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New Energy Works Oregon Timber Frame Home

I’ve spent the last 30 years with my coworkers designing and building projects for some very cool people. It’s a large part of what keeps me so engaged. Creating spaces and shelter, one at a time. There are some pretty steep challenges: sites, viewsheds, tastes, need-to-haves and nice-to-haves, budgets. And then there is the couples thing: I like to say I’ve been designing and building homes for 30 years, and bridges between partners for just as long! And with no apologies. What is more natural than two people who are a couple, who have differences in their vision? We are often attracted to our compliment, not our same self.

New Energy Works Oregon Timber Frame Home Rendering
Designed as a home to “unite two households”.

You’d think then that when a couple comes together “later” in life, and both with a full and proud history of accomplishments in business and in family, that all these competing needs in the design of a new combined home would crash together like a rip tide in a tightening channel.

Greg and Tish may as well have been married for their whole lives. A thoughtful brow, a sideways glance, a pause, and whoever would speak was speaking what both were thinking. Will I be that thoughtful, that empathic, that…well I’ll say it…smart in a few more years? Dang I can hope.

New Energy Works Timber Frame Home Oregon David Shirley, AIA with Clients
David Shirley, AIA, our lead west coast designer clowns around with Tish on their housewarming gift from the New Energy Works team

 

In November of 2018 we had a community raising for the Mount Angel Abbey’s Benedictine Brewery. One hundred volunteers gathered early, listened thoughtfully to a strategy introduction and a safety meeting, and got it done.

The Benedictine Brewery in Mt. Angel, Oregon. Photo by Loren Nelson
The Benedictine Brewery in Mt. Angel, Oregon. Photo by Loren Nelson
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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. We had our team and timber framers from companies who are part of the Timber Framers Guild from all around come to help. (You can read about that amazing day in a previous blog post, and we’ve included the raising video at the end of this post.)

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This season, the Brewery has been up and running with plenty On Tap. We’re excited to be working with them again, this time extending their covered outdoor space to accommodate and shelter more folks:

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!”

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:

 

Thanks, Phil and Rocio. Little did you know how perfect your timing was when you came to us and asked for a “small but perfect home”. Fertile ground indeed, and our minds raced with the many thoughts about working on something like a precious gem, or what we called a NEW Jewel. The project is completed and officially “home” to Phil and Rocio, who continue to generously share their Jewel and their words:
Phil and Rocio along with pups Luca and Sherlock enjoy a moment on the porch of their nearly completed NEW Jewel.
Phil and Rocio along with pups Luca and Sherlock enjoy a moment on the porch of their nearly completed NEW Jewel.

 

“Jonathan, et al…

As I write out the final check for Invoice #9, it seems the right moment to pen a note of appreciation for the bundle of work, energy, and creativity that we currently reside in. It is not lost on us for a moment that we discovered NEW at a moment in time that was just right for everyone; Rocio stumbled onto your website looking for a builder of ‘barn homes’ and was immediately captured by the concepts and pics displayed. Everything seemed to line up:  small house, close to shop, (relatively) simple design, similar vision, seasonal timing, etc. to enable you all to pull off an amazing, wonderful, beautiful, efficient, stunning, one-of-a-kind home for us.

It is quite difficult to express the deep sense of gratitude we feel towards everyone that contributed to the Jewel…many of which I don’t have the ability to send this to, or even be able to name. The artistic, creative flair combined with real-life practicality is a major component of our place we will love for many years to come.

Please pass on our thanks to everyone that was involved. We look forward to visits from any and all as time goes by.

Sincerely,

Phil and Rocio

Dayton, Oregon”

 

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.

 

A short walk across the parking lot from the main office is the shop for our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks. While the walk stretches the legs, wandering through their space feeds every type of woodcraft obsession. On a recent visit to the shop, I was drawn to a thick live-edge slab, smoothly finished and awaiting shipment to its new home as a bar top. This led me to Rob, manager of NEWwoodworks for a chat about how this group of skilled woodworkers arrives at happy hour creations:

 

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The NEWwoodworks team gathered at the entry to their CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) woodworking shop, the first of its kind in New York State.
The NEWwoodworks team gathered at the entry to their CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) woodworking shop, the first of its kind in New York State.

