How to Build a Timber Frame House

In 5 days, 24 students design, cut, and raise a 24'x24' timber frame house using traditional hand tools and joinery. Shelter Institute offers this workshop 3 times each year in midcoast, Maine.

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25 Responses to How to Build a Timber Frame House

  1. wpltreetv says:

    great video, close up of the chisel work is nice, and great to see the whole class working together is fitting and raising.

  2. funnystarchild says:

    I love log houses! It triggers something primitive in you. Its so warm and comfy. Humans belong out in nature. Im so sick of all this major city life and apartments.

  3. MrYamahaRaptor700 says:

    Love it.

  4. Manu24e says:

    Great !!

  5. shelterinstitute says:

    @wboquist No worries — I just wanted to clarify. We have seen timber framing companies oversize on purpose for aesthetics and that is something that we strive to avoid. But absolutely — you often have o make a timber larger to accomodate the notching and the spans.

  6. shelterinstitute says:

    Sometimes timber framing members are oversized but we are an engineering firm so we’re sizing our timbers to meet the structural needs of the building.

  7. shelterinstitute says:

    We sometimes incorporate the laminated lumber or even steel timbers in our frames, when designing a structure that exceeds the strength of a square-cut-timber.

  8. shelterinstitute says:

    No these are straight pegged.

  9. shelterinstitute says:

    @lejink The training is five days and you learn tool selection, design, joinery, engineer and tool maintenance. The VA and many corporations have sent people through this short class for job training purposes.

  10. shelterinstitute says:

    This is an interesting comment because a timber frame can be any size or shape and this particular design performs very well for extended periods of time (100 year time frame) because of the shape which sheds water away from the home.

  11. shelterinstitute says:

    We teach students how to expedite the process so you can use power tools when you get home but we’ve found that students who learn how to do it with hand tools first are far more succesful.

  12. shelterinstitute says:

    We take a deep discount off of the standard kit price and sell it. We typically put a week of labor into it when the class is through — touching up joints, cleaning timbers etc.

  13. shelterinstitute says:


    Take it down — it is not pegged.

  14. stupidnamenoonecares says:

    @bluehorse888 this uses less per tree but more per forest. which is to say that there is recoverable wood that isn’t suitable for this style that is glued together in more modern methods to eliminate waste. there are less suitable trees for post and beam available, there is also much less skilled labour to make this style homes. it’s a true shame though.

  15. Lifecomesfromwithin says:

    @bluehorse888 less, a hugh lofting video of a carriage house said.

  16. wboquist says:

    @bluehorse888 It is probably a little bit less, because a LOT of the tree is turned into sawdust when they are sawn and planed into dimensional lumber. However, it depends a lot on how heavy the timber in your frame is – sometimes, the design requires very big cross-sections to accommodate the joinery, and of course sometimes people use bigger timber than they need because it looks impressive.

  17. bluehorse888 says:

    Do these homes require more or less actual wood to build???

  18. limpbelly says:

    v cool

  19. orangedac says:


  20. win100weekly says:


  21. ozzy85Mpower says:

    everythings over sized… rip saws chisels…wood lol its like being in the land of the giants lol keep up the good work!

  22. lejink says:

    id love to get into carpentry, this stuff is so cool.. wish trades were easier to get through

  23. Messerschmit says:

    I would drill out all the joints with a power drill, much less work to clean up with a chisle later

  24. mikehermesmeglio says:

    What do they do with the house at the end of the class?

  25. billbutler941 says:

    great hope to bulid one of these one dat!