Our Wood


North central Massachusetts has an abundance of timber resources. In fact, Massachusetts has more timber land now than it did 150 years ago. Almost 85% of the state is forested; in 1850 about 85% of the state was farmland. The major lumber species in our area are white pine, eastern hemlock, red oak, and white oak. We have used all of these woods for timber frames.

We strongly encourage the use of sustainably harvested local timber to keep costs down (including the embodied energy of the timber) and support local forestry and mills.

We are fortunate to have an abundance of species to choose from here in central Massachusetts, including white pine, hemlock, red oak, white oak, cherry, yellow birch and sugar maple. We’ll incorporate almost any species into the frame as long as it is structurally viable. Each have their own unique qualities. We are also happy to use timber harvested from your own woodland. This creates an even deeper connection between the house and its surroundings.

Tom Musco, the founder and principle timber framer of Royalston Oak, began his professional woodworking career as a musical instrument apprentice to Peter S Kyvelos in Belmont, Massachusetts in 1973. Tom spent several years making and repairing a variety of Middle Eastern and Western stringed musical instruments. One of his dulcimers was featured in the first Fine Woodworking Design Book in 1976. Tom and his wife Judy moved to Royalston, Massachusetts in 1977 and began building timber frames, an interest he discovered in a beautiful timber-frame barn on his in-laws farm in Petersham, Massachusetts. His first frame was for his shop and his second frame was for his house. He made furniture and timber frames until 1980 when his shop was struck by lightening and burned to the ground along with all his tools and machinery. He built a new timber framed shop with the help of his neighbors and began timber framing full time. Tom was a founding member of the Timber Framers Guild. He has done workshops in NE ( Pembroke workshop at TFG ) and England. In 1989 Tom and his crew participated in the famous Concord Barn Raising episode of This Old House. He has built timber frames in New York State, the Hamptons, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alaska, and all the New England states except Rhode Island. Tom has crafted almost 200 timber frames since 1977. Tom is also an excellent cook with an interest in food of Sicily, where 3 of his 4 grandparents were born. He has written a series of articles on Sicilian food which you can read at the website of the Umass Journalism in Sicily Program.