Hamlet Heavy Timberwork is one of the few companies in Eastern Canada with the skills and experience required to carry out sensitive conservation work to historic timber structures of importance. Some of the conservation organizations we have worked and collaborated with over the years include:
- Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), England
- The Transylvania Trust, Romania
- Riksantikvaren (Cultural Heritage Directorate), Norway
- Historic Scotland
- Parks Department, City of Montreal
- Heritage Department, City of Mississauga
- Weald and Downland Open-Air Museum, England
- York University, Conservation Program, England
- Willowbank School for Restoration Arts, Ontario
- Ministère des Transports, Québec
Levels of Service:
We’re able to contribute to a conservation project in a number of ways. At the outset we can be engaged to carry out structural assessments, surveys and detailed drawings, and repair & maintenance schedules. This information helps the client and conservation professional create a conservation strategy and next steps for the building. This strategy will outline how interventions should be carried out, and which parts of the building should be left untouched.
The conservation work we undertake usually involves one of the following approaches:
- Stabilization: We will temporarily stabilize the structure in order to buy time so that a longer term conservation strategy can be created and put into place.
- Repair & Replacement: Usually involves in-situ repairs to structural elements and their connections. Timbers deemed beyond repair or unable to carry future loads will be replaced with in-kind material, respecting the original species, scantlings (where applicable) and where appropriate, conversion method used (hand hewn, pit-sawn, mechanically sawn).
- Dismantle & Re-erection: In special circumstances, and depending on the conservation methods used, we will dismantle the timber structure, and carry out the repair work at our production facility. Careful survey work including detailed drawings and photographs allow us to re-erect the structure at a later date exactly as it was before dismantling.
- Authentic Reconstruction: In some cases there is little or nothing left of the original timber structure to conserve, or it will be unable to withstand new loads created through adaptive re-use. Aided by documentary evidence from historical archives, photographs, original architectural drawings and surviving contemporary structures, we are able to produce a nearly identical match of what was originally standing.
Repair Methods & Materials:
There are many different ways to approach the same problem in conservation, and this holds true when it comes to carrying out actual repairs. New timber is generally stitched together with the historic fabric using the following three connection materials: Wood, metal and epoxy resins. The material used will depend on several determining factors including:
- the desired aesthetic for the structure after conservation
- the ‘reversibility’ required for the repairs
- flexibility required at the repair location
- weather & site conditions
- access to the structural elements needing repair
- the long term maintenance program for the building
- anticipated structural loads (especially important in adaptive re-use projects)
In order to ensure a successful outcome it’s important to have detailed discussions with the owner and conservation professional to determine their goals and expectations before committing to a particular conservation approach or repair methods.