Monday, March 29, 2010

Timber Frame Barns and Garages

Having a protected space to store and maintain your equipment, tools and toys is an essential luxury in New England. I grew up on a farm on which we had two barns and two garages and still there was never really enough room for all of the toys, tools, projects and animals. I can still remember that sweet scent of hay in the horse barn mixed with horse manure and the horses themselves as well as the smooth feel of those ancient beams and floor boards. My brothers and I spent hours in the hay loft building very elaborate hay castles, mazes and forts. Sometimes we were banished to the barn when we misbehaved and other times we sought refuge in that barn when we felt that somehow the world had misbehaved. My father continues to add barns, outbuildings and garages to his home (we have plans for a small horse barn this spring) and my brothers to their homes. And they continue to offer housing for naughty children, refuge and peace as well as simple storage and protection from the weather.

Two years ago, after living in my own home for a little over five years my husband and I decided it was time to add that cherished barn/garage to our property -- this would allow us to move our woodworking shop out of our basement AND provide protection for the cars during winter storms. Instead of joining the family barn building competition (size and engineering feats win) we opted for simple and insulated! As with any project at my home, my extended family participated in the design and building. Gaius actually told me I was crazy not to build an insulated barn because I would surely want to be able to heat the space and comfortably work on a car in the winter. We ended up with a super-insulated 24x48 structure with a 2-ft kneewall and second floor loft on a floating slab foundation and vertical board siding. We comfortably park four cars in it along with a four-wheeler and still have room for a modest workshop area. And we have a great storage space on the second floor with potential for guest sleeping. After two years of loving it I'm able to say that, as usual all of those suggestions from "the family" were right -- darn them anyway. We appreciate our barn every day; winter, summer fall or spring -- rain or shine for the protection from the elements, storage and also for the play space it provides. There are no horses nor is there any hay in it at this point but it does offer a certain respite from the chaos of daily life and I've found my four-year old hiding out in it more than once.

This spring we've received so many inquiries about timber frame barns, garages and boat houses that we thought we would help jump start your imagination by putting together a photo album of our favorite projects. Check out these barns and garages in various stages of construction. Shelter Design Build (formerly Hennin Post & Beam) has a wide range of services starting with a site evaluation consultation to determine best location for the barn and driveway, to recognize potential drainage issues and determine which type of foundation will work best. From there we can move to the design phase creating conceptual structural and three dimensional drawings to help you visualize your new building and determine what size will work best. From the completed design we can provide the engineered cut sheets so you can cut and raise your own frame or we can cut the frame for you and ship it to your site for you to construct -- we have shipped frames as far south as the Caribbean and as far west as Colorado for construction by the home owner. Each framing member is machined, carefully hand carved to 1/32” tolerances by our seasoned staff, sealed with natural oil and labeled for assembly according to the raising drawings. Of course we can also deliver a frame, raise it for you, and enclose it with structural insulated panels, Marvin windows, metal roofing and siding. Whatever our level of involvement, our mission is to forward the construction of thoughtful, sustainable and durable structures with our clients. We offer our a la carte design and construction services to complement your abilities, time and budget. Visit our website for pricing on kits or email us for specific information relating to your project!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Intro to Masonry Heaters

Saturday April 3

In this ever-changing energy market those of us living in cooler climates are always exploring more efficient ways of heating a home. Join us for a one hour presentation on Masonry Heaters. When built well and integrated with the floorplan of a home, masonry heaters provide continuous and even heat with minimal poking, stoking and fussing. Masonry heaters store a large amount of heat in the mass of the heater. They combine the aesthetics of a masonry fireplace with the funtion and efficiency of a sealed combustion heater. This means that you can rapidly burn a large charge of wood without overheating your home. The heat is stored in the masonry thermal mass, and then slowly radiates into your house for the next 12 to 24 hours. The workshop will cover history and basic function of masonry stoves, different styles, and information regarding the effective integration of a heater into your home plans. Cooking and baking stoves as well as issues surrounding domestic hot water will also be discussed. Bring your floorplans along and our instructor will walk you through identifying the best location for a masonry heater.This is a FREE one hour workshop with a question and answer session at the end but you must register in advance as space is limited. Send an email with your name, address and phone number as well as the class subject and date to or call 207-442-7938 to reserve your spot today.
The instructor, Eric Schroeder, spent three years working as an apprentice for different masonry heater builders in the United States and Canada. In 2007 he took a trip through Europe to attend the Austrian Kachelofenverband's annual trade show, and to visit with a stove builder in Friesland, northern Holland. He brings tales from the road and technical and practical information about heaters to this workshop.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Intro to Instant Water Heaters

