About Arrow Timber Framing
“…designed for beauty and engineered for strength”
About Arrow Timber
Arrow Timber Framing began as a specialized contractor framing complicated, high-end homes. Transitioning from traditional construction to timber framing was a natural progression for Owner, Bert Sarkkinen; he enjoys the challenges of complicated math and angles, crafting modifications to improve the functionality and beauty of a home. While Bert dedicated many hours to design and studying design and learned about joinery, he fell in love with the beauty and lore of the old world craftsmanship. Bert applies the highest degree of quality control and responsibility-oriented training and has a keen eye for balance and functionality. This translates into impeccable timber design and development.
In the ten years it took to mature the business, it was the love of the craft and his passion that was his anchor. His dog-on-a-bone perseverance and the challenges he faced in entrepreneurship laid the foundation for growth and success. While he may be a true optimist, he sets realistic expectations for people and projects. His expertise is demonstrated in his ability to acquire and train the right talent. Retaining apprentices who are our future timber framing specialists is a priority of ATF. In addition, the company has invested into tools and equipment to expedite the design and build process, purchasing trucks and trailers, and building a shop for our operations.
Our customers are a testament to our success. We hope you will help us write future chapters! We would love to earn your trust and take you on an amazing and memorable journey to create your dream building. If you can visualize it, we can make it! The designs are limitless.
Learn Our 5 Core Values
Arrow Timber Framing is a timber frame design and build company. We produce custom timbers that are erected and assembled in new construction homes and commercial buildings all over the US. Arrow refers to this craft and trade as Hybrid Timber Framing. Our team works with homeowners, builders and architects to develop custom timber plans designed for beauty and engineered for strength.
Timbers can be designed to enhance existing dwellings or developed with a new home or building plan in mind. Timbers are crafted to accentuate the beauty of a home or building. Timbers designs vary depending on the intended style of the house or building. ATF is experienced in crafting custom design solutions for any new home or building style. Arrow’s owner, Bert Sarkkinen is an expert in hybrid timber framing and believes his approach to using timbers offers the highest value for owner satisfaction, aesthetics, strength and resale value. Learn more about Bert and his team here.
The Arrow Timber Frame Difference
Arrow uses Douglas Fir Wood for all of our custom timbers, the premiere timber framing wood of timber framers all over the world. Arrow is situated in the Pacific NW, where Douglas Firs grow so there’s no waiting for timbers to be shipped to our location to be milled. All timbers are milled on location at the Arrow Timber Framing Sawmill and are milled to custom specifications. This results in lower timber costs and faster delivery of timber packages to job sites.
Arrow has spent years refining our joinery methods for the installation of green timbers which are designed to allow the timbers to shrink together after installation, instead of shrinking apart. This is a preferred method to kiln dried or RFKD (radio frequency kiln dried) – methods that lead to shrinkage and cracking after installation. Most timber framers in the US use Hundegger CNC turning machines for their joinery methods which limits the kinds of joinery you can use on your timbers, resulting in fewer design options. ATF methods do not have this limitation.
We cut our own timbers with FOHC (free of heart center) methods to prevent checking (cracking.) Commercially made timbers are typically significantly smaller, milled with ‘boxed heart’ methods which lead to cracks on the face of the timber and a giant check right to the heart. Arrow eliminates 80% of the checking by utilizing FOHC milling. Arrow is also able to mill timbers over 26’, which is where most commercial sawmills stop. We mill the largest timbers available, up to 50” wide. The Arrow Sawmill can cut timbers of nearly any size.
Douglas Fir Wood is a national treasure and one of the longest-lasting woods available for hybrid timber framing. Incorporating Douglas Fir into your timber design project will incorporate this rich wood material as a permanent fixture to your home or building.
Mission and Vision
- To help homeowners get exactly what they want, even if they can’t define what that is.
- To prevent homeowners from getting “ugly” timbers and what Owner Bert Sarkkinen calls the ‘98lb weakling’ – weak looking and unattractively assembled timbers; to prevent spending money on poor design and timber results which can erode the value of the home and leave owners dissatisfied.
- To inform and educate buyers on how timbers are used to maximize their design, aesthetic and structural value.
- To demonstrate how Arrow creates the most attractive timber designs and highest value timber packages available in the market today.
“We are the sworn enemies of ugly, and purveyors of happiness.” – Bert Sarkkinen
Bert has devoted a lifetime to education on hybrid timber design methods and designs, and how timbers are used to maximize aesthetic value and lasting customer satisfaction. This includes a volume of data rich with images in his book The Art of Hybrid Timber Framing by Bert Sarkkinen, and many videos explaining the timber process. Bert remains hands-on at job-sites, and with clients when needed too. He offers a solid variety of timber design plans based on successful projects that can be customized to each and every customer. Arrow offers timber design and manufacturing for assembly on site – this results in exceptional quality control.
The manufacturing process and methods of joinery are the best in the business, and is based on strength, cost-efficiency and beauty. Many competitors purchase their timbers from other companies and use inferior wood products and joinery methods.
ATF uses a consultative approach which will bring to light hidden project challenges and opportunities for improved beauty. There are two parts to this approach when customers meet with us for a FREE 30-90 minute brainstorming session:
1. The Arrow Team will evaluate the project to determine if it’s a good fit for the customer.
2. Customers receive a one-on-one consultation that begins by understanding where you are in your timber journey – ideation, likes and dislikes, specific timber styles, review of house plans, opportunities and challenges, project timelines, budget and more.
One big advantage for our customers – we don’t have to wait for logs to be milled like other companies, which prevents delays or cost hikes.
