Timber Framing

Session 1 (June 12-17) 6 days:  w/instructors Ariel Burns, Nicholas Russell, & Neil Godden

Session 2 (July 10-14) 5 Days: w/instructors Ariel Burns and Kyle Murphy

Session 3 (August 20-26) 7 Days: w/instructors David Maynard and Brian Snedecker

Session 4 (November 12-18) 7 days: w/instructors Skip Dewhirst, Seth Kelley, & Neil Godden

*To register for a Timber Framing course please scroll to bottom of page.


In this timber framing course, we will layout timbers using the traditional square rule method developed in the early 1800s. Participants will learn proper hand tool use and sharpening techniques and will also have the opportunity to make pegs using a shaving horse and draw knife. The instructors will provide demonstrations of how to layout and cut a mortise and tenon, how to layout and cut braces, how to layout and cut step lap rafter seats, and more. 

students working to put a timber frame together on raising day

This class will culminate with a hand raising of the newly cut timber frame. Students in this class will learn many aspects of traditional timber framing that should provide the basic skills and confidence to help them plan for and build their own timber frame structure in the future.


Ariel Burns, Nick Russell, Kyle Murphy, Skip Dewhirst, Dave Maynard, Neil Godden, Seth Kelley & Brian Snedecker.

Ariel Burns has been working in the world of building since her introduction to it in 2012 in Western North Carolina. She has explored the different realms of construction: backyard natural building, home renovations, high performance/green building, conventional carpentry, and traditional timber framing. Her career has included numerous natural building adventures alongside her mentor and cohort Liz Johndrow of Earthen Endeavors. In recent years, she has taught timber framing and natural plasters & finishes workshops with Liz all over New England and beyond. 
In 2016, Ariel landed herself at a sawmill-based timber frame shop in Central Maine. Nowadays, she splits her time between the sawmill and the boatyard where she resides. When at the boatyard, she's building high-end treehouses and outbuildings. When at the sawmill, she makes sawdust alongside a motley crew of framers there, known as Maine Heritage Timber Frames. She currently lives in midcoast Maine with her pet rabbit Willow. When not at work,  Ariel teaches yoga and plays drums in her heavy metal band. 

Nicholas Russell works as a timber framer in Saratoga Springs, NY, where he and his wife own and operate Tall Pine Timber Frames. Upon completing his B.A. in Music and Art History from Connecticut College, Nick devoted himself to the trades. From framework to architectural millwork, he worked as a carpenter and cabinetmaker for years, eventually running his own cabinet and millwork shop with a partner. As his interest in traditional building practices grew, he fell in love with the craft of timber framing and attended several courses at the Heartwood School. Prior to opening Tall Pine, Nick worked as a craftsman for a few timber frame shops, cutting and raising timber frames ranging from entryways and porches to large barns, houses and intricate roof systems. An active member of the Timber Framers Guild and TTRAG (Traditional Timber Frame Research Advisory Group), Nick has participated in many community-builds as he places great value on education and sharing this traditional craft. Constantly furthering his education, he is currently taking courses at the School of Practical Stereotomy. When he is not timber framing, he enjoys studying French and riding his vintage motorcycle.

Kyle Murphy lives in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he has been timber framing for 13 years and has owned and operated Falling Acorn Timber Frames for 11 years. He was first introduced to timber framing while working for a millwright, restoring historic gristmills. Through this work, he fell in love with the beauty, craft, and longevity that timber frames offer. Soon after, he attended Fox Maple School of Traditional Building, and subsequently other workshops up and down the east coast, devoted to continuing to learn the traditional craft. He served as a project manager for the Hidden Trace Farm Community Building Project in 2020 as well as serving as an instructor on several other Guild projects.  

Skip Dewhirst is a furniture maker, timber framer and has been actively pursuing his passion for woodworking and teaching for over 35 years. He 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.

David Maynard lives in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York and has been both a timber framer and a general contractor since the late 1980s. He got his start in timber framing when he hired on to an established timber framing company in Freeport, Maine. Armed with some book knowledge, lots of enthusiasm, and a growing love of the craft, he worked his way up to shop foreman. After five years time, he then moved to upstate New York where he lives and works to this day. Dave continues to pursue the craft of timber framing ever striving to be smarter than the wood. He is a long-standing member of the Timber Framers Guild and has participated in several guild community-build projects including the Habitat for Humanity Home Project (York County, Pennsylvania), the Speed River Covered Bridge (Guelf, Ontario, Canada), the Champlain Canal Visitors Center (Schuylerville, New York), and the Sunrise Mill Project (Schwenksville, Pennsylvania). Dave has taken part in several Heartwood courses both as student and instructor. He also has offered private timber frame workshops for children and adults. When he is not working, Dave spends time repairing restoring and paddling wooden canoes. 

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.

Originally from New Hampshire, Brian Snedecker began Timber framing in his early 20's. His
introduction to the craft was restoring historic barns and buildings in rural Vermont. This sensitive procedure, full of tradition and heritage, sparked Brian's passion for timber framing. He continues to incorporate historic joinery and practices into his current work with his business Ivy Creek Timber Frames

Brian's background also includes experiences in the Southwest where he was exposed to rammed earth, adobe, and cob. He also spent 4 years working for a notable building company in Asheville, North Carolina where he learned conventional framing and enclosure systems building net zero houses. After that, he enjoyed working as a subcontractor in a timber frame shop outside of Asheville while he built his home-workshop. Naturally gravitating towards a rural life with close community, he loves being immersed in family, farming and traditional craft. He resides in Barnardsville, North Carolina where he founded Ivy Creek Timber Frames and lives with his family.

Seth Kelley lives and works in Cabot, Vermont. Seth and Michael Cuba founded Knobb Hill Joinery which specializes in historical restoration. Seth now has taken that knowledge of historic joinery and builds new timber frames. He has taught with the Timber Framers Guild and Yestermorrow Design School for 20 years. He loves making riven pegs and putting beaded chamfers on timbers. 

Recommended Reading

      Additional Reading

  • Hand Hewn by Jack Sobon 
  • Advanced Timber Framing by Steve Chappell 
  • The Development of Carpentry, 1200-1700, an Essex Study by Cecil Hewitt
  • English Cathedral and Monastic Carpentry by Cecil Hewitt

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

Nov 12, 2023 - Nov 18, 2023 $1,400

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