see a short video describing the basics of parametric modeling. Bear with me as I tie this topic to our current project. We are building a timber frame tower that integrates with steel stairs. The steel stairs are being fabricated by Distinctive Welding. The general contractor is Heath Construction. Our timber frame tower needs to attach to Distinctive Welding’s stairs. The stairs will be installed first and then our timbers. It is important that our dimensions are correct and match the stair fabricator’s dimensions. One way to make sure everything has been designed to the correct dimensions is to pour over the drawings and compare our dimensions to Distinctive’s. There is another way. Distinctive Welding has created a detailed and accurate model of the stairs in 3d. We were able to import their model into our model and easily confirm that everything fits. Not only is this easier than reviewing the documents, it also gives us greater confidence that everything is going to fit.

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Timber Frame Redwood Pergola

Our goal at Three Elements Timberworks is to provide our customers with as many solutions as possible. Here is the caveat. It has to be within our “wheelhouse”. So when Humboldt Redwood approached us about building outdoor structures using their redwood timbers we jumped at the chance. After speaking with Jim Lacefield at their office, whom I have known since 2004, I got a tour of their facility.


Here are some photos of my tour back in August of 2017:

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