Designed by Ed Levin, Hanover, Pennsylvania, 1989.

The Guild’s experience with projects and workshops began modestly in 1988 (its third year), with a pair of frame design workshops in Massachusetts. But early in that same year plans were laid to realize a daring plan by Tedd Benson, to raise two house frames in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, and moreover to cut the pieces at shops all over the continent (even a few abroad) and bring them together in one location where as many as possible of then current Guild members might raise the frames in a giant celebration, followed by that year’s Eastern Conference. And thus in May of 1989 at Hanover, Pennsylvania, some 400 framers assembled and raised the two house frames, gave them to Habitat for Humanity and helped complete them in time for end of the Fifth Eastern Conference at nearby Millersville.

In 1992, the Guild again gathered for a major group effort, this time a 120-ft. clear-span covered bridge for Guelph, Ontario. The Town lattice truss pedestrian bridge crossing the Speed River and linking city footpaths culminated a month of construction and a year of planning with the City of Guelph. A team of Guild designers and engineers solved the structural questions and produced the working drawings. The two giant lattice trusses were built in advance by small crews under the direction of bridge and steeple specialist Jan Lewandoski, and the massive 74-ton bridge was assembled and roofed over by 350 Guild members attending the 1992 International Conference.

Since those early, spectacular events, the Guild has partnered with scores of beneficiaries to execute timber frame projects large and small across the country and occasionally abroad. The year 2011 saw, in the large category, the reconstruction from drawings and photos of an 18th-century Polish synagogue roof at an outdoor building museum in Poland.

Synagogue roof reconstruction, shaving a curved rib, Sanok, Poland, 2011. Project partner Handshouse Studio, ultimate destination Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw. Below, inside the frame, domed ceiling remains to be sheathed with pictorial polychrome boarding painted by international student roster, but also, in the more modest category, the cutting and erection of a short-span covered bridge in rural New Hampshire.