Traditional Framers

The craft of traditional timber framing was carried to America by shipbuilders and carpenters from all over Europe. Many of these now historic homes, barns, and outbuildings built centuries ago are still here and can often be found in need of repair.


We believe that these buildings represent the best of American values in that they were built to last through generations of families with a long term view of the future and an intimate connection to the land through farming. In a modern world of quick fixes, instant gratifications, and shoddy construction techniques, the timber frame approach to building has withstood the test of time.


Traditional wood work

Wood work was done traditionally with easy to use tools such as an axe. The axe was used for doing the heavy work and a hatchet would be used for the finer work, especially if you “chocked” down on the axe head. Log cabins in the Scandinavian countries pretty much exclusively used the primitive tool. Popular models include Husqvarna and Gransfors. They also used their axes for different purposes. It was a matter of survival. The axe has always been considered an effective survival weapon.

We use many traditional hand tools alongside an array of modern electric tools but strive in every effort to utilize period appropriate methods of repair and joinery. Not only have these methods proven themselves through longevity, but they create an appealing aesthetic and their use serves to keep the craft of traditional timber framing alive.

woodworking and children

Wood working with children – basics

Wood is a wonderful and very varied handicrafts and materials, that can be used with children in all age groups.

Wood is a natural product. Also with children, the emergence can be easily traced wood: the saw mill is the first processing station for wood, because there it comes down directly from the forest. Powerful tribes are cut with large, modern chain saws to beams and boards. The wood handled further according to the sawmill, before it goes on sale. In the trade, already the finished wood product, such as a toy or even an intermediate product in the form of round timber, plywood, chipboard, hardboard buys you either… Trees are plants that stay in the same place. There are about four thousand different species of trees, which can be very old, if they are not torn to a storm or the people. Felled trees allow us a glimpse of her insides. The growth layers or rings are narrow in the autumn and winter-educated and a wide, bright layer in the spring and summer each made a dark, and make getting a tree year. From this you can see the age of the tree. These layers around is the bark or bark.

Properties of wood


Wood has many typical features that you should bring children closer before working with them with this material, so that they can learn the material properly and learn about:


Wood is flexible and elastic: kids can watch that move the branches and twigs of trees in the wind. Freshly cut branches can be easily bent and woven.

Wood can burn: a campfire can be made together with the children.

Wood can swim: from wood residues, small wooden boats can be built and swim left.

Wood can break: with the children can be experimented with various branches and twigs. Which can break?

Wood can sound: together with the children to different musical instruments made of wood tried are.

Wood is very resilient: children know that there are bridges and houses made of wood.


Wood is differentiated according to the strength. There are soft and hardwoods. Hardwoods are almost better because its denser fibers to the glues, saws and screws for children than soft Holzer, which are easier to use for the rasps and saws. For the storage of wood, one must be very careful due to its properties. Heat and humidity can cause that wood pulls, stretches, itself warps, shrinks or also reeks.

Tools for wood processing


Many adults have fear before that with proper wooden tools to work with children, because they deem too large risk of injury. Basically, working with tools is always dangerous, even for untrained adults. If the proper handling of tools is trained from the outset and practiced, the risk of injury is also later minimized. Cheap tools or tools made specifically for children are usually not recommended, since they only reinforce the injury because most easy to slip off with them. Barbara Mößner is following advice on tool in her book “A work book for kindergarten and kindergarten”:

The work book for kindergarten and kindergarten



“Children have smaller hands than adults. You have still not as much power as an adult. However, they can work with “normal” tool. Sometimes it is opinion that disused or cheap tool or even “small”, produced specifically for children tools are more suitable, because they are not as sharp, or because the children have to deal less carefully so. This is a mistake! When buying tool, care should be taken on good quality. It is better, easier and more accurately allows it to work. The risk of accidents is reduced, not increased. What applies to adults, applies in this case also for the child. (Macmillan, 2004)

Storing wood tools


Wood tools also has a storage is important. Order is extremely important. Tool lying around is dangerous, because the children themselves can easily hurt, if they tripped over. Metal tools should not touch each other during storage, because they can be dull as a result. It is advisable to hang Tools Woodworking on the wall, so a good overview is created and it can be kept just fine. Wood processing, there are a plethora of tools that use is dependent on the type, how it should be edited.


woodworking tips

Nothing is worse than blunt tool. Even if one has yet so much effort and many years of experience in wood processing, the sharpness of the tools used is with responsible in large part for the final result of the work. The professional can achieve with blunt tool is hardly a clean outcome.


Who deals with the topic of woodworking, is at some point do not come with the topic tools sharpen to deal. Also the one who works primarily with machines will need sooner or later a chisel, which will also eventually become dull and must be sharpened.


Sharpening tools is a craft activity that requires a little practice and can be learned by anyone. It is necessary a lot of tools to sharpen other tools. The number of guides on the Internet (including this) gives the novice often the impression it was an art in itself, which is really easy just a few dedicated hand.


Is of course not the case. Grinding completely, is an activity that not everyone succeeds by hand without tools indeed. Currently I also count it. I can do it also, to sharpen a tool, Freehand, but it takes me a long time. Therefore, I work with a leadership that really easy it makes each, to get a tool really sharp.



