The girl in the photo to the right is our youngest daughter.
Today she's a grown young woman seeking her own adventures in the world.
She is standing on top of our first customer's timber frame, (he is the proud fellow on the right). The frame had just been completed and was ready to be moved to the house site for the raising.
There is something very rewarding about working together with clients to hand craft their timber frame. We love helping to make their dreams come true.
Our clients are always welcome at our shop. They often make regular visits during the crafting of their frame. They experience a great deal of satisfaction as they see their vision take shape. They enjoy seeing the degree of skill and care we put into each detail.
Bruce is a master when he has a
chisel in hand but many are
surprised to learn that Bruce is
also quite the craftsman when he
lays down the chisel and picks
up the pen.
Bruce loves to write!
Just for fun ~
We've included a few of his
published stories on this
website as the House Wren
You'll love Bruce's keen sense
of humor and his depth of
perception in this collection of
Just click on the link below to
see if you agree!
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Homestead Timber Frames
Bruce and Cyndy Gardner decided to build a timber frame home on a lovely farm in East Tennessee. Their mutual interest in architecture along with Bruce’s construction background provided them with the knowledge to enthusiastically tackle this then little known way of building. Timber framing was the perfect choice as they wanted a more traditional look for this piece of land. White oak timbers were purchased from a local mill and Bruce began learning about mortise and tenon joinery in an old barn.
That first simple home was followed by another frame for a couple who wanted a house “just like that”. And a timber framing career was launched.
Their company grew and over 200 hand crafted oak frames were raised throughout the U.S. They learned a lot and met and worked with some of the best in the business. They attended the second national timber framer’s conference at Marlboro College in 1986 and became very active in the Timber Framers Guild of North America. Bruce served on the Board of Directors of this organization and Cyndy organized the next two national conferences.
The Gardner's were away from the industry for
a dozen years. However in 2006 they had the opportunity to begin a new timber frame company.
This smaller new company focuses on what they love best – working with
their hands in the oak and building timeless
timber frame structures for interesting people. Homestead Timber Frames was born and the couple is using their knowledge to craft lovely oak timber frames for appreciative clients like you.
Bruce and Cyndy are also passionate about organic gardening, fly-fishing, birding, and are voracious readers….in their spare time.
Our Shop ~
Homestead Timber Frames is located in the heart of Appalachian country where high value is placed on recreating the art of long ago.
The Cumberland Plateau is a natural wilderness area that stretches from northeast Alabama to the far northern hills of Kentucky. Its beauty is unmatched anywhere in the U.S. with the number of waterfalls
that are located within its boundaries. Life is old here and smiles are plenty. We are proud to be a part of Cumberland County and the work ethic that comes from its heritage.
is located right off Interstate 40 midway between Knoxville and Nashville. Smell the oak shavings upon entering the front door and hear the chisels carving out mortises by hand. Yes, our timber frames are still hand-made the old fashioned way up here on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.
Our company holds dear the responsibility of sharing our craft with interested people.
Please feel free to contact us with your building questions whether you consider yourself a timber frame buyer or not.
The shop doors swing open early every
morning as the joiners and designer begin their day. These are not just
men coming to work to make a living. These men come to work to design
and craft timber frames. They have a passion for what they do and they
look forward to the challenges of the project at hand. None of us
profess to be expert at this ancient craft, rather each of us strive to
do our best.
Our company is proud of our creative team. We work well together. We are
a family of woodworkers crafting oak timbers into structures of timeless
beauty – each one unique.
We welcome your dreams into our shop. You will be delighted with the
craftsmanship we enjoy doing every day.
Bruce is one lucky guy—terrific wife,
wonderful children and grand children, deep interest in many fine
crafts, professional association with dedicated craftspeople, and enjoys
good health to boot. Bruce is excited by constant learning, natural
gardening, and outdoor pursuits such as exercising trout. Heaven, for
Bruce, is a fine meal in good company, a small fire, and a good book at
the end of a challenging day.
Bruce’s role at Homestead is to point folks toward possible solutions to
the challenge du jour and then to stay out of the way while the
challenge is met. Bruce is slowly improving in this role. He’s also
proud of the fact that he became involved in the early years of the
Timber Frame’s Guild of North America and served as President of the
Guild’s Board 1991-1993. Realizing the extent of knowledge still to be
gained in the timber framing world, he’s happy to continue the learning
process for many years to come.
