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No, it is not built into an earthen bank, rather this traditionally inspired timber frame ‘barn’ has had a financial bank built into it. Welcome to the newest branch of LNB (Lyons National Bank):

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Waving corn fields and tight rows of soybeans have given way to smooth grass, colorful signage, and numerous clusters of homes within the Town of Farmington in Ontario County, NY. Grow though the Town has, respecting and celebrating their rural roots is of utmost importance to the community. When LNB approached the Town about a site that was home to the second oldest structure in the County, a farmhouse that has stood for two centuries, there was some skepticism. But at the core LNB is about community. The Town became excited by the bank’s proposal: LNB wanted to embrace the old homestead, the Hathaway House, endeavoring to preserve, celebrate, and open it to the community as part of their new branch. 
(More on the history of the home and property was provided by the Hathaway Sisters, who shared stories, photos, and personal memories around the old homestead, as celebrated by LNB here.)   
 

The Canalside waterfront entertainment district in Buffalo NY, a popular destination for locals and visitors, will add another attraction this summer: a fully restored 1920’s carousel! The carousel will be housed within a gazebo-inspired timber frame pavilion with glass walls.

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“The timber frame is an 80’ octagon with a clerestory. A 1500 lb steel octagon ring in the center will allow timber rafters to connect and light to come down from the clerestory,” explains Owen MacDonald, our lead timber frame engineer for the carousel. “We’ll have plenty of equipment for the raising: a large scissor lift, all-terrain forklift, two large cranes…and lots of muscle.”

Nestled on nearly 30 acres in Palmetto Bluff, SC a family home, guest house, and barn flow from the architectural plan created by Rob Bramhall of Rob Bramhall Architects. “The site is beautiful, and the clients were great, allowing for architecture that could respond to the land and work for them,” shares Rob.

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The project began with a guest home for the clients to enjoy while they sold their old home. Next was the barn, one of the first features visitors encounter as they enter the long drive.

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A monitor barn, this project has a raised center section with multiple windows allowing abundant natural light into the space below.

 

We’re excited share more of the story on our long-time banking partner, LNB (Lyons National Bank), and their newest community branch which we raised just up the road from our Farmington, NY shop.

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The first bent is raised for the new LNB Farmington NY branch, early 2020. Photo (C) Jim Kerins.
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June 2020 the new LNB Farmington branch is making quick progress.

While the branch is quickly heading towards completion, we wanted to re-cap some of the processes involved in getting there:

LNB has a focus on people and is always very involved in the local communities, ethos that parallel our own. The Farmington branch site includes a historic home that is being preserved and refreshed. A new timber frame, connecting to the historic home, will accommodate the bank’s main operations.

A Letter from the Founder of 

New Energy Works and Pioneer Millworks

The end of one decade marks the beginning of the next. I, for one, don’t have a language that embraces this expanse of years. Both New Energy Works and Pioneer Millworks have changed and will change a bit more. As I sat to write this, I stopped to reflect on all of the work we’ve done over the last 10 years and it really gave me pause.

 

My daughter Sierra, who works with us in Pioneer, recently asked,”Dad, did you ever imagine that these companies would grow so large?” I hadn’t really. Yet, it’s not that I DIDN’T think such a thing. We work hard every day, do the best we can, follow our hearts and gosh, we find ourselves…here.

 

Today we are over 130 craftsmen, artisans, designers,and makers. 

 

Yet the feel of the place remains personal. I like this about us. We know our coworkers, our clients, our partners. When you call, a person answers, and that person now is most likely an owner. We officially became an employee-owned (ESOP) company in 2018 and this means that the folks who have long acted like owners, are actually owners. They can partake more fully in the rewards, have their voice truly heard, and be part of their own work-life destiny. This transition makes sense to me.

 

We have doubled down on our commitment to the Triple Bottom Line.

I remain convinced that businesses like ours can make the difference we need: a world that places a more sustainable earth and a more evenly shared economy on equal footing with earnings. We’ve known with absolute certainty that everything we do, every choice we make needs to take the environmental impacts into consideration. This was our planet’s hottest decade ever recorded; it is imperative that we continue to push forward, to do all we can to shift the winds to help our home, our Earth.

 

The owners of this timber frame lakeside retreat enjoyed the original lake farmhouse on the site for many years. When it became apparent that their beloved lake house had outlived its use, they made the bittersweet decision to deconstruct it in favor of a new home.

 

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The land, the lake, and home’s impact there was a driving force in the design. Our design team started with respecting the local vernacular and maintaining existing trees and then included advanced enclosure and mechanical systems, FSC-certified® and reclaimed wood flooring and siding, roofing made of recycled wood fiber and rubber, and a geothermal heat system—all resulting in energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact.

 

In keeping with local vernacular, the road side facia of this cottage home is modest and welcoming.
In keeping with local vernacular, the road side facia of this cottage home is modest and welcoming.

 

As we’re looking forward to more of the holiday season, we wanted to share on a local community project we are thankful to have been part of: the Rochester Childfirst Network (RCN) Capital Campaign.

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We practice the Triple Bottom Line business model of People, Planet, and Profit, putting equal importance on each with the belief that the mission of a for-profit business shouldn’t solely focus on profit. If sustainability is about benefitting people and planet in the long-term, community engagement is a vital component. We’re stronger when we work together. The RCN Capitol Campaign has rallied many companies and with good reason as this organization has been supporting the education and welfare of children in urban Rochester, NY since 1857.

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The effort to revitalize and create “Natural Play” for the children of RCN an outdoor pavilion/classroom was conceptualized and developed collaboratively with support by local partners including Broccolo Tree & Lawn CareIDEX Health & Science, and Barton & Loguidice. The outdoor pavilion/classroom will act as the centerpiece of RCN’s backyard play environment, a new initiative to incorporate more natural, accessible play opportunities.

Marsha Dumka, RCN’s interim Executive Director said, “This new pavilion will provide endless possibilities for true outdoor learning for our children. During the raising the children talked about all the ways they could use the pavilion in the spring – talent show, play, art studio, classroom for messy STEM experiments, picnics. We can’t wait!”

Inspired by barns familiar to the New York countryside, this long, linear home situated on rural acreage overlooks the rolling hills of the Hudson Valley. Designed by Amalgam Studio of NYC and built by Black Oak Builders, the cadence of a series of repeating trusses define the high, light-filled, and airy interior canvas.

“The open setting and the rural, agricultural, and historic nature of the property brought us very quickly to the concept of a “modern barn”, explains the project architect, Ben Albury, Principal of Amalgam Studio. “I researched vernacular barns of the area and looked at three historic forms in particular: the New World Dutch Barn, the English Barn (or 3-Bay barn) and the New England Barn. These contextual archetypes informed the overall form.”

