Timber Framing Intensive

May 1- May 20, 2023.  (Meets Monday through Saturday of each week)

This course combines the core of our previous timber framing, homebuilding, and apprenticeship curriculums into one package for those seeking a career in timber framing or a deeper understanding of the skills needed to build their own timber frame. It's ideal for those who seek more opportunities for development than are provided in our one-week courses.

The course includes morning classroom exercises, shop demonstrations and practice, and afternoon hands-on projects, all culminating with the raising of a timber frame built during the class. 

Over the years, the Heartwood School has focused on hands-on exercises and classroom experiences that are best obtained under the guidance of expert instructors.  This course will encompass many aspects of a forest-to-frame approach to allow the novice or the experienced student to get maximum benefit from their participation. After completion of this course, students will have a greater understanding of the history of timber framing, tool use and maintenance, design and joinery decisions, timber conversion, and the cutting, layout and raising techniques necessary for traditional timber framing.


Morning sessions will include introductions to, and practice with, tools and techniques through classroom and shop presentations and demonstrations. Afternoons are spent applying these skills to a timber frame project that will be completed over the three-week period.

No experience is required to take this three-week Timber Framing Intensive program. If you are short on time, please see our hands-on one-week Timber Framing course which provides a brief overview of many of the concepts taught in this class.

Week One

An introduction to the basics of building, including carpentry, building safety, and general house building principles. Morning sessions will cover timber frame history and terminology, hand and portable power tool use, tool sharpening, how to review plans, material handling, layout and cutting joinery. We will tour a woodlot, discuss tree species and their uses.

Week Two

The second week of the course covers design, engineering, and joinery decisions, focusing on timber frames but also the relevant building codes for conventional residential design. It is geared towards timber framers who want to know where to place timbers, how to size them, what wooden joints to select, and why.  We will also cover enclosure systems and peg making.

Week Three

The third week is focused on scribing and using natural forms such as tree shapes in your project. It involves laying out and transferring joinery intersections from one timber to another using plumb bobs, levels, and marking devices instead of tape measures and math. This traditional method is useful for incorporating out-of-square, curved, or oddly shaped pieces into a timber frame.  We will introduce roof layout and raising safety. The class will culminate with the raising of the course timber frame.


Jack Sobon, Skip Dewhirst, & Neil Godden

Jack A. Sobon is an architect, builder, and teacher specializing in timber framed buildings.  Since 1980 he has devoted his life to understanding the craft of timber framing.  Using only traditional hand tools and often starting right in the forest, he has framed and erected over 50 structures.  As an architect, he consults on historic structures as well as designing new timber framed structures.  He was a founding director of the Timber Framers Guild and founder of the Traditional Timber Frame Research and Advisory Group, an offshoot of the Guild.  He has four books to his credit including his latest: Hand Hewn, the Traditions, Tools, and Enduring Beauty of Timber Framing.

Skip Dewhirst is a furniture maker and timber framer. He has been actively pursuing his passion for woodworking and teaching for over 35 years. Skip was introduced to the joy of crafting beautiful things by hand at a young age by his grandmother and is fulfilled by helping others realize their own sense of accomplishment that comes from making something beautiful and strong. He has had the pleasure to teach well over 100 classes in furniture making, woodworking, timber framing and natural building workshops at Rocky Mountain Workshops,Yestermorrow Design Build School, Dartmouth College, Rancho Mastatal, Bona Fide, and Mao Organic Farm. 
Skip brings his dedication and passion to designing, building, and crafting with wood to the courses he teaches and the things that he builds.  When he is not teaching, Skip can be found building timber frame homes and barns, in his woodshop making custom furniture or handmade instruments, or roaming the Vermont woods in search of wild mushrooms.

Neil Godden has been a timber frame contractor in western Massachusetts specializing in building traditional timber frames using primarily hand tools since 2000. Neil received his Civil Engineering degree from the University at Buffalo in 1996. Soon after, he completed an apprenticeship under master builder Jack Sobon and he has been in love with the craft ever since.

Neil demonstrates a passion for timber framing in all that he builds, and this is evident in the many timber-framed buildings he has built, and in the workshops, he has taught throughout the years. As an experienced timber framer, Neil enjoys sharing his knowledge and techniques for this time-tested craft.  Neil has been an instructor at the Heartwood School since 2005. He has taught at many Timber Framers Guild Community Building Projects over the years, including the Bayles Boat Shed Long Island Seaport and Eco-Center (Long Island, NY), Sunrise Mill hand tool workshop (Schwenksville, PA) and was the Project Manager for Champlain Canal Visitor's Center (Schuylerville, NY). Neil taught a cruck frame workshop at Pingree Campus of Colorado State University (near Fort Collins, CO). Neil also teaches a Timber Frame Workshop at the Hancock Shaker Village (Hancock, MA). Neil instructed with Jack Sobon in the summer of 2021, teaching a Square Rule Workshop on the Island of Gotland in Sweden.

Recommended Reading:

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*For any questions, please contact the Heartwood School at request@heartwoodschool.com or 1-603-678-1156.

May 1, 2023 - May 20, 2023 $3,500

3 spots remaining.


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