Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Building and Gardens of Stark Mountain Woodworking

The Stark Mountain workshop occupies a breeze-block building 168 feet long by 36 feet wide, on the edge of the village in New Haven, Vermont. Originally, the first two floors were used to house chickens.  Over the years the building was also used as a grain co-op, a machine shop, a furniture storage facility and a commercial pottery. Stark moved into the building in July 1997. At first, half of the space was shared with the pottery, but within two years Stark had taken over the entire building. A 2100 square feet addition was built in 2004 for the handling of solid woods and another 1900 square feet was added in 2013 for sheet goods.


In 2007, a garden was designed and planted to soften the long street-facing side of the building. The design included a small visitor car park with a path leading to a new front entrance. A new company sign was also installed.

Several years later, hops were planted and trained up the height of the building, with a view to Stark Mountain producing its own beer (Stark Raving IPA, Dovetail Ale, Stark Stout?). The hops have grown well, but unfortunately the variety proved to be purely ornamental and not suitable for beer brewing. The foliage does shade the west-facing windows and add to the lushness of the landscaping.



Workshop with new garden in June 2007


Front Entrance Door June 2009


 Garden in June 2012, showing the hops reaching the roof



Windows and Doors for Fort Ticonderoga, New York

In the 18th century, Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain was a French stronghold guarding the narrow water highway connecting New France with Britain’s American colonies. At the end of the French and Indian War, the fort was in the hands of the British. On May 10, 1775, Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain boys captured the fort from the British in an early morning raid. It was considered the first American victory of the Revolution.


Today this historic site is maintained by the Fort Ticonderoga Association, which was established in 1909 by the Pell family, who owned the property. As part of an ongoing restoration program, the Stark Mountain workshop rebuilt and replaced the round and square-topped solid white oak casement windows and heavy plank doors on the King’s Warehouse. The original building, which was used for storing gun powder, was destroyed by the French in 1759. It was reconstructed in 2008 and rededicated as the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. The workshop is now making replacement windows for the Soldiers’ Barracks.


The restoration of the Mars Center was based on extensive historical research by the architect, Andrew Wright of Tonetti Associates of New York, and consulting historians. The contractor was Bread Loaf Corporation, under Project Manager Paul Wyncoop.  For historical accuracy, it was important to ensure the correct placement of the recreated  door and window hardware. Old glass, found on the property, was incorporated whenever possible. Surfaces were painted with historically accurate colors and linseed oil-based paints from Europe.


The rough white oak destined to become the windows.


Image-2Louis Dupont (l) discusses the windows with David Rose who milled and assembled the windows and doors.

Puttying the windows with linseed oil and chalk putty from Sweden
The glass for the windows is held in by the traditional method of puttying, using a special linseed oil and chalk putty from Sweden.
Fort Ticonderoga Window and Door HardwareThe hardware for the windows and doors was specially forged and had to be installed in the traditional locations on the units.

P1120691A completed window.



The main round topped door in the King’s Warehouse.


A square topped door.

double-photoExterior (l) and interior construction of the door.


Restored King’s Warehouse, now the Mars Education Center, showing new windows and doors.

P1120717 - Version 2

View from the battlements over Lake Champlain.