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We began with kiln dried Douglas fir timbers, crafting the traditional gable shape with a modern integration of blackened steel bottom chords and embedded metal connectors. A custom, multi-step finish produced a darkened truss with more pronounced grain patterns. “The client and I both wanted to highlight the nature of the material used for the main structure. It wasn’t a steel portal frame so painting didn’t make sense.” Ben continued, “The process chosen highlights the beautiful grain of the timber, and gives it additional protection from UV damage. The darker tone sits well with the black metal elements, but also contrasts beautifully with the white oak interiors.”

School has started again and it has us thinking about recess (who doesn’t love recess?) and thereby the playscapes kids enjoy. We began asking what role wood has in these spaces which brought to the discussion a recent project at the Lilac Adventure Zone Playground. A “natural playground” in Highland Park in Rochester, NY by Barton & Loguidice, the space highlights found forms for play and modern pavilions for shelter.

 

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There has been a surge in natural playgrounds [natural playscapes] which inherently focus on wood and the natural landscape. “Biophilic design, connecting with nature, was central to this playground project,” explained Tom Robinson, senior landscape architect, and LEED AP at Barton & Loguidice.

Biophilia. It’s a term that we’re hearing with regularity these days, and that’s exciting! From Edward Wilson’s “Biophilia” meaning ‘the rich, natural pleasure that comes from being surrounded by living organisms’. Research is conclusive that access to nature and nature-inspired spaces help reduce stress and illness. “We’re trying to recreate the experience of playing in the woods, in fields with rocks and sticks. The idea is to encourage exploration and free play with natural materials,” continued Tom.

 

Many young explorers and adventurers amidst the natural elements of Lilac Adventure Zone Playground.
Many young explorers and adventurers amidst the natural elements of Lilac Adventure Zone Playground.

 

From Jonathan:

For years I’ve resisted writing this post. It can come off as very self-serving. Please don’t let it. Instead, I’ll attempt to be as neutral-valued as I can, and share some of my 30-year history, and perhaps just a tad of the experiences, and sometimes frustrating stories, our clients have shared…and some that I have witnessed.

The timber frame industry has a great many good people in it, associated with it, and as I’ve often said, many of the coolest clients I can imagine. So first, think about a timber framer who is involved with the Timber Framers Guild. At our Guild conferences and our meet-ups, in the committee work we do, in the publications we create, two important things occur: we learn, and are better professionals because of it; we share, and our craft is better for it. In both cases you win.

Author, Jonathan Orpin: founder and president of New Energy Works and Pioneer Millworks; board member and past president of the Timber Framers Guild, enjoys some time on the water.
Author, Jonathan Orpin: founder and president of New Energy Works and Pioneer Millworks; board member and past president of the Timber Framers Guild, enjoys some time on the water.

 

Photo courtesy of the Timber Framers Guild.
Photo courtesy of the Timber Framers Guild.

 

And when you ask, “Is your company a member?” be sure to dig just bit deeper. Do you attend the conferences? Do you send your shop folk and your designers? Do you give, as well as receive?

 

To say that Timberline Lodge is a good location for the Timber Framers Guild is akin to saying that the Grand Canyon is an attractive hole in the ground. Timberline Lodge, on Mount Hood, is the perfect location for this community of like-minded individuals and companies to come together and gain new knowledge from each other and from the wisdom of those that built this magnificent structure at the height of the Great Depression working for the WPA. Timberline Lodge was built scrappily using site sourced rocks and trees and reclaimed materials including telephone poles turned into carved newel posts on the stairs and fireplace andirons made from an old railroad track. As was said by The Builders of Timberline Lodge, Federal Writers’ Project, “Each workman on Timberline Lodge gained proficiency in manual arts. He was a better workman, a better citizen, progressing by infinitely slow steps to the degree above him.” So does the Guild, and these conferences, build each of us into better craftspeople.

 

Timber frame champion and Guild member, Darren Watson, shares with us about the Timber Framers Guild Western Conference:
Timber frame champion and Guild member, Darren Watson, shares with us about the Timber Framers Guild Western Conference:

 

Flanders Park bordering Raquette Pond in Tupper Lake, New York in the Adirondacks is in the process of being transformed into an inviting outdoor performance area. Our craftsmen created a performance bandshell using a combination of custom finished solid and glulam Douglas fir timbers which were raised and joined on May 31, 2018.

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Pete and Jake (left) guide a post as the crane lowers the second timber bent into place. Rick (right) readies another post base fastener.
Pete and Jake (left) guide a post as the crane lowers the second timber bent into place. Rick (right) readies another post base fastener.

 

“Raising a timber frame is an important and exciting event—it offers a chance to witness the culmination of months of painstaking effort of an age-old craft where the bones of the project come together,” explained Eric, the general manager of our Timber Framing group.

 

We offer our sincere thanks to Tom & Karen for their thoughtful and touching letter of appreciation–and for allowing us to share it here. No one can tell the story of their home better than those who dream it, live it, and love in it…

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To all those who were a part of our timber frame home:

This letter is long overdue. Recent events have kept us pre-occupied. This evening as we did out traditional walk through of our home, our eyes gravitated (as usual) to the superb timber frame work you completed.

We would like to share our experience with you in the hope you would share it with your future clients.

 

We originally wanted to build our last house as a timber frame because we appreciate the large wood elements and how it made you feel. Considering we spend a lot of time in our home we wanted our family and friends to feel the warmth and comfort that only wood timbers create.

We searched the internet and found several timber frame companies. We started with your firm “New Energy Works” because we liked what we saw on your website.

We made the initial phone contact and visited with Jonathan Orpin, he was very pleasant and helpful. We were novices in understanding the process of timber frame construction. I am sure we must have sounded pretty naive but Jonathan was kind and understanding. He gave us the necessary confidence in your company to move to the next step.

We agreed to fly out David Shirley for a consultation. From the first moment we met David and took him to our home we felt comfortable with him and quickly determined he knew what he was talking about, as we flooded him with questions. He was able to extract from us our ideal retirement home concept.

 

If you’ve never seen a timber frame made from longleaf southern yellow pine, then you really ought to,” Jonathan remarked, “the resins just glow.” Fascinating how one sentence can lead to numerous conversations, learning, and a search of our photo collection…

 

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We commonly work with Kiln Dried Douglas fir, but big timbers, reclaimed timbers, have been near and dear to us since opening our doors over 30 years ago. The New Energy Works story started with a collapsed building and a new house crafted from timbers salvaged from that wreckage. Today we remain smitten with reclaimed timbers.

