The Forgotten Crafts – A Practical Guide to Traditional Skills

The Forgotten CraftsA Practical Guide to Traditional Skills

By: John Seymour

Dorling Kindersley Ltd. – 1980

In this beautiful book John Seymour celebrates traditional crafts in the best possible way – by showing and describing in fascinating detail just how they were done, and by encouraging us to keep them alive.  Filled with old photographs and lovely drawings, this is a fun book to have on the shelf.  John Seymour lived on a farm and worked hard to recreate life as it was so his writings are based on his experiences.  The subjects covered range widely from woodland crafts to workshop crafts and household crafts.  Something for everyone!

No Wasted Spaces

Submitted by: Cyndy Gardner, Co-Owner of Homestead Timber Frames

No Wasted Spaces – How to incorporate lots of ideas in a small home

Putting a home office or your library or a cozy reading nook under the stairs is just one way to slip in some useable space into an unusual spot in the house.  Other ideas to consider are:

  1.  Snug built in bunk beds under the eaves or on the side wall in the bedroom with a small closet on the end.
  2. In the kitchen, if your square footage doesn’t allow for a nice big walk in pantry, you might try to build a wall unit with several doors/drawers from floor to ceiling and about 14” deep.
  3. Put a chalk board on the back of a door or on the wall above the chair rail near the kitchen table.
  4. Create more livable space on your porch.  If you’re building new, you might think about making your porch area a three season room with large windows that also have screens for summer.
  5. Instead of a mud room, make your back door entry area large enough to incorporate built in bench with wall hooks and cubbies above.
  6. Consider installing your washer/dryer in the master bathroom or hall closet.

These are just a few ideas that help create a very livable home without a lot of wasted square footage.

Silent Spaces – The Last of the Great Aisled Barns

Silent SpacesThe Last of the Great Aisled Barns

By: Malcolm Kirk

Bulfinch Press Book – 1994

A ‘coffee table book’ filled with extraordinary color and black/white photographs of the great aisled barns scattered throughout Europe, Scandinavia and the Northeastern US.  Kirk researches the history of these giant barns and gives the reader an insight into this unusual architectural form, from its origins in premedieval Europe to Colonial America.  Lots of heavy timber mixed with huge stones that create marvelous ‘silent spaces’ for us all to appreciate for generations to come.

In the Shop with Woody

 Good Afternoon! It is such a beautiful day!

I’ve been out in the shop checking out different tools that the guys use for crafting such handsome timber frames.

The tool I am sharing with you today is a portable band saw. It is used on our timbers to create stunning curves and cut other irregular shapes as you see in the photographs below.

Topping off your Pavilion – Roofing Considerations

Submitted by: Erik Toplis, Timber Frame Designer


Many considerations for the design and fabrication of a pavilion are rooted in how the finished product will look.  Behind the scenes we make sure that the design is structurally sound.  The form and function areas of design are all the while being considered.  This is highlighted in the pavilion roof framing through a form that makes the function a visible design parameter.  This is how a timber frame gets its shade, not to mention the overall ‘look’ of the finished product.

Considering a pavilion roof usually starts with the question of roof style.  The two most popular styles are gabled and hipped.  A gable roof has a peak running parallel with the eaves.  Principal rafters (members running from eave to peak) are the main support in this type of roof framing.  A hipped roof pavilion has a high point to which each eave runs up to.  Hip rafters (members running from each corner to the high point) are the supporting members used in this other style of roof.

Each design has a unique look and the applications are endless.  For example, a gable roof can be square or rectangle with varying roof pitches to accommodate different truss styles and site requirements (existing structures, etc.).  Gable truss style options are also seemingly endless varying from king post, queen post, hammer beam and so on.  A hip-roofed pavilion has a different set of options that are varied as well.  The structure can be square or rectangle but the plate (eave) is of the same height at each side.  More often than not a boss pin is used to join the hip rafters at the high point.  A square structure receives a singular boss pin while a rectangular structure receives two, one at each high point connected by a timber ridge.

Completing the look of a pavilion is done with the roof design.  Large timbers with wide spacing can be used to give a bold and heavy look while smaller members can be spaced closer together for a light and airy look.  Beam spacing is decided in design adhering to roof loads and a timber’s ability to carry that load.  Form and function reside together in harmony and the pavilion roof system becomes the structural focal point of the frame.  Once the pavilion roof system is sheathed and finished in the owner’s selected material, it is time to sit down and look up!

Handcrafted Opportunities for a Timber Framed Wedding Pavilion

Submitted by: Cyndy Gardner, Co-Owner of Homestead Timber Frames

wedding pavilionOne very special moment in every couple’s life is their wedding and our society is witnessing a rebirth of outdoor celebrations for this memorable event.  A specially designed timber framed pavilion built exclusively for people who cater these outdoor weddings is our expertise.  Our team visits the site and can serve as consultants as to the size needed and how it could fit into the existing landscaping and layout of the other buildings.  Our favorite designs come from clients who want to blend their surroundings with the pavilion and create the impression that the intricately designed timber frame has been there for a long time.  We try to match our structures to blend with the setting as well as other buildings it may connect to.  They can be rustic, simple, ornate, hip roofed or gabled – the choices are many and Homestead Timber Frames is ready to help.

A few of our structures have needed to be large enough for up to 250 people to be seated wedding pavilionat round tables for a reception while others want a smaller more intimate gazebo type structure just for the bride and groom to stand in.  The requests vary of course from every size in between and choices in style.  Our goal is to make each handcrafted pavilion we build to be unique to the setting and structured for the purpose it will serve.  All our clients recognize that we offer high quality craftsmanship, personalized design services, and thoughtful ideas for them to consider when planning for outdoor wedding venues.

We stand ready to design and build for you.  Contact us before the next season rolls around.  Then you’ll be ready!