Having fun while helping to run a timber
frame business is the goal with Cyndy. This began in earnest while
raising three marvelous children, building two personal homes with
husband Bruce, and helping to start a few other businesses along the
way. Cyndy became exposed to timber framing in the early beginnings of
the Timber Framers Guild and offered to help organize two of their early
National Conferences which were big successes.
She continues to enjoy the challenges of coordinating a home life with
two boisterous little grandsons flitting in occasionally and life here
at Homestead Timber Frames – both of which she sincerely loves. Her
other sources of happiness involve family get togethers, photography,
collecting and reading books, hiking, canoeing, perennial gardening, and
fly fishing. She truly enjoys working with such talented craftsmen each
and every day.
Toplis - Timber Frame Designer
Erik started designing custom timber frame
homes while still in college (2002). After graduating college he spent
nine months in the conventional construction field before returning to
timber framing. Erik has now designed timber frames for a third of his
life! With some experience in machine cut design, he believes the hand
cut process is much more involved and personal for everyone, including
the client. He enjoys quoting his mentor: “Embrace the tedium.” When not
at work Erik enjoys hiking, mountain biking, camping, cooking and the
occasional skydiving excursion. Wrenching around on cars is also a hobby
and his shiny red Chevy Cobalt is proof he loves this line of ‘toil’. He
claims that “Although a bit different from most, I am an avid thrift
shopper. The only things I buy new are food and personal items.” We know
he is a tremendous asset to our company.
Andy is a transplant from Ohio along with
his lovely wife Rebecca. At HTF, he serves as our shop foreman and is
steadily learning the ins and outs of the timber framing business.
Raised on a self sufficient farm, he was exposed to and enjoyed
woodworking from a very young age. Andy became enamored with timber
framing while assisting on a small pavilion project in Dayton,
Washington where he participated with an organic farm operation. Andy
and Rebecca now live in a small post-and-beam home in Crossville with
their new son Leif. In his spare time organic gardening, cooking,
hiking, reading, and brewing beer fill the weekends. Traveling and
backpacking are treasured vacation pursuits.
Dee Kistner has been involved with
Homestead Timber Frames since the beginning, helping to raise our first
Timber Frame. He has a knack for working with a chisel and mallet as
well as handling the big saws. Dee’s background before HTF was as a
Metal Fabricator at a custom car shop helping to build some very fast
high dollar cars. From there he became involved in restoring an historic
theater in Knoxville which spawned his interest in Timber Framing.
Currently Dee is teaching himself the art of blacksmithing while
continuing to build his uniquely designed custom knives. Enjoying the
quiet life with his wife Heather and two energetic young boys - Bremen
(Oaks) and Gavin (Barr) makes it all worthwhile.
Jason is a 4th generation carpenter who is
proud to carry on his family’s name and legacy. He started helping in
his father’s cabinet shop when he was 6. His knowledge and skills have
grown from there and continue to grow in our shop with every timber he
works. Jason married the girl of his dreams recently, Kelsey Jayne, a
lovely artist whose smile brings joy to those around her and they are
excited to start their lives together in the small home he designed and
built. Along with sawdust and shavings while learning his new found love
of timber framing, Jason enjoys being covered in grease, spending his
spare time turning wrenches on classic cars and is currently working on
a ‘72 El Camino SS.
Originally from Steubenville, Ohio, Jon
discovered the American College of Building Arts in Charleston, South
Carolina where they offer traditional courses in Masonry, Plaster work,
Iron works, Stone carving, and Finish carpentry. They also offered a
course on Timber Framing which got Jon’s attention. He still finds
pleasure in the harmony of artistic and scientific beauty that is daily
demonstrated in the joinery at our shop. Jon is equally skilled at
calculating trigometric values and in carving elegant reliefs on
timbers. In earlier lives Jon has been a high school math teacher and a
title-researcher. He has aspirations to purchase a ‘fixer-upper’ with
several acres where he can settle down in his new home of Eastern
Tennessee. Jon gets a hoot out of corny jokes and is widely known for
telling his fair share.
Adam is a native son of the Cumberland
Plateau and fell in love with timber framing the first time he stepped
into the shop as a young graduate from the local Tech School. He enjoys
every aspect of the work and greets each challenge with a ready smile.
Adam recently married his high school sweetheart Tasha and they just
completed work on an older home where they now reside. They both enjoy
the outdoors and Adam relishes the hunting season. He claims what he
really enjoys most in life is, “spending the day fishing on Dale Hollow
Lake with my lovely wife.”
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