The Threshing Floor

Home / The Threshing Floor

I – Company News

II – Barn History

A Heritage Barn Story

In the fall of 1609, English explorer Henry Hudson sailed up the river that would later bear his name. He was in search of a westward passage to Asia, but as the water sweetened and became less salty, it became clear to them that this was not the passage they were seeking. It was fine land though, and […]
Read More

Old World Meets New

More than any other factor, what differentiated American timber framing from its predecessors in the Old World was when the Old World pioneers came to America, they were confronted with a very different building reality in that the materials they had on hand to build with, namely trees, were vastly different from their experience in […]
Read More

Not all Barns are created equal

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is: “How can you tell a good barn from a bad barn?” My answer to this question is that you must look at each barn carefully with an eye to a combination of history, craftsmanship and plain ole wear-and-tear, and you must have a trained eye […]
Read More

The Barn Melting Pot

I am often asked the question of where we get our barns. When I reply, “Mostly from New York,” I am then asked, aren’t there good barns in other states? To answer this question takes a history lesson. First, there are proportionately few barns in the western United States that are timber-framed. This is because the […]
Read More

Twice Recycled

Many of the old barns we disassemble and restore for homes were built in the 1800′s with hemlock timbers from New York State. Eastern hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis) is a conifer once widespread in the mountains of the Northeast making up a large portion of the virgin forest. They were massive, straight trees and by counting […]
Read More

The Joinery Trade

We just completed another timber framing class here at Ploughshare in which we built a new timber frame of a 24 x 24 building. This is a three-day class that has bit off more than it can chew in three days and which we need to expand to at least five days. The class calls […]
Read More

Why were so many barns painted red?

Many years ago, choices for paints, sealers and other building materials did not exist. Farmers had to be resourceful in finding or making a paint that would protect and seal the wood on their barns. Hundreds of years ago, many farmers would seal their barns with linseed oil, which is an orange-colored oil derived from […]
Read More

III – Timber Frame Buildings

The New World Dutch Barn

Early settlers came to America from many different countries and brought with them from Europe not only their ways of living, but also their architecture, including their agricultural buildings like barns. Perhaps the most majestic of all the agricultural building types brought from Europe to America are the Dutch Barns found in the region of the […]
Read More

Old Scotch Barns in the New World

While searching out barns for dismantling and restoration in the Albany, New York area, we have over the past four years come across what seems to be a unique and rare form of barn. The Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, later to become New York, was perhaps America’s first true ethnic melting pot, with a […]
Read More

Mott Gristmill

There is something about gristmills and waterwheels that resonates with just about everyone. The gristmill is an American icon that evokes sentiments of home and community, as is evidenced in the gristmill pictures so many of us have in our homes. Perhaps some of this sentiment was at the heart of our efforts in 1999 to […]
Read More

LaRue Barn

We found the LaRue barn through a phone call from a woman in northern New Jersey who had heard about our work of moving and restoring barns. She wanted to know if we would possibly want to move an old barn that was in danger of being demolished to make way for a new suburban development. At the time […]
Read More

Middleburg Palatine House

Adjacent to the LaRue barn1 you will find another timber-framed building that is actually an early American house. It was originally built about 1750 in the Schoharie Valley of New York state on a hillside above the Schoharie Creek. The left half measures twenty feet by twenty feet and is the original old house. The timber-framed addition […]
Read More

The Glen Barn

Built c. 1870, the Glen barn is one of the largest barns ever built in New York State measuring forty feet wide by one hundred feet long. Heritage Restorations has restored over 200 barns from New York, and it is the largest barn that they have ever moved and rebuilt. The history of the Glen […]
Read More

IV – Historic Notes & Discussion

The Great Epizootic of 1872

An Example of Large-scale Vulnerability from the Past People often ask what interesting things we find in the centuries-old barns we dismantle for our barn restoration business. Well, there are a lot of interesting “things,” like the time we found an old pillowcase hidden in a corner of the first barn that we took down that […]
Read More

Colonel Drake Saves the Whales

From time to time, in my travels in the Northeast, I pass through the sleepy hamlet of Greenville, New York—just another rural American village on the landscape of formerly thriving agricultural communities. Over the last eighty years, such communities have undergone a relentless depopulating, as generations of young people abandoned their agrarian roots and made their ways […]
Read More

Anatomy Of A Barn Treasure

One of the side benefits to working with old barns is that they were often the repositories of old things. Interesting old things. This series of articles is on the old things that we come up with in our barn work. Take this old box for example. More properly, I should call it a chest. […]
Read More

Deep Under the Heart of Texas

(We took on an unusual construction project at Heritage Restorations to build a cheese cave for Brazos Valley Cheese, another one of our Homestead Craftsmen companies. The finishing touch was a castle-like entry door into the cave made from our antique barn wood.) An underground cave for aging cheese is the dream of most cheese […]
Read More