Holiday Greetings

Best Wishes for a HEALTHY and HAPPY Holiday Season and New Year

Jack Costantino, Pres. TFU
Jack and Evelyn Costantino
Drew and Jessica Skelton
Jimmy and Sheree Vogt

Thank you to our clients, colleagues, friends and family for your confidence, support and affection.

Dutch Shultz

Dutch Schultz

Dutch Schultz

What does noted Gangster, Bootlegger Dutch Schultz have to do with our Timber Frame structures….wellllll here’s the answer.

A new distillery barn is being built in Pine Plains, New York, for Dutch’s Spirits. The property the distillery is being built on has a rich history from the Prohibition Era. During this time, a lot of “bootlegging,” led by mobster Dutch Schulz, went on. We are thrilled to be part of this project and will be supplying and raising the timber frame for the barn.
READ ON and see more PIX HERE.

Tradition is good… but… WE’RE MODERN THINKERS ALSO!

Our modern prefab home in Massachusetts was built using our eSIPS prefabricated wall and roof system. Our eSIPS panelized home system is a great energy-efficient alternative to conventional construction. With or without Timber Frame elements, your preferences guide our design process. VISIT GALLERY HERE.

Rails Steakhouse

The exterior finishing is in progress at RAILS STEAKHOUSE. Mechanical systems are underway including a MASTER GOURMET KITCHEN with its own AGING ROOM for preparing and delivering Prime Aged Steaks to the tables of our special guests. Close your eyes for a moment…enjoy the aroma. OOPS…be careful…you’re drooling in advance.

Treat yourself to this “virtual” guided tour of RAILS STEAKHOUSE @ Towaco Crossing. Watch for future progress reports and an opportunity for an invite to the GRAND OPENING.


…and while you’re at it have fun with this “virtual tour” of a Timber Frame home interior. Travel through four seasons in less than a minute.


Owego Mid-July

Owego Mid-July

Our OWEGO, NY clients are powered up and moving along with interior work. Much of the work is being done by Michael and Sheryl in a hand to hand effort with local craftsfolk.

Thanks to excellent team work, significant progress has been made toward getting closed in to the weather. Snow has already fallen, and the temps are dropping, but with the mechanical systems underway and assistance of a couple of space heaters, the winter will offer an opportunity to get interior finishing done at a relatively easy pace.

As with many of our homes the self sustaining elements include Energy Efficient Structural Insulated Panels and separately zoned radiant heat. Because of the temperate locale, no A/C is planned. And besides Michael and Sheryl could just as easily (and have) enjoy an overnight in a portable dwelling comprised of available materials gathered on the spot at their 40 plus acre property.

Owego Now

Owego Now

They in fact teach these survival skills at their “WILDERNESS WAY SCHOOL“. Visit their website to learn more about courses and schedules. I’ve been treated to fishing in the lake and learning how to make extraordinarily strong grass rope from the growth around its perimeter. FASCINATING! CLIK HERE for more PIX.

EUROPE…a Timber Frame Lovers Paradise…the FOOD ain’t bad either!!


Ornate Timber Ceiling in Beaune, FR

Ornate Timber Ceiling in Beaune, FR

2-2We were fortunate to enjoy a spectacular trip this year to Northern Italy and France. As always when travelling abroad I head right for the examples of early Timber Framing…and then the local Bouchon or other emporium of culinary delight. A daily diet of FOIS GRAS and ESCARGOT is an excellent way to prepare for strenuous climbs to the tops of the Cathedrals and other structures which feature early and still functional examples of Timber Framing. The Timbers often located in the ceilings of otherwise stone structures, are magnificent to behold. I never cease to be impressed by their history, durability and beauty.

The food and architecture may be straight out of the Middle Ages…but our appreciation is as contemporary as can be. The magnificence of Versailles and impressions of relatively Modern structures like the Eiffel Tower embed the memory as well as imagination. Calculating the degree of difficulty for building these historic monuments is as mind boggling as understanding how (and why) one properly opens a bottle of Champagne with a ceremonial sword…but both are done.

