What Does "Hand-Hewn" Mean?

If you’ve been to our shop before or know much about beams, then you are probably familiar with the term “hand-hewn.” It’s a descriptor we throw around a lot here at the shop when talking about our raw material, mantels and ceiling beams.

Hand-hewn means the material was cut or shaped with hard blows of a cutting instrument (like an ax or chisel). Back in the day, shaping a log into a beam with an ax was the only method. Since we only deal with vintage barn wood here at Woodstock, many of the structural beams or cabin pins we get are hand-hewn.

So what exactly does hand-hewn look like? You will be able to see the ax marks on a hand-hewn beam, and they won’t be in an exact pattern (unlike many of the repetitive marks machines or saws make).

Hand-hewn beams are typically sought after for their rustic character and history (most of the ones we have are 100+ years-old).

We turn the majority of the hand-hewn beams we reclaim into either fireplace mantels or ceiling beams. It’s not an easy process (we have to source the material, pull out the nails, clean them up, cut, sand and then stain them)… but the end result is worth it! Take a look at some examples below.

For comparison, below are some solid beams that have saw marks on them (as opposed to being ax-cut).

Still have questions about our material? Get in touch!

Brent CourseyComment