What’s different about Arrow’s Design Plans?
We don’t just create blueprints, we create 3-D renderings because most people cannot conceptualize what their house will look like from a flat design. When homeowners see a 3-D model from a blueprint, they are often surprised at what their house looks like.
When designs are drawn and there are bends in the house plan, it will never appear as the house will actually look because the rendering shows the design straight on. So most surprises are related to what the house actually looks like with the bends. Most of the time, it becomes a matter of evaluating, seeing around corners, addressing the problems and areas of opportunity. Problem areas usually need timbers and other design elements.
Here is an example of how Arrow’s expertise, equipment and methods created long-term success for the Port of Portland, including saving the Port and the Portland Airport over $20,000 in project costs.
The remodel of a store at the Portland Airport called for one of the largest timbers to be installed within the Airport. This was the largest of timbers Arrow has ever milled – 18” x 20”x 25’ with the log weighing 26,000 pounds.
The timbers installed from the previous project had significant checking, and you could actually sink your knuckles into the crack. This was because the engineers required kiln drying in their specifications. Arrow advised the the use of FOHC timbers rather than the boxed heart wood method previously used. This time the wood was milled and allowed to dry in place after installation, which is Arrow’s standard method.
Arrow never builds the same house twice and no two clients are alike. The possibilities of Timbers and how they are used are endless! Every plan is different, and once you come to ATF and references a plan, we will help you identify in greater detail your individual needs and project goals.
What areas are served by Arrow Timber Framing?
Projects are built all across the USA, including Alaska. While requests come from all states, we are grateful for the referrals that are a result of neighbors visiting neighbors and seeing the work we produce. Are you ready to create your dream house using hybrid timbers? Be prepared for one-of-a-kind designs tailored to your needs, desires and investment.
“Thank you, Arrow Timber Framing, for your expertise, professionalism, as well as your creative guidance.
It is our privilege to recommend Bert Sarkkinen, the owner of Arrow Timber Framing, and his crew with deeply felt gratitude and highest regard. Bert’s artistry infuses our home with “heart and soul”.
Barbara and Stuart Morgan
“Bert and his Team have completed phase one on our home that is currently under construction. We couldn’t be happier with our decision to go with Arrow Timber. Bert has been so helpful in the design work and so inspiring to us.
It’s like he can see what I have visualized. His crew has great expertise and craftsmanship as they build the most beautiful timbers. They have done what was needed to complete the project, plus more. As funds allow we will move forward with the construction of phase 2 and will definitely be working with Arrow Timber.”.
Sarah & Karl Rose
Hybrid Timber Framing & The Myth of Full Timber Framing
Hybrid timber framing is the art and craft of incorporating posts and beams into your building projects. It represents the most flexible design system that will accommodate virtually every architectural floor plan, layout or roof design. Love timber framing but not sure about a full timber frame home? With hybrid techniques don't have to use timbers everywhere in your square footage.
You can create unique artistic beauty with structural strength and eliminate the financial burden associated with full timber framing. Arrow Timber Frame offers 13 truss styles and 7 design styles for custom post and beam construction. Design is only limited by your imagination!
If you are thinking about traditional full timber framing with 100% exposed posts and beams, we recommend reading The Myths of Full Timber Framing.
Most of our clients who initially thought they wanted traditional full timber frame construction learned of the constraints and costs, and made the sensible and sustainable decisions to incorporate Hybrid post and beam construction into their dwellings.
Read Why Hybrid?
Our senior management
When I was 16, I quit my job as a farm hand and went to work for my father, the owner of Scandia Construction, as a framing apprentice. It was my golden opportunity to learn about the building industry from the skeleton up. For 6 years, I learned all the nuances of real quality framing over other “good-enough” methods. My father’s philosophy was that mistakes, while they should be minimized, can be fixed. And, he taught me how to turn out a fine quality building without taking forever! While training was painful, I kept working on learning logistics, quality control, visualization, roof math, and all the requirements needed to make the subcontractors’ and general contractor’s lives easy.
“The most important lesson – I was responsible for the functionality of the house.” My father taught me always to add an extra stairway riser when possible, because the stairs would be so much more comfortable. I learned to avoiding door swings hitting toilets, checking code clearance for egress, and leaving room for cabinets and refrigerators were of few of the pitfalls avoided. few. calculations for roof valleys, hips, and tons of framing details. The list just never quit. Read more …
“The love for and fascination with building and creating structures started with building forts and carving projects as a youngster.”
Josh is our top integrator here at ATF, and he keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently. He wears many hats in operations to include accounting, engineering, human resources, and purchasing. He is also responsible for installation, shop fabrication and shop drawings. His high level of quality control and care keeps projects on track and to the required specifications.
Josh uses his skills of perseverance and money management to ensure both clients and employees are well taken care of. We also appreciate his warmth and professionalism. Josh was a top graduate in school and his intelligence and sharp mind are quickly evident when you visit with him. He likes to have all the answers no matter how hard the question. Josh lives the ATF core values and his decision making skills are top-notch. Past work experience included framing custom homes and he spent 15 years in truss sales.
“Growing up in New Hampshire, as a small boy, I always knew I wanted to be a timber framer. After working in construction in NH, I was invited by my employer to move to the Northwest to continue my construction career. My wife, Emily and I love the Northwest. In my free time I enjoy spending time with the kids doing some fun and unusual projects like smelting aluminum cans into ingots for cast aluminum parts. I also enjoy working on my ’64 Chevrolet Bel Air!”