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Timber Framing

German-Style Timber Framing

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Course Overview

Before SketchUp and other CAD programs, timber framers brought a low-tech but highly-skilled approach to layout. Techniques varied depending on geography: German, French, Japanese, and American methods all differ. Using the techniques he learned in German trade school, instructor Gerald David will lead students in the building of a 10’x16’ Fachwerk-cabin with a distinctively German look. A few lines snapped on the shop floor will provide enough information to lay out the walls of rough-sawn timber, though significantly more lines will be necessary for the layout of the hip roof. This is a perfect opportunity for students with prior experience in timber framing to learn a new style and approach, or for beginning timber framers to pick up a chisel and get started. The finished project will be available for sale at a fixed price at the end of the course. In the event that multiple students are interested, a drawing will be held on the final day of the course.

Instructor Gerald David spent his young adult life in Germany and learned his trade as an apprentice and traditional journeyman on the ‘Wanderschaft’. The style of layout he will teach uses a minimum of mathematics, instead drawing two-dimensional plan views and elevations full scale. The relationships between them will be explained through geometric principles and exploited to yield the layout lines for all the compound angles.


Required Tools

  • 0.9mm mechanical pencil or carpenters pencil
  • 12” ruler
  • Utility knife

Optional Tools

  • Skillsaw (7 1/4”, 10”, 16”)
  • Mortiser
  • Power drill
  • Hand saw
  • 2 ft square
  • Combination square
  • 12 inch square
  • Eraser
  • Knee pads
  • Hand plane(s)
  • Personal protective equipment (eyes, ears, knees, feet: NH has safety glasses, hard hats and ear protection available to use or you may bring your own)
  • Snapline
  • 1 1/2" framing chisel (available for purchase at the North House School Store-- please call to pre-order)
  • Mallet


Mon, Sep 26th, 2022  –  Sun, Oct 2nd, 2022

Course Details

Hours: 9am-5pm each day
Tuition: $680.00
Materials fee: $15.00

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Gerald David
Gerald David
Duluth, MN

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German-Style Timber Framing