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Build Thoreau's Cabin: Basic Building Skills Workshop

Course Overview

Pick up your hammer! This course is designed for students with little or no building experience who want to build a tiny home, small cabin, or workshop. The techniques for building a small frame building are not only for the skilled carpenter; nearly anyone can come away from this course with the skills needed for building virtually any small structure. Jack studs to joists, fly rafters to d-edge, birds' mouths to top plates--students will learn the use of basic hand and power tools, and develop knowledge of the materials and techniques used in frame or "stick" construction. Together, students will construct a 10' x 14' cabin based on Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" cabin, with an added sleeping loft. In addition to hands-on experience focused on framing and roofing, discussion on foundation options, siding, and window and door installation will be integrated into each day. The class begins by assessing strategies for leveling the building site, and the project goes up from there. Wall layout with door/window openings, sheathing techniques, roof pitch and ridge placement, roof systems that will keep water out; abundant hands-on experience defines every day. By the end of this class, your tool belt will do much more than simply improve your good looks.

Once built, the Thoreau Cabin will be for sale to interested students at a set price (a drawing will take place on the final day if multiple students are interested). Or, the cabin will be put in North House’s auction during the Wooden Boat Show or Unplugged special events. Moving the structure is the responsibility of the buyer.

Required Tools

  • framing hammer
  • 25 ft tape measure
  • tool belt
  • framing square (also called rafter square) - L shaped
  • pencil
  • utility knife
  • speed square - triangle shaped, approx 8" per side
  • safety glasses (available for purchase @ North House School Store)
  • clothing to be outdoors

Session Information

Early Bird Discount

Register for this class before April 7, 2021 to receive a $50 early bird discount


Please Note: North House is looking forward to hosting this course on campus in the safest way possible.  Students must participate in a daily health screening and temperature check, agree to wear a mask at all times on campus, and to practice social distancing of 6 feet, as well as adhere to other safety protocols in some cases, regardless of their vaccination status. See the full details of our COVID-19 protocols here.


Wed, May 19th, 2021  –  Sun, May 23rd, 2021

Course Details

Hours: 9am - 5pm
Tuition: $475.00