Nov 1, 2024 - November 3, 2024(9am - 5pm)

Fundamentals of Timber Framing

Taught by: Peter Ladd

This course offers an introduction to the basic skills and understanding for re-creating classic Timber Frame “mortise-and-tenon” structures, emblematic of pre-industrial buildings in New England.  It is suited to novices, persons with a conventional construction background, or those simply seeking a deeper appreciation either of historic buildings, or of traditional woodworking with mallet and chisel.

Primarily experiential and hands-on, students will be guided to experiment with a broad range of both antique and modern hand tools. They will gain insight to several primary classes of timber joints, their terminology, and the practical reasons for them. Methodologies, layout systems, cutting techniques, and production efficiencies will be compared. Engaging hands, minds, and hearts, participants will enjoy both individual instruction and the camaraderie of working together on large timbers.

In the wood-shop, the class will as a team replicate the entire process of designing, laying out, cutting, and assembling representative portions of a Timber Frame.  Students will reproduce an authentic full-scale “English Tying Joint,” as well as other pegged joinery iconic of early homes and barns in the north-eastern US.  The overall goal as a group will be to share the endeavor, the sense of accomplishment, and the joy typical of a true “Frame Raising” and to experience its rewards in all aspects – material, communal, and personal.

Students will also tour and examine both new and historic Timber Frame joinery exemplified in the buildings at Sanborn Mills Farm. There will be free-wheeling discussion of the history, culture, and differing types of Timber Framing, and the many various tools and methods used by past predecessors.

Participants will take away an expanded appreciation of how much they can accomplish simply with a true line, a sharp edge, and a steady hand. Completing this class will enable and encourage a participant to confidently pursue more advanced training, to knowledgeably participate in real-world frame raisings, or even successfully design and build their own simple Timber Frame building.

.Materials Fee:  $115.00 paid directly to SMF for milled timbers.

Special Tools or Equipment: The instructor requests each student bring a personal notebook and a copy of Learn to Timber Frame: Craftsmanship, Simplicity, Timeless Beauty by Will Beemer which can be found at the link below or on Amazon. Students may bring any personal tools they wish to use or discuss.


This workshop is offered in partnership with the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

Workshop Policies: Please be sure to read our policies before you register for a workshop which can be found here Workshop Policies

Workshop Fee: $375.00

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