Timber Framing Intensive

This course combines the core of our previous timber framing, homebuilding, and apprenticeship curriculums into one package for those seeking a career in the building trades 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 erection of a timber frame built during the class. 

Students, instructor, and client on a completed frame

Heartwood instructor demonstrating tool use

After 40 years of presenting a wide variety of homebuilding and timber framing-related courses, this intensive program includes the most essential elements for the modern carpenter to possess. We have eliminated much of the theoretical classroom information that is now readily available from other sources (online, video, etc) and focused instead on the hands-on exercises and experience that are best obtained under the personal guidance of an expert instructor.  


The four-week intensive includes the curriculum from our one-week timber framing course, plus the additional content described below. All joinery typically found in house and barn construction can be experienced in either timber framing course. 

Morning sessions will include introductions to, and practice with, tools and techniques through classroom and shop presentations and exercises. Afternoons are spent applying these skills to a timber frame project that will be completed over the four-week period; other demonstration projects will be included as appropriate to support the morning sessions.

No experience is required to take the four-week Timber Framing Intensive program. Our hands-on one-week Timber Framing course each builds a complete timber frame and requires no previous experience but doesn't present the supporting material from our Intensive course. 

Week One

man reading instructions, standing next to a timber on a sawhorse

An introduction to the basics of building, including carpentry, woodworking, and general house building principles. Morning sessions will cover hand and portable power tool use, tool sharpening, joinery, conventional stick framing, and shop tools. We will be doing a tour of a woodlot, discussing tree species and their uses, as well as understanding how to maintain a woodlot for future generations of builders and woodworkers.  

Week Two

A group of people gathered outside under a tent with timbers on sawhorses

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. 

Week Three

man reviewing measurements next to timber.

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.

Week Four

The final week concentrates on roof framing and compound joinery for both stick-framed and timber-framed construction. The combination of drawing and basic roof math empowers the builder with a far wider variety of building shapes. The skills learned in this week are applicable to conventional framing as well as timber work, furniture with splayed legs, stairs, finish carpentry, and any project where angled planes and pieces meet at a combination of angles. 

A team of people working together to raise part of a timber frame structure.

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