Tasting wine from Cinque Terra, Italy to the vineyards of France’s Provence and Beaujolais region is tough work…but someone has to do it…and do it we did. As with all journeys…the people you meet along the way are a key to the experience. We were very happy to be traveling with a small group of revelers, devoid of negativity, not dieting and totally immersed in the moment. Now…that’s my kind of travelling companion.

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If you’re a Timber Framer, Associate or just a good old fashioned Timber Frame LOVER aka HOMEOWNER…you can help support the continuation of this beautiful, sustainable option for home design and construction.

The Journey Worker and Apprentice program is literally the bottom line for the success and survival of the craft in these extraordinary times. As a niche market Timber Framing is especially sensitive to negative pressure on home building generally. For that reason it’s more important than ever to support our veteran and incoming crafters. The VET’s become the MENTOR’s for the incoming young people who are determined to carry the craft forward.

Like all educational programs there are associated costs. I’m making an appeal to all recipients of our NL to please do this simple thing…


and contribute any amount from $10.00 UP.
Earmark your contribution in the COMMENTS BOX with the word APPRENTICE.

CLIK to learn more about the APPRENTICE program.


Jack Costantino, Pres
Timber Frames Unlimited
(908) 876.5262


It’s possible that you do… and don’t know it?

Journey Worker / Apprentice Program

Dan Roberts, Jon Pease, Michael Tebaldi

Dan Roberts, Jon Pease, Michael Tebaldi

If there is a single objective important to the survival of the craft of Timber Framing it may be the success of the JOURNEY WORKER and APPRENTICE PROGRAM. At TFU, we were pleased and privileged to provide Burlington Conference registration for three young men who are at various stages of participation or aspiration for the program. They are enthusiastic about their current and future connection to Timber Framing and looking forward to pursuing a continuing career in the craft. I must say I was beyond impressed with them, their commitment and plans for the future. They are well suited candidates for carrying the craft into the next generation.

Here at TFU, as a result of our Conference experience, we have made a commitment to supporting these programs going forward. To that end we will be reaching out by phone to member companies of the TFBC and those represented in the TFG’s individual roster.

The fact is that a member of your current shop staff may be a short application away from qualification for these programs. Based on the current structure of the program, a JW must be available to mentor, manage and oversee the curriculum status of an Apprentice. Annual dues for each are only $1,000.00. The pay-off for our craft going forward is enormous. Your long term shop personnel and TF crafters have accumulated practical experience and knowledge which may provide an easy transition to the JW program. Assistance is available for completing the necessary paperwork directly from the ATC (Apprentice Training Committee). Once your JW is registered, other crafters in your shop can become members of the AP training program. CLIK HERE to Contact the ATC directly for additional information about how you can utilize this existing asset while supporting the future of Timber Framing. Becoming a participant in the JW / AP program is a way to spotlight your shop in the TF community as well as with your prospects and clients.

If direct participation in the JW / AP program is not possible or practical for your shop, there are other ways to support this effort. Read the below excerpt from Curtis Milton and Isaac McCoy-Sulentic in November’s SCANTLINGS. CLIK HERE to read the balance of the article in the APPRENTICE LOG on page 8.

“Another engine, which to date has been misfiring, is support from the timber frame industry. “

2“More companies registering more journey workers, and then more apprentices, is perhaps the greatest measure of success as spelled out in the ATP goals, but that is not the only way industry could contribute. Brokering or contributing a revenue-generating project that can be a training platform; cash or in-kind donations; and sponsoring, organizing, and hosting training sessions would all help keep the program sustainable.”

PREFER TO WRITE A CHECK??? Well allllllrighty then…I have been assured by acting Board President, John Miller that filling in the MEMO line on your check made out to the GUILD (an accompanying note will back up your intentions) dedicating the funds to be utilized by the JW / AP Program will effectively set them aside. ANY AMOUNT IS A GOOD AMOUNT!! Funding the program will assist its growth and relevance for new and seasoned TF crafters alike.


Over the next several weeks I will do my best to personally connect with each member of the TFBC and companies represented on the TFG rolls. Although I would love it if you were willing to sign up on the phone…you CAN’T! The purpose of my brief call will be to learn more about what and how the JW / ATC program could work for you…OR…if and how you would be willing to provide support. Although I have met many of you at conferences over the years…if this is our first time…I promise to be gentle. Please take my call. It’s likely I won’t stop calling until you do…

Seriously…as a relatively mature individual (72 on Halloween)…in the time I have left, and while I’m still able…I would like to help grow the JW / AP program. I believe its importance to the TF community and craft is a no-brainer.