General information on sharpening tools (this page)


There are many descriptions about it in the Internet and in book form, how you tools and sharpens in the special chisels and plane irons. On the following pages, I would like to now introduce my two kinds of sharpening.


This one is a combination of mechanical grinding and sharpening and honing on Waterstones. The second method describes the sharpening without mechanical assistance, but with the support of a grinding guide.

Why two variants


When I set up my own workshop a few years ago, I was used to sharpen my tools on a grinder and then pull off. So I learned it in my training and I got along very well so. I was rather sceptical about the very detailed manuals which existed in the Internet and which were very detailed. I saw once no sense in it, to grind everything by hand. Also the Microfase and the back chamfer (closer in the course of this article explains) I thought was unnecessary, even though a hollow on the machine with pulling off is basically also a Microfase.


The more I took pleasure in working with hand tools and the more my cheapest plane have been replaced by better, the more I was interested for sharpening without machine. This has to do, that I wanted to grind absolutely unnecessary or even damage even with the more expensive iron.


I once made experiments with a simple grinding guide, which introduced me to but not satisfied. It was but the leaders, who were not very good. Then I could try a better grinding guide and decided to buy me this. This guide (a Veritas MK2) works very well.


Since then, I loop by hand and less and less with the machine. I would imagine so both variants. Both versions also work and provide sharp cutting when used correctly.


Since I always learn and try out new again, it is cannot be ruled out that another method here will be presented with the time. For the time being there will be only two.



Timber Frame Reproductions

Timber Frame Reproductions

There are many options available for those interested in constructing a new timber framed building. We can cut and raise authentic reproductions of historic barn and house frames or help design and build a custom frame. 

Bring us your interesting and difficult project and we can develop a plan.

The use of local sawyers that utilize sustainable methods of harvesting timber is always encouraged. Or, if possible use the trees that may be available on your land.  We are available to hew timber by hand if desired for accent members in new frames or repair members in old ones. 

Building restoration

We specialize in standing structural repair and restoration to historic timber framed buildings of all shapes and sizes.  We are also available to handle the dismantling, relocating, and re-raising of  buildings as well.

In addition, we can help assess the historic uses and adaptive re-uses of a building, perform surveys, and connect you with other professionals involved in the preservation trades. 

Prior to beginning, we will assess your building’s condition and provide an accurate and prioritized repair schedule that fits your budget.


We work with clients of all types from small emergency repairs for private residential owners and working farms to large scale historically appropriate restorations for non-profit groups and government institutions.


Standing Repairs:

We handle all aspects of frame repair from the floor to the peak. Some of the most common work done to standing old timber framed buildings are post bottom and sill repairs and replacements as these are the members closest to the ground. Any water infiltration from the roof runs straight down and rots these parts of the frame first.

Matching species and dimension of existing timber is important. White oak and black locust are local woods of choice here in New England for floor framing due to their extraordinary ability to resist rot. However, these timbers are often pricey and difficult to obtain in long lengths.

For appropriate repairs using timber, we have an arsenal to choose from. Several thousand years of evolution in traditional wood joinery have been well documented by members of the Timber Framers’ Guild. Two types of traditional frame repairs include the bladed scarf joint (right) and the bridal joint for post bottoms (above).

Rigging and raising new timber into old buildings and connecting them back using traditional mortise & tenon joinery can be some of the most challenging aspects of our work as well as the most fun.       

Each building differs in regards to how it has failed and what the consequences of that failure have been. We’ve dealt with every issue from sills to rafters and can help locate the causes of structural failure and provide useful solutions to those problems.

Channeling water away from your building is the greatest priority and challenge. Keeping the perimeter clear of surrounding vegetation helps and having the land properly graded will increase the longevity of your building’s foundation. 

We advocate a long term maintenance view for the successful preservation of buildings.  Often, not everything the building needs has to be done at once. We’ll help you prioritize the issues and proceed as the budget allows. Many people can be put off by the amount of work it can take to turn a failing building into a functioning one and give in to having it bulldozed. More often than not, simple repairs can be performed to give much life to and old frame.

Dismantling, Relocating, & Re-raising

Often, simple repairs can be done to a frame to warrant keeping it where it stands. However,  if an old building needs to be removed from your site, or perhaps dismantled and moved to your site,  we can help evaluate the condition of the frame and develop a plan to deal with it.

Often times it can be more cost effective to dismantle a building and fix it on site then make patches and repairs that only buy the owner time before dealing with bigger problems to come.

who we are

Traditional Framers is a restoration company owned and operated by Joe.

 Joe apprenticed as a timber framer with many master builders, and traveled the country with the Timber Framer’s Guild before becoming self-employed. Having worked in a fast paced production timber frame shop setting before taking on restoration work, Joe is well rounded.

Now, with many completed historic restoration jobs for the National Park Service, commercial, and residential home owners, Joe’s rolodex is full of contacts ranging from preservation architects and historical societies to various trades people including roofers, masons, and many other timber framers.

Traditional Framers is available to help with structural restoration or new building projects for everyone ranging from private homeowners to large-scale commercial federal projects.

For more information, please contact Joe at  (413) 512-1864

Or send an email:

Please direct all inquires by mail to the following address:

Traditional Framers