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  • Writer's pictureKeith Tribe

Beams all around!

Fall is here! Time to make sure your hat is on straight and your scarf is on point. What better way to do that then checking out how you look in a giant mirror?!

Inside of a barn, the structure of it is a whole other world of wood that has really been a popular design choice of late. Barn beams! Beams bring a whole other level of character that is both unique and also fitting with what Rustic Works is all about. When I started looking into beams, I thought it was interesting the care, and effort that went into making each one. Barns often needed long, sturdy and hefty beams. They didn't need perfectly straight edges but they needed to be cut to size. Hand hewing is the process of shaping a beam. I found that they often used a couple different types of axes as well as a neat tool called and adze (link to someone using one here) to shave the beam one stroke at time into the square timbre we see in barns today. Regardless if it was a broad axe, a cutting or scoring axe or a adze, the unbelievable character each hand cut beam produces is stunning!

Here's some raw beams I picked up recently. No cleaning yet but you can see the effort that went into making these so many decades ago!

Mirrors tend to be some of the most popular choices for beams. With a single beam, I can have three sides cut off to give useable wood that preserves the immense character of the beam. To date my largest beam mirror was 10ft tall and boy they can get heavy at 2" thick!

These above were some of my earliest beam mirrors, and since then the big mirrors haven't slowed down! As you can see below there two examples of how I often apply a finish to the beams. The first set simply has a clear coat finish to it. The finish often brings out a whole world of colour in the beams that I can't even predict until it's time! The second mirror was a special request for a dark stain. This one was called a Provincial stain.

Lastly, I'd love to show that you don't always need to be thinking big mirrors! I've used barn beams for frames, product shelves, mantles and vanity mirrors too!

Now that you've seen some examples of how a simple barn beam can be used, look around your home and start to imagine where you can envision a beautiful Rustic Works piece. As always, I'm happy to discuss any project ideas! 

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