The King Post Truss–Not Just for Royalty Anymore



The King Post Truss is our most economical truss style.

Building a Truss

King Post Truss

There is a simple reason for that–the King Post truss is a very strong truss that is able to resolve its loads with a minimal amount of timber–just six parts:

One Bottom Chord;

One King Post;

Two Webs; and

Two Top Chords

King Post Truss

Truss for a Pavilion

Let us design your King Post truss for your great room, pavilion, barn, or any other project you are thinking about building.  We can design the perfect truss to meet your needs and budget!

Because all of our projects are custom-designed and built, we can use any species of wood that is commercially available:  Douglas fir, hemlock, pine, white oak, red oak, southern yellow pine, glulam, or any other species you can find (we designed some timber trusses for a client in Central America using tropical hardwood).  Let us know your roof pitch, joinery (traditional or steel), and we’re off to the races!  Give us a call at 802 886 1917 and we will be happy to walk you through the process.


Timber Framing Styles


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You’ve decided a timber frame home is for you, excellent! Let’s look at some popular framing styles!

Raised Cape

Raised Cape

The raised cape is a wonderful place to start.  Simple and straight forward with many options for an addition later on, if needed.

Salt Box

Salt Box

Salt Box is another great option, adding interest to the roof line right away.  Maybe you want a dormer or two? Not a problem.



Bring on the farmhouse style. See the progression? Raised Cape to Saltbox to 2 Story Farmhouse!

Want a style with a little more going on?  Gambrel, here we come!



How about gambrel with dormers?

Finished off with a wrap around deck, entry porch and balcony.  LOVE this one!

Finished Timber Frame Home

Finished Timber Frame Home

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Timber Frame Barn

A lot of people inquire about timber frame barns.  How much do they cost?  What is the standard size?  What is the best species?


The answer to these questions is very simple:  it depends.  All of our buildings, whether they are barns, trusses for residences or churches, or any other structures, are custom designed and engineered for the loading requirements on that particular project.

Take for instance a barn with a footprint of 40′ x 60′.  We couldn’t give a price for that without taking into consideration some very important factors:

Where is the project located?

A barn in Vermont will have a different loading requirement from a barn in Texas.  This is due to different conditions for which our engineer has to design the frame, including snow loads, wind loads, seismic loads, etc.

What is the species of wood to be used?

Here at Vermont Timber Works we are comfortable with many different wood species.  We have worked with Douglas fir, eastern hemlock, eastern white pine, white oak, red oak, southern yellow pine, western red cedar, port orford cedar, cypress, among others.  Every species has different values of strength and properties that may be more appropriate for your project.  What do you prefer for a color?  Is the project to be interior or exterior?  Rough sawn or S4S (planed on all four sides)?  Do you prefer steel joinery or traditional (mortise and tenon) joinery?  All of these questions will influence what species of wood makes the most sense for your project.

Do you have any drawings or even a rough sketch of the building?

Regardless of whether you are working with an architect or not, a drawing or sketch is a good stepping off point for us to design your building.  We have worked with many different styles of buildings that have different structural requirements.  The preferred design will dictate, to some extent, the sizes of the timbers.

The process is very iterative, and we can help you along the way.  Give us a call, and let Vermont Timber Works design the barn of your dreams.

802 886 1917



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The boys are back from another raising in South Carolina and are getting ready for our next project, a glulam job in Pennsylvania.  We have gotten a lot of requests for glulams lately, and I thought I’d write a blog about this particular building medium.

Glulam bottom chord

A project we did in MA for a residence.

Glulams, or glued laminated timbers, are highly engineered beams that are designed with several things in mind.  They can be graded for extremely high stresses or for minimal spans.  This is engineer-speak to me, and relates to how the boards are layed up.  The only thing I can speak knowledgeably about is that if it is a 24F designation it has an allowable bending stress of 2400 psi.

Ready for fabrication

All of this is to say that glulams are really really strong.  Because of how they are constructed they typically only lend themselves to steel joinery, as opposed to traditional mortise and tenon joinery as is typical with heavy timbers.  The choice to use glulams is both an aesthetic and a structural decision:  some people like the look of the individual striations of the laminations and the steel, and the strength of the glulams is measurable and quantifiable.  Engineers love to have actual numbers with which to work.

As far as the look of the glulams goes there are several options that clients have.  First is the species of wood involved.  We have worked with Douglas fir glulams, southern yellow pine glulams, western red cedar glulams, and port orford cedar glulams.

Residential glulam project

This was a project in WI that looked out over a lake.

