Isaac McCormick house   | Andrew Miller cabin Knizel dogtrot    | Fachwerk farm 

HOME

ANATOMY OF A LOG BUILDING

PORTFOLIO

CONSULTATIONS

TESTIMONIALS

FAQ

WOODWRIGHT SHOP

TIM KILBY

 

CONTACT

TIM@TKILBY.COM

636 . 987 . 2679

 

 

Isaac McCormick House 

I had watched the previous owners work on the old house over the years but had only been inside it once years ago.  When they pulled the clapboard off to replace it with blue steel siding I noticed that every room had a fireplace at one time.  I began to think how great that house could be.    It had one bathroom from the 50's and 280 amps of sub panels running off of the original 60 amp box. Yes, the lights blinked a lot . There were vines growing inside the living room, no insulation, no heating or cooling but it did come with a wood stove!  Five years later I married and moved nearby, down the road.  The time was right.

I drew many different sets of plans, but kept coming back to the original footprint and decided I didn't want to change it.  We used Missouri Historic Tax Credits after having the house listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  We used Dendrocronology to date the logs.  We found that all the logs, about 20, were all felled in the winter of 1866-67.  We knew the original building date but not the remodel date.  The tax records showed the house remodeled in 1886. That seemed too close to the building date for a remodel and the builder was getting older by then.  I then found the old store ledgers from the Defiance general store from 1900-1915. I started flipping through them starting at the beginning, and looking under McCormick I found in 1904 the son was buying stove flue thimbles, sash cord, nails windows, etc...I reviewed the abstract again and it all fell together.  The father, Isaac, died in 1904 and the son Isaac ( he went by I.M.) bought the house and farm. Our goal was to take the house back to the fathers time of 1867. The 1904 addition had already been removed due to termites in 1981.   We took our time and started working on the house in our spare time.  The first year we just worked on Sundays removing the different layers.

There was one structural defect in the house that had to be addressed.  One of the second floor log partitions was offset from the log wall below by over 30".  Over the years the floor and upper wall sagged badly.  I did not want to put a post in the living room below, so I installed a beam in the attic that spanned from bearing wall to bearing wall and ran steel bolts down the door jamb in the sagging wall and pulled the wall up.  It worked great and you don't see a thing.  

We found all the original mantles in the chicken house and by measuring each one compared to the fire box openings in the logs we were able to size all the fire places and had them rebuilt.  The addition on the west side houses the bathrooms and laundry area.  I am very proud of this restoration and the house looks great on its original foundation where it has sat for 142 years.  My office and shops are on this farm and I am lucky to enjoy this house every day. It received the Preserve Missouri Award from the statewide organization Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation in 2006.

Tim Kilby

The Isaac McCormick house was original to the site it was restored on. In 1987 I bought the property that I later built the Knizel house on, which I sold in 1996. (For more on the Knizel house see below.)  The other half of the farm had an old farm house on it, which I wanted to buy  in 1989.  The only problem was that the owners didn't know they wanted to sell.  They were absentee owners and I had a feeling the timing was right.  The next time they came to visit I approached them with an offer and within an hour we had scribbled out a contract.  I went down the road to tell my (future) wife I had bought the farm.  She did not have a clue what I was talking about.

 
 Isaac McCormick house   | Andrew Miller cabin Knizel dogtrot    | Fachwerk farm 

TOP OF PAGE

HOME

ANATOMY OF A LOG BUILDING

PORTFOLIO

CONSULTATIONS

TESTIMONIALS

FAQ

WOODWRIGHT SHOP

TIM KILBY

Andrew Miller Cabin

Some times life is good.  I got a call one day,that like many calls, someone had a cabin to get rid of.  I told him I would be up in a day or two to take a look.  I arrived at the site to find a house covered in red cedar shingles and what was left of a barn smoldering in a pile.  The owner was a developer, clearing all buildings from the farm for future development.  In all there were two farm houses with barns. The excavator was in the rear of the farm finishing off the other house.

 
I found an open door in the rear of the house and went searching for the logs the owner said someone else had uncovered.  I went upstairs and thru one room and into anther when it happened;  my eyes got big, I grabbed my chest and stepped back.  I had never seen 22" logs in the Midwest.  I called the owner and let him know I would be able to help him rid the farm of the old house.  He gave me two weeks and no more.

I started the next morning, unwrapping the house which had three layers of siding, two layers of roofing and two layers of everything on the interior.  The good news was that very little was ever removed from the house.  They just covered things as they remodeled, once in the 1930's and again in the 70's. Behind the 1930's wall board (a precursor to drywall) I found hand planed beaded planks (16"-22") applied vertically with a great old milk paint.  When the beaded planks were removed, the front page of an 1840 news paper was stuck to the wall.   I also found a date in the chinking of 1827.  The only relevance I can tie to that date is the fact that the builder died on Dec. 31, 1826.  The funeral would of been in 27.

