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Building a Frame

A craftsmen cuts the joint with a hand-held chiselThe crew works as a team from design to raising.

  • The building design may come from us or from an architect or contractor.  In any case, our team creates a separate frame plan based on the floor plans that the client has chosen. No job is too big or too small.
  • After we’ve signed a contract to build, we order the timbers according to the client’s preference for wood species. (Typically red oak, Douglas fir, hemlock, or Eastern white pine.)
  • When the wood arrives, we craft the timbers in our Massachusetts workshop, using traditional mortise and tenon joinery. We use hand tools for precision, and power tools for speed and efficiency. Our craftsmen are pleased to accommodate special requests for details or finishes.
  • Our team cuts the timbers, plane, chamfer and oil them, and then seals the end grains with wax. Then they label every timber as to where it fits in the frame.
  • When raising day approaches, the crew packs the frame on a truck and delivers it to the building site.  While most of our buildings are in the Northeast, we have also raised our frames as far away as Arizona, Minnesota, and North Carolina. One even went to Japan! (Continue below.)

The crew works as a team to raise the frame

  • We follow the tradition of fastening a tree to the tallest point of the building. The same craftsmen who cut the timbers, follow them to the site (anywhere in the US), assemble and raise the frame, and secure it with wooden pegs. Watching the raising, our clients often praise the skill and teamwork of our crew.
  • Then all that remains is “topping out.” This building tradition calls for placing a tree branch on the top of the frame when it reaches its highest point. This is a great day for everyone.
  • Unless the project is an uninsulated barn, typically our clients have the frame enclosed with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). In that case we coordinate with the SIPs panel crew.

For more detail, see For Owners, For Architects, For Contractors.

“We have begun the finish work…. I still get compliments on your craftsmanship from the other craftsmen. Amazing job by you and your crew!”
–Dave H.

Hardwick Post & Beam