Inside a mortice and tenon joint  

Posted by Whit

I recently had some reclaimed timbers in the shop that had been resawn on one face. The sawyer had sawn through the center of the pegs, giving a unique perspective into the anatomy of a mortise and tenon joint that was cut approximately 150 years ago.
Blind peg, slightly pointed on the tip, some side draw (probably inadvertent) is noticeable.

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On the Newsstand...  

Posted by Whit

The Holiday 2009 issue of Lake Oconee Living Magazine as just been released and it features an article on a Holder Bros. project. "Barn Again" by April Moore Skelton tells the story of the barn at Horse Branch Farm. Ms. Skelton tells the story of the barn and how it found its way to Georgia from Pennsylvania after 150 years. The article also features a sidebar about converting an old barn by Whit Holder.

Steps in a barn conversion  

Posted by Whit

Converting an old barn frame into a new residence or outbuilding has become more common in recent years. This is a great way for owners to combine the timelessness of a historic structure with the comforts of a modern home. And, if done properly, it is a way for us to preserve a piece of our architectural heritage for several more years.

This type of project is not without its own set of challenges, though. Here’s how to get started, along with several things to be aware of before you begin.

  1. Study old barn frames

An understanding of the different types of barns and their common layouts is essential in determining how to integrate the new living space into the old framework, and in choosing which barn style fits your project best.

Before starting a project, do some homework on barn framing.

These guys are taking their homework seriously. They must be timber framers.

  1. Set a project budget

Before you contact any professionals, it is necessary to determine your project budget.

  1. Hire a professional timber framer

This is where a lot of projects can go wrong out of the gate. The internet is full of “great barn deals,” and there are many companies in the business of chopping down old barns with chainsaws and shipping the parts. But there are also many reputable timber framers who do this type of work every day and have the necessary skills and experience to give you the most barn for your buck.

This client is happy because he hired the right timber framers

  1. Listen to your timber framer

When it comes to choosing which barns to avoid, which barn to purchase, which repairs should be made, and which pieces need to be replaced, listen to your timber framer. Their knowledge and experience will save you time and money in the end and give your project that extra “wow factor.”

  1. Try to leave the original framework un-altered

There are patterns in the way old barns were built. No matter how skilled your timber framer is, additions and alterations will stick out from an aesthetic perspective. In the most successful conversion projects, the owners think of the barn as a piece of history that they are giving a second life to, not just a bunch of beams to be cut up to fit a floor plan (re-read number 1).