Charlton’s Coffeehouse Frame-Raising

Those within an hour’s drive of Williamsburg should come this Saturday, December 20th, to watch the heavy timber frame of Charlton’s Coffeehouse be raised into place. The front wall and the upper level floor system will be erected starting at 9am, at the east end of Duke of Gloucester Street.

The frame has been cut entirely by hand and will be raised using only muscle power. It will be quite a sight.

From the official press release:

“Williamsburg, VA: Historic Trades carpenters with the assistance of 15 civil engineering students from the Virginia Military Institute’s corps of cadets and members of the Timber Framers Guild will raise the heavy timber-framed south wall and second floor framing of the coffeehouse without the aid of modern machinery. Applying ancient principles of physics and lifting technology common to the 18th century, the carpenters and cadets will erect the building’s timbers using A-frame cranes and old-fashioned muscle power.

The south wall will be raised and pegged into position between 9 – 10 a.m. At 10 a.m., the first of the five heavy timber tie beams that form the second floor framing will be lifted, placed in position and secured. The process of installing the tie beams should require about one hour per beam.

The Charlton’s coffeehouse project is one of the most important reconstructions on the Historic Area’s Duke of Gloucester Street in half a century thanks to a generous $5 million gift from Mr. and Mrs. Forrest E. Mars Jr.”

Don’t miss it.

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