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Timber Framing

Norwegian Timber Framing: Grindbygg Building

Course Overview

Grindbygg is one of more than twenty timber frame styles in Norway. The design and joinery of grindbygg timber frames harkens back to the early days of post construction before the common usage of mortise and tenon joinery. While many aspects of grindbygg are similar to the post buildings of the Viking era and before, the specific design and joinery of the grindbygg is first seen in the late 1400s. The indicative feature is the necked tying joint where the post, tie beam, and plate come together. The series of slots, laps, and notches are held tightly together by the force of gravity on the roof.

Until the early 20th century, grindbygg frames were commonly constructed in southwestern Norway as unheated out-buildings: barns, boathouses, and storehouses. Recently there has been renewed interest in preserving this building technique and there are numerous builders in Norway constructing grindbygg frames, mostly for outbuildings and carports.

The class will construct a grindbygg frame using straight sawn timbers as well as curved and other natural form pieces. We will follow the sequence and progression of work that has been passed down through generations of grindbygg builders. While the focus will be on cutting joinery with traditional hand tools (axe, saw, chisel, and auger), the use of power tools (electric chainsaw and mortiser) will also be covered.

More on Grindbygg:

Optional Tools

  • Carpenters Axe
  • 1-1/2” framing chisel
  • 2-3 lb mallet (rawhide, urethane or wood face)
  • Hand saws (rip and crosscut with large teeth for green pine)
  • Slick
  • Adze
  • Eye and ear protection
  • Chain saw chaps
  • Electric chain saw
  • Carpenters pencil
  • Torpedo level
  • Dividers

Timber Frame Tool Suppliers

Chisels and mallets are available from the North House School Store, and may be purchased ahead of time on-line at or upon check-in.  

Barr Tools, 1-800-235-4452,

    Hand Forged Chisels and Slicks

Hida Tool and Hardware Co, 1-510-524-3700,

    Japanese chisels and slicks, saws

Highland Hardware, 1-800-241-6748,

    Sorby Framing Chisels; wood and urethane mallets

Japan Woodworker, 1-800-537-7820,

    Japanese chisels and slicks, saws

Lee Valley Tools, 1-800-871-8158,

    Sorby Framing Chisels; wood and urethane mallets

Magard Ventures, Ltd, 250-962-9057 (British Columbia)

    Henry Taylor, Barr, Sorby, Japanese, and other hand forged chisels and slicks; wood mallets

Schroeder Log Home Supply, 1-800-359-6614,

    Barr and Sorby Framing Chisels; slicks; wood, rawhide and urethane  mallets


*The North House School Store (888-387-9762) typically carries several excellent Timber Framing books, including:

Please note, that although you won't be bringing home a timber frame in this case, whenever you build a structure of any size or style (timber frame to yurt to bread oven), you will likely need to adhere to regulations and permitting requirements that vary by county and state.  We encourage you to contact your local building authority before beginning any building project.  One phone call to these folks early in the process can often erase the possibility of substantial headaches further down the road.

Currently Scheduled Sessions

No sessions currently scheduled for this course.

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