 

Getting team members to pose for a photo is much easier when they’re surrounded by big reclaimed timbers in our Farmington, NY or McMinnville OR yards.
Getting team members to pose for a photo is much easier when they’re surrounded by big reclaimed timbers in our Farmington, NY or McMinnville OR yards.

 

As an additional option to kiln-dried Douglas fir, the antique timbers offer extra stability and can always be cut to size for any design/plans. Douglas fir and Heart Pine are our favored industrial reclaimed timber species–we always have them available thanks to our sister company, Pioneer Millworks.

 

Last week we were alerted to awesome photos of a Whole Foods Market in Chicago, IL that features our trusses in the bar area and reclaimed wood from our sister company, Pioneer Millworks, throughout. It’s funny how often “finished shots” of a project don’t arrive until a year or two (or more!) after its completion. This project was no exception having opened in early 2017. I struck out to learn more about it, connecting with Mark Scherrer, Senior Associate at BRR Architecture and lead architect for this particular Whole Foods, known to us as “Lakeview”. Mark recalled the store with ease and answered questions before I even asked:

 

If you’re not familiar with Whole Foods, they’re an award-winning national grocer with solid ethos and product focus on natural and organic foods. The stores are an experience, each one unique–any chance we have to visit one, we take it!
If you’re not familiar with Whole Foods, they’re an award-winning national grocer with solid ethos and product focus on natural and organic foods. The stores are an experience, each one unique–any chance we have to visit one, we take it!

 

Each Whole Foods Market is one-of-a-kind, very purposefully designed. Mark explained that for Lakeview: “We knew we wanted the store experience to end with a big design feature. There’s a sense of ‘arrival’ to the Red Star Bar that you feel when looking out from the grand lobby, and customers are encouraged to make this part of their overall shopping experience.”

 

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Pioneer Millworks, provided a variety of reclaimed wood with original patina, saw marks, and other character, used to accent ceilings, walls, fixtures, and some signage in the Lakeview store:

A project popped up on Instagram, catching my attention with its custom timber trusses in a clean and crisp great room. It seemed familiar and I made a call upstairs confirming this was one of our projects, designed by Carol Kurth Architecture + Carol Kurth Interiors, raised in the Hudson Valley. I wanted to know more and was lucky enough to catch Carol Kurth (FAIA, ASID, and LEED AP) and her colleague Christine Lent (AIA) for a chat:

 

Throwback Thursday! Christine and Carol on the job site last year.
Throwback Thursday! Christine and Carol on the job site last year.

 

It was easy to hear the smile in Carol and Christine’s voices over the phone. Their energy was palpable and inspiring when talking residential architecture. Turns out like many homes, project planning started a few years back for this ‘mountain lodge’ and evolved over time into a ‘modern lodge’. It never lost the main purpose as: “a weekend retreat for a warm and close extended family who spends lots of time together”.

 

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“Modern is what resonated architecturally, an aesthetic for a modern feel but with a clear nod to timber lodges,” Carol explained. Intended to accommodate multiple generations with a major focus on recreation, particularly to the nearby lake, each main bedroom has a lake view, and the lower level has some outdoor exposure. Two masters on first-floor anchor the core of the home and upper-level bedrooms are accessed via a bridge. We’ve had the opportunity to work with Carol Kurth Architecture on a handful of private homes in the past, most commonly incorporating timber trusses. “Our previous work with New Energy Works led us back as we knew you’d be able to achieve the design integrity and function.”

 

I had taken to saying this project was moving at “monastery time” for Mount Angel Abbey’s Benedictine Brewery. Meaning, of course, it was progressing at its own pace, and not overly concerned with a particular speed or efficiency the secular and commercial world might expect. It had been three years since Chris Jones, the project manager and enterprise guy for the monks and I had started talking, excited at the idea of doing a traditional timber frame raising with people from the monastery, the community of Mt. Angel, friends and coworkers, and more. I had this crazy vision of 50 or so monks in flowing red robes with pike poles and ropes.

On a recent Saturday, it (almost) all came true. No robes. This was likely a good thing.

 

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One hundred volunteers gathered early on November 11th, listened thoughtfully to a strategy introduction, a safety meeting, and got at it. November in Oregon is dicey at best, but I really laughed as I watched the weather forecast. Here’s a screenshot from a day or so ahead of time:

 

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I couldn’t help but acknowledge the amazing timing of sunny weather to some of the brothers. “We worked really hard on that one,” they laughed.

 

Of the people who showed up to help, about 50 or so were from Mount Angel Abbey, the monastery at the top of the hill where we were working. A willing and fun group. My son Jake, who was running the drone video, said he was surprised at how normal they seemed. Okay. I had to agree. Normal, with a bit of a prankster-ish edge, I’d add.

 

We’re excited to be working with Jim and Tina to create their family heirloom home in the Finger Lakes. While there are very few flat build sites available around the Finger Lakes these days, the couple found a special spot on Cayuga Lake in New York that is not only flat, but includes a point, known locally as Allen’s Point.

 

Views all around! Our build team has been enjoying the lake while completing the foundation and floor framing for the Allen’s Point home. They’ll continue readying the project for the timber frame raising taking place later this month.
Views all around! Our build team has been enjoying the lake while completing the foundation and floor framing for the Allen’s Point home. They’ll continue readying the project for the timber frame raising taking place later this month.

 

The home design took special focus on entertaining, employing a modified “L” shape for the home that allows private spaces to reside in the long straight of the “L”, separate from the open public spaces. At around 5,000 sq ft the plans include bunk rooms over the garage, two guest rooms, one master suite, and one guest suite meant to comfortably accommodate many.

 

As progress continues we’ll talk with our design group about other features such as a stone wall connecting the north and south ends of the home/property, a huge 2′ threshold into the entertainment areas, deliberate routes in and out of the home to the lake, and a continuous wrap-around porch. Before we get to that, we need to raise the frame!

Combining solar with timber framing? We’re all in. We’ve teamed up with SunCommon, a solar energy company with locations in Vermont and New York to bring their latest innovation, the Solar Canopy, to life.

 

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These structures are making solar even easier to add to businesses and homes. The canopies are great for over driveways, parking areas, patios, wood piles, or serving as new outdoor spaces. We like this project as an energy producer, gathering spot, and outdoor storage space–the uses are nearly limitless.

 

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According to SunCommon’s calculations, a two-car bi-facial panel canopy generates enough solar power for the average Vermont home. Designed to take advantage of snow, they use glass solar panels on the Canopies that absorb light from both the front and the back thanks to Sunpreme bi-facial solar panels. If the Canopy is covered with snow on top, the underside of the panels will still produce power from the sunlight reflected off the snow-covered ground. Providing shelter, making the most of inclement weather, and offsetting energy demands–yes, please!

