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Build Thoreau's Cabin: Basic Building Skills Workshop

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Course Overview

Pick up your hammer! This course is designed for students with little or no building experience who want to build a tiny home, small cabin, or workshop. The techniques for building a small stick frame building are not only for the skilled carpenter; nearly anyone can come away from this course with the skills needed for building virtually any small structure. Jack studs to joists, fly rafters to d-edge, birdsmouths to top plates–students will learn the use of basic hand and power tools and develop knowledge of the materials and techniques used in frame (or “stick”) construction. Together, students will construct a 10'x14' cabin based on Henry David Thoreau's Walden cabin, with an added sleeping loft. In addition to hands-on experience focused on framing and roofing, discussions on foundation options, siding, and window and door installation will be integrated into each day. The class will begin with assessing strategies for leveling the building site, and the project goes up from there. Wall layout with door/window openings, sheathing techniques, roof pitch and ridge placement, roof systems that will keep water out—abundant hands-on experience defines every day. By the end of this class, your tool belt will do much more than simply improve your good looks.

Once built, the Thoreau's Cabin will be for sale to interested students at a set price (a drawing will take place on the final day if multiple students are interested).  If the cabin is unsold after the course, it will be offered for sale via silent auction. Moving the structure is the responsibility of the buyer.

Required Tools

  • Hammer
  • 25 ft tape measure
  • Tool belt
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Speed square - triangle shaped, approx 8" per side
  • Safety glasses (available for purchase at North House School Store)
  • Clothing to be outdoors


Fri, May 17th, 2024  –  Tue, May 21st, 2024

Course Details

Hours: 9am-5pm each day
Tuition: $525.00
Latest Update: View recent changes →

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Randy Schnobrich
Randy Schnobrich
Grand Marais, MN

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Build Thoreau's Cabin: Basic Building Skills Workshop