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Timber Frame: Build Your Own, Larger Frames

Course Overview

This course offers students the opportunity to immerse fully in the craft of timber framing by building a larger and/or a custom-designed timber frame structure. Whether creating a getaway cabin, woodshop or retirement home or structure for your community or organization, the beauty and durability of a timber frame structure offers a unique opportunity to literally build your own home. To participate in this course, students select from a list of stock full-sized frames or custom design a building to meet their individual needs. To make the larger projects possible, students also recruit a group of assistants (6-8, though some larger groups are possible) who journey to North House together to participate in the project. Given the scale of these projects and the number of interested students, North House asks potential students to submit an application for their project to be considered. Applications are reviewed and selected based on a number of factors. North House hosts three Build Your Own Timber Frame, Larger Size projects in an average year.
During the first days of class, participants engage in lessons on timber frame terminology, joinery and layout. Working together, the group of family or friends actively cut timbers for the structure every day. Ultimately, students complete all or most of the joinery on the structure and develop timber framing skills that will last a lifetime. Near the completion of the course, a raising rehearsal demonstrates pre-assembly and raising techniques. Students may choose from a variety of base/stock frame of different sizes or may develop their own custom frame. Every project includes a complete set of timber frame plans. The plan set includes 3-D and 2-D views of the frame, detailed drawings with a 3-D view of each timber as well as a timber list. Tuition and course length varies depending on frame and group size (minimum six participants). Separate tuition payment & cancellation policies apply to this course.

  • 16’x24’ with loft – approx. $14,000
  • 28’x24’ with loft – approx. $20,500
  • custom frames – tuition and design fees vary based on project

The pricing for this course is combination of tuition (approx $1000 per day for one instructor), materials (timbers, pegs and incidentals) and a project coordination fee. Design and engineering services are contracted separately with the course instructor. A typical session is 7-10 days in length. Some prior exposure to timber framing is recommended but not required. North House uses only certified sustainably harvested timbers.

North House receives numerous inquiries and requests for the BYOTF program. To improve the process for considering potential projects and make the process fair and transparent, individuals and groups must apply for these project slots. The application period is from August 24-September 30 for the slot available in 2019. As part of our not-for-profit mission, North House will prioritize community projects in the selection process, but individuals who have family or friends to work with are encouraged to apply as well. Other criteria for selection include the feasibility of the project, team size and timeline. When the application period is closed, interested students should add themselves to the waiting list in order to be contacted when the next round of applications is opened.

2019 Timeline
August 15: application period opens for one opening Feb 19-28, 2019. See
September 30: application closed.
October 14: participant notified of selection
October 31: initial contract and deposit due.
December 1: 2nd payment due, final letter of agreement
Jan 30: Final payment due
Feb 19-28, 2019: Course taught by Gerald David.
August 1: application opens for 3 spots in 2020

For more information, please see the FAQ here.


Tue, Feb 19th, 2019  –  Thu, Feb 28th, 2019

Course Details

Length: 10 Days
Skill Levels: Beginner to Advanced
Hours: 9am-5pm
Additional materials fee paid to instructor when class starts: Varies By Size (see course description)


You will need the following tools for this class:

North House has a limited number of chisels and mallets that can be borrowed during the course, though many participants prefer to bring their own. These are available for purchase at the school store; more information provided at registration.

North House requires participants to wear ear and eye protection: these are provided, but you may wish to bring your own. 

Once registered, students will receive a confirmation email with further class information. Please call the front office if you have not received it within 24 hours.

Course Application

The course Timber Frame: Build Your Own, Larger Frames has a special application process. Please fill out the below form to apply for registration into this class. See Course Description for more information.