Find the Beetle: Residential Car Barn, Great Falls, VA

This week, our beetle was in Great Falls, VA assisting in raising a residential timber frame car barn. The 100′ x 60′ glulam king post structure will have a SIP roof enclosure with some beams that stretch over 64′. The material is Douglas fir glulams, conventionally kiln dried to create 60′ open span trusses. So far, there have been six purlin assemblies and the first four bents are erected.

Our West Coast timber frame champion Mike informed us that the starter bent truss weighed over 11,000 pounds and it was lifted without any struggle. It was “a thing of beauty”.

The architects of this project are Anderson Cooper Group Architects and Ehlert Bryan. The builder is BOWA Builders, Inc.

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Find the Beetle: Finger Lakes Museum, Branchport, NY

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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A Spring Full of Reclaimed Timbers

Reclaimed timbers bring additional texture, aesthetic, and a unique history to every project. This Summer, we’ll be raising residential and commercial timber frames crafted of reclaimed timbers across Upstate NY.

“Reclaimed wood is a top choice for timber frame projects as it is inherently more stable than fresh cut wood. In addition, the history and character in reclaimed timbers is unmatched – clients particularly enjoy the story of their frame,” explains Eric Fraser, Timber Frame Manager.

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The antique timbers used in our projects are salvaged by our sister company, Pioneer Millworks, from industrial and agricultural structures that have outlived their use and are slated for deconstruction.

Reclaimed timbers are part of our culture and history, our team understands antique wood and how to use it to the best of its potential, from our design group, to our engineers, to our joiners and timberwrights. For nearly 30 years, we’ve been crafting frames with timbers salvaged by our sister company, Pioneer Millworks, from outdated agricultural and industrial buildings.

Antique timbers can be difficult to source, like finding a gem in the rough, and challenging to work with due to existing mortise pockets and old artifacts like nails or bolts. Though challenging, the signs of previous life add to the visual appeal, character not found in fresh sawn timbers. Hand-hewn surfaces of old agricultural timbers are often left intact, even using original mortise and tenon joinery where the design allows.

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An added benefit of reclaimed timbers is their stability. Any checking or twisting of the old timbers happened decades ago as they spent those years experiencing fluctuating temperatures and exposure to air and moisture changes while drying to a consistent, low moisture level.

The Olsen family’s reclaimed Douglas fir timber frame home will be raised this Summer. Timber Home Living Magazine will cover the story of this home from ground breaking to completion.

The Olsen family’s reclaimed Douglas fir timber frame home will be raised this Summer. Timber Home Living Magazine will cover the story of this home from ground breaking to completion.

Timber Home Living Magazine will be documenting each step in the design/build process for the Olsen family’s reclaimed Douglas fir timber frame home in Austerlitz, NY. Online and print articles will cover the project starting with architectural planning, to the frame raising, to enclosure, to completion. The Douglas fir timbers for this project were reclaimed from dilapidated industrial buildings including Myrtle Creek and Union Underwear as well as a military facility in Pine Valley, NY. We anticipate raising the frame for this project in July 2014.

We will be re-raising the reclaimed timbers at the FLM’s Discovery Campus this summer.

We will be re-raising the reclaimed timbers at the FLM’s Discovery Campus this summer.

Residential homes aren’t the only projects that are using reclaimed timbers. Commercial clients are also telling a story through their structures by incorporating reclaimed wood. Lyons National Bank is opening a new branch in Canandaigua, NY which will feature reclaimed Douglas fir salvaged from a manufacturing building in Albion, NY.

The Finger Lakes Museum at the Discovery Campus in Branchport, NY will use a mixture of timbers reclaimed from a Wisconsin barn to form a new museum building. We will re-raise the frame this month.

Steamboat Landing's Cove Restaurant was designed as a time frame which we crafted from reclaimed Douglas fir timbers that were originally part of the circa 1900s Welland Canal. The Landing is being repurposed and the timbers will find new life as a winery for Point of the Bluff Vineyards.

