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Growing up in Buffalo, NY is one of the biggest pieces of who I am. If you’re from Buffalo, or any small town with a lot of pride, I am sure you can relate to being shaped by your hometown. I eat chicken wings, not Buffalo wings. I add a “the” before a major highway (I get on THE 90, not i-90). I do not care for football at all, but even I get a little sentimental when the Bills win anything. I consider myself basically Canadian-lite.

Timber Frame Carousel with New Energy Works and The Buffalo Heritage Carousel,Inc.
Photo Courtesy: The Buffalo Heritage Carousel,Inc.

So it was a pretty big deal for me to learn that New Energy Works would be part of Canalside, Buffalo's urban-waterfront revitalization project, through a timber frame pavilion that houses a solar-operated historic carousel. It checks all of my boxes.

We often say that the land, the building site, teaches us how to design the home. This is simplistic. There are many inputs that are needed to start the design process, including:

Who will live here?

What is their lifestyle?

What are their tastes? Their loves? Their feelings about Home?

What are the needs and have-to-haves?

What is the budget?

Waterside view
Unlimited views from every angle of the property



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.


Businesses around the country were forced to make significant changes to how they operate in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. When our friends at the Benedictine Brewery called with a need to raise an outdoor pavilion for their customers, we were happy to jump into action.

 One of only three breweries in the United States owned and operated by monks, the Benedictine brewery raising in 2017 was a community effort and one that we will always remember.  You can catch up on that story and watch a video of 100 folks hoisting the frame here: (

Benedictine Brewery


Benedictine Brewery

Designed to mimic the original brewery and taproom with their close to 14,000 board feet of Douglas fir, we created the structure of the pavilion with matching embellishments, using chamfered edges and a clear, natural finish to the wood.  Just as the original raising started in 2017, the Douglas fir timbers quickly defined the shape of the pavilion and now serve as a way for the brewery to continue serving as a welcoming way for the community to gather, taste, and believe.


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


Tucked into Puget Sound in Washington, this site allows the homeowners to feed their passions: boating, family time, and entertaining. Easy access for boats and creating spaces large enough to house large family and friends gatherings drove the design, secondary only to the desire for a “refined lodge” aesthetic.


Known as a full timber frame, the entirety of the home and garage were crafted with timbers, specifically reclaimed Douglas fir timbers. When plans began, the design was quite traditional. “The more we looked at the site and the possible views, the more it transitioned, evolved,” explained David Shirley, AIA, member of our design team. “We angled the house in a soft arc of sorts which maximized views of the Sound as well as those of the Cascade Mountain range in the distance.” This change capitalized on the views and the natural wrap of the land.

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.



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.

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


The story goes that in the early years of our company, aka the 80’s, the old shop suffered a collapse and upon thinking to scrap the remains, it was suggested by a couple we were building for that we should re-use the timbers for their home. It was, as stories go, an ‘ah ha!’ moment. Always having enjoyed reclaimed wood, we now had a bigger purpose for bigger reclaimed timbers.

Since that 1980’s event, we have continued to make special projects from reclaimed timbers, including the roof system (above) our team crafted, joined, and raised just last week.

Reclaimed timbers bring additional texture, aesthetic, and a unique history to every project. This Summer we’ve had several weeks of reclaimed timbers in the shop, designated for a few raisings for residential projects. Remarkable and esteemed, we're giving them another moment in the spotlight:

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.

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

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.)


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:

With divisions in design, timber framing, and woodworking, along with a sister company that specializes in reclaimed wood and timbers, collaboration is something that happens often at New Energy Works. Now and again there are projects that highlight when we’ve really had everyone involved, often realized at the close of the job where things have gone smoothly and everyone stands back with a beer to say, “hell yes.”


Muji at Hudson Yards in New York City is one of those projects of collaboration. Pioneer Millworks brought the project to us after working with Muji’s design team to get just the right reclaimed timbers for the store’s aesthetic.


“The Hudson Yard’s store is a really interesting mix of clean, neutral tones with these rugged salvaged textures,” says Jered Slusser, Northeast sales for Pioneer Millworks. “The walls are clad in American Prairie Brown Board which continues to play up that contrast.”

Reclaimed as-found industrial timbers from a military base in New England, some of the roughest we’ve seen, were what the design team was aiming for. The timbers were needed in very specific sizes, with original patina on all four sides and a consistent tone/texture from piece to piece—a task Pioneer Millworks was able to meet.


Our timber frame engineers then worked with the Muji design team on structure details, joinery, and fit. Dave (timber framing) and Geoff (woodworking) made their way to the store location to collect detailed measurements and site scoping.

The world of timber frames is ubiquitous to Douglas fir, treated with an oil, and left to mellow over time to a golden hue. It’s classic, bringing to mind the mountain home with a two-story vaulted great room and a wall of windows overlooking a vista. Bring us a mug of hot cocoa and let us snuggle by the fire.

These hand-hewn Shou Sugi Ban timbers have an additional two-three coats of staining. Photo courtesy of Cardello Architects.
These hand-hewn Shou Sugi Ban timbers have an additional two-three coats of staining. Photo courtesy of Cardello Architects.
Classic oiled Douglas fir timbers in this Colorado mountain timber frame home.
Classic oiled Douglas fir timbers in this Colorado mountain timber frame home.

That’s not all timber frames can be, though. Take your species of choice and add a custom finish. The advantage to the design professional is a huge color palette of options and to the homeowner the ability for timber to flex and fit many styles. We like it because it gives us a chance to play, to bring a material we’re intimately familiar with into another existence.