I first learned about timber framing in an article Ed Levin wrote for Fine Woodworking. It was 1978. I thought, “that’s for me.” A year later, in grad school, I met a kid named David Benson who told me his brother was writing a book about timber framing. I told him I had to have a copy, to which he replied, “It’s kind of technical. You wouldn’t want one unless you’re going to build a timber frame.” It seemed like a challenge! I persisted, got the book, and it is still on my bookshelf.
A couple years further down the road I was living in southeast Michigan and heard an electrician talking about wiring a house made of wooden beams with pegs. Finding it nearly impossible to believe that anything as cool as a timber frame house could be going up in my back yard, I had to check it out. The very next day, after inspecting the frame, I found my way to Blissfield, Michigan, where I met Frank and Brenda Baker and Sandy Bennett, who were in the start-up years of Riverbend Timber Framing. Little did I know that was the start of what is now a 30-plus-year relationship with big wood and the community of people who design and craft it.
My timber framing experience—as an employee and a business owner; as a hands-on craftsman and as founder and owner of Cascade Joinery; as a member and a director of the Guild and the Timber Frame Business Council—is long and deep.
As executive director, I look forward to the journey ahead of us. We have the tools, skills, and experience to create works of even greater relevance and to better serve our families and communities. Our very exciting task is to find ways to implement our ideas.