Specialty Timberworks

favicon copy Specialists in handcrafted timber frame homes, barns, and pavilions

favicon copy Custom heavy timber trusses and complete roof systems

favicon copy  Antique barn restoration and relocation services


Custom Handcrafted Post & Beam Frames Since 1992

7-4Since 1992 we have been working with clients who share our passion for heavy timbers joined with traditional mortise and tenons and secured with hard wood pegs. Together we create post & beam frames for homes, barns, or other out-buildings we hope to be revered for generations as works of art. Our craftsmen use traditional time proven timber-framing techniques complimented with today’s most progressive and energy efficient insulating systems that out perform any conventionally framed structure.  We work mostly in New England, yet we also have erected our frames in Colorado and Montana. Our services include providing complete construction drawings or frame drawings for your architect and site contractor. In either case we will listen to your desires and work closely with you to design and create intriguing yet practical spaces.

Chris Barstow

Specialty Timberworks…..
Creative Solutions – A Specialty



• Great buildings get maintained, and well-maintained buildings last far longer.interior2

Timber framing may be one of the best ways to conserve our resources because these buildings are special places that people love, and because they are loved, they are maintained over the years, and because of that care, these buildings last for centuries rather than decades.

• Wood is one of our only renewable resources.

Think about this sometimes overlooked and obvious fact.

• Timber is a natural product.

It is recyclable, biodegradable, and renewable. It does not off-gas toxins because there are none.

• Timber frames, unlike 2×4 and 2×6 lumber, upon the end of the useful life of the building, will be carefully dismantled and reused.

Used 2x4s may one day be reused, but today are going into landfills, rotting, and releasing their stored carbon into the atmosphere.

• Wood is a carbon sink.

If kept dry, wood lasts indefinitely. If you leave a tree in the forest to die a natural death, it will rot and release its stored carbon. If you cut down a tree at the end of its natural life, it has spent years storing carbon and producing oxygen. If you then fabricate it into a timber frame, and keep it dry for centuries, the timber frame is acting as a long-term carbon storage unit.

• Timber frames can, and often do, use less wood than stick-built homes.interior1

The figure we’ve heard is around 30% less. There are some caveats here, and it may seem counterintuitive at first, but picture a stick-framed building without sheathing.

• Timber frames use big timbers which come from big trees.

Here’s another counter-intuitive one. Big timbers come from big trees–sometimes old-growth trees. Big trees have spent many, many years storing carbon and producing oxygen. Today’s 2x4s are manufactured from young, small trees–trees that have not lived long enough to store much carbon, or to have produced much oxygen. What we’re doing to make 2x4s cheaply is to grow genetically engineered super fast growing trees, cutting them down in 10 years, and then replanting. By the way, when we replant these crop trees, we’re not doing it by hand. We’re burning diesel fuel. Is is a cheaper way to produce a 2×4? Undoubtedly. Is it greener wood? We’re not so sure.

• Timber frames are the best use of old trees.

Related to the above: In our view, it is far greener to cut down a majestic old-growth Douglas Fir tree at the end of its life, and fabricate it into a functional and gorgeous timber frame that will be treasured and maintained for centuries, than to cut it down and saw it into 2x4s that will eventually go into a landfill and rot, or produce window sashes which will rot, or to make paper. Better to revere these fantastic trees by turning them into an architectural solution to a structural problem that is so stunning and useful that generations of people will benefit from, and take care of the building.

• Some timber frames are built without cutting down a single tree.about1

by reusing antique timbers from an old building.

• Timber framing is a darker shade of green.

Having recently spent a week in a photovoltaic solar class, we’d note that no building material or technology is without consequences to the environment–not even solar panels. We contend that timber framing, while not an environmentally perfect building solution, is demonstrably and quantifiably greener than most other conventional building methods.
Written by TFGNA Member Eric Morley, used with permission

Specialty Timberworks © 2015