Saving a Gem: The Gunstock Barn Frame in Pawlet, Vermont

My friend’s old barn collapsed in January. For 10 years, he and I had been discussing how to save this beautiful historic property.  After putting off work for a variety of reasons, the barn finally demanded our help. With some friendly prodding from my wife, who always knows best, I went down to take look at this very special old timber frame.

The Gunstock Frame is a unique barn on the property of the second oldest house in Pawlet, Vermont. Pawlet was incorporated in 1761 so we’re talking about a property that is older than our country.

Vermont Timber Frame Historic  Property

How could I not save this old barn?

It’s our heritage!  The growth rings in one of the gorgeous Chestnut posts had over 450 rings. In a frame that was standing 250 years ago, the timber in the frame was growing in Vermont 700 years ago. THAT is history worth saving. And 1500 hours of restoration will allow the frame to live another 180,000 hours (200 more years) at least.

What’s a Gunstock Timber Frame?

The frame is called a Gunstock frame because the posts that hold it up are tapered from bottom to top in order to allow two timbers to join and overlap at the top of the post.

The frame is 25X40 feet in size, predominantly made from Chestnut timbers, with an oak roof boards. I am currently working on restoring the post and beam structure, washing the timbers and the roof boards.

Meanwhile, I hope to  find this timber frame a new home. One of the reasons I love timber framing so much is because I can continue the legacy of someone who lived here so long ago, and loved this structure as much – or more so – than I.  Made 250 years ago by the hands of a colonial American, this beautiful frame can become the centerpiece of a barn style home. Through careful restoration, the frame can live another 250 years. The post and beam frame would make one of the best great rooms you can imagine! Extremely versatile, it could also accommodate one spacious kitchen / living room / dining room.

This rare and special barn was up when they signed the Declaration of Independence! It was being used when they moved the cannons from a captured Fort Ticonderoga to Boston Mass. to pester the British ships in the harbor. This barn was up when they threw the big ol’ Tea Party in Boston Harbor.

And today, I feel honored to work on its timbers, bring the frame back to its original condition, and listen to these timbers’ story. ​

Want to see more frames and old barns? Visit my website:

8 thoughts on “Saving a Gem: The Gunstock Barn Frame in Pawlet, Vermont

  1. Dan, I just read your blog for the first time. It’s very cool to hear the wisdom of a master. I look forward to hearing more.

  2. Hi Dan,

    I have really enjoyed following along on your blog. It’s nice to see a fellow “barn wright” so close to home. Look forward to more of your entries.



  3. Pingback: New Old Barn in Vermont | Green Mountain Timber Frames Middletown Springs,Vermont

  4. Pingback: Dunlap Barn Restoration, and Discoveries about a Civil War Veteran | Green Mountain Timber Frames | Middletown Springs Vermont

  5. Plus wanted to say “thanks” for such a beautiful and inspiring story. Makes me wish I lived near you all and had an old barn to work on, or even if I had an old barn to work on in North Carolina. Love working with Master Craftsmen and craftswomen, and love of one’s work makes the world go round!

    “The world is made by artists, and art makes lie worth living.”
    ~ Catherine Todd,
    Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Central America
    and Oxford North Carolina, USA

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