A few people have been asking us why we stick a bit of a random branch onto the top of our frames – well it’s a very old tradition practised across Europe and the Americas – and it is still practised today by a few Timber Framers. Historically there was a whole ‘Topping-Out Ceremony’ held when the last, top-most beam is placed on the roof. It was customary to thank the workforce and all involved for their work so far and to celebrate with a meal and drinks for all the workers and to making a toast to continued success to all.
Different cultures celebrate this in different ways – The Scandinavian ceremony has it’s origins in pagan tradition as they place a leafy branch of Yew on top of a new building to pacify tree dwelling spirits that may have been displaced during its construction. In some northern European countries flags and streamers are attached to victory-style to wreaths of laurel to signify the achievement and in America you will still see a whole tree atop a huge steel built skyscraper – they paint the last steel beam in white to make sure you see it and many of the workers sign it.
We like to continue this lovely tradition on our builds – but on a much smaller scale – although downing tools and celebrating all afternoon party-style as the Spanish construction workers do has it appeal….