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Honoring The Timber Framing Tradition

By Caitlin on November 28, 2017

Today we’re going to talk about why Vermont Timber Works stays true to the traditional way of creating Timber Frames, and what makes our workshop completely custom.


St. Michael’s Church

What Makes Timber Framing So Special?

Timber Framing is a building technique that has been around for hundreds of years. There are examples of Timber Framing in Ancient Japanese, Roman, and other European cultures. The oldest Timber Frame Home in The United States is located in Dedham, Massachusetts and was built between 1637 and 1641. Timber Framing is a strong and durable way to build. A Timber Framed structure has the potential to stand for over 100 years and essentially outlive the craftsmen that constructed it. We see an honor in that and feel that our structures add to a long and rich history of building tradition.

Timber Framing has changed since its inception by builders in ancient times, but many of the techniques and core concepts have stayed the same. At Vermont Timber Works, we make all our trusses with tools held in human hands. This requires many hands, years of experience, and time to ensure that everything is crafted expertly. We believe in the inherent importance and value of these things. Projects worth doing take time, and the heft of a tool in a human hand will always be more valuable than the push of a button.


Trusses at the Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown, NY

Our Timber Frames take between 12-14 weeks to complete. Why so long?

We understand the pull to automation. There are machines that could eliminate the need for many of the people we employ in our workshop. In our modern, fast-paced world, people want things done faster and cheaper. They don’t always understand why things take as long as they do, and they don’t always understand that quality is always more important than quantity. Even in these times, we remain true to our craft and our tradition.

Not only does this ensure us a beautifully constructed product made by knowledgeable craftsman, it creates jobs and benefits not only us but our community. These structures will be strong and durable and will stand the test of time. We respect that legacy enough not to change it.


Heavy Timber at The Oxford Casino

Do You Sell Plans of Past Projects? Why Not?

Every project we do is completely custom. When we design a Timber Frame for you, those plans are now yours. We can’t sell plans that rightly belong to one of our clients. If there is a past project of ours that interests you, we can use those plans as guidance and inspiration. Designing Timber Frames that are custom to our clients, their needs, and that are ideal for their location is very important to us.


By being custom designed and handcrafted, every Timber Frame we build is a unique creation that shares a connection to its makers and to our history. A handcrafted structure is the product of generations of human knowledge and skill. There is an art to handcrafting, an honor and a tradition. We value that here at Vermont Timber Works and we hope that our clients and building partners will too.


Interested in a Custom Designed and Constructed Timber Frame? Send an email to [email protected] or call us at our workshop!


About the Author


Caitlin is a writer and a full-time Marketing Assistant. She has worked at Vermont Timber Works since 2017.

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