Mike Beganyi spearheaded the partnership with SunCommon and has been on-site taking photos of several of the Vermont canopy projects, including the first canopy opening with Vermont Governor Phil Scott at Hunger Mountain Co-op, a member-owned grocery and cafe.

 

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Thank you to all who joined the celebration of the opening of our CLT building, the first complete CLT in New York State. While cutting a ribbon is as common as champagne for celebrations of this sort, we opted to go with something a bit more “us”. Surrounded by a crowd of co-workers and fans, our fearless leader, Jonathan, wielded a chain saw to cut a timber at the main entry. See the sawdust fly in our symbolic opening:

 

 

It has been quite a ride involving nearly every coworker to create this building. We’re excited to have our fine woodworkers of NEWwoodworks settling in and sharing their craft with us daily. Our sister company, Pioneer Millworks, is enjoying smooth shipping and receiving from their new storage space at the back of the building. We’re anxious to experience the performance of this structure over the typically bitter New York winter. We have high expectations from the combination of CLTs, timber frame, and wood fiber (out-sulation).

If you’d like to see the opening ceremony event in its entirety check below. And for other vids of our adventures check out our YouTube page.

 

 

Gathering for the ribbon cutting official opening of our Cross Laminated Timber building.
Gathering for the ribbon cutting official opening of our Cross Laminated Timber building.

 

Designing your timber frame home starts from the outside in. Ty Allen, AIA and our design/build collaborated with Timber Home Living on a short article about the beginning of this process. Read the article below or, if you’d like an original, pick up a copy of the December 2017 issue of Timber Home Living magazine.

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Post authored by Ty Allen, AIA New Energy Works

A week in Poland and Germany learning about wood fiber insulation? “That seems like a lot of wood fiber insulation,” was the first thought that went through my mind. “Never been to Poland but Germany was great, and it’s been a long time,” I’m pretty sure was the second.

 

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Three days into the trip having flown into Gdansk, Poland, driven to and toured a plant in a place called Czarna Woda, and now Eric Fraser and I are sitting in a training room in Czarnków. The German-based company Steico we were visiting affectionately calls it Steico School; learning more about vapor open assemblies and dewpoint potential (trust me, it’s very interesting)—then the question came with sort-of knowing trepidation:

“…how long did it take?”

 

The answer was straight and clear from our sharp, young, Polish instructor, through his thick accent:

“Twenty years.”

 

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Twenty years to move the needle enough to make a noticeable difference. Twenty years to change the thinking of enough individuals to affect the masses. Once it had entered the mainstream vernacular, twenty years to normalize high-performance building to the point where it has fully entered the consciousness of everyday Europeans looking to build a place they would raise their family and call home. The answer was at once overwhelming, yet inspiring.

Has it really been a decade since we opened in Oregon? No. Actually, it’s been 9 years. Summer, 2008 I landed out here after a few years of research and prep just in time for the roughest economic face plant many of us have known (and I’ve known 4 others in our 30 years).

I liken that whole beginning to parachuting out of an airplane amidst blue skies into a thick but fluffy-enough bunch of clouds. Once inside, there was some suggestive bumping about, some troublesome turbulence, but not a clear sign yet of what lay ahead. Then suddenly I break through those clouds and the scene below me opens like a battlefield movie: burning buildings, scorched earth, hungry villagers with widening eyes and the air full of acrid smoke. (Yes, yes I’m exaggerating for effect. There were no burning buildings.)

That was the starting of our west coast effort at the beginning of that darned big recession. In looking back, it might have been better to hang out on the beach for 4 or 5 years rather than make the effort we did to build our business in such a setting. But I am neither prescient nor idle, and so work we did.

…and we’ve made great progress, and well, we’re pretty glad we didn’t just hang out on the beach. I would have gone insane.

 

Sean seems to be our resident selfie expert. Here he captured himself along with a few of the rest of us west coasters: Darren, Richard La Trobe (artist and bridge maker), me, David, and Quinn.
Sean seems to be our resident selfie expert. Here he captured himself along with a few of the rest of us west coasters: Darren, Richard La Trobe (artist and bridge maker), me, David, and Quinn.

 

Today we’ve grown to 25 coworkers in timber framing, carpentry, design, engineering, and millworks, and the buzz is on.

 

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On New Years Day, 2015 a devastating fire claimed the St. Pius X Church in the Town of Chili, New York. As church leaders and hundreds of parishioners gathered the resounding desire was to rebuild. Fast forward to December 2016, and after raising the necessary funding to rebuild, the church’s future took shape. Hanlon Architects designed a large, open interior volume with visible timber framing. Working closely with Hanlon and the Nichols Construction Team, our timber frame engineering team applied their know-how to refine and finalize the timber truss design.

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“With a 36’ clear center aisle, supported with hammer beam style trusses and 33’ long keyed beam rafters to support the flanking shed roofs, this is truly going to be a magnificently expansive space for many to enjoy,” shared Bryan Bleier, timber frame engineering project leader for the St. Pius X roof system.

 

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Jonathan, our founder, and president, brought me into this bridge project about 5 weeks ahead of the annual Timber Framers Guild (TFG) conference. It is the beautiful realization of an offhand comment made at the Coeur d’Alene TFG conference in 2015 between Jonathan and Richard La Trobe-Bateman.

 

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I was immediately excited to have the opportunity to work on this bridge having seen Richard La Trobe-Bateman and his minimalist pedestrian bridges presented at the 2015 TFG Conference. I was asked to coordinate the temporary installation of this 92’ long 19’ tall bridge on the rooftop plaza of the Edgewater Hotel in Madison, WI, from 2000 miles away using volunteer labor fitting in around the conference sessions. Right away I took to looking at Google Earth to understand just what I had agreed to.

 

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“Roof top” turns out to be true though rather deceptive as the hotel cascades from street level down the hill to Lake Mendota six stories below. This did mean that every timber, bolt, and section of scaffolding had to be carried from the valet parking down, and then back up again; 22 steps to and from the build site on the plaza.

 

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Design Week Portland 2017 has come to a close, but not before New Energy Works threw an event showcasing residential heavy timber framing and solar panels. On April 26th, 2017 outside of New Energy Works SE Portland Studio in Oregon, a couple of our timber framers raised heavy timbers crafting an 18 foot by 10 foot carport structure.

 

Quinn, Darren, and Mike finish  up the frame.
Quinn, Darren, and Mike finish 
up the frame.

 

Zero nuts, bolts and screws. Just wood joinery.
Zero nuts, bolts and screws.
Just wood joinery.