The original sashes were removed in the 1930's and casements were installed in the original walnut frames (that showed the ghost marks of the original double hung windows). Every timber in the house was hewn including the rafters which were hewn on all four sides.  The gable opposite the fireplace had two small diamond shaped holes cut in the hand rived siding for ventilation.  

The grave yard was about 80 yards from the house and it told a good story.  The Millers had moved to the St. Charles territory in 1818, from Lincoln County, North Carolina, now Hickory N.C. They came with their children and slaves.  Andrew died in 1826, his wife Jane stayed in the house until her death in 1840.  At that point the house went to one of the sons.

This was going to be a keeper for me, knowing that I would never come up with a cabin with this much history and quality.  I stored it knowing it may be there awhile and it was.  After some time I realized I had too many irons in the fire, and decided to find a good home for "Andy".  I knew this cabin deserved a museum quality restoration and it took a few try's before I found the right client.  In 2006 we broke ground in Manchester, Missouri for "Andy's" new home.   The logs were repaired and treated and delivered with over 50 tons of stone. The old homestead began to come to life.  A year later the house was done.  The wood clapboard was again protecting the logs. New walnut windows were handmade and put into the old original frames.  New walnut doors were made along with walnut staircase and mantles.........did I tell you about the 6' fire box downstairs?

 

On original site and after moving to new location

n

 

Andrew Miller cabin was nominated for a Preservation Award in 2008

A

 
 Isaac McCormick house   | Andrew Miller cabin Knizel dogtrot    | Fachwerk farm 

TOP OF PAGE

HOME

ANATOMY OF A LOG BUILDING

PORTFOLIO

CONSULTATIONS

TESTIMONIALS

FAQ

WOODWRIGHT SHOP

TIM KILBY

Knizel "dogtrot" cabin

The Knizel dogtrot was built by Mr. Knizel in 1881 for his new bride.  This was at least the third cabin he had built, which is somewhat of a feat. since he had but one finger and a thumb on his left hand as a result of an accident in his youth.

I found this cabin on Tradio, a local radio station's swap and sell show.  I was looking for a cabin for myself, and the farmer was staring at the old farm house, wondering how he was going to get rid of it. We met, I got the cabin and now he's comfortable in his new "double-wide."

This house was really a Victorian house with log framing.  It was never exposed inside or out.  The one notable feature of this house is that it is the earliest house I have found that had no square nails. Built in 1881, but every nail was round. This was the third cabin I dismantled and the second cabin I erected.  Back then I used 4 men and ropes to take the logs down and from there it was all man power.  It was my home for a time and featured in Country Home magazine in October 1996 and Log Home Liiving in Sept 98.

 

 

 Isaac McCormick house   | Andrew Miller cabin Knizel dogtrot    | Fachwerk farm 

TOP OF PAGE

HOME

ANATOMY OF A LOG BUILDING

PORTFOLIO

CONSULTATIONS

TESTIMONIALS

FAQ

WOODWRIGHT SHOP

TIM KILBY

Fachwerk farm

This house was dismantled in 1998.  It was one of the most interesting dismantles I have ever undertaken.  Not only was it the first full timber frame house I dismantled, but one of a classic German fachwerk style, untouched with modern amenities.  This house never had water installed, nor heating and cooling.  There was some electric, but not very much. Most all of the original fabric was in place.  The dismantle took about six weeks.  Every thing was saved and numbered, generating almost 35 pages of notes, drawings and measurements.

Some of the fascinating features of the house were the unusually long timbers through out the house.  The second story floor joists were over 34 feet in length, passing all the way through the house and another 7 feet to frame the porch ceiling. Since the floor had caved in, bringing the supporting wall with it, these timbers had bowed about 7 inches.  To complicate this, the porch posts were missing, causing the same timbers to bow again, leaving me with a timber that should be straight, looking more like a long lazy S.  I had to stress relieve these bends at two of the bearing points with steel mortised over the joint.  In the end, you only saw straight timbers.

This spaces between the timbers were filled with hand made brick 6 inches wide instead of the normal 4 inches.  This matched the thickness of the timbers, allowing a flush wall inside and out.  While dismantling the brick sections, we found many bricks with foot prints of turkeys, dogs and cats. Also there were several bricks showing math, as the maker was tallying up his days work. The greatest brick found was one with the signature of the maker which was so beautiful, it would rival a true John Hancock in quality. Most of the interior bricks where nothing more than mud.  Although the exterior looks like your seeing bricks, you are being fooled.  These bricks were parged over with a mortar mix and the bricks were hand painted on the plaster. This is a one of kind application in my experience.

The quality of the timber work is truly "Old World."  It exhibits many unique features including dragon tie beams and a corbeled second story. The house was tucked away in two storage lockers for over a year before a new site was found.  In 1999, the timbers were hauled out into the sunlight again, where repairs were made and the huge pile of timbers once again, became a home. This house was featured in August 2001 Country Home magazine.

before

finished

 
 Isaac McCormick house   | Andrew Miller cabin Knizel dogtrot    | Fachwerk farm 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 2009©DKF