Designing seamless box beams

Over at the Ourso Design Blog, The Olde Mill’s sister company, I talked about how the WikiHouse project is using computer guided mills (CNC mills and CNC routers) to cut plywood into pieces for houses you can design on your computer. They are essentially printing construction materials. The pieces are put together like a puzzle, no nails or screws required.

This is similar, in a sense, to what we are doing at the Olde Mill to make our hollow reclaimed wood box beams. Anyone can make a box beam with three sides of wood and a staple gun, but you are going to have unsightly seams, even gaps, plus a line of screws going down the side of your beam. At the Olde Mill, we actually make a miter joint with an accompanying female joint to actually lock the sides of the beam together, in order to create a seamless hollow  beam that looks as real as a solid beam, without the weight, expense, and hassle when you install it.So like the WikiHouses, we don’t use nails or screws on the outside of our beams. It’s all engineering and assembly.

Box Post Illustration

As the company grows, we will be looking for ways to adapt and expedite our process, and a computer guided CNC mill is definitely on our wish-list. It will speed up our beam making process, but the possibilities don’t end there. At The Olde Mill, and at Ourso Designs, our sister company, we are excited to be on the cutting edge of innovation in the design and construction industries. And really, the fusion of exciting technology, time-honored woodworking techniques, and innovative applications of the two, are all exemplified by our hollow box beams. They are made of hundred year old long leaf pine, but have all the functionality of a new, engineered product; there really have not been ceiling beams like the ones we are making.