 

The feel of that smooth finish still bright in my mind I asked, what are the biggest driving factors in determining material and finish for commercial (specifically bar or restaurant) projects? “Usage and aesthetics,” Rob replied. “A huge variety of personalities, of feel and atmosphere, can be achieved with wood—both in the specific grade used, and the style when crafting it.”

 

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Where’s the beetle these days? As with most things these traditional tools have a lifespan… Needing to replace a beetle that had met its end, Mike W and Alexander crafted a new one from a reclaimed timber scrap in our McMinnville, OR shop.

 

Maintaining the original hand-hewn exterior gives this beetle a unique face. After a century supporting a structure, now the old timber will help us build new shelters. It feels a bit like closing the loop…not too shabby in a day’s work.
Maintaining the original hand-hewn exterior gives this beetle a unique face. After a century supporting a structure, now the old timber will help us build new shelters. It feels a bit like closing the loop…not too shabby in a day’s work.

 

Freshly minted, this beetle looked very innocent on the bench. Mike showed it’s ferocity (and his!), displaying it with a more seasoned beetle:

 

 

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These two will be headed to the next raising where the newcomer is sure to lose some of that bright patina of the freshly exposed wood as it ‘matures’. Thanks to Mike for the creativity and the photos!

Curious about where else the beetles have been? Check the rest of our blog.

In August of 2008, my wife Maxine, our son Jake, Dexter the dog and Annie the cat arrived in our new home of Portland, Oregon with a plan to open a west coast New Energy Works Timberframers.  In retrospect, the idea that we could just pick up everything, move to a city across this big country, find schooling, the grocery store, a place to start a new timber frame shop, customers, design and build our new home, and still be a solid co-worker and leader to our headquarters back in the beautiful Finger Lakes of NY seems a bit outrageous. It was. In the Fall of 2008 the economy was in the biggest downward spiral we’ve seen in our lives, so what at first seemed hard quickly became a challenge of far more epic proportions.

 

Maxine, Jake, and Dexter trying out the ‘driveway’ of The Vermont Street Project in Portland, 2008.
Maxine, Jake, and Dexter trying out the ‘driveway’ of The Vermont Street Project in Portland, 2008.

 

Looking at the backyard. Our build site was on a flag parcel in SW Portland, a lucky find at a time when land was hard to come by.
Looking at the backyard. Our build site was on a flag parcel in SW Portland, a lucky find at a time when land was hard to come by.

 

I was blogging pretty regularly during that time, largely as we built The Vermont Street Project, our modest if well-crafted home in southwest Portland that would eventually find its way onto the cover of three magazines, and be named Fine Homebuilding Magazine’s first ever Home of the Year.

 

Kim Son Meditation Center, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist place of repose and worship, will be taking delivery of their 10 glulaminated and steel trusses very soon. The trusses are just over 60’ long, and 16’ high. As seen in the accompanying images, the community’s goal was to express a sweeping sense of structure and space, perhaps a bit like clouds moving across an overhead sky.

 

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For us, the challenges were many: Glulam beams that are set into curved forms have a certain “memory” of once being many straight pieces of wood. This gives them a certain desire to spring back for the designed curvature. And they did. And because wood is such an individualistic material, it’s almost impossible to know and therefore calculate the exact amount of spring back to plan for. Because the beams are held together with large steel plating, we were able to wrestle the wood into place and apply over 1000 huge bolts in total to the trusses. When we stood the truss up for initial testing, There was zero spread over the 60’ of length.

 

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The trusses will be partially disassembled before being loaded onto a few tractor trailers to head south to California. We’ll share more images of the completed project later this year. In the meantime, if you’re interested in truss design, we have a truss gallery on our site that might feed your curiosity. Or reach out–we’d be happy to chat.

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.”

 

Onlookers huddled in their coats and chatted excitedly on a cool breezy day in upstate New York while our craftsmen raised the frame for Jim and Tina’s home on Cayuga Lake. Multiple generations of the family were joined by a few guests at the site. Seeing the timbers come together and their home take shape brought plenty of smiles from Jim, Tina, their children, and grandchildren.