 

After completing the frame, our colleagues at Syncro Solor came by and attached four, 345 watt,
solar panels to the top. Synchro Solar is a locally-owned, full service solar energy contractor serving Oregon and Southwest Washington that specializes in the design and installation of completely custom solar electric and solar water heating systems.

 

4 solar panels atop Douglas fir timbers
4 solar panels atop Douglas fir timbers

 

The event was from 2 – 4 pm. Our guests were a range of architects, builders, and artisans. We shared information about timber framing, cross laminated timber, the environment and what New Energy Works is all about.

 

We began raising the first complete Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) building in New York State on our main campus in Farmington, NY in late January 2017. A combination of mass timber, heavy timber, and CLTs, the 21,000 sq ft building will house our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks, and offer a bit of storage/shipping for our sister company, Pioneer Millworks. CLT construction is an economically and environmentally conscious alternative to steel and concrete construction, a material that is new to the U.S. building industry.

Many thanks to Adjusters International BLC. When our roof collapsed their team was unfaltering. They were there to explain the insurance policy, help the process along, and get us what we needed.

UPDATE: May 2017 – nearing completion:

 

Photo (C) Scott Hemenway
Photo (C) Scott Hemenway

 

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Photo (C) Scott Hemenway
Photo (C) Scott Hemenway

 

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We’re excited to announce that we’re building the first complete Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) building in New York State on our campus in Farmington, New York. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) construction is an economically and environmentally conscious alternative to steel and concrete construction. The new building will house or fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks, and offer storage/shipping space for our sister company Pioneer Millworks.

 

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“We’re extremely excited to bring this alternative building method to New York State. We see CLTs as the wave of the future and are investing in our Western New York campus to better position the region and our industry to ride the wave,” states Jonathan, our Founder and President. “The opportunities with CLTs are abundant for businesses and housing and offer dramatic environmental benefits. Wood is a naturally occurring and renewable resource which stores carbon. It has proved time and again to preform as well, and at times better than, carbon heavy steel and concrete.”

 

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CLTs are large wooden panels, typically consisting of 3, 5, or 7 layers of dimensional lumber, oriented at right angles, glued together. This results in exceptional strength, dimensional stability, and rigidity. The pre-fabricated wall, floor, and roof panels can be installed quickly with little job-site waste. European countries have been utilizing the panels for multi-story buildings with great structural, financial, and environmental success.

 

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Timber Home Living magazine continues coverage of the Olsen family home, a reclaimed timber frame raised in 2014. The Olsen’s are nearly complete with their timber frame retreat home near the Berkshires. They’ve combined a mixture of materials and custom fine woodworking for a striking and modern tone. Read more:

 

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Timber Home Living magazine continues coverage of the Olsen family home, a reclaimed timber frame raised in 2014. Beginning the furnishing stage for their retreat home the Olsen’s discovered stopping to listen to the experts surpassed their expectations for style and eco-friendly materials, including reclaimed wood from our sister company Pioneer Millworks. Read more:

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Timber Home Living magazine continues coverage of the Olsen family home, a reclaimed timber frame raised in 2014. Harsh winter weather delayed progress for the mountain home. Rather than risk safety and quality, the Olsen’s and our teams decided to pause construction. Read more:

 

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Our companies have long supported Nicaragua, in small but valuable ways. Starting with a Solar Oven Project a few years back and earlier this year a Clean Water Distribution System, both done in partnership with the Victor-Farmington Rotary. My son Jake and I went to Nicaragua for a week, returning in the wee hours last Sunday. Exhausted, for sure. Glad we went, very glad to be home. Here’s a short report for those interested:

 

Fifteen volunteers from the Bridges to Community group along with Nicaraguan families gather in front of one of the new homes in El Mojon.
Fifteen volunteers from the Bridges to Community group along with Nicaraguan families gather in front of one of the new homes in El Mojon.

 

he trip was organized by Bridges to Community, a NY-based secular NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) that focuses on housing and sanitation in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

 

Nearly 4,000 feet above sea level, rainy season was in full swing in El Mojon, NI.
Nearly 4,000 feet above sea level, rainy season was in full swing in El Mojon, NI.

 

This fall, our friends at the Timber Framers Guild will raise the new Gateway Community Visitor’s Center in Schuylerville, NY. The new timber frame building will be constructed at the site of General Burgoyne’s surrender in the Revolutionary War and will serve as the starting point for tourism of historic sites in the upper Hudson Valley. From September 5th through the 15th, instructors will work with more than fifty students and volunteers to process approximately 24,000 board feet of locally sourced white pine and red oak timbers to form the community center.

 

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Mike Beganyi, our New England representative and timber frame designer for the Schuylerville Community Building Project, and Timber Framers Guild Project Manager Neil Godden have incorporated characteristics of the Dutch barn frames native to the area into the Gateway Community Visitor’s Center plans.

“The timber frame is a modern take on a traditional Dutch style barn that was common in the Hudson Valley”, states Beganyi. “The traditional design has been adapted to meet program requirements for a visitor center which will house interpretive displays rotating exhibits, and host community events.” Large anchor beams with thru tenons and celebrated joinery will tie the frame of locally harvested pine and hardwoods together.

A community hand raising of the Gateway Community Visitor’s Center frame will take place on September 14th and 15th.

Since 1988, the Timber Framers Guild has collaborated with communities to create over seventy-five timber frame structures. Throughout their time, they’ve worked in the US, Canada, Suriname and Poland and have built timber frames for bridges, market pavilions, picnic shelters, park structures and house frames for a Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

 

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Home & Design featured one of our East Coast timber frame homes in a recent edition of their magazine. Architect Mark Kohler ‘went out on a limb’ and purchased five acres of land in Woodbridge, Virginia after visiting a client’s job site in 2001. The Kohlers envisioned a rustic retreat crafted from natural wood, stone, and glass. When Mark’s drawings were near completion, he reached out to us to supply Douglas fir timber framing and reclaimed antique heart-pine flooring (from Pioneer Millworks) for the house. Mark stated,”You associate timber framing with vacation homes in Colorado. It adds to the character and warmth.”

Read Home Design’s take on the project below.

 

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The Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) has announced that (our very own) Jonathan Orpin of New Energy Works and Pioneer Millworks will be featured as the keynote speaker for the Decon ’16 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Orpin will launch the conference on February 29th with a forward-thinking address titled “Everything is Possible. Stories of de-constructible buildings, recycled wood, and companies that can thrive doing so.”

Decon ’16 is the premier international conference on building deconstruction, materials reuse, and C&D recycling and this forward-looking address will seed the future of a world without waste. “Jonathan’s experience and remarkable portfolio of projects will be an inspiration as the conference opens, and sets the bar high for all of us in the circular economy of materials,” shared Anne Nicklin, Executive Director of the BMRA.