3“We also regret the resignation of TFG, Project Director, Alicia Spence. As stated in SCANTLINGS…

“The board regretfully accepted the resignation of project director Alicia Spence after completion of the successful project in Vicksburg, Mich. Alicia has managed some of the most noteworthy and successful projects in Guild history. We wish her the best as she moves on to other endeavors.”

4Along with the loss of Joel McCarty and implementation of Corporate Management; we may experience a sea change in the face and personality of the Guild. For an organization which has maintained a truly community dynamic…bordering on familial…one can not help but wonder what we will become.

Economic dynamics from local to global, over the past several years have presented many challenges to all business models across the board. As a niche market in housing, it’s no surprise that we have experienced some of the contraction typical of all Organizations and Artisanal endeavors in particular.

Organizationally speaking, the membership at large will be the recipient of the benefits, efficiencies and success of the current iteration…or not. Although unavoidably disconcerted at the moment, my personal plan is to press forward with as much resolve as I can muster to help stabilize and grow our professional organizations, as well as add to our share of homebuilding locally and nationally. For me the JW / AP program is a great focus to assist that process.

Have anything to say about any of the above…hit me back HERE. Comments may be published in future “TIMBER TALK” segments.

Talk to you later….

Jack Costantino, Pres.
Timber Frames Unlimited, LLC
Long Valley, NJ 07853
(908) 876.5262 Office
(201) 230.6429 Cell




Heroic Effort and Astounding Results

Rick Holder, Holder Brothers

Rick Holder, Holder Brothers

So….as I aimed my new “smarter than me” phone at him in the cafeteria of the Burlington campus this weekend Rick Holder said “……awww you ain’t gonna snap my pic are ya…” to which I replied…YUP. And snap I did. I always enjoy seeing Rick, Gabel and Whit Holder at TFG events. Watching Rick work the crowd is fascinating and huge fun. Some of you may know that Rick and the boys play band dates. I even got to sing with them on a back patio in Montebello in 2010. As I recall I sang Hank Williams’ Cheatin Heart. They graciously and thankfully indulged me. Most don’t! It was sublime.

Along with the extraordinary participation of Sandy Becker…Rick and his boys aka “ring men” (I did not know that term) collected over $32,000.00 sorely needed dollars at this years auction event. I would say that qualifies them as CONFERENCE HEROES! CONGRATS…on a job well done….AGAIN. And besides Rick…I believe you’re darn good lookin’. And I mean that in the most manly way :>) !

Apprentice Program

Dan Roberts, Jon Pease, Michael Tebaldi

Dan Roberts, Jon Pease, Michael Tebaldi

If there is a single objective important to the survival of the craft of Timber Framing it may be the success of the APPRENTICE PROGRAM. At TFU, we were pleased and privileged to provide registration for three young men who are at various stages of participation or aspiration for the program. They are enthusiastic about their current and future connection to Timber Framing and looking forward to pursuing a continuing career in the craft. I must say I was beyond impressed with them, their commitment and plans for the future. They are well suited candidates for carrying the craft into the next generation.

Dan Roberts is an active apprentice at Trillium Dell with Rick Collins as his Journeyman. He’s focused on all areas of growth from layout to cutting to raising. Along with others TFU will follow his growth and path going forward and assist in any way we can to facilitate his progress. Dan is as focused as you get…and understands the imperative to become accomplished in all phases of the process. As with all of us…his motivation is spurred by necessity…but fueled by the fire of his passion for the work and its extraordinary history.

Jon Pease is an active apprentice at New England Barn Company since 2009. His tutelage is provided by Rob Turnquist and Gary Helman. Jon describes his 2008 introduction to Timber Framing as “circumstantial, but well timed”. With the general economy in steep decline the clientele for his own GC and carpentry work dwindled. A friend introduced him to the opportunity at NEBC and the rest is history. He loves working for a small company for the benefits of a well rounded exposure to all aspects of the work from layout to handling, assembly and raising. He describes the overall experience as “extremely rewarding”.

