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North House Folk School
North House Folk School

Basic Timber Framing

Learn the planning, layout and joinery necessary to construct a traditional timber frame (post and beam) structure, such as North House's blacksmith shop, bread oven shelter, fish house classroom and other structures around campus. The course begins with the basic mortise and tenon joint, and then expands on these techniques to cover through-tenons, shouldered mortises and scarf-joinery. In both thorough classroom sessions and hands-on experience, you will explore the use of traditional tools and techniques of timber framing as well as adaptations using common and specialized modern tools. We will also discuss foundations, enclosing the frame, wiring and plumbing issues, and basic frame and joinery design. The course culminates with the raising of a full-sized timber frame completed by the group on the final day of class.


Wed, Sep 07, 2016 - Sun, Sep 11, 2016 Nearly Full
(Early bird tuition deadline: 07/27/16)
New! Wed, May 03, 2017 - Sun, May 07, 2017
(Early bird tuition deadline: 03/22/17)

Course Details

Length in days:


$450.00 per student (Regular rate)
$425.00 per student (Early-bird rate)


Beginner to Intermediate

Making it happen:
  • When should I enroll?
  • Do you take last minute registrations?
  • When will new course dates be posted?

You will need the following tools for this class:

  1. 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 will be available at the North House School Store.
  2. Mallet: with a wood handled chisel you will want a 20 to 40 oz. mallet with wood, plastic or rawhide head. (Also available @ North House School Store)
  3. Ear and eye protection
Once registered, students will receive a confirmation packet in the mail that may offer additional optional tool recommendations and suggested reading.
Tom Healy

Tom is a professional timber framer, a member of the Timber Frame Guild of North America, and a biology graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. In addition to teaching, Tom served as co-director for North House from 1997 to 2000, and as a member of the North House board. He and his wife Meagen raise Wirehaired Pointing Griffons and operate a Nordic Ski Lodge in Whitefish, Montana.

More about Tom Healy
Peter Henrikson Peter Henrikson

Peter settled in Grand Marais after a transient career of log building, basket making, and teaching timber skills on public lands. His interest in mortise and tenon joinery was sparked by working on round log timber framed roof structures and later while building hiking bridges with hand tools and on-site materials. The crossover into timber framing was a natural. He has been designing and building frames and teaching timber framing at North House since 1998. Peter has had many roles at North House, but now focuses on timber framing coursework. His current interest is small buildings with interesting frame features and detailing with adze and drawknife. When he is not teaching or designing, he spends time with his family, grows and gathers local foods and skis and snowshoes.

More about Peter Henrikson