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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.


Wed, Sep 2nd, 2020  –  Sun, Sep 6th, 2020

Course Details

Length: 5 Days
Skill Levels: Beginner
Hours: 9am-5pm
Intergenerational age: N/A
Registration Cost: $375.00 *
* Early-Bird rate in effect until Wed, Jul 22nd, 2020

Required Tools

You will need the following tools for this class:

  • 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

Optional Tools

Feel free to bring your favorite tools and whatever materials you might feel appropriate for this course.

More Information

Once registered, students will receive a confirmation email with further class information. Please call us if you haven't received it within 24 hours.

Begin Registration

North House is now requesting full payment at time of registration. Payment plans are available upon request — don't hesitate to contact us at 218-387-9762 if you need to arrange one.

* Early-Bird rate in effect until Wed, Jul 22nd, 2020
Registration Cost:
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Cancellation Policy

If North House must cancel a course, students will receive a full refund of any payments made for that course.

Students who cancel their enrollment more than 21 days prior to the course will receive a refund less a $50 cancellation fee to cover administrative costs. In recognition of the time and energy instructors invest in preparing for courses, students who cancel their enrollment 21 days or less prior to the course are not eligible for a refund.

Certain classes have different cancellation policies. When this is the case, it will be noted in the Course Overview on this page. Please be sure that you are familiar with your class's cancellation policy, and contact us if you have any questions.