Finch Woodworks is a custom Design+Build company located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. We specialize in the design, construction, and repair of timber framed structures for commercial, residential and historic projects. Timber framing is a 2,600+ year old tradition of joining wood to wood without metal fasteners. Instead, the intersections of the structural elements are connected by a pegged mortise and tenon joint. The longevity of timber framed buildings throughout Asia, Europe, and early North America is a testament to their durability and appeal. Timber framing has always been a “green” construction method: we use wood that took 100 years to grow and create a building that will last 300 years or more – that is the essence of sustainability.
We approach our work from the standpoint of the Aristotelian “architect”: the one who aspires to know both the how and the why of the object. For us, the design process is never far from the building process; the what to be built is always informed by the how to be built. This approach considers the strengths and weaknesses of wood and how to best utilize them to create a work of grace and efficiency.
We can begin from a napkin sketch and a conversation or we can work with existing drawings to implement timber elements in a preexisting program. We frequently work in conjunction with architects, builders and owners to facilitate ideas and design within a given budget. Whatever your needs, Finch Woodworks understands the value of clear communication and will work with you to define and realize your ideas.
We seek a balance of appropriate technologies in our work, and are constantly finding solutions from both medieval and modern times. We often incorporate classical drafting techniques – circular or “daisy wheel” geometry – as a means of designing structures that are mathematically proportional and based on an underlying geometric order. The possibilities of complexity within this system are endless, but require only a compass and straightedge to produce. As a complement, we also use a 3D CAD program to model the frame from the geometrically derived working points. These models provide an opportunity for everyone to see the project more fully and consider the spaces and volumes long before anything is built. Conveniently, these models are easily transferrable into professional quality architectural line drawings which become the basis of the construction documents for planning, permitting, pricing and building.
Once the design is completed and approved, the process of transferring the ideas from paper to wood begins. We take great care in selecting timbers of appropriate size, quality and species. We enjoy the technical challenge of working with Nature to find natural curves and unique pieces which stretch our abilities, highlight the frame and resolve structural forces in the building. By utilizing the layout methods of several different timber framing traditions, we are able to join any number of timbers together in any number of relationships. Incorporating both modern and ancient tooling and techniques, we shape the mortise and tenon joinery to precise tolerances in our 2,000 sq. ft. workshop. Once the joinery is cut, we pre-fit all assemblies and plane and oil the timbers. The completed frame is carefully delivered to site and erected by us in a matter of days – we call it “old school modular”. The raising is the grand culmination after several months of planning and cutting; it is always a memorable day for both the builder and the client. We continue the process with complete General Contracting services, as the project requires. These may include project management, frame enclosure, whole home building, and other specialty woodwork. We are committed to providing exceptional workmanship on-time and on-budget.
Finch Woodworks is owned and operated by Jordan Finch. After graduating from the Great Books Program at St. John’s College in 2000, I began a two year apprenticeship with Vicco Von Voss, a German-trained furniture maker in Chestertown, MD. We built custom, commission-based pieces of contemporary design with traditional wood joinery out of fine hardwoods which we milled ourselves. During this time Vicco and I learned timber framing by attending workshops held by the Timber Framers Guild, constructing two small shop buildings and beginning his own home. It was here that I came to appreciate the entire process of building from a tree to the finished form. A desire to participate in the long line of master builders grew inside of me and I sought the highest level of craft that I could find. My involvement with the Guild proved invaluable, allowing me to connect with several talented timber framers and companies throughout the East Coast. For the next two years I worked as an itinerant to develop my skills and learn in the field from others in the trade.
In 2004 my wife and I settled in Virginia, started our family and Finch Woodworks opened its doors. We now have three beautiful children, a wonderful shop and many happy clients throughout the mid-Atlantic, Southeast and mountain West. I continue my involvement with the Guild by being on the Projects committee and teaching workshops. I am proud to share our developing body of work with you and I am grateful to all who have helped us develop our craft. My goal is simple: to grow as a craftsman and to provide the best work possible.