Saturday March 27
Join us for a lively discussion of instant water heaters and boilers, how they work, various models and their fuels, installation and sizing. Whether it is new construction or renovations, you will leave knowing how to decide if an instant water heater is right for your home or next building project. Bring your questions! This is a FREE one hour workshop with a question and answer session at the end but you must register in advance as space is limited. Send an email with your name, address and phone number as well as the class subject and date to or call 207-442-7938 to reserve your spot today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Book Sale 30% Off Waterscaping Books

If you are considering a waterscaping project this summer, we have the book to make it easier. Great idea books with themes of ponds, pools, waterfalls and even vegetation that does well around a water feature. But also the real how-to books on how to select the right type of liner for your pond or pool or even how to decide if you need a liner, pump selection and maintenance, as well as edging selection.

Integrating water into your landscaping affords you a wonderful luxury of storage of water for emergency, a place to cool off on a hot summer day or simply a relaxing place to sit. And that low spot in the lawn that has always been a little squishy because of the standing water is ideal for your water feature! My parents have always had a pond on their property and use it for a multitude of things from simply a way to drain the surrounding land to make it more useable to watering the horses and swimming but my favorite thing about their pond are the frogs and peepers that sing in the summer evenings.

Come check out our latest bookshelf added to our web store; a great selection of waterscaping books -- 30% off now through March 27th. Discount is marked on the webstore and is available in person. Below are my three favorites but there are a total of fourteen on sale; visit our Waterscaping Shelf to see them all!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Learn How to do an Energy Audit on Your Home

Energy Audit Workshop
Saturday March 20, 2012

This is your last chance to sign up for this great workshop where we actually conduct an energy audit with a professional auditor.

There are many licenses and new terms being used to describe a home that is well insulated and uses a small amount of fuel to heat and or cool it and new codes being introduced to help create a benchmark for home construction. Shelter Institute has been teaching Energy Efficient home building since 1974 long before these terms and codes were developed but we thought it would be interesting to see how one of our super-insulated timber frame kits does under the scrutiny of a home energy audit and we thought it would helpful for the lay person to see what is involved in an official energy audit. We contacted Aaron Despres and invited him in to conduct an energy audit on a nearby timber frame with SIPS. He has been an inspector with Up-Country Building Inspectors, inc since 2007. In addition to providing residential energy auditing and consulting services, he inspects residential and commercial buildings. Aaron is a native of Harpswell, Maine and holds a Masters degree in Geology. He is certified as Building Analyst Professional by Building Performance Institute, #4380 * ASHI Associate, # 248862 * Member of MeCHIPS

Come spend the day with us on Saturday, March 20 and see what an official Energy Audit entails and if it is something you need to do to your own home. Call or visit our web site to register.

Registration for the workshop will close on Wednesday March 17th (Happy St. Patrick's Day!)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Our Favorite New Products

Our staff has been hard at work, adding inventory to our web store. Those of you who have visited our store know the breadth and depth of our products. As you check out these items new to our online store, please remember that we have a tremendous variety of chisels, gouges, hand saws, planes, drill bits, books gardening tools and the list goes on and on! Call or email if you are looking for a specific product and our staff will be happy to help you find what you need! In the meantime these items are all 15% off for the next week.

Big Boy Multi-Purpose