We were hired to design and craft a frame for a barn at the same property where we made the hand-hewn ell frame in Sudbury. The 30×42 barn is a combination of a Yankee-style barn (with gable-end center-aisle drive-through) and an English barn (with one eave-side drive-in entrance). In order to accommodate a hydraulic auto lift, the tie beam in one bent is interrupted and raised a few feet. There will be an Italianate cupola that we designed added to the barn during the finishing phase.
We were hired to recreate the hand-hewn timber frame from an historic farmhouse in Sudbury, VT that was lost to fire. Working with the client and architect, we designed a frame that very closely mimicked the original, incorporating a few features (like loft floor framing) to make the space fit the client’s needs. We recreated fir log-rafters and a pentagonal ridge beam to match the old frame, and we used broad-axes to hand-hew all visible surfaces of the timbers in the frame.
We had the pleasure of working together with Charpentiers Sans Frontieres (Carpenters Without Borders) and Mortise and Tenon Magazine to help organize and execute a nine-day, hand-tool only project to create a timber frame for a blacksmith shop and teaching space. Thirty five carpenters from six countries converged at the Mortise and Tenon shop in Sedgwick, ME to hew, join and raise the 16×25 frame. The timber for the frame was horse-logged from a neighbor’s woodlot, as well as being felled right on the job site in Sedgwick. The frame, which Goosewing designed, is a typical New England-style three-bent dropped-tie frame with log joists and rafters, a pentagonal ridge and step-lap joinery at the plate. The American framers on the crew taught the Europeans our system of square-rule layout (which was invented around 1800 in the US). The only non-New England touch was the use of naturally-curved hardwood braces, which gave the French framers a good chance to teach us Americans their plumb-line scribe layout system known as picage.
Charpentiers Sans Frontieres is an organization dedicated to the preservation of intangible cultural heritage, namely the technical and historical knowledge and skills needed to repair and recreate wooden architectural heritage. Their mission fits very well with Mortise and Tenon Magazine’s efforts to promote pre-industrial, human-powered woodworking in the 21st century. Both are dedicated to the notion that a group of skilled craftspeople working together can accomplish amazing things without the use of power tools or complex technology. We’ve been honored to be a part of this work!
As part of our timber work for a library addition in Poultney VT, we designed and created an octagonal roof timber frame to cap an octagonal tower. The frame features eight hip rafters and eight curved braces that join into a ‘roof boss’ or ‘kingpin’, a large octagonal timber at the center of the roof that accepts the rafters and curved braces and is suspended by them. The frame is currently assembled on the ground and awaiting roofing and trim before being flown into place by a crane; we’ll update this post when we have photos of the frame in its final home.
We are nearly complete with our timber work for a large addition to a 19-th century farmhouse in Poultney, VT. The interior structure of the building is rendered in timber, and the exterior high-performance envelope is built conventionally. The new space will house a large book collection and guest quarters, and also features an octagonal turret with an octagonal hipped timber roof (check that frame out on its own page, here). Goosewing worked closely with our friends at A. Ginsburg Architects to design the frame, and with Black Diamond Builders to detail the timber frame/stick frame interface. We’ll be back in Poultney to install a timber frame pergola outside the addition, so stay tuned for pictures of that and of the finished project.
In September of 2018 I was part of a crew re-building a timber bridge over a moat surrounding the 12th-century Chateau d’Harcourt in Normandy, France. The job was organized by Charpentiers Sans Frontieres (Carpenters Without Borders), a group of historic timber framing-enthusiasts and professionals who undertake ambitious carpentry projects around the work, using only hand tools and historic techniques.
Over the course of nine days, our crew of about 50 carpenters from eleven different countries hewed beams from oak logs, then laid out, fabricated and installed the 77-ft long bridge.
I designed and built a home for my wife and myself near my shop in Lincoln. It’s a hybrid design, featuring a double-stud exterior wall of local, rough-sawn pine with interior structure framed with timber. This hybrid style can make a lot of sense for new house construction, combining the beauty and strength of timber framing with the efficiency of a locally-sourced double-stud envelope.
Although I usually limit my scope of work to just the timber frame, in this case I did almost everything from concrete to slate roof to brick masonry and frame-to-finish carpentry. It’s been a rewarding process and I may consider some whole-house projects in the future.
Unfortunately the frame proved devilishly difficult to photograph; it was raised in stages, with the site carpenters installing wall panels before the timber porch and overhangs were added. Hopefully these photos give a sense of the scale and complexity of the frame.
We designed and fabricated a timber frame for a two-story garage and workshop building in Ferrisburgh, Vermont. The spacious second level – completely open with plenty of headroom – is possible thanks to the four structural scissor trusses that safely mitigate rafter thrust and transfer roof load to the walls.
We’ve created a few timber framed solar-panel stands in collaboration with Smith and McClain, Inc., a solar contractor in Bristol, VT. One of these serves as an electric vehicle charging station in the Marbleworks center in downtown Middlebury, VT. We also made a timber-frame rack for our own solar array which powers our workshop. Pairing small-scale solar power generation with locally-grown and crafted timber frames is a no-brainer!