 

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While there are very few flat build sites available around the Finger Lakes these days, the couple found a special spot on Cayuga Lake that is not only flat but includes a point, known locally as Allen’s Point. Open in a 180-degree expanse, our design group explained that the home’s layout is intended to make the most of the sweeping north, west, and south lake views. With plans calling for a modified “L” shape, the position of the home on the site collects those views as well as links together the north beach side with the south boat dock side of the property. (It also allows private spaces to reside in the long straight of the “L”, separate from the open public spaces.)

 

 

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With the foundation in and first-floor framing in place, it was time to put the frame up. Raising days are momentous occasions, a culmination of years of dreaming and planning. We’re always glad to join these significant days as the excitement is infectious and there’s nothing quite like going from an open site to a full frame in the span of a day or two.

 

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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.

 

In a previous post we talked about ‘island living: pull up a stool’. Kitchen islands are a popular spot for wood tops, but what about the overall kitchen materials and design? What considerations are made to keep the chef(s) connected with family and guests? What about  storage space? Wood species and finishes? Rob, GM of our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks, and Andrew, interiors specialist in our design group, offered some insights.

“Why custom?” Rob clarified before answering: “We like to tailor the kitchen to exactly what the client wants and needs. We can match, and hopefully enhance, the way they cook, serve, eat, entertain and live.”

 

Kitchen islands—central for gathering, food, and when necessary a spot to perch for a great photo op as Jonathan demonstrates!
Kitchen islands—central for gathering, food, and when necessary a spot to perch for a great photo op as Jonathan demonstrates!

 

Kitchens are often considered the heart of the home. Andrew shared a little history: “Interestingly enough the kitchen has gone full-circle in the lifespan of our country. In the span of 200 years we’ve gone from one room cabins where gathering around the hearth was simply a way of life, to the affluent days of the to-be-left-unseen butler’s pantry and galley kitchen separate from the dining/social areas of the home, to a revival of the central hearth concept appearing today in the form of ‘open plan living’.”

 

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On one of our typical cool, rainy, and windy Autumn days in upstate New York, I had the chance to chat with Laurie who was enjoying some sun and warmth down in Texas. We worked with Laurie and her husband Dan for over a year designing, building, and completing their multi-generational lakeside retreat home in nearby Canandaigua, NY. I asked Laurie if she would share her take on what it was like to build and decorate a custom timber frame home. Her enthusiasm was infectious and I know I spent much of our conversation nodding and smiling. Here’s what she shared:

 

“It’s a destination, a resort for the whole family. With NEW’s help we built the forever home in New York. The meaningful pieces are already there and we hope to pass it on to the next generation. To keep it in the family for decades.” –Homeowner, Laurie
“It’s a destination, a resort for the whole family. With NEW’s help we built the forever home in New York. The meaningful pieces are already there and we hope to pass it on to the next generation. To keep it in the family for decades.” –Homeowner, Laurie

 

Laurie and Dan (left) captured images as the frame came together for their lake home.
Laurie and Dan (left) captured images as the frame came together for their lake home.

 

Megan: So much is about the build site. Why Canandaigua? 

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.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Richard Brown AIA, founder of RBA, about a newly completed project in Portland, Oregon. The modern, yet traditionally inspired design has a reclaimed timber frame core combined with stick built spaces. Nestled along the hillside with views of Mt. Hood, Richard explained that this will be the main home for a creative couple—a modern house with traditional queues. We conversed about this project and the broader driving forces behind his architectural creativity:

 

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What can you tell us about this project’s build site?
It’s a really beautiful site in Portland, which are getting to be rare in major cities as our population grows. This site had a home removed a few years back in anticipation of a development which never happened. There are great views to Mt. Hood and good access to sunlight. The homeowner is an avid gardener, so we intentionally sat the home into the shade away from where sun falls to leave space for gardens and a meadow area.

 

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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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“These are all ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions, right?

I chuckled at Bryan’s inquiry as we settled in for our Q&A interview. I assured him that all questions were going to be difficult and on the record. He grinned and I started with asking him a bit about his background followed by more rapid-fire questions. Here’s a look into Bryan:

 

On occasion, Bryan will bring pup Reilly into the office. Here she was just a few months old.
On occasion, Bryan will bring pup Reilly into the office. Here she was just a few months old.

