LIVERMORE — The first beams for the historic Norland’s barn reconstruction project will be cut during a free workshop on traditional timber frame joinery presented by Maine Post & Beam.

The public is invited to help cut the beams or watch the process during the workshop planned from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23, at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center. The hands-on event will be followed by a public potluck picnic supper at 6 p.m. Guests are asked to bring a cold dessert or salad to share.

During the timber framing workshop, Erik and Brett Hellstedt of Maine Post & Beam LLC of Yarmouth will demonstrate the use of traditional tools and will coach participants who wish to help cut the joints. All hand tools will be provided. Visitors may also sign their name or scribe a special message on the beam.

The Norlands is a nonprofit educational museum dedicated to preserving the heritage and traditions of rural life in Maine’s past.

“We teach using living history experiences, such as opportunities for hands-on involvement in the activities and skills of sustainable and independent rural living in both historical and contemporary times. Creating a post and beam barn together with the people who believe in Norlands’ mission is our goal,” says executive director, Kathleen Beauregard. “We are proud to be able to partner with Maine Post & Beam to present this workshop. Everyone is welcome to stop in at this free event and find out how they can participate now or in the future.”

The Hellstedt brothers are members of the North American Timber Framers Guild and the Maine Green Building council. They grew up surrounded by craftsmen and craftsmanship. They did chores in a 150 year-old barn that is still sturdy and plumb and worked on farms with old-world craftsmen that taught simple but timeless lessons.

“The goal of Maine Post & Beam is to have craftsmen, generations from now, disassemble one of our frames and smile with approval as they examine the smooth housings, chamfered tenons, artistic proportions and all the other details that turn a project into a work of art,” Erik Hellstedt said.

Hellstedt’s favorite part of the process is raising day.

“Until then the frame is just a vision and a stack of big sticks. Anticipation builds through several weeks of work and is transformed into art within a matter of hours,” he said.

At this workshop participants will see the drawings for the complete barn project.

“Our architects worked with old photographs and the Washburn family history to design plans for the reconstruction of the historic barn which stood at the Norlands circa 1867,” said Beauregard. “It’s an historic moment, as well, to carve the first beams for the project; people are welcome to join in the effort.”

The afternoon workshop will be held at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, 290 Norlands Road. Registration and donations are appreciated, but not required. Visitors who wish to stay longer will hear about the plans for the future barn-raising to be presented at the Norlands’ annual meeting, which will follow the potluck supper. For more information, call 897-4366 or visit

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