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Author Topic: Timber Framing Schools  (Read 10850 times)

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Offline 1 Quart Low

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Timber Framing Schools
« on: January 19, 2007, 11:54:36 PM »
Hello!  I'm new to the forum and I am hoping that someone can provide me some information concerning the numerous schools and workshops that teach timber-framing.  I have a desire to build my own home and I am very intriqued by the TF
style.  I have limited construction experience, and I know that I need some serious hands on training.  However, I can't leave my job for an apprenticeship or school that is several months long.  I have been survey the different schools on the net and found several two weeks and under.  Question:  Can someone with my limited experience learn what I need to know to build and erect a TF with only two weeks of training?  Could you give me your training experience and how you got started in the
Timber Framing World.  I am looking for some direction, instead of floating.  Thanks.

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2007, 08:23:54 AM »
Question:  Can someone with my limited experience learn what I need to know to build and erect a TF with only two weeks of training?

First of all, welcome.

And, that really depends on you, and maybe your design. If you want something really fancy with a lot of compound joinery, I'd say no, unless you do a lot of studying and make a lot of sample joints.
If you are going to do a fairly simple design without a lot of compound joinery then maybe.
Most start with a simple design like a shed or outbuilding to learn there and make their mistakes out back before doing the "front" house.
There is a school in TN but I don't have the link right now. Goshen is good also....
And there are lots of schools in the Northeast. I've been to most of them, in one way or another.
Making a model of your intended "house" frame is another way to learn a lot about how it will all go together.

Good luck with your research and project, and keep asking questions.

Jim Rogers
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
Woodmizer 1994 LT30HDG24 with 6' Bed Extension

Offline bigshow

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2007, 10:46:06 AM »
I can personally recommend Great Lakes School of Log Building in Isabella, MN - yeah its not entirely TF, but this course is single handedly responsible for at least instilling me with confidence that undertaking my own home, is in fact, do able.  In my opinion, doing a straighforward kingpost in round log is much more challenging than milled timbers.  Located in a gorgeous setting in the Northwoods.

The Timberframing course at the North House Folk school in Grand Marais, MN was excellent as well.  Set RIGHT ON the North shore of Lake Superior, another truly excellent experience.

I believe i have the skills to do a cape or saltbox.  My frame will have a couple compound joints that i must practice on smaller stock - but i would not say I'm ready for a complicated roof design at this point.

If i dont start my frame this year, i may travel to the Heartwood school to take the course on compound joinery.  I find the articles a bit lacking on compound joinery - i think to have a great amount of confidence, i would want to see them done and do them under supervision (I need an adult!!!).
I never try anything, I just do it.

Offline Raphael

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2007, 11:05:07 AM »
  As Jim said you can probably learn enough to cut a simple frame from a two week class (even a one week class may be enough).  My experience with TF schools is limited to Heartwood, I recommend them highly.
  The other aspect of the process you want to get a handle on is raising the frame, the class you take might or might not end with a raising, but it generally equates to just a short overview of the process.  It'd be a good idea to attend some raisings if you can before attempting it with your own frame, some TF companies have raisings open to the public (or people on their mailing lists) and many schools open their raisings to former students.
... he was middle aged,
and the truth hit him like a man with no parachute.
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Offline scgargoyle

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2007, 07:26:14 PM »
You can check with grandoakstimberframing in Paris TN. They offer workshops and apprenticeships.
I hope my ship comes in before the dock rots!

Offline 1 Quart Low

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2007, 07:34:28 PM »
Thanks for all the feedback.  I've narrowed down my choices to Fox Maple, Heartwood, and GrandOaks.  I'm sure that all of these will not be available when I
want to go (late Spring, early Summer).  Does anyone have any recent experience
with Grand Oaks?  It definitely would be closer, but I am not opposed to travelling
North.  Thanks again.

Offline DWM II

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2007, 07:49:12 PM »
I have been thinking of going to Grandoaks myself, you really need to try and contact Thomas-in-Kentucky, he attended their workshop.