 

Bryan has been with our timber frame engineering group since earning his degree from the SUNY Institute of Technology in civil engineering about five years ago. He had dabbled in construction prior to college and always had an interest in building materials/methods. While he didn’t know much about timber framing he was drawn to our company’s people and planet (he’s another in our line of avid outdoorsmen) ethos and found his love for wood grew exponentially once he started with us.

Quick to smile and offer help wherever needed, he’s become a leader on various timber frame projects and with our enclosure system layouts. Most recently he was the project leader for the St Pius X Church rebuild in Chili, NY. This huge roof system went up a week ago to the delight of many, including Bryan who was interviewed several times by local media about St. Pius X.

What’s your favorite word or phrase?
Right on. 

 

Leaving the world of party tents, awnings, and rough construction behind, Pete O’Brien joined our timber frame group finding the craftsmanship and finer work of traditional mortise and tenon joinery much more to his liking. In his opinion, handcrafting is second only to raising a frame.

 

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We seem to be inundated with folks who love the outdoors so we were not surprised to learn that this timber framer likes hiking, kayaking, and frequents the Adirondacks. However, Pete admitted that he’s a gamer with a passion for racing and marksmanship games (cat’s out of the bag, sorry Pete!). On occasion Pete puts his kayaking skills to the test, participating in our local white water Wild Water Derby. After sitting down for this rapid fire interview, he regaled us with a few stories from the derby. Read on to learn more on this young craftsman (with author comments in brackets):

 

Pete’s favorite way to view the ADKs!
Pete’s favorite way to view the ADKs!

 

What’s your favorite word or phrase?
Awesome. (Pete’s fellow timber framer and long-time member of the team, Jake, piped in saying to me, “That is for sure his favorite word.” Based on the grin he and Pete exchanged I suspected differently but didn’t press.)

 

We think this photo of Pete applying a chain saw texture is pretty awesome.
We think this photo of Pete applying a chain saw texture is pretty awesome.

 

“I truly could not have asked to work with a better crew. It’s great to work with people so on-point. Hardly anything went by without someone helping to make the others’ job easier.” – Mike W, Timber Frame Champion on the Ann Arbor Legacy Home.

 

Thanks to Mike W, Timber Frame Champion on this project, for sharing his comments, leadership, and skills.
Thanks to Mike W, Timber Frame Champion on this project, for sharing his comments, leadership, and skills.

 

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Raisings are often an exciting culmination of years of dreaming, months of planning, and hours of crafting. This Ann Arbor, Michigan home was no exception as our team was met with excited smiles and kind accolades from the homeowners Cindy and Bill and the builder, David (of Coppernail Construction). Our team of Mike, Jimmy, Taylor, and Randy from the McMinnville (Oregon) shop raised the frame amidst some rainy summer days in July.

A large hybrid timber frame and stick-built project, timber abounds in the great room, main entry, kitchen/dining areas. As a full-time home to the owners, this structure will also comfortably accommodate visits from their five children and many grandchildren within its nine bedrooms and seven baths. Plus they’ll have all-season fun with both indoor and outdoor pools.

 

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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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Our craftsmen are raising the frame for a large timber frame central hall for a project with Kurpinski Builder. Each timber has a multistep custom finish and a few have needed to be ‘persuaded’ into place. The best tool of the trade for this? The trusty wooden beetle mallet wielded here with gusto and precision by Matt.

 

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Jimmy has been with our timber frame team for almost two years. He lives in Mt. Angel, Oregon and works out of our mill in McMinnville, Oregon. Even though the commute one way is at minimum an hour, Jimmy tells us he wouldn’t trade his 1/3-acre peaceful property for anything. His love of nature is also his favorite thing about timber framing. According to Jimmy, “There’s no better place to be than 25 to 30 feet in the air looking at beautiful scenery.”

 

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Where are you from?
I was born in Newburg, New York and still have family in Brooklyn, New York. When I was 6 months old, our family moved to Puerto Rico. It wasn’t until I was 13 and moved to Missouri that I began learning to speak English. I made my way to Oregon via, Florida and Los Angeles.

What were you doing before NEW?
Before joining New Energy Works, I was a blacksmith, welder, mechanic. When I have time, I restore furniture.

 

Leaving the frame to check out the region. Darren, Mike, Jimmy, and Todd.
Leaving the frame to check out the region. Darren, Mike, Jimmy, and Todd.

