LIVERMORE — A little rain could not dampen attention Monday as Brett Hellstedt and Matt Aranjo of Maine Post & Beam presented a workshop on timber frame joinery at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center.

Nearly 50 people of all ages watched and listened intently as the men explained how they planned to cut the 8-inch by 8-inch pine beams, some of the first beams for the historic Norlands barn reconstruction project. A project started after fire destroyed the farmer’s cottage and barn in 2008.

“I’d like to build a timber frame house. I’m just starting to learn,” said Charles Smith of Phillips as he watched the process.

Trevor Timberlake of Livermore had the same idea. He came to the workshop to see how it was done so that one day he could also fulfill his plans for a timber framed house.

“It’s been a great place to learn,” said Bob Robitaille of Bryant Pond who also came with plans to one day build on his own property.

A field supervisor for Wright Ryan Construction, Bob Kempner of Portland, watched the process. As the general contractor for the project, his crew is working on the farmers cottage with plans to finish by February, he said.

Eventually a barn-raising including people from the community will be held, said Norlands Executive Director Kathleen Beauregard.

“Our goal is to continue raising funds for the project,” she said.

Architects worked with old photographs and the Washburn family history to design plans for the reconstruction of the historic barn that stood at Norlands circa 1867, she said previously.

The afternoon workshop was a historic moment, she said, as the first beams for the project were cut. People were invited to help chisel the large beams and later to sign their names and/or messages on the beams.

Beauregard’s parents, Richard and Jean Methot of Industry, watched and were thinking about what they wanted to write on the beam. Perhaps just RM and JM, he said, but agreed after 57-years of marriage the initials should be surrounded by a heart.

Using modern day tools, a picture of the plans shows the design itself is very traditional, Aranjo said as he measured and remeasured the beam before cutting the joints.

“Check everything twice, keeps you from heartache,” he said of the potential for costly errors.

Some of the beams have been cut from the Norlands’ property and others will be added, Hellstedt said.

Norlands teaches using living history experiences, such as opportunities for hands-on involvement, Beauregard said of their partnering with Maine Post & Beam to present the free workshop.

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The article was corrected. Norlands has not awarded nor promised a contract for building the barn.


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