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Historic Timber Preservation

Trillium Dell leads the way in historic timber frame preservation in Illinois and the Midwest. With one of the most qualified crews in the country Trillium Dell has assessed, restored and repaired hundreds of timber frame and log structures throughout the Midwest. One of our forte’s is in-situ restoration, and with years of training and experience in timber frame carpentry our projects exceed national project guidelines for timber frame repairs. The preservation and conservation of historic timber frame structures involves the use of specialized tooling, unique lifting techniques, specific engineering, and a strong knowledge of historic carpentry.

Many of our projects are repairs due to fire, high winds, neglect, or the correction of previous work which was done poorly. Most of our work is followed by an assessment of the structure, and a prioritization of the needed work. Often our preservation projects are phased over a period of several years due to the needs of the owner. Preservation does not always involve big projects and in some cases is simple mitigation measures to prevent future failure, or stabilization work to prevent the condition of historic timber frame worsen and to allow repairs to occur at some future date.

Certainly the adaptive re-use of timber frame barns into homes or commercial buildings is the most common form of building preservation we , however we often work on state and county buildings, homes, religious buildings, and museum buildings as well. The goal of timber frame preservation is to perform the repairs in the spirit of the original building. What this means for us is utilizing similar wood species and grain orientation, keeping the joinery used consistent between the old and new repairs, being as noninvasive as possible with our engineering and other modifications, and striving to maintain the original intent of the building as much as possible. We understand the importance of preserving the historic fabric of the building and can save structures or parts of structures that other companies would not be able to do.

Quite often trillium Dell has been successful at restoring a timber frame roof utilizing our methods more economically than it could be replaced using conventional methods. Excellent examples of that include the church steeples we have saved and the roof structure of Illinois’ oldest courthouse in Hennepin, Illinois. The truss in the Putnam county courthouse was an excellent example of hewn queen post truss with wedged half dovetail thru tenons, dating from the 1830’s.

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