In late April, I attended a timber framing workshop at Grand Oaks Timber Framing near Paris, Tennessee. Along with 9 other students from around the country, we learned a ton, cut a whole 14x16 frame from oak, and raised it by the end of the week. Grand Oaks is owned and operated by Scott Stevens, an excellent timber framer and an excellent teacher. The experience was amazing, and I got everything I wanted to from the workshop. If you want to learn the basics of timber framing, I cannot recommend Grand Oaks more.
While at Grand Oaks, I stayed in a little timber frame cabin by the pond. I shared the cabin with Michael, a guy from Alabama. The cabin is shown below. This cabin is very close to what I want my cabin to be, and that is primarily why I wanted to stay there. It is about the same size and overall frame design as my cabin. I literally spent hours looking at the frame from the inside, deciding how I might alter my own cabin plans.
Below, you can see RJ starting to cut some dovetail mortises using a Makita chain mortiser. That mortiser is a fantastic tool! It saves considerable time (I now own one). :-)
Below, Scott is checking some measurements on a timber. Remember, measure 22 times before cutting! :-) The timber frame workshop in the back was beautifully done.
Below, you can see RJ, Michael, and Scott helping to assemble one wall of our frame using commanders and tow straps. Once the wall is made square and brought tight with the ratchet tow straps, we drilled peg holes. A convenient and effective alternative to draw boring, in my opinion.
The owner of the frame that we cut has property very near Grand Oaks. The owner had a nicely constructed pier foundation made, and ready for our sill timbers and floor system (below). This kind of foundation is exactly what I have in mind for my cabin.
We actually raised the frame a whole day early. We had some guys on the team with some construction background and could wield circular saws with speed and accuracy. Below, we are raising the common rafter roof system.
Here is the completed frame! A 14x16 frame. Simple and beautiful!
The most important things I came away with from the workshop:
- Knowing how to use some of these tools properly
- The confidence to actually start cutting my hard-won timbers.
- Meeting a great group of people from all across the country with a similar interest in timber framing.
The first thing I did when I got back to Idaho was frame a couple of timber framed sawhorses from spruce. Pictures are coming...