After three years, the biennial conference of the Building Materials Reuse Association will return, serving as an international gathering of practitioners using both knowledge and experience to create a world without waste. The conference will be hosted by Habitat for Humanity of Wake County and NC State University February 29th through March 4th, 2016.

 

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“I am equal parts thrilled and anxious to be speaking at Decon ’16, as this group has led the way for a long time in this exceptional field. Let’s keep turning up the dial, from understanding the story and source of our materials, to using them for really great and beautiful projects, to creating sustainable business models and partnerships to get the good work done,” shared Orpin.

Rochester Magazine featured one of our local, reclaimed timber frame homes in a recent edition of the publication. This lakeside home is the second timber frame we’ve raised for a couple on Canandaigua Lake. It is crafted of reclaimed Douglas fir timbers sourced by Pioneer Millworks from the deconstructed 1930’s United Embroidery factory in New Jersey. The timbers were smooth finished and treated with oil to bring out the natural patina for a rustic, yet refined look. We recreated many of the details from the homeowners’ first home, including all interior doors, crafted from reclaimed wine vat stock. Other details include reclaimed oak flooring (also from Pioneer Millworks), a live edge island top, mantle/fireplace surround, custom built-ins for the great room and office, hand-crafted entry door, and bunk beds by NEWwoodworks.

Read their take on the project below.

 

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Existing stone walls provided the perfect base to fit this outdoor pavilion-inspired living space. Painted to match the trellis, the timbers were further embellished with elegant lambs-tongue chamfering, offset by contrasting oiled Douglas fir ceiling tongue and groove. Clipped gables offer protection from the elements and a visually pleasing roof-line.

Bob of R&L Home Improvement, the GC for this pavilion wrote:

“I was really impressed with the professionalism of New Energy Works’ crew and the quality of the company’s work. Their team raised the frame smoothly and efficiently – these guys know what they’re doing! All in all, a great experience with a top notch product.”

 

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Photos by Alon Koppel.

DesignNY Magazine featured one of our legacy home projects in their 2015 annual edition. Located on the high banks of Lake Erie, the latest installment – the main house – shares the views with a whimsical timber framed guest house, carriage house, and gazebo. The house includes an open three story stair tower with a central peeled timber mast, custom steel spinner-head bolts anchoring each post, and walnut inlay sheer keys in the reclaimed Douglas fir beams. NEWwoodworks crafted the multi-level staircase from a clean grade of Douglas fir with hand carved inlayed walnut.

Read their take on the project below.

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Timber Home Living magazine continues coverage of the Olsen family home, a reclaimed timber frame raised in 2014. Progress on the home continues as our construction team encloses the frame with high efficiency SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) and our Matrix Wall:

 

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Our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks, has specialized in handcrafted cabinetry, furniture, stairs, doors, and other custom designed interior furnishings for over 20 years. This year, we’ve added a customized Thermwood MTR-30 3-axis CNC router to NEWwoodworks’ arsenal of tools, increasing throughput, expanding our design offerings, and creating greater efficiency and accuracy for projects large and small. If you want to talk technical, the Thermwood CNC, ‘Thelma’ as it’s affectionately been named, has a 12HP variable speed spindle, 11 position automatic tool changer, an aluminum grid vacuum table, and state-of-the-art control software.

NEWwoodworks does the bulk of their work in solid lumber, usually reclaimed and antique species, as opposed to sheet goods like plywood. This required their CNC router to be customized to better handle material that can be more difficult to work with. A raised z-axis to accommodate larger timber stock, additional table reinforcement and stiffer axes to aid in cutting denser material, and an upgraded vacuum table to make complex jigging and complicated hold-downs easier and faster are all incorporated into the new CNC router.

 

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Marty and Matt, our two CNC gurus, showed off some of the new router’s capabilities (and their own CNC knowledge) producing a large-scale version of our logo.
Marty and Matt, our two CNC gurus, showed off some of the new router’s capabilities (and their own CNC knowledge) producing a large-scale version of our logo.

 

Rob D’Alessandro, General Manager at NEWwoodworks described the custom woodworking the CNC will help produce:

Timber Home Living Magazine is documenting each step in the design/build process for the Olsen family’s reclaimed Douglas fir timber frame home in Austerlitz, NY. Online and print articles will cover the home’s journey from architectural planning, to the frame raising, to enclosure, to completion.

Part 1, below, can be found in the October issue on sale now.

 

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As seen in Fine Home Building, written by Jonathan Orpin:

 

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I don’t travel and I really don’t like to fly. However, now that our West Coast facility has been running for 5 years I finally made the visit to the Pacific Northwest. It was under the promise of good food, good skiing, and good company that the visit was sold.

 

Hint: there was good skiing.
Hint: there was good skiing.

 

Of course there were important business reasons to visit as well. For one, we have a manufacturing facility in McMinnville. Second, most all of the wood we use in our timber frame division is sourced from the area. This visit was an opportunity to put names to faces, connect with people and see how wood is processed before we get our hands on it.

We started off the visit in McMinnville (MAC) on Monday. It was a chance to see our facility and connect with some of the timber frame guys that live on the West Coast. We also met some engineers, kiln operators, and folks from just across the way that buy and sell a ton of wood. These meetings were all about relationship building.

The MAC shop is nicely setup and fully functional. It is well organized and ready for continued success. I enjoyed re-connecting with Darren and Randy especially as they play important roles in the operations of that facility.

Monday night I was treated to a delicious burger at C-Bar in downtown Portland. I believe the burger was called a Chef Burger and what I remember most about ordering was the “Absolutely No Changes” tag line that was included in the description. I forgot all that was on it but do recall how good it was. This alone met the promise of good food but more on that later.

From Richard Laws, one our co-workers in Oregon, while working on the Hayden Residence in Portland, a timber frame we raised earlier this year:

Generations

“To my daughter.  While it wasn’t possible for me to be nearby as you struggled through labor with your firstborn I had an experience during that time I’d like to share with you. Perhaps not just by chance I ended up doing some work that was more indicative of my father than anything else I could have been doing in my current practice. You didn’t know your granddad well as is too often the case we lived far away. He was an old school craftsman the likes of which are rare today in the building trades. While he could do any carpentry he focused mainly on stairs through the last half of his fifty year career. Late in his practice he added a stringer molding that added a shadow line to the side of the stairs that runs down the wall instead of routing an ogee on it like he did for decades before. It was a subtle but elegant change that I adopted whenever building that style of stairs. His gruff nature belied the tenderness with which he treated the wood he loved. It was inspiring to watch him work, as if all his life force was concentrated in his hands. While my duties as a project manager have precluded me from having as magic a touch as someone who practices daily I always try to replicate the fineness of the work he did.