 

When you aren’t at work what are you doing?
Chilling with Chip (my dog) watching TV or out hunting and fishing.

 

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What’s your favorite truss style or joint?
I don’t have a favorite. I love them all.

What’s your favorite wood species?
I love purple heart and coca bola.

What’s your favorite time of day?
I’m an evening person. I like 6:30 pm, when I walk in to home at night. 

What’s your favorite curse word?
hijo de puta (son of a bitch)

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.

 

Rick Vanwuyckhuyse can be a hard guy to catch, at least when he sees a camera headed his way. On a job-site, it’s harder for him to avoid the lens—and he’s a dynamic subject. We asked Rick a few rapid fire questions while he was crafting a trellis in the shop – of course, we left the camera in the office:

 

Gotcha! We managed to catch Rick at a raising on Cayuga Lake.
Gotcha! We managed to catch Rick at a raising on Cayuga Lake.

 

What’s your favorite phrase or word? You know what I mean?

What’s your favorite time of day? Afternoon.

What’s your favorite truss style or joint? Scarf joint.

 

Traditional scarf joint with a walnut key.
Traditional scarf joint with a walnut key.

 

A scarf joint (without a key) on a curve.
A scarf joint (without a key) on a curve.

 

What’s your favorite wood species? Fir.

 

Douglas fir. Rick’s favorite and our most commonly used timber species.
Douglas fir. Rick’s favorite and our most commonly used timber species.

 

A tree for a mass timber project? What started as an idea branched into reality as our team selected a west coast Broad Leaf Maple tree to be a central post in our Cross Laminated Timber project. Mike W, one of our timber craftsmen and an avid nature lover, applied his skills and artistic eye from unloading the big Maple in Oregon to hand-crafting the joinery and leading the raising in New York. Along the way he formed an attachment to this “post” and named it ‘Atlas’. He shares his adventure with Atlas below:

 

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This tree had a purpose, a destiny even. The 60-year-old Acer Macrophyllum Big Leaf Maple was selected by my co-workers Randy and Noah (from Randy’s land) for its particular size, shape, and branch structure. It would become a load-bearing post and not just any post – it will support a 30,000 lb gravity load and an 84 foot glulam beam line in our new Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) building in Farmington, NY (the first complete CLT building in New York State!).

Using some experience from previous projects, the support of my colleagues, and a little book knowledge I picked up at the Timber Framers Guild conference, I got started.

 

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The challenge was set: take a well-loved 1980’s family home and transform both aesthetics and functionality. Our design and build teams embraced the challenge with gusto. Ty Allen, head of our Design/Build groups and our in-house Architect, gave us the cliff notes.

 

During the first site visit Ty and team captured this image of the home’s roadside facade.
During the first site visit Ty and team captured this image of the home’s roadside facade.

 

The homeowners built their family lake home over 25 years ago. They raised their children and made countless memories. Yet, the 1980’s contemporary design was no longer meeting all of their needs and had become dated in style. We were building a new timber frame home on a neighboring lake and we’re told that project was part of the inspiration for couple to join our community and incorporate timber framing into their lives.

Ty explained, “I think 80’s contemporary homes are the best type of existing home to transform. They are often a clean slate with open volumes and simple details.” Remodeling requires balance – the changes for this home would be bold. “We wanted to respect the integrity of the existing home, using what was already existing as a springboard to modernizing how the home looks, feels, and works.”

 

The original roadside facade (above) and with updates (below).
The original roadside facade (above) and with updates (below).

 

“I’ll give you the whole story if you share those with me.” I glanced at the white box with orange fish dancing across the outside. Crackers for information, the deal of the day. With a smile I handed the box over to Pete, one of our design group architects and the design leader on our current Canandaigua Lake general contracting project.

 

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“So Megan,” Pete began in his usual serious-but-joking-and-easygoing manner, “You want to know about the Canandaigua Family Retreat? Well, Dan & Laurie have been looking for the right site for about three years now. They gave us a call and asked if we’d come check out the spot they’d found. They felt really good about it, but wanted our take, which I thought was pretty cool. I like being involved from the beginning, especially because I had a good idea of what they wanted their project encompass.”

