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Knee Brace


First things first, you have to get a solid understanding of a proper timber frame brace layout.

The knee brace is the fundamental element of a timber frame structure. Although it looks simple at first glance there are many ways to get off track when laying out your knee brace before cutting. Inconsistent rough sawn material can increase the challenge. Geometric complexities coupled with mortise and tenon joinery can prove daunting to the novice.

Here we explain how to overcome all of those hurdles with solid carpentry rules and good guidance. Please download our drawing and instructions on how to accomplish this basic timber frame task correctly. The download goes into how to begin with rough sawn or planed timbers all the way through precisely laying out the knee brace joinery and making sure it is correct in irregular rough sawn material.

This Knee Brace Layout Instruction does the following:

  • The drawing alleviates mistakes in calculating rough length of 3′ leg knee braces.
  • It also provides context and references to connecting timbers, so you understand the bigger picture.
  • The drawings give detailed geometry/ dimensions on correctly laying out the mortise and tenon joint.
  • It addresses the irregular shape of timber and how to keep your joinery correct with unsquared material.
  • The drawing set sequences the layout so that any lack of precision is reduced to less important areas.
  • If you are a novice, this could be the difference between a meagerly constructed frame and one that has the important parts of the joinery tight and correctly crafted.
  • A true, plumb, and square frame.

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