Another option is the curve of the glulam.  If there is a sizeable curve in the beam it may be better to use a glulam rather than a beam that is sawn with a bandsaw.  There are a couple of reasons for this:  the beam that is sawn will be by its very nature weaker than a glulam that was designed for that curve and glued with that particular radius.  The other reason is that there is a lot of waste in a beam that is sawn to a curve.

Two types of glulams

You can see both a curved glulam above and a straight glulam below.

Timber Frame on the Cape

Yesterday I went to Cape Cod to discuss an upcoming Timber Frame project there.  We built a beautiful barn a few years ago, the Osprey Horse Barn, on Martha’s Vineyard.  What a gorgeous frame:


I can tell you that I’d love to live out on the Cape, but where would I keep my chickens?  I don’t think they would be very good on the beach, although they do like some grit in their crop from time to time.

This particular barn opted for a timber frame structure and 2x rafters, which can save a lot of money for the roof system.  Traditional joinery can also be a very cost-effective way of joining the timbers.

Summer in Vermont

Some people think that summers in New England are cool and breezy but I can tell you that despite our northern latitude we still get plenty of sunshine and heat.  In fact, Vermonters are dropping like flies in the windows as the temperatures creep up towards 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Only a fan for the stifling heat

The pellet stove is obsolete in the summer months.

Even in the shop the warm air reminds us of the usefulness of our sweat glands during a heat spell.

No lights on keeps heat down

Who needs air conditioning when you’ve got warm Vermonty breezes billowing at you?

The truth is that our passion is cutting timber frames and we’ve got a good crew, both in the shop and in the office, to get the job done regardless of meteorology.

Can I raise my own frame?


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We often get asked if a GC or a home owner can raise their own frame after we have fabricated it. The answer is Yes you can. We will test fit the pieces here in our yard or shop to make sure everything fits properly and we will number and name all pieces both on the print and on the individual pieces to make the process as easy as possible for you.

If you get to a point where you are not sure what to do next we encourage people to call and ask questions. We are happy to help. The biggest hurdle in raising your own frame is quite often not having the right tools. Just a few tools you will need are; comealongs (we usually bring about 15), nylon straps, 1/2 inch drill, pull saw, concrete hammer drill, etc. The list is quite extensive. We usually bring an 18′ trailer with one of everything in the shop when we go on a raising. A wise man once said “it’s better to have it and not want it than to want it and not have it.”

How do you turn a timber framer into a salesman?


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It’s not possible you say? Well, that’s what I thought too, but it happened to me just two short years ago. At that time I

had been working in the shop for about 10 years. I had held every job from laborer to shop foreman and everything in between. We hired a new sales person that we thought would be great. Apparently thought is the key word here. She really couldn’t get a grasp of what we do or the product we sell. One day as the work load was dwindling in the shop I said to the owner ” I could do a better job at selling than she is”. Oops, my mistake. The owner responded with “okay go in the office and start selling” I won’t lie to you, having no background or training in sales I was quite nervous, but hey, I know the product right, so how hard can it be? Well, I can run a 16 inch saw, a chain mortiser, and layout and cut complicated hips and valleys, but when it came to computers I realized I can turn one on but that’s about it. Poor Sandy, Julie, and Jessie, they have had to teach me so much and put up with all of my questions. Sandy, whats a PDF? Do I have Adobe? You mean like a hut? What’s an Adobe? Cut and paste? Won’t that ruin my screen? All right it wasn’t quite that bad but I bet all three of them are glad I finally figured some of this stuff out. Well, here I sit two years later and they haven’t fired me and Sandy still has all of her hair, so I must be doing something right.

Timber Bandsaw


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Above is a picture of Mike cutting a curve in a timber joist. We use a Mafell Z5E hand-held band saw for small curves.

If we need to cut a curve in a larger member we use an Old Oliver Band saw.

This saw is old but it works great and it was made back when they used to make tools to last. It can cut a timber up to 14″ deep.We made a rip fence for it out of a 4′ clamp and some 3/4″ plywood.

Dovetailed Joints


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We use dovetails to secure (almost) all of our joists and purlins. The dovetail pocket is cut about 1/4″ bigger than the dovetail itself.

This allows the dovetail to slip in easily when you are setting the joists or purlins and then move on to raising the rest of the frame and come back to tighten the joint later. The geometry of the joint will ensure that it will not slip out while you continue to set other pieces. To tighten the joint the two rafters, or girts, depending on if it is joists or purlins are pulled tight with a come along and nylon straps to prevent any damage to the timbers and then hardwood (usually Maple) shims are driven in between the dovetail and the pocket pulling the joint in tight.

You must  be certain that you are ready to tighten that particular joint though as once the shims are put in place it is very hard if not impossible to get them out.