 

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“Had their three year search reached an end?” I asked as the crackers disappeared with unnatural speed.

“It had,” he confirmed. “We knew our design plans would be influenced by stringent site constraints associated with being near the water (height restrictions, erosion/sediment concerns, set-backs, etc) and the nature of the narrow, deeply sloping land. But it was perfect for Dan & Laurie’s home.”

 

Element of Surprise is the seventh installment in Timber Home Living‘s Welcome Home Series, following the Olsens’ home project. The home is nearly complete thanks to creativity, collaboration and — of course — a few last-minute design decisions.

 

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Everyone loves a good sports analogy, and Greg Olsen is no exception.

“You know when you call a play in football, and then all of a sudden you get to the line and realize there’s a totally different defense? You have to change it up, right? Well, as a homeowner, you have to be ready to do the same thing,” says Greg. “We’ve definitely called a few audibles on this house, but we’ve loved the way each and every one of those calls has turned out.”

In a word, Greg encourages other folks in his same position to be flexible, fluid — open to new ideas.

“If I had any advice as we’re coming down the home stretch,” he says, “it would be to not go into this process with a hard-and-fast plan on what absolutely has to be done in all aspects of your home.”

 

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One surprising detail that the Olsens changed as the house was being built was the walkout bluestone patio that now runs the entire length of the home instead of the simple concrete slab that was originally part of the plan.

“The house just called for it,” explains Greg. “We originally were just going to do stone around the portion of the house near the entryway, but then looking at it, you can’t not have stone there. It’s those types of things that have been little changes that have made a big impact on the look of the house.”

 

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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.

 

What is that big yellow, blue, and red tool? It is our Hundegger, a large CNC capable of cutting timbers with joinery. We have always liked the combination of technology with traditional craftsmanship. The marriage of both allows us to produce more efficiently, work with larger outputs, and helps our co-workers have a long career practicing their craft.

 

Andy operates the Hundegger controls and computer as a timber is processed.
Andy operates the Hundegger controls and computer as a timber is processed.

 

Andy has been our co-worker for 9 years and main operator of the Hundegger on the East Coast for over 5 years.
Andy has been our co-worker for 9 years and main operator of the Hundegger on the East Coast for over 5 years.

 

The CNCs in each of our shops rough cut timbers and joinery before the pieces head to layout and hand fitting/finishing. Andy is our main Hundegger operator on the east coast. He’s been a part of our team for a decade, starting as a timber framer, learning the trade from our master timber framers in the shop and then traveling around the nation to raise the frames he helped craft. Andy told us he liked the travel (before he had kids). He was up for a new challenge and went for the opportunity to learn the Hundegger technology. Most days he can be found standing at the main control station for the Hundgger between bouts loading the platform with raw timbers.

 

Last week, we shared an article from Rochester Magazine all about Sal and Jackie’s timber frame project in Canandaigua, NY. 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.

Here’s what the homeowners Sal and Jackie had to say:

“Everyone we worked with at New Energy Works was warm and professional. We would not have the special home we have today without the guidance and workmanship of the wonderful N.E.W. teams. ”

Check out a case study written about the home here.

 

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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.

To create a ‘light’ timber look and feel for a Natick, MA home, we crafted split scissor chord trusses with a rough sawn and whitewashed finish for this small-town great room. Unique details are hidden throughout the project, including architectural remnants from historic and private properties in the Boston area: old church windows, a reclaimed barn door, antique door knobs, and even a ‘truth window’ making visible timber joinery otherwise hidden in a wall cavity.

Steve and Denise, the homeowners, wrote:

“Wow. The process was fun, collaboration was tremendous and give and take (each time with a smile) was never an issue. You achieved exactly what we had in our minds – superb workmanship, yet casual and welcoming, new but a nod to old and post & beam that didn’t go “country”. The onsite crew was great – clearly good at what they do and very welcoming to an audience of amazed onlookers. We really appreciate all the effort and caring you put into making this happen. What a great focal point for our new home.”

Photo by Meghann Gregory Photography.

 

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We installed a new reclaimed barn for the Finger Lakes Museum at their new campus in Branchport, NY. Despite a few new rafters, the majority of the reclaimed barn was reused for the new structure. The new-old barn will serve as the Creekside Center – a kayak and canoe livery that will enable visitors to enjoy a wetland wildlife experience from waters-eye-perspective.

