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We work all over the country, but you already knew that.  And while there is no doubt that it’s great to get back home the night of a raising when it’s local to either our Western New York or McMinnville, Oregon shops, the truth is most of us like to travel, and that we get to do!  

Summer Photos


Out here on the West Coast, where I spend most of my time, we’ve had a summer of unreal views and sights (and sites). Someone asked me recently where we’ve been.  Lessee...  Yosemite, Leavenworth, Flathead Lake, Carmel, Lake Lapeer, Michigan…  Wait Michigan?  You bet.  


Most of our clients and much of our industry are looking for their timber frames in Douglas fir, so doing these out of our west coast shop makes a lot of sense as we are in the midst of Doug-fir-land here in Oregon.  We also feel strongly that whenever possible our timbers should be kiln dried.  It just makes a better final product.  And yes, we’re in the middle of kiln country as well.


So, sending a large set of hammer beam trusses and bents to a beautiful Michigan lake fits.


Summer Photos


Summer Photos


As does Yosemite, where we are returning next week to finish the exterior timbers on the top of this hill.  

Summer Photos



We’re fortunate to have a variety of landscapes within New York State. Those who are passionate about the outdoors, mountains, lakes, and the accompanying passions of skiing, hiking, water sports, and more, can find a bit of it all “upstate”. The Adirondack Mountains, the Finger Lakes Region, and even Western NY each offer opportunity for these pastimes. Shane and his family found their East Coast calling near Old Forge in the Adirondacks. 


Upon purchasing a special plot of land, planning and projects began. Beginning with a garage that included a living space, the family then spruced up the grounds, rebuilt the boathouse, and in the final stage, turned attention to creating the main house. 

porch view
A deep wrap-around porch standing on stone pillars dominates one side of the home overlooking a pristine Adirondack lake. Materials and tones match across the property from garage, to boathouse, to house with two-tone brown cedar shakes, Saratoga granite, and timber trusses under gables.


Design project


This particular design project utilizes six salvaged trusses that were reclaimed from a church demolition and serve as the bones for the “A” frame shape of the 17/12 pitched roof.  Our architects sketched the trusses in such a way that the two areas created a twin main volume, connected by a glass breezeway.

Taking inspiration from modern design aesthetics, we incorporated steel and strapping on the reclaimed trusses to accentuate the existing hardware and character of the wood.  Each volume was then treated with a different finish material in order to provide a visual delineation.

This 3,600 Square foot design offers a split floorplan with the great-room, kitchen and accompanying loft on one side, while the bedrooms occupy the other.


Guest Author: New Energy Works, Dave Cratty

We all have those dreams of wanting to leave it all behind and live off the grid.  Find a place in the Adirondack mountains, on a remote lake, and just surround yourself with nature and the outdoors.  The question is, how do you deliver and raise a beautiful timber frame lake house to a location that no roads have touched?  The answer, by boat.  

external shot


Our New Energy Works timber frame crew spent seven tireless days, traveling back and forth by barge to deliver, off load and raise by hand, this beautiful 1361 square foot bungalow.  The homeowner’s plan to utilize this location in the warmer seasonal months, created a unique opportunity to use a 3x tongue and groove design for the walls, while every door frame and window were outlined with timber.  The layout offered an open floor plan and offering visitors an unobstructed views of the private lake from this cozy, secluded cabin.

Timber Frame In the Adirondacks--The View


Timber Frame In the Adirondacks


Timber Frame In the Adirondacks


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):


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.


“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.”

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.

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

Professional Photography: Susan Teare Photography

It's a very unique structure, with amazing views. The New Energy Works team took a complex project and made it look easy. The clients love it! They enjoy the sense of place and the level of craftsmanship in their new porch.” – John Steel, Steel Construction, builder for High on the Hilltop.


The clients were determined to turn an existing timber frame home into their full-time residence with some general remodeling work and a significant rework on the kitchen and entry. They wanted to take advantage of the view of the Green Mountains of Vermont with outdoor living space. Following the natural topography and exposed bedrock of the landscape, a timber frame “bridge” and large screened porch was added. 

5,000 feet above elevation, a 5-month build window, US Forest Service rules controlling everything from color to shape to size to the anthropology of the site…This project required extraordinary planning, prefabrication, and architect/builder/client coordination. The cabin is located on Odell Lake which sits atop the Cascade Mountains of South-Central Oregon, God’s country by all of our definitions. Dan Hill, architect and co-founder of Arbor South Architecture the design & build group that spearheaded this west coast cabin project, provided more of the story in a guest post below: 


Photo (c) Loren Nelson Photography.
Photo (c) Loren Nelson Photography.


