Skip to main content

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 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 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 could be arranged) who journey to North House together to participate in the project. Given the scale of these projects and the number of interested parties, 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, and then start cutting timbers. Near the completion of the course, a raising rehearsal demonstrates pre-assembly and raising techniques. 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. 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
The application process for 2019 is now closed. To be notified when the 2020 process will begin, please enter your information on the waiting list for either one of the 2019 sessions.

For more information, please see the FAQ here.


Tue, Jul 16th, 2019  –  Thu, Jul 25th, 2019

Course Details

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

Required Tools

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. 

Optional Tools

  • 1 1/2 inch Chisel: you will need a chisel with at least a 5” blade. The Stanley "Contractor Grade" and Buck Brothers are less expensive options. Woodcraft and Sorby make good framing chisels, but make sure they measure exactly 1 1/2".  The Barr chisel is an excellent tool and is available at the North House School Store.  (Call 888-387-9762 to reserve your tool)
  • Wood mallet: with a  wood handled chisel you will want a 20­40 oz. mallet with wood, plastic or  rawhide head. (Also available @ North House School Store)

Approx one of each of the following would be ideal to have for each participant

  • framing square
  • combination square
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • circular saw with sharp blade (thin kerf blades work well)
  • extension cord
  • hand saw (Japanese pull saws with both crosscut and rip teeth work well)
  • corner chisel
  • slick

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.