Over the last two decades, the historic craft of timber framing in residential construction has experienced a revival. Experience the fundamentals of designing and constructing a timber frame using mortise and tenon joinery. Students will learn layout techniques, tool use and sharpening, and joinery cutting methods as we work on a small timber frame project, culminating in a raising on the final day. Evening lectures will address the history of the craft, finishing techniques, and mechanical systems for timber frame houses. We will also cover frame design, joinery choices, and integration of frame and house design. This course will focus on traditional hand-cut joinery and tools and will also demonstrate some of the power tools used by modern timber framers.
Course start time: Sunday, 5pm
Course end time: Saturday, 5pm
"The instructors absolutely made the course. Their unflagging good cheer and friendliness made my time here memorable and wonderful vacation."
"Great Workshop! I am inspired by the use of hand tools and focus on technique. Thanks for all the dedication of instructors and staff."
"The instructor’s combination of directness and professionalism combined with their sense of humor made the overall atmosphere. It set the tone and everyone responded to it."
"Every aspect was fun, exciting and educational. Josh and Skip are extremely cool guys and such strong and patient educators. If I had to choose the strongest part of a course so full of highlights, I'd have to choose the confidence it has instilled me with. I went into the course with quite little carpentry and handtool experience and after six inspiring days, I feel capable and energized."
- Competency Level: Beginner to Intermediate
- Sterling College credits: 2 Continuing Education Units ($260 additional)
- AIA credits: 35 HSW Learning Units
Timber Framing Syllabus
Timber framing is the craft of building with posts and beams, joists and rafters, all connected by wooden joinery. This carpentry tradition goes back well over a thousand years in Europe, and longer yet in Asia. While in many parts of the world, timber frame carpentry traditions are alive and well, in America it has experienced a resurgence after being neglected for light stick framing. With the revival of interest in the craft in our country has come an openness to experimentation and exploration of world carpentry traditions. Timber framing in America today is an exciting blend of old and new, West and East.
Our class project will be to cut and raise a small timber frame. Students will learn how to draw out joinery on timbers using the traditional Square Rule layout system; cut mortise and tenon joints using hand tools; and assemble and raise the frame. We will divide our course schedule between the daytime hands-on learning of woodworking skills as we cut our frame, and the evening sessions, where we will view slides and discuss a variety of topics relating to timber frame design and construction.
• Jack Sobon. Building a Classic Timber-Framed House
• Jack Sobon and Roger Schroeder, Timber Frame Construction
Who is it for?
Anyone who is interested in the building craft of timber framing. All students, no matter what skill level they bring to the class, will participate actively in the cutting and erecting of a timber frame project.
In the past our students have included professional builders who want to shift their careers into timber frame building, architects and designers, owner-builders and hobby woodworkers who want to build a modest timber frame structure for themselves, as well as potential timber frame homeowners who want an intimate education in the art of timber framing.
We will begin Sunday evening with introductions both to timber framing as a craft, and to your fellow students who will be working together to cut the class project frame.
The weekdays that follow will be centered around hands-on work and demonstrations. The instructors will demonstrate Square Rule layout; how to efficiently use handsaws, chisels, and other tools; how to cut a mortise and a tenon; how to sharpen tools; how to lay out rafters; and more.
In several of the evenings, there will be slide shows and discussions. Possible evening topics include: historic and modern timber frames, frame engineering and design, wall systems for enclosing the frame, and mechanical systems for timber frame homes. Other evenings may have more shop time; a field trip; or free time to spend in the library or visiting with other Yestermorrow students.
On the last day of the class, we will assemble the frame and raise it: either completely by hand in the traditional way, or with the assistance of a crane.
• sensible shoes (no open toes)
• carpenter's pencils
• water bottle
• rain gear and warm layers for an all-weather raising
• hat for shading from the sun
If You Already Have it, Bring Along:
• 25' tape measure
• framing square
• combination square
• handsaws (26”)
• framing chisel
If you don't have these, or don't even know what they are, don't worry. The school has enough tools for all students to use, and you will be taught how to select good tools at reasonable prices for a timber framing tool kit of your own.