Follow the beetle’s trail by visiting the site at 3369 Guyanoga Road, Branchport, NY.

 

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After crafting the frame for a large barn in our shop in Farmington, NY, our timber framers traveled to Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina to raise it. Over 500 timbers and timber components make up the frame with those on the exterior featuring a custom stain. After a few days of pre-assembly the raising started and moved along quickly. Check out the big bents pre-assembled and stacked/organized as the central core of the barn goes up in this short video (below). Thanks to Josh at J.T. Turner Construction for the video!

Timber Home Living magazine is covering the adventure of building a timber frame home from the ground up with the Olsen family. In this second installment, we raise the frame:

 

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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:

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.

A few months ago we were contacted by a representative from Timberland PRO. In the process of designing a new boot for professional use, they were looking for some real-world feedback from guys in the field and wanted to know if our teams might be interested in helping. 10 of our folks would be provided with a brand new pair of work boots, and all they needed to do in return was give their honest opinions. We drew names landing on a lucky few timber framers, fine woodworkers, and construction crew members, in addition to mill-workers from our sister company Pioneer Millworks.

 

TJ, Cal, and Dave, from our sister company, model the new ‘Rip Saw’ from Timberland. Appropriately enough, that timber they’re sitting on is on the deck of Pioneer’s rip saw.
TJ, Cal, and Dave, from our sister company, model the new ‘Rip Saw’ from Timberland. Appropriately enough, that timber they’re sitting on is on the deck of Pioneer’s rip saw.

 

The “wood-grain” wrapping paper and hinge patterned tape was perfect for us!
The “wood-grain” wrapping paper and hinge patterned tape was perfect for us!

 

The boots arrived yesterday after months in development and we had the chance to get everyone’s first impressions. Even though it’s 90 degrees here, the guys laced up their new “logger” style, tall shaft boots and headed back out to the shop.

 

Drake Ambrosino came up to me after I gave a talk about business practices at a Timber Framers Guild conference a few years back, wanting to represent our work, in the Midwest. It wasn’t a model we had been using, due to the intensity of communication and service to our clients. Up to that point, our sales approach was that everything sold happened within the context of our own engineers, architects and designers. It’s still mostly that way. At the time, we were DIS-inclined to take Drake on his offer. Yet, there was something about his honest, humble and thoughtful approach that was, well, comforting. Like that uncle in the story who everyone loves: smart, funny, willing to help, and quick to pull out his mandolin at the campfire. So we said we’d see…

 

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One of Drake’s projects in Gordonsville, Tennessee included a timber frame roof system with four valleys joined to four posts, four pairs of rafters, and four pairs of jack rafters. This complexity earned it the nickname ‘spider’ in the shop and on the job site.
One of Drake’s projects in Gordonsville, Tennessee included a timber frame roof system with four valleys joined to four posts, four pairs of rafters, and four pairs of jack rafters. This complexity earned it the nickname ‘spider’ in the shop and on the job site.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Welcome to our blog, a glimpse of the internal workings and details of timberframing, design, and woodworking!

 

Folks from each of our companies and groups gathered outside the porch of our Farmington, NY headquarters for a quick photo.
Folks from each of our companies and groups gathered outside the porch of our Farmington, NY headquarters for a quick photo.

 

Nearly three decades ago we started a small timber frame company. Today, along with our sister company Pioneer Millworks, we employ nearly 100 designers, timberwrights, engineers, craftspeople, and community members. We’re excited to bring viewpoints and ideas from our various co-workers and internal groups – we even have plans to post a few timber framing explanations (in laymen’s terms) from our engineers – to this space!

Together, our groups design and build some of the most lyrical and efficient timber frames in the industry, using reclaimed timbers, environmentally responsible practices, and state-of-the-art technology and software. Through the following weeks, months, and dare we say ‘years’, we’ll explore the pieces of the mortise and tenon puzzle, learn about design, and discover the art of fine woodworking through words and images from our folks.

Read on, sign up, join us on facebooktwitter, or our enewsletter, and always be sure to share your thoughts and comments.

Thanks for reading!

To kick things off, here’s a little editorial titled “It’s about the House” from Timber Home Living.