A Dream Complete: A New (Old) Shop for Green Mountain Timber Frames

Greetings from Green Mountain Timber Frames!
It has been such a busy few months of barn restorations. Now, at this quiet time of year, it has been good to take some deep breaths and to reflect on a very special project and the many people whose support and help made it possible. We have wrapped up work on the restoration of the Reuben Waite barn at our very own shop location.

Back in July, we had our barn raising. You can read about the barn’s first life, and our preparations for the structure, here.

The raising was a success, thanks to our amazing team, family, and friends. The restored barn went up strong and true on the stone foundation.

That evening, we played some music in the newly erected barn.

I look forward to sharing more about the experience and process of bringing this barn from a timber frame to a fully enclosed, wired, and insulated space. But for now, I want to share some wintertime images of the structure and space.

We restored antique windows with wavy glass for this building. It was quite the undertaking- a story for another time!
The exterior door is hand planed pine, held together with forged nails saved from this barn.
One bay of the barn is a hand tool workshop. It is a joy to begin setting it up with antique tools and work benches- as well as to pull out some nearly forgotten woodworking projects from the past to be finished in this quiet space. Above the workshop is a library loft.
One corner of the barn is set up for harvesting and cooking.
Dried fruit and vegetables from our garden make a wonderful snack while making wood shavings in the work area.
The center bay of the barn will host many future crew and community meals
We love this cozy corner next to our 1914 Glenwood cookstove.
As the temperature drops, and darkness comes early this time of year, it is lovely to sit next to the stove and watch the fading light through wavy glass.
This broomcorn grew in our garden right behind the shop. We look forward to learning how to craft brooms out of it!

What is next for this barn?

I have dreamt for years of having a space dedicated to community, traditional crafting, and the teaching of hand tool woodworking. Now, that space is coming together. Already I am finding that this barn invites people to reflection and exploration.

In the months leading up to this endeavor, my children excitedly planned their first projects in the “new” workshop. I was blown away by the wisdom of my 10-year-old son when we actually picked up tools in this space for the first time. Rather than diving right into his project, Leif said “Dad, I think my first step should be to get to know the tools.” He reached for a hand plane, and my heart nearly burst with gratitude for this lesson.

What a wonderful description of the type of work and learning that I envision in the Reuben Waite barn. Using tools and resources is a practice. It is about the process of having a relationship with both the tool and the piece of wood. How very different it is to read the grain of a board, feel the plane as it slices, and to listen to the sound as a sharp edge shapes the workpiece. How very different than reaching for the closest power tool that cares not which way the tree grew. Get to know the tools first, and then make something beautiful!

I believe there is a larger metaphor in Leif’s words that can teach us about a healthy approach to living and developing “practices” rather than seeking quick accomplishments.

Right away the workbenches were occupied. Beautiful wood shavings adorn our tree, and hand shaped pine gifts are on their way to loved ones.

I look forward to a time when we can open up this maker’s, teacher’s, and learner’s space to our friends and community.

Now, as we turn a corner and the days begin to get brighter, we wish a blessing on all of you. May the next year be full to the brim of joy, music, learning, and love.

5 thoughts on “A Dream Complete: A New (Old) Shop for Green Mountain Timber Frames

  1. Nice Studio!!!!! What an incredible space! Missing you here, however looking good there. Happy New Year! Love, Jo-

    Down to the bottom of my maple syrup. YUM!

    *Jo-Ann CastanoBoard of Trustees, ChairManship Artists Residency + StudiosP.O. Box 7071Gloucester, MA 01930*

    *978.283.1694 home office508.577.6027 mobile* http://www.ManshipArtists.org

    On Wed, 6 Jan 2021 at 19:21, A Blog about Old Barns ~ from Green Mounta

  2. Luke, this is just magnificent! I am in awe of your craftsmanship the values you and and Sara are teaching your children. Hope to see you this summer in VT!
    Arleen (Rachel Kaplan’s Mom)

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