Do you offer free estimates?
We are happy to discuss your project over the phone at no charge and will in some cases offer a ballpark quote. For site visits and written proposals, an appropriate administrative fee will be applied.
Are you licensed and insured?
Yes, we carry the Unrestricted Construction Supervisor License (CSL) and the Home Improvement Contractor License (HIC) for the state of Massachusetts.
A copy of our liability insurance policy is readily available upon request.
Are you available for general carpentry work?
Absolutely. Framing with timbers is our specialty, but even within this trade there are quite a lot of general carpentry applications required to finish a home or barn. Some projects have us just delivering a timber frame but most will include siding, flooring, windows, doors, and finish trim which all require some level of conventional stick framing.
What is your range of travel?
For new construction we can deliver a timber frame and raise it up anywhere in the country. For restoration and general contracting related projects, we try to keep within an hour or so from our shop in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. But every project is different and exceptions can be made.
Do you offer general contracting services?
We are a small operation focused mostly on providing high quality timber frame buildings to our clients. We have a number of trade contacts in the surrounding region including the Greater Boston area, the Cape and Islands, as well as southern Maine and New Hampshire that includes both architectural firms as well as general contractors.
We already have a general contracting firm for our project, will you work with them and just provide the timber frame?
Yes, we work with other contractors quite often. We have been involved with projects where all we do is deliver the frame and the G.C. does everything else.
Can you provide drawings for my project?
Absolutely. For drawings, our designer uses auto cad to produce foundation, frame, and architectural prints. These drawings will provide all of the requirements for construction and permitting. If you already have a set of prints to work from and would like to use them, we can work with that too.
Do you have old barns for sale?
We don’t keep a standing inventory or frames for sale but we do have several contacts that have old barns and are interested in selling the buildings. Contact us for more information.
What wood species do you use in timber framing?
The locally available woods that are typically used in timber framing are eastern white pine, hemlock, spruce, and oak. We are often asked to source Douglas Fir on certain jobs which is shipped from the western part of the country and Canada.
Do the timbers need to be dried in a kiln before putting up a frame?
That depends on your desired finish aesthetic and your budget. If you plan to enclose and heat the space immediately after putting the frame up, then kiln dried timbers are best used to minimize the shrinkage and checking that occurs as the timber loses its water. But, if you are building an unheated space like a barn or garage then green wood is more cost effective and preferable to use. The timbers will slowly dry in an unheated space and the movement and checking will be less severe.
Do you offer kiln drying services for timbers?
No, but we can source material from mills that do. There are conventional kilns on the east coast that will dry timbers but its not totally effective at drying the innermost part of the tree. The best way as we understand to completely dry a timber out is to use what is called a Radio Frequency Kiln, which is essentially a giant microwave. These mills are predominantly out west and in Canada and can dry any species and ship them.
What type of finish can you provide for the timbers?
We can deliver rough sawn timbers which is more typical for barns and farm buildings or oiled and planed timbers for a house or commercial space.
What are SIPS? Why are they popular with timber frames?
A S.I.P., or structural insulated panel, consists of a foam core laminated with osb (oriented strand board) on each side. They are very popular with timber framers for several reasons. First, they eliminate the need for conventional framing of all of the door and window openings on the exterior walls thereby allowing the full depth of the timber frame to remain exposed on the inside. SIPS also create a very tight building envelope that is extremely thermally efficient which saves money on heating and cooling costs. Sips can also be pre-cut in the factory to save on site labor costs and provide for a much quicker enclosure of the structure during construction.
How long has timber framing been around?
Some of the oldest frames still standing that we know of date back to the early 13th century in Europe. So, it likely was the building style of choice for many hundreds if not thousands of years before that.
Why did timber framing go out of the mainstream in this country?
Several reasons caused it. In early 18th century America, the burgeoning availability of the nail and the sawn 2×4 began changing the way we constructed our buildings and organized our labor. Unfortunately, it ushered in the decline of many of these ancient skilled crafts. Many people attribute the revitalizing of the craft in the early 1980’s to a group of craftsmen that started what is now known as the Timber Framer’s Guild, a national consortium of builders devoted to the trade.