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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.

Please note that this session of the course will take place off campus, about 13 miles from North House. The class will meet on the North House campus at 9am on the first day of class, and will travel to the site from there. You will be responsible for your own transportation.

North House is looking forward to hosting this course on campus in the safest way possible. Students will be asked 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. See the full details of our COVID-19 protocols here.


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: $425.00

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.

Waiting List

The course Build Thoreau's Cabin: Basic Building Skills Workshop Wed, Sep 2nd, 2020  –  Sun, Sep 6th, 2020 is full.

Fill out the form below if you would like to be placed on a waiting list and notified if an opening becomes available. Full course details included above