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#34675 - 07/17/19 07:27 PM First Timer with Process Questions
Michael_Hartke Offline
Member

Registered: 07/15/19
Posts: 7
Loc: Plymouth, WI
Hi all,

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...
[img:left]https://db.tt/iNb4tIkDNb[/img]

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[/img]

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.

Michael

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#34681 - 07/18/19 02:16 PM Re: First Timer with Process Questions [Re: Michael_Hartke]
Jim Rogers Online   confused

Member

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1661
Loc: Georgetown, MA, USA
Quote:
Other than general Google searches, and word of mouth, are there any better ways to find sawyers? I live in Plymouth, WI.

There are many ways to find sawyers in your area. My first advice to you is to ask anyone you find if they know how to produced box heart timbers. If they say "what's that?" then walk away as they don't have any experience in doing that.
1) call or go to woodmizer.com and select the pro-sawyer network option, and under services of the main page. then select "local sawyer directory" and enter your state. This will product a long list of sawyers in your state. You can find one close to you, hopefully.
There are other data bases that you can use to find a sawyer.
2) One is on the forestryforum.com. Again select your state and you should get a list of sawyers.
3) There is also, woodfinder.com, woodweb.com, woodplanet.com, timberframeHQ.com to name a few.
Good luck with your project.
Jim Rogers
_________________________
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

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#34682 - 07/18/19 02:18 PM Re: First Timer with Process Questions [Re: Michael_Hartke]
Jim Rogers Online   confused

Member

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1661
Loc: Georgetown, MA, USA
Originally Posted By: Michael_Hartke

Does this sound about right for a cut list?

Yes.
Jim Rogers
_________________________
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

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#34683 - 07/18/19 02:21 PM Re: First Timer with Process Questions [Re: Michael_Hartke]
Jim Rogers Online   confused

Member

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1661
Loc: Georgetown, MA, USA
Originally Posted By: Michael_Hartke

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.


You can try all of the above. And contact every timber framing school you can find to let them know you're looking for some help.
Jim Rogers
_________________________
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

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#34684 - 07/18/19 02:40 PM Re: First Timer with Process Questions [Re: Michael_Hartke]
Michael_Hartke Offline
Member

Registered: 07/15/19
Posts: 7
Loc: Plymouth, WI
Thanks Jim, appreciate you taking the time to lend your advice!
_________________________
Michael Hartke

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#34691 - 07/26/19 02:37 AM Re: First Timer with Process Questions [Re: Michael_Hartke]
timberwrestler Online   content
Member

Registered: 11/07/05
Posts: 288
Loc: Becket, MA
Michael,

I agree with Jim on the first 2 items.

It's worth pointing that there's a national labor shortage in the construction industry. So it's really tough out there. One good thing is that timber framing has a cool-ness factor. I would look for talented carpenters that you can train to be timber framers, rather than the opposite.

Are you coming to the TFG conference next weekend? That's an excellent way to learn a lot and meet people in the industry.

Brad
_________________________
www.uncarvedblockinc.com

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