Two tiny timber frames

Our framiPiemont-raisedng projects in recent years have been getting smaller, partly due to the “tiny house movement” and also to the fact that people may be coming to their senses after the building frenzy of the past few decades. When we plan our timber framing courses, we know how many joints we can layout and cut in a week based on the number of participants in the course. Since June’s course was full, and we had two small frames in the “pipeline”, we decided to tackle them both at once. Raising the first frame in mid-week gave everyone the chance to see how their work fitted and to understand how the joinery worked; the second project was completed even quicker.

The smaller frame (above) was a 9′ x 12′ cabin in the woods; the second frame (below) was a 10′ x 12′ addition to an existing house.


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Two chairs


Two completed chairs from our recent “Build Your Own Country Windsor Chair” course are shown here. On the left is Kirk Fox’s, and Heartwood apprentice Miwa Robbins built the one on the right.


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The History of Timber Framing


Jack Sobon discussing hewing axes

Jack Sobon discussing hewing axes

The History of Timber Framing: a 2-day course with Jack Sobon
Author, architect, timber framer and Guild founder Jack Sobon will again lead a two-day weekend workshop June 22 & 23 (Saturday & Sunday) exploring the history of our craft. This is the second year we have offered this course, that will include the evolution of traditional tools, how to identify the age of buildings by their architectural style and tool marks, and tours of historic buildings in our area.
This workshop satisfies core requirements for the Timber Framers Guild Apprenticeship curriculum. For more information and registration, please visit our website here.

Barn tour

Barn tour

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Course status April 29

Course status

Our June 24–26 Timber Framing course is now full, but we still have room in our August 19–23 class. We also have room in the following upcoming courses:
Intro to SketchUp for Timber Framers (May 30-June 1)
Concrete Countertops (June 1 & 2)
Advanced (3D) Concrete Countertops (June 7 & 8)

SletchUp model
Mike Beganyi’s SketchUp course is an intensive three days of learning to use this free, easy-to-use yet powerful 3-D drawing program. Mike has honed his presentation of this material over many years to suit all skill levels, whether you want to use the program for timber framing, furniture, cabinets or home design.

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A Sojourn to France

Heartwood Director Will Beemer (3rd from right, front row) is pictured with over 300 French compagnons timber framers at their recent meeting in Besançon. Will was invited along with two other Americans, Dennis Marcom from Bensonwood and Rick Collins from Trillium Dell Timberworks, to describe timber framing education and business in the USA. The French charpentiers have expressed an interest in expanding their exchange programs to America. This is an exciting opportunity for us since their tradition, going back to the Middle Ages, provides the most extensive training in traditional craft anywhere in the world.

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Heartwood alumnus first North American to become French compagnon

Heartwood alumnus Patrick Moore (Scribing 2008, Cruck Framing 2009, Raising & Rigging 2010) has become the first North American to graduate from aspirant to full-fledged compagnon in the French system. It has taken him over three years, living and working in France (and learning to speak fluent French), and culminating in the construction of his “masterpiece” pictured here. This model, or maquette, is much more complex than it may appear, with intersecting and interwoven pieces traveling through the piece at unique angles. Drawing and construction takes 6-12 months of dedicated effort. Congratulations, Pat, and we look forward to you returning home and sharing your exoerience and knowledge.

Patrick Moore

Pat Moore with his "maquette".

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New Green Woodworking videos online


Kevin Kiwak

Kevin Kiwak

Instructor Kevin Kiwak teaches three workshops at Heartwood that use traditional green (unseasoned) woodworking techniques. We have created three short videos that show more of the techniques, tools and project you’ll take home if you attend one of the courses. To watch the videos, click on the links below. The videos are embedded at the bottom of each course description page.

Build Your Own:
Country Windsor Chair: June 10–14
Shavehorse: June 17–21
Pole Lathe: Sept. 16–20

You may also find the videos on our YouTube channel at

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Pegs or pins?

Heartwood Director Will Beemer had an article called “Making Riven Pins” recently published in the March 2013 issue of Timber Framing, the quarterly journal of the Timber Framers Guild. (We will have a reprint of this article available soon on our website).
In the course of writing the article, the question came up: are the wooden fasteners for timber frames, traditionally called “trunnels” (from “tree-nails”) correctly called “pegs” or “pins” in modern times? Some would argue that pegs are wooden and pins are metal…but bowling pins are wooden and traditionalists in the field have usually called trunnels “pins”. So the editor and authors of Timber Framing have decided, for consistency of style, to call them “pins”. Just a bit of trivia for you to add to your glossary.

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Berkshire Woodworkers Guild Scholarships application deadline April 1st

Heartwood belongs to the Berkshire Woodworkers Guild, a group of professional craftsmen and women who live and work in the Berkshire area. The Guild offers scholarships each year to applicants between 16 and 25 years of age who are pursuing an education and career in woodworking, architecture and related fields. Applicants do not need to be residents of the Berkshires. If you know of a young person who could use this financial aid, please tell them about it. The deadline for the current round of application is April 1st. Details can be found at the BWG website at

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Heartwood at the Northeast Woodworkers Association Showcase

Heartwood at NWA Showcase

Heartwood at the Northeast Woodworkers Association Showcase

Heartwood will be raising a cherry cruck timber-frame at the Northeast Woodworkers Association Showcase next weekend (March 23 & 24). The event, to be held at the Saratoga Springs (NY) City Center, is one of the largest and best exhibition of fine woodworking in the US. It features:

  • Art in Wood Gallery
  • Continuous Schedule of Free Seminars on Tools and Techniques
  • Trade show with over 12,000 square feet of woodworking related vendors
  • Continuous Schedule of free Demonstrations

For more info, see

Be sure to stop by our booth and say “hi” if you go. We’ll have demonstrations of peg making, using a hand-operated boring machine to make mortises (kids love to drive this machine) and models of historic timber-framed barns. You can also preview some projects from our courses, such as Heirloom Dovetail Toolchest, Shavehorse and Country Windsor Chair. Hilary Russell, instructor from our Build a Skin-on-frame Canoe course, will also have one of these boats at the show.

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