Jon is totally invested in the hands-on nature of TF and what it means in the general economy. To paraphrase Jon…”in a world where giant corporations increasingly outsource production to maximize profit…quality suffers. It’s a breath of fresh air to be part of a local team, building a quality product with local resources which will last hundreds of years. Not just made in the USA…but…hand made in the USA with PRIDE.”

Michael Tebaldi is as organic a young man as you will meet. Sort of like a 20’s version of Jack Sobon (one of my personal heroes of TF). Michael worked for several years in organic farming and was mentored early on by Will Gusakov. He is taken with what he describes as the “rural tradition” and “honesty of the craft”. He has participated in hand raisings and is intent on pursuing a career in Timber Framing. After speaking with him during an impromptu chat on a bench outside the campus on Sunday morning, I can tell you he is cut from whole cloth. An amazingly contemplative, introspective and passionate young man.

Speaking for myself….what more can one say. TFU is PROUD of our recipients for Conference attendance and look forward to following and assisting their path going forward.

Our hope is to participate in the activities of the TFG Apprentice Program. We are exploring that possibility with Rick Collins and Curtis Milton of the TFG’s ATC. To that end you may expect me to contact you for your support and to provide information about how you can become a participant. Please take the time to learn more about it. It’s the best thing you can do for the GUILD community and YOURSELF! THANKS AGAIN to the three companies who have already expressed an interest and intention to join the APPRENTICE PROGRAM since the conference. More on that later.

Breaking things is FUN

309Of course Ben Brungraber was on hand as always to bust things up. At one of the most popular events of any conference the tension and compression game was engaged in full force. (Ok…how many metaphors should be allowed in one sentence. Ill check with Ken Rower and Susan Witter later.) It’s always a blast waiting for the cracking to occur and no one does it better than Ben and his Firetower team. They haven’t left a joint standing yet. But no worries…stresses generally exceed what happens in real time. They don’t call him “Bustin Ben” for nothin’.

310It was purely magical watching Grigg Mullen and John Miller orchestrate the smooth rise of a gin pole…rigged and raised by a willing team of volunteers on the lawn at Champlain College. It was fun watching our own TFU, Field Manager, Michael Head (left of Grigg) tying the special knots and contributing a few of his own as the rigging was prepared. At the end the pole raised as smooth and even as they have been for centuries. Who needs cranes when you can round up 50 or so neighbors and townspeople and a few stout ropes and pulleys to engage in a community effort not soon forgotten. I loved every rope pulling, come-a-long moment. Our three apprentices were also on board. Being “hands-on” is what makes the difference…and there were plenty of hands on the task on Saturday. Total fun and educational.

Best PHRASE of the Conference

Tim Krahn, Bldg. Alternatives, Inc

Tim Krahn, Bldg. Alternatives, Inc

Well…they say there’s “one in every crowd” and for me, at least at this Conference Tim Krahn of Building Alternatives, Inc in Ontario, CA was the one. Appropriate to the current dilemma for the TFG, TFBC and the craft and practice of Timber Framing itself, Tim randomly, spontaneously and without prompting issued this edict…

“GROW, MATURE, EVOLVE”…I couldn’t have said it better myself. These are truly changing times.. and the times are truly changing all we do…about what we do. Although we continue to build the frames we build in an assortment of traditional and post-traditional ways…how we approach the future may be all about how we engage our connection to the life blood of the marketplace…our future Timber Frame homeowners.

Thanks Tim…now if you could just send the rest of the Owners Manual…I know we’ll all appreciate and read it till the pages curl at the corners.

Jack Costantino, Pres.
Timber Frames Unlimited, LLC
Long Valley, NJ 07853
(908) 876.5262 Office
(201) 230.6429 Cell



My 54th year as a hands on carpenter/builder…as of June 29th, 2013. Do the math :>) !!!


Three new members of our TF client family:

Ed and Marilyn B., Hillsborough, NJ
Dave and Lea J., Readington, NJ
Maison and Alicia L., Perkiomenville, PA

Thank you for your confidence…we will not disappoint you!