King and prince post truss, looking frontward

That Old Time Innovation

In 30 years of investigating New England’s historic churches, PTF has never encountered a better truss system than that of Eastport’s Central Congregational Church. Built in 1828, the roof system combines the traditional strength of a king post-prince post truss and principal rafter-principal purlin roof with innovative tying geometry that prevents the pitfalls of rafter…

Northwood Before

Huge and Hollow

Deep into the winter of 2014, a banner stretched like caution tape across the front of Northwood Congregational Church. It implored commuters from Portsmouth and Concord, “Don’t Judge a Church By It’s Outside. Look for Restoration Coming Soon!” The red text on white vinyl was the freshest trim on the front facade. The porch sagged, the…

In the shop, Seth fitting brace tenons

New Castle Gaze Bo

Preservation in the field can take many forms.  Most of the time, preservation is the most practical and reliable answer to a client’s needs, but there are times when pure preservation isn’t feasible, or reasonable (see Demeritt-O’Kane).  The New Castle Congregational Church and gazebo offers an alternate model.  The congregation has endeavored to preserve the…

Finished panel, finally installed

Marrett House: Magic and a Time Machine

Last week we assembled Marrett House‘s 15 foot frame and panel wall and installed it.  The day felt like a mini-crane day, with shoulders instead of cranes, and a mini-rush of adrenaline.  When the day was over, and we’d reversed the effects of last April’s drunken car crash, I realized that time machines are not made…

Marrett House Panels Cope with Dismantling

Yesterday we began the dismantling the Marrett House panels in order to repair the broken stiles and rails.  Above, Shawn shows his method for extracting the pins.  He drills a tiny hole through the center of the pin, then threads a screw into the hole until it just bites, and then uses a hammer claw…

O’Kane Notebook VIII: Joinery, Exposed!

On Friday, Scott finished removing the trim from the Pink Parlor, pictured above.  I had eagerly anticipated the joinery surrounding the fireplace, given our recent work on another fireplace surround.  The displaced surround, turned upside-down, is below: When I think about the era in which this house was built, in a relatively new country, with…