During your final hours of labor I labored as well installing this molding on some stairs I made with the same techniques he taught me decades ago using a handmade template I modified for the thicker treads we used on this job. Instead of the usual bustle of the jobsite I was alone with this task but my thoughts were with you. As if he knew I was distracted I felt my father’s presence guiding me through this pleasant work. So while you were ushering in the next generation I was spending it with the past one. As you were counting fingers on perfect little hands I could feel my father’s hands in mine. I was finishing up as the first baby photo came through my phone and I smiled a perfect smile. While my dad is no longer with us I’m sure he would be proud of us both.

 

Our sister company, Pioneer Millworks, recently tallied the impact of incorporating 2,200 sq ft of reclaimed paneling to a corporate project. The quick results: over 8 tons of waste was prevented from entering a landfill and 30 trees were saved. Below are a few highlights.

 

Our sister company Pioneer Millworks’ reclaimed wood products are good for all of us and the planet.
Our sister company Pioneer Millworks’ reclaimed wood products are good for all of us and the planet.

 

From Pioneer Millworks:

“With our average material yield we would have started with about 4,000 BF of reclaimed oak boards and joists to produce 2,200 SF of finished material. (We defect for metal artifacts, rot, old joinery, and lengths under 18″. These pieces are recycled, going to our chipper to become wood pellets or to our clean-burning kiln which heats our building.)  By using 4,000 BF of reclaimed oak instead of fresh sawn oak the following environmental benefits were realized:

–  We prevented 8 tons of waste from entering a landfill which would have occupied 12.35 cubic yards of landfill space
–  Once wood waste is sent to landfills, the exposure to other types of waste may prohibit wood from breaking down. Instead, it may partially decompose and release methane gas – a type of greenhouse gas.
–  We saved approximately 30 trees (based on the Doyle scale) from being cut down
–  The 30 trees saved by recycling 4000 BF of wood can absorb as much as 945 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air each year.
–  30 trees can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to 120 people.
–  The net cooling effect of  30 young, healthy trees is equivalent to 300 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day
–  30 large trees can lift up to 3,000 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air in a day.”

 

Life in the Finger Lakes magazine featured one of our homes, designed and built in Honeoye Falls, New York for a young, growing family. Read the full article below:

 

Blurring the line between modern comforts and the great outdoors, porches and balconies are this family’s favorite spaces (especially enjoyed by the family canine, Molly).
Blurring the line between modern comforts and the great outdoors, porches and balconies are this family’s favorite spaces (especially enjoyed by the family canine, Molly).

 

“From the white pine timbers to the beehive light fixtures, each element of the home reflects inspiration from nature,” explains Ty All of New Energy Works Timberframers.
“From the white pine timbers to the beehive light fixtures, each element of the home reflects inspiration from nature,” explains Ty All of New Energy Works Timberframers.

 

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DESIGN New England did a feature story on a Newport estate inspired home full of trusses and timber details. The home was designed in partnership with Gleysteen Design and built by our friends at Kenneth Vona Construction.

View it below, or to read directly in the magazine, check out the full article.

 

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We worked closely with Bully Hill Vineyards on this two phase project to create open-air spaces that would allow patrons to enjoy stunning views of Keuka Lake along with great wine and food. Raising and construction was completed during the winter months while the business was mostly closed down, and finished for the grand re-opening in May. Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine featured this recap of the changes at Bully Hill Vineyards:

 

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The Oregonian wrote an article on The Vermont Street Project our timber frame showhome in Portland, Oregon. The piece is packed with great design highlights and tips, images, a slideshow, and floor plans. Read it all here.

 

Jonathan Orpin, Maxine Bromfield (with Annie) and their son, Jake Orpin (with Dexter) moved into their home at the end of 2009 and feel now as if they are getting in the rhythm of the house, using and enjoying what each space offers. Photo by Stephen Cridland
Jonathan Orpin, Maxine Bromfield (with Annie) and their son, Jake Orpin (with Dexter) moved into their home at the end of 2009 and feel now as if they are getting in the rhythm of the house, using and enjoying what each space offers. Photo by Stephen Cridland

 

Dream Home Showcase featured one of our timber frame homes, located in upstate, New York, crafted from reclaimed Oak:

 

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An article from Canandaigua Magazine by Erich Van Dussen with photos by Matt Wittmeyer:

 

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Almost every detail of the house kept the environment in mind, down to the Cedar shingles (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council) and the EnviroShake roofing.
Almost every detail of the house kept the environment in mind, down to the Cedar shingles (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council) and the EnviroShake roofing.

 

Various types of wood used throughout the house were reclaimed from old barns, industrial timbers and mills. Local Sheldon Slate was used in the kitchen.
Various types of wood used throughout the house were reclaimed from old barns, industrial timbers and mills. Local Sheldon Slate was used in the kitchen.

 

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In 2011, Jonathan wrote the following for Timber Home Living Magazine:

 

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It’s true: I’ve been raising timber frames for just over half of my entire life. I can’t actually count how many raisings I’ve been on. I don’t do as many as I used to, but when I do, there’s no less joy.

 

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Last week Darren Watson, our McMinnvile shop chief and I took co-workers Johnathan Farley and Randy Yates up to Wenatchee, Washington, to raise the timber frame home of Dave Parker. Wenatchee is on the dry side of the Cascades, with chaparral, sage and mountains. Dave’s homesite is across the valley from Mission Ridge Ski Resort, where he is a full time instructor. The design of the home picks up the area’s ruggedness, and Dave’s thirst for woodwork and volume.

 

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The schedule: Two days to offload and pre-assemble the sections and bents, one day for a crane-assisted raising, one day to rack, peg and drive home. There’s a formulaic rhythm to saying that which underscores the vast planning, the attention to detail, and level of skill and experience on raising day. But when there, it seems anything but formulaic to me, and likely downright crazy, perhaps exhilarating to those not so…mature as me. Think of Randy, his first raising as he starts new to us after a pretty heady career as a machinist. What was he thinking? Or Farley, who as a rock climber immediately got assigned to high man duty…what is on his mind as the crane swings a section of pre-assembled timbers towards him, and just a tease of wind picks from down the mountain-side? Or best of all, what was Dave Parker thinking? He’s now a cabinet-maker by trade after a long career as a project manager in large commercial jobs. WOW, his pre-thinking all our details had been impressive, almost overbearing, and now here’s his vision become volume.

 

In honor of naming our blog, we wanted to post about The Beetle. No, we’re not talking insects. We’re talking about the giant wooden hammer that appears at every raising.