Daniel Hill, founder, architect, and certified master builder: Arbor South Architecture in Eugene OR. Pictured with canine companion, Willow.
Daniel Hill, founder, architect, and certified master builder: Arbor South Architecture in Eugene OR. Pictured with canine companion, Willow.


The site is located on the west side of Odell Lake in the beautiful Cascade Mountain Range in an area with small, early to mid-century cabins under land leases by the US Forest Service. Our client had purchased the cabin and land lease with the intention of remodeling the existing 1940’s cabin. It became clear that the old structure had too many issues–including extensive mold (sick house), no perimeter foundation, multiple structural, electrical, and plumbing problems–to salvage or remodel.


LNB (The Lyons National Bank) recently broke ground for a new branch in Farmington, NY. The site includes a historic home that is being preserved and refreshed. A new timber frame, connecting to the historic home, will be raised to accommodate the bank’s main operations.

The historic Hathaway House (left), new bank space (center timber frame “barn”), and timber frame drive-thru pavilion (right).

“As a company, we’ve long been clients of LNB; we admire their deliberate focus on the individual and business needs of each community they join–and their commitment to doing right by the planet,” said Bryan, project lead from our timber frame engineering team. “We’ve been privileged to work with LNB on several of their branches and we’re excited that they’re opening just down the road from our headquarters in Farmington.”

Below: A previous project with LNB for their Canandaigua NY branch included a timber frame core crafted with reclaimed Douglas fir timbers sourced by Pioneer Millworks.

The finishing touches are complete! This timber frame lake home in the Finger Lakes started with our design team and wrapped up with our build team over the Summer:



New Energy Works (NEW) has done a phenomenal job for our family from the design concept to the finished lake house. In the very beginning, the team made a point to learn what was important to us and what we envisioned. Throughout the process, NEW made sure those things that were important to us were their focus.” – Jim and Tina, homeowners.


The home has quickly become the hub of family gatherings for multiple generations. Open in a 180-degree expanse, on a point locally known as Allen’s Point, our design group explained that the home’s layout is intended to make the most of the sweeping lake views.

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.




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.


Project enclosure systems are one of the biggest areas to benefit from high-performance building techniques, and there are several options: SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) and our Matrix & Matrix-S Wall system, to name a few. As we push for better envelopes and efficiencies with every project, we’re applying decades of experience in creating turnkey timber frame structures to crafting prefabricated wall systems.




“When you buy a car, no one shows up at your house with all the parts and builds your new car in your driveway, right? So why build walls on-site?” asked Eric, our Timber Frame General Manager.


A project’s design is further developed in building modeling software where potential problems can be identified and solved immediately, prior to fabrication and prior to being on-site. Redundancy assures accuracy: we believe in building it twice—virtually then actually. Creating these systems off-site allows for a climate-controlled environment, reduction in material waste during construction (off-site and on-site), and increases the efficiency/speed of site production. All while minimizing our coworkers’ time out of town.




“When you have a good 3D model, the outputs are nearly endless. We can study every angle; predict–and–solve potential issues before anyone puts hammer to nail. We’ve followed this method in timber framing for years and produced some seriously complicated frames. It was logical to apply what we already know to be a highly efficient methodology to prefabricating high-performance enclosures,” explains Eric.

“That’s not a glulam!” I said, incredulously. 

“It is!” Eric insisted with a laugh, raising his hands in defense.

Seeing as Eric is one of the most sincere and honest people around, I figured he had to be right. “Okay,” I replied. “Let’s talk glulams.”

Glulam use around the world has developed into some crazy, creative, and nearly unbelievable structures:


Glulams have been incorporated around the world for very intricate and challenging designs, such as this pavilion project for the 2015 Mulan World Expo by X-TU’s Architects in France.
Glulams have been incorporated around the world for very intricate and challenging designs, such as this pavilion project for the 2015 Mulan World Expo by X-TU’s Architects in France.


Some of the basics on glued laminated timbers (glulams) that I commonly hear: they come in just about any size and shape (meaning they can make spans that solid timber simply doesn’t grow to); they can achieve geometric shapes and structural performance that is otherwise unattainable with solid timber; they’re inherently stable and dry; they have visible layers of wood. As a visual person the look is always top of mind for me which is where this conversation started:


The project that started this conversation…what do you think of the curving bottom chord of this timber and steel truss? Solid or glulam? (Check out the end of this post for the answer.)
The project that started this conversation…what do you think of the curving bottom chord of this timber and steel truss? Solid or glulam? (Check out the end of this post for the answer.)


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.




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:




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.


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.





“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.




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.