I'm new to this forum and to the Guild. I recently left my corporate career to pursue building a timber frame business. I have a passion for woodworking and building, and my goal is to pair my attention to detail in woodworking furniture projects with projects on a grander scale, such as barns and homes. Needless to say, coming from corporate, it's been an uphill battle. I have worked a few side jobs in construction, and have attended multiple timber framing workshops. In addition to that, I'm a woodworking hobbyist. Other than that, I'm learning as much as I can from books and online resources such as videos and such.
I'm just about ready to take a big leap of faith on my first project. I'm building a large garage (I've heard that I should start small, but this barn is for my parents, so I have some built in grace) that is about 32' x 50'. I have a bit of an architecture background with a degree in architecture, so I was able to pickup Sketchup fairly easily and design the garage. I've gotten the design to the point that it's ready to be reviewed by an engineer to make sure that it's sound. Which has brought me to explore many of the physical building tasks and challenges associated.
Here is a picture of the building...
I also have the timber structure built/designed in Sketchup with most of the joints.
I've found a general contractor with many years of experience. He is going to help me with the foundation and site prep, as well as enclosing the structure. We are currently looking into septic and foundation logistics.
An obvious need is timbers. I tracked down a local sawyer who has experience milling timbers for timber frames. Other than general Google searches, and word of mouth, are there any better ways to find sawyers?
I live in Plymouth, WI.
Since I am quickly moving from the design phase to building phase, cost and manpower are current concerns.
In trying to get a cost estimate, I asked the sawyer to provide me a cost estimate and lead time for a list of timbers I provide to him. My method for coming up with this cut list was taking my Sketchup model and measuring each timber (width, depth, and length), and compiling an Excel file that lists those attributes (giving lengths only is 2' increments) along with quantities. Does this sound about right for a cut list?
It looks like this [img:left]http://db.tt/phODwoMojw
Another concern of mine, and I believe this to be a challenge for most builders, is where do you find workers that can do timber framing?
I know that sounds simple. But I'm just looking for suggestions or brainstorming for someone who is getting a business off the ground. Craigslist ads? Local tech schools? Vocational/trade schools? TFG forum posts? Word of mouth? Those pretty much sum up my brainstorming for this. Just curious how others of you have found employees or partners.
I have more questions, but will stick to this for now. Thanks for any and all thoughts. Really working on pushing this forward, and I would appreciate your wisdom in helping me to avoid some pitfalls.