 

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We have several beetle mallets around the shop all weighing in between 20 to 30 pounds, sized around 12″ x 12″ x 6″. This is one serious hammer (or mallet, whatever you prefer). A vital tool, beetles are used to help seat joinery together, shift posts or beams, and on occasion drive in pegs. The beetle has various names throughout the timber frame industry, most commonly the “persuader” or the “commander”.

(At my very first raising I was asked to pass the persuader over. Once I knew what ‘the persuader’ was, I reached for the handle with confidence and pulled. I was astonished when it barely moved. It was an oak beetle, weighing about 35 pounds, which is reasonable…if you’re expecting the weight of it. I was saved from a second effort by a nearby timber framer who hefted it up easily and handed it over.)

 

Master timber framer Mike Gullace makes handling the beetle look easy from the ground or on a timber. Notice the angle on the end of the beetle head? Part of crafting a custom beetle is in the details and some feel the angle cut helps achieve better weight distribution when swinging the hammer.
Master timber framer Mike Gullace makes handling the beetle look easy from the ground or on a timber. Notice the angle on the end of the beetle head? Part of crafting a custom beetle is in the details and some feel the angle cut helps achieve better weight distribution when swinging the hammer.

 

For the past few years we’ve been producing (in partnership with Timber Home Living) a yearly calendar. A flurry of work happens behind the scenes to produce a visually appetizing piece for each month. Right now we’re in the thick of 2013 design and photo gathering. Our department’s phones and computers are ablaze!

 

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Often we raise the frame, enclose the structure, provide reclaimed flooring, and custom woodworking, but never have the opportunity to see the finished structure. We’ve been reaching out this week and we have a number of architects, builders, and photographers to thank for sharing their finished work with us. They’ll be duly noted in 2013.

Here’s a quick preview of a few places that may show up in the calendar. We’re excited to see in them in/near completion:

Hi! My name is Erica and for the past couple weeks, I have been interning in the marketing department of New Energy Works Timberframers and Pioneer Millworks.

 

Yep, that’s me!
Yep, that’s me!

 

I came in with a basic understanding of what the company does, build structures with wood, that’s what I thought anyways. Throughout my stay here, I learned that the companies don’t just take any old kind of wood. They use reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood is wood that has been used already, like a hand-me-down.

 

How cool is this house in Oregon that was built with reclaimed timbers?! (And that’s Jennifer in the kitchen.)
How cool is this house in Oregon that was built with reclaimed timbers?! (And that’s Jennifer in the kitchen.)

 

Not only was I amazed with the fact that they are completely eco-friendly, I was impressed when I found out that they do everything it takes to make the wood reusable, on site! The wood goes from knotty and filled with nails to clean, smooth and ready to be built into something beautiful.

Unfortunately, I was not part of that process but I was part of the amazing team that makes everything possible! Jennifer, Megan, and Craig have taught me so much about marketing. I learned what kind of language appeals to different target markets and how you constantly have to update your websites and profiles to keep attracting new people.

 

This is the season of The Porch. I don’t think I’ve met a person that doesn’t enjoy relaxing on the porch. Porches are a bridge between inside and outside. They’re also a great way to add space to your home without a huge investment. Check out how much they can change the look of a home:

 

Before and after. This cottage home’s lakeside facade is totally different thanks to quad post porches connected by a huge deck.
Before and after. This cottage home’s lakeside facade is totally different thanks to quad post porches connected by a huge deck.

 

More good news: crafting a porch with timbers increases longevity of the structure. (They also give the space unmatched aesthetics.) Timber is versatile and can work with large decks and removable screens to modest cement pads as post and beam supported roof structures. Summer, Spring, Fall, and even “Winter” in some regions, these spaces act as extra rooms and get us all outside.

 

Porches are perfect spaces to combine elements. Reclaimed barn siding, stone, reclaimed timber, custom arched screens, and more. For a family in Mendon, New York, this porch is the place to be, day or night.
Porches are perfect spaces to combine elements. Reclaimed barn siding, stone, reclaimed timber, custom arched screens, and more. For a family in Mendon, New York, this porch is the place to be, day or night.

 

As with most wood products that live outside, exterior trusses, porches, and ‘trimber’ will require a little maintenance every few years to keep them looking great. When we first install exterior (or interior) timber it is coated with an oil based finish. Over time, exposure to the elements, air pollution, natural pollens, dust, and more wear the oil away and tints the wood a grey or pale beige tone. In some locations this can take five years; in others, two years; still in others a year or less. In our case we went a little over four years before cleaning and re-finishing the timber frame porches that are the main entrances to our Farmington, New York office.

 

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Prior to re-finishing, the timber frame porches of our Farmington headquarters had lost much of their original protective oil finish and natural patina.
Prior to re-finishing, the timber frame porches of our Farmington headquarters had lost much of their original protective oil finish and natural patina.

 

After re-finishing, the timber frame porches on New Energy Works celebrate renewed vitality along with the unique bolt holes, ferrous staining, and grain patterns inherent in reclaimed timber.
After re-finishing, the timber frame porches on New Energy Works celebrate renewed vitality along with the unique bolt holes, ferrous staining, and grain patterns inherent in reclaimed timber.

 

A few of our timber framers, Andy, Matt, and Marc, set about cleaning and refinishing our office porch bents and trusses last week. Their supplies: a couple of ladders, a few drop cloths, a little cleaner, two gallons of oil based finish, and a bit of elbow grease.

Dan and Beth’s home in Honeoye Falls started with a desire for smartly sized space to accommodate their five-person family. They came to us with a love of wood and a successful, family owned forest business, WoodWise Land Company. The results: a home loved for its texture and character of design, and mix of materials. It feels modest and comfortable, yet it’s fairly large (about 3,000 sq ft).

 

Dan and Beth’s timber frame home in Honeoye Falls, NY features a broad and detailed expanse of stonework, from the chimney to this back patio. The combination of natural wood and stone materials create inviting spaces, inside and out.
Dan and Beth’s timber frame home in Honeoye Falls, NY features a broad and detailed expanse of stonework, from the chimney to this back patio. The combination of natural wood and stone materials create inviting spaces, inside and out.

 

Especially when you consider the three-story timber frame “party” barn next door that we also crafted. The barn is complete with second floor basketball court, balcony and catwalk cigar room.

 

Adjacent to their family home, Dan and Beth’s party barn is perfect for gatherings, pick-up basketball, jam sessions, and of course, storage.
Adjacent to their family home, Dan and Beth’s party barn is perfect for gatherings, pick-up basketball, jam sessions, and of course, storage.

 

Every angle of the home from the exterior looks different. We’ll be creating a whole case study on this home, but for now here are a few teaser images of the finished home and party barn, including a quick video of the raw white pine timers arriving in our yard from WoodWise: