The Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts
Timber Framing Curriculum

Roof Framing

June 25 – 29  

This course is currently full but there are could be cancellations as the date approaches.
If you'd like to get on the waiting list please contact our office.

(This course is the fourth week of our Timber Framing Intensive
but may also be taken separately.)
Roof Framing

Complex roof geometry is a challenge most framers face eventually. The skill of drawing complex shapes has been taught for centuries by the French, German and Japanese carpentry traditions; it enables the carpenter to directly measure working angles and scale dimensions rather than calculating them. Learning developed drawing is one goal for this course and is key to understanding the geometry of complex roof intersections. The combination of drawing and basic roof math empowers the builder with a far wider variety of building shapes. The skills learned in this course are applicable to conventional framing as well as timber work, furniture with splayed legs, stairs, finish carpentry and any project where angled planes and pieces meet at a combination of angles.

JoineryThese problems can be solved either mathematically or visually, but the complete carpenter will have a variety of skills to call upon, including geometry, trigonometry and traditional scribing techniques. In this course we will demonstrate various methods of laying out and cutting hip and valley systems using lofting, framing square, calculator and visualization. Students will complete the work on the 16' x 20' Intensive project roof and also frame mockups that include regular and irregular hip, valley and jack rafter systems.
Time permitting we will intersperse the use Computer-Aided Design with SketchUp to demonstrate and reinforce the hands-on drawing and layout principles for complex roofs.

Instructor Will Beemer is the author of "When Roofs Collide", a series of articles on complex roofs appearing in Timber Framing, the journal of the Timber Framers Guild.


MONDAY morning
Roof terminology and geometry and how layout is similar.
Use of the framing square for "stepping off".
Other methods of rafter layout: lofting, rafter tables and calculator.
Continue with roof framing of hands-on 16' x 20' timber framed project and mockups of various roof systems (both conventional "stick" and timber framing).
TUESDAY morning
Regular hip and valley roofs (equal pitch and plan with 90-degree corners).
Backing angles and jack rafters.
Drawing the roof "kernel".
The Hawkindale angles.
Continue hands-on project.
Irregular (different) pitch with regular (90-degree) plan roofs
Continue hands-on project.
THURSDAY morning
Joining round-to-round materials.
Irregular plan (not 90-degree corners) with regular (equal) pitch roofs
Complete hands-on projects; finish raising of timber frame and celebration with ridge tree.
Thursday evening pizza party with wood-fired oven, fire-pit and music.
FRIDAY morning
Irregular pitch with irregular plan roof; putting it all together.
Dismantle 16' x 20' timber frame and load for shipping.
This course officially ends after lunch this day.

"Will is an excellent teacher and the content of the course and all the visual aids were first class. I really appreciated the multi-faceted approach, looking at the problems in several different ways to see how to work them out." — Steve, Alaska

Tuition: $800 per person, $1500 per couple; includes lunch.

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Heartwood School

Johnson Hill Road

Washington, MA 01223

Phone: 413 623-6677


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