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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 1-2 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. $14,750
  • 28’x24’ with loft – approx. $21,600
  • custom frames – tuition and design fees vary based on project

The pricing for this course is a 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 December 15 - January 15, 2021, for 2021 projects. As part of our not-for-profit mission, North House will prioritize community projects in the selection project. 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. Many questions are answered in the FAQ sheet, but students can contact North House with additional questions. 

2021 Timeline 

  • December 15: application period opens for one session August 2-15, 2021
  • January 15: application closed.
  • February 1: participant notified of selection
  • February 15: initial contract and deposit due.
  • May 1: 2nd payment due, final letter of agreement
  • July 1: Final payment due
  • August 2-15, 2021: Course taught by Peter Henrikson
  • August 1: application opens for 3 spots in 2022


Please find additional important information in this PDF.

Course Details

Length: 10 Days