Steamboat Landing’s Cove Restaurant was designed as a time frame which we crafted from reclaimed Douglas fir timbers that were originally part of the circa 1900s Welland Canal. The Landing is being repurposed and the timber will find new life as a winery for Point of the Bluff Vineyards.

Point of the Bluff Vineyard in Hammondsport, NY is re-using a storied timber frame we deconstructed/reclaimed from Steamboat Landing in Canandaigua, NY. The re-purposed frame will be raised in late July.

Many of the timber frame raisings will be open to the public. Please let us know if you’d like to attend.

The Suits From New York

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.

Tuesday and Wednesday, Sean (one of our TF engineers and project managers on the west) and I were on the road, packed in the truck. We visited a number of different people and mills: Starfire Lumber, Herbert, C&D Lumber, Hull Oaks, Calvert, and Wood Tech Services among others.

This is log supply – what you don’t see is the two rows stacked the same behind this one.

This is log supply – what you don’t see is the two rows stacked the same behind this one.

Here is a close up for better scale

Here is a close-up for better scale. We always keep in mind that wood is a renewable resource, being harvested by all of our partners with careful consideration of the environment. The structures that we craft and build, on average they will survive for a few centuries. All in all, seems like a good afterlife for these Douglas fir trees!

We partner with all of these mills and each plays a critical role in our success as a company. It was an eye opening experience to see just how much wood is processed at these facilities on a daily basis. Most mills are processing between 3-4 million board feet in a given month. Wow… an average timber frame from NEW as an order might be 6,000-7,000 BF. Even though our work is a small segment in their business they all conveyed its importance to their success as well. Each mill was a bit unique and specializes in a different segment of the industry but the material flow and the manor it was processed was very similar.

After de-barking they meet this guy… and I thought we had a big saw.

I think it’s about an 8’ diameter blade… just guessing

I think it’s about an 8’ diameter blade… just guessing

Another view

Another view – what a huge blade!

 

Once de-barked and bucked to length it is on the rig for processing.

Once de-barked and bucked to length it is on the rig for processing.

I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of this thing.

I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of this thing.

Some finished goods.

Some finished goods.

More finished woods.

More finished woods.

I felt like I was back in time visiting Hull-Oaks. From the drive in from town to the equipment and back drop it was like we were in the 60’s. The mill is comprised of old equipment that functions today like it did when new… a true testament to the engineers and mechanics that built it. The mill team was a dedicated bunch of hardworking guys. The clothes were different but other than that I have to believe much has been un-changed.

A picturesque photo from Hull Oaks.

A picturesque photo from Hull Oaks.

After our mill tour wrapped up on Wednesday I was finally given the grand tour of Vermont Street Project. It was as described and worthy of the notoriety and awards given. The house is a wonderful example of how thoughtful design and flawless execution can result in an outstanding project. The house is very inviting and once inside craftsmanship shows throughout. It is easy to see how it won the 2011 Fine Homebuilding House of the Year award. Kudos to Jonathan, Maxine and all involved on this project… it is certainly something to be proud of.

After the grand tour and numerous rounds of trying to defeat JO in ping pong, JO made his famous wild Salmon grilled over apple wood. Now I typically don’t eat fish or seafood. It just has not been a staple in my diet; I’m more of a meat and potatoes guy. After all the razing from JO and crew Salmon it was and boy it did not disappoint. It was delicious and again met the promise of good food as well as good company.

Thursday we played hooky.  Or maybe it’s not hooky when the owner of the company is driving the car to the mountain. We went to Mt. Hood for a day on the slopes and what a day it was. Upon my arrival I was warned about the drought that the area was seeing and that the slopes have been suffering. Well… I must have brought some of that NY weather because it snowed and snowed and snowed. It was probably the best day on the slopes in years. It dumped and we loved it.

Somehow these goofy looking snow boarders managed to hop in the car and join us. On the left is Sean and the right is David who is part of our design team out West.

That pretty much wraps up my trip. It was everything as promised. Special thanks to JO and Maxine for the hospitality and to Sean and David for keeping me busy and showing me around. It was a great trip and one I surely enjoyed. I might just visit again someday!