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History

Bensonwood’s history begins with the history of building in New England. The durable, honestly crafted buildings framed in heavy timbers and held together by mortise-and-tenon joinery were the dominant form of construction in America until the late 1800s. But the craft of timber framing eventually died, due to new building methods, the westward expansion, and the increasing need to build quickly.

In 1974, Tedd Benson observed these remarkable structures — many of which had stood for more than two centuries — and reasoned that the ancient craft of timber framing could be made viable again with modern tools and would yield great benefits in durability and beauty in contemporary homes.

ken burns barnTedd began by studying old barns and houses before building his first few timber frames, recreating the joinery he found in those historic spaces. Along the way, his work attracted dedicated woodworkers into the hill country of southwestern New Hampshire and Benson Woodworking Company was formed. Together, these coworkers and adventurers rediscovered the long-forgotten craft of framing buildings with heavy timbers, as they worked to meld centuries-old craft with the needs of contemporary buildings — insulation, plumbing, electricity, and communication systems. Their efforts yielded a near endless series of innovative ideas. As Bensonwood has grown, the relentless drive toward better building strategies has continued.

Today, Bensonwood has more than 80 people working toward one common goal: to create better homes and commercial structures for a more rewarding living experience and a sustainable future.

From the beginning of our company, we have been humbled by the New England traditions of valuing community and working together to build both a better society and building stock for future generations. This is the ethos and physical reality that inspired our company. The revival of timber frame construction could not have happened outside of a place ensconced in its proven benefits, and high-performance building is only a continuation of centuries of the search for more sustainable methods and lifestyles.