Traditional Timber Frame Research & Advisory Group

Timber framing has existed as a method of building for centuries. While much is known about the methods and traditions of the craft, there is still much to learn. The Traditional Timber Frame Research & Advisory Group (TTRAG) was founded in 1990 as a council of the Guild to focus on education through the documentation, preservation, restoration, and reconstruction of historic timber frames.

Silas Treadway & Seth Kelley explore the steeple of David Hoadley's United Church on the Green (New Haven, CT) at the 2016 members' meeting. Photo credit Michael Cuba. The following goals and objectives were outlined in the group's founding charter (edited here for clarity):

  • To survey and, whenever possible, save early and significant traditionally timber framed buildings;
  • To develop a survey form and checklist prototype to be used in cataloging old buildings;
  • To network with other organizations and support-related efforts in the preservation of the history and craft of timber framing;
  • To develop methods and systems for examining the evolution of timber framing, such as the transition from scribe rule to square rule;
  • To develop a shared archive;
  • To create guidance for appropriate preservation and restoration practices;
  • To promote the use of traditional materials and joinery in timber framing;
  • To pursue funding in support of the aforementioned goals.

Over the past 30 years, members of TTRAG have worked to realize the goals set forth in the charter and continue this work today. Through surveys, articles, and presentations, TTRAG members share their observations with one another and the wider community of timber framers and historians in fulfillment of our educational mission.

Each year, TTRAG members meet to share original observations of historic timber structures, offering feedback and discovery through a lively and intimate symposium format. These annual meetings are conducted over the course of three days and typically include tours of vernacular framing, with special access that is often difficult to attain on a larger conference tour.

In addition to the members' meetings, TTRAG regularly offers larger conferences that are open to all Guild members and the general public. These events tend to focus on the building history of the region where the conference is held and include speakers with insight and expertise significant to local building history, culture, and environs. A tour of local historic buildings is always a highlight of the open conference.

TTRAG also contributes to the Guild's national conferences, offering sessions focused on historic architecture and joinery techniques, often in addition to a pre-conference tour.

 

Becoming a TTRAG member

Membership in TTRAG is for those Guild members who actively pursue a better understanding of historic timber-framed structures and techniques. To become a member, submit these two sets of information:

  1. A written statement of your preservation philosophy and interest in historic timber framing plus one of the following:

    1. A résumé of three historical projects, a written explanation of your involvement in them, and one completed short survey form with 20 images of the structure surveyed.

    2. Four short survey forms with 20 images of each structure surveyed.

    3. A combination of (a) and (b), such as one résumé of a historical project and three short surveys with photos.

  2. One of the following:

    1. A presentation on the surveyed structure using the Historic Wooden Structures Archives Survey Checklist as reference. 

    2. A historical presentation relating to timber framing at a Guild-sponsored conference.

    3. Publication of an article in the journal Timber Framing related to historical timber framing.

 

Maintaining membership

To maintain membership, each year members are required to attend the annual meeting and make a presentation of original material. If a member is unable to attend a meeting, the annual requirements may be satisfied by either submitting a short survey form to the group or by submitting an article to Timber Framing.

We invite you to join us. For more information, please reach the Guild office at 833-862-7376 or via email.

 

Current TTRAG members

  • Nathaniel Allen, Westport, MA
  • Amy Boyce, Scituate, MA
  • Ben Brungraber, Providence, RI
  • Michael Burrey, Plymouth, MA
  • Rudy Christian, Burbank, OH
  • Michael Cuba, Stockton, NJ 
  • Alex Greenwood, Harbourton, NJ
  • Bob Hedges, Pine Plains, NY
  • Janet Kane, Winooski, VT
  • Dave Lanoue, Stockbridge, MA
  • Rick Lazarus, Spencer, NY
  • Anthony LeBlanc, Indian Lake, NY
  • Zakari LeBlanc, South Burlington, VT
  • Jan Lewandoski, Greensboro Bend, VT
  • Eliot Lothrop, Huntington, VT
  • John McNamara, Friendsville, PA
  • Dan Miles, Oxford, UK
  • Randy Nash, Cazenovia, NY
  • Paul Oatman, Pioneer, CA
  • Doug Reed, Mercersburg, PA
  • Jack Sobon, Windsor, MA
  • Ian Stewart, Ghent, NY
  • Aaron Sturgis, Berwick, ME
  • Silas Treadway, South Strafford, VT
     

Honorary Members

Elric Endersby, Ewing, NJ
Bob Ensminger, Bethlehem, PA
Ken Rower, Newbury, VT

 

Resources

Over the years, TTRAG members have made numerous contributions to Timber Framing, the Guild's quarterly journal. Find articles on traditional timber framing in the index.

Members of TTRAG have published larger works with the Guild including Historic American Timber Joinery and Historic American Roof Trusses. Many of TTRAG's members are accomplished authors and offer publications independent of the Guild. Members have also collaborated on Guild publications, produced a glossary of timber frame related terminology, and developed a bibliography of resources for historic timber frame practices and vernacular framing traditions. 

US Secretary of the Interior--Historic Preservation Standards


Elevating the design of timber structures
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