Scroll down a couple of threads and look at what he's been building.
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Offline Tremel

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2007, 08:29:21 AM »
I'm all set to attend in April.  I'm looking forward to some time away from the office.  I also have some relatives in the Jackson, TN area.  Looking forward to a good time.
Bill Tremel
Claysville, PA
Collector of Antique engines, Trucks, tractors and hobby farmer.

Offline Jayson

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2007, 07:04:38 PM »
I attended one of Steve Chappel's workshops and loved it. I know that the travelling workshops he does in South Dakota and Costa Rica really do benefit those communities(some of the poorest in the country). So if you want to do more than feed your head, consider making the trip out there. It is sure to be a cool project and the culture you'll be exposed to is amazing. I built my dad's barn (24x24) right after the workshop and it turned out pretty nice. I did conventional framing, poured foundations and built lots of porches and decks the 10 years prior to that though. To say the least I knew my way around the jobsite before I attempted my first timberframe. In fact I practiced my cutting technique on many structures (decks,outbuilding and porches) using standard lumber before I ever went to a workshop. It really helped me get a feel for the tools I use when timberframing. Another thing I did and I'm convinced you can't do enough of is read. Some books can be hard to find but it is worth the effort. There are many styles out there. I think it takes everyone a while to find what style best fits their project. Be sure to consider that when picking a mentor. I have worked with several guys and each and everyone has a different method. They all have similarities but none are exactly alike. That is what I love most about this trade is that you seem to never quit learning. So I say to you do a workshop and then search this stuff out. Put your hands on some timbers as often as possible. Another thing to consider is the fact that the tools to perform the work can be extensive and expensive. So look for people in your area that may be considering doing a frame also. You could not only help each other out but you could also share some tools. Best of luck. Oh yeah did I mention read,read,and then read some more. I have not searched the forum for a list of books but I bet it is here.Best of luck

Offline bigshow

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2007, 12:38:08 PM »
what??? Steve Chappell does workshops in South Dakota??? you have any details???
I never try anything, I just do it.

Offline Thomas-in-Kentucky

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2007, 12:45:20 PM »
I would highly recommend Grand Oaks.  The instructor, Scott Stevens, is excellent.  In fact, after the workshop, he visited my house site 3 times and help me cut some joinery.  (for a reasonable fee)  In his previous life, among other things, Scott was a school teacher and now homeschools his own kids, so he really knows how to "instruct", whereas some professionals are not necessarily good teachers.  When I took the class, there was also a 16 yr. old boy (and his father), and a 70 year old retiree (and his son) at the workshop, so all levels can benefit from the class.  If you have a wife who is halfway interested (and a stake-holder in the final product you hope to build), I would recommend convincing her to go along with you and take the class (although this did not occur to me until I got to the class and realized how laid back it was).

Within the one week workshop, I gained enough confidence to tackle my own house project.  (Although I really didn't know how much work I was biting off - never having built a house of any kind before.)  A wiser thing to do, would be to take the frame plans for the cabin (he gives you a very complete set of plans in the class!!!), and cut that (and then roof it, and wrap it, and floor it, etc etc etc.) on your own before tackling a house.  As was said earlier in this thread, make sure the workshop that you attend culminates in a frame raising.  At grand oaks, we raised the frame by hand on the last day of the workshop and for me that is when it really all started to click in my head.  There is no way to really get an appreciation for the tolerances required in your joinery and timbers, unless you've tried to put a frame together!  Unrelated to Grand Oaks, I was also later able to visit a full house raising (previously cut by CNC in a factory) done by crane... which is a whole 'nother ball game.

If you sign up early enough for the grand oaks workshop, they have a timberframe cabin (very similar to the one you would be cutting!) that you can stay in for the week for no more than what a hotel would cost you.

Good luck,
Thomas

http:massiehouse.blogspot.com

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Timber Framing Schools
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2007, 02:54:24 PM »
what??? Steve Chappell does workshops in South Dakota??? you have any details???

Go to his website and you'll find the details there.
I think it's foxmaple dot com

Jim Rogers
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
Woodmizer 1994 LT30HDG24 with 6' Bed Extension


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