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Heartwood School: Converting Trees to Timber

This course includes the Game of Logging™ tree identification, woodlot management, harvesting timber, chainsaws, hewing, and milling.

Timber framed buildings last hundreds of years if built and maintained properly, and can be viewed as a more sustainable use of structural wood than light framing. The craft relies on a continual and sustainable yield from the forest, and the proper management and selection of trees from local woodlands can provide numerous benefits now and in the future. In New England, we are fortunate to have maturing forests that supply an abundant variety of tree species.

In this course, students will learn how to maintain a woodlot for future generations of builders and woodworkers. Architect, author, and timber framer Jack Sobon (Hand Hewn: The Traditions, Tools, and Enduring Beauty of Timber Framing) will show us how he manages his own stand of pines for sustainable yield. We will learn various techniques to identify the species of hardwoods and softwoods on the stump, and how to estimate the volume of wood before the tree is cut.

We will demonstrate how to safely and efficiently cut trees and get them out of the woods. Special emphasis will be placed on the safe and proper operation of the chainsaw: its versatility often makes it the best tool for the job at hand but requires a thorough understanding of the chainsaw's use, maintenance, and sharpening.

This course includes the Game of Logging (GOL), a two-day certification course appropriate for landowners and woodworkers who want to fell their own trees. GOL is widely acknowledged as the premier hands-on chainsaw and timber harvesting training program. Top instructors across the country combine demonstration with participation to teach safety, productivity, conservation, and cutting techniques. Level I introduces participants to open-face felling and safety, including protective equipment, chainsaw safety features, and reactive forces, bore cutting, pre-planning the fell, and understanding hinge wood strength. Level II focuses on maximizing chainsaw performance through maintenance, carburetor setting, and filing. We'll dive into limbing and bucking techniques, spring pole cutting, and more felling.

Turning round logs into square timbers ("conversion") will be demonstrated and practiced. This includes traditional hand tool techniques such as hewing, riving, and more. We skid logs out of the forest to the log landing, where we will demonstrate conversions using a portable WoodMizer™ band sawmill and use axes for hewing logs into timber.

Please Note:
This course takes place in Windsor, MA, NOT at our Schoolhouse in Alstead, NH.


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