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#7456 - 02/13/02 12:05 AM The path to a dream!

Hello all,

For years now I've had a dream of designing and building my own timber framed home. At some point in the future I hope to realise it.

Now, I have to start slowly building the skills. I'm a hobbyist woodworker, and have done a fair amount of DIY over the years, but I'm looking for advice on which training courses will be of most use.

I have looked at the guild courses, and I'm not sure which would be the best ones. I don't plan to be an architect, just to develop my design and then work with an architect to make it work. The building I hope to do myself, except for things like the SIP's. I plan to take about two years and make it my full time job (it won't happen for at least 10 years yet).

At the moment, I'm living in the US (I'm a brit) and hope to be able to take some courses over the next 2-3 years while here, as there seems to be more available than most other countries.

From your experience, which courses have people here been on that they found most useful in the long run.

Any advice or direction would be appreciated.



#7457 - 02/13/02 11:45 AM Re: The path to a dream!
Jim Flath Offline

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 8
Loc: New Jersey

You and I seem to have a lot in common in terms of experience and goals. I started my education by attending a two-week seminar at the Shelter Institute ( in Bath, Maine. They teach every aspect of home construction from site selection to design to construction and even financing and insurance. They have a three-week course that is more hands on, but I couldn't take that much time. They tend to lead you to the conclusion that a timber frame with SIPs is the way to go, but they will teach you all other forms of construction, including some that are pretty unique (tipis, yurts, etc.)

They also offer a one-week post and beam class in which you will cut and test-erect a timber frame for one of their brave clients. I also took this course and found it to be a good start toward developing the skills necessary to try it myself. I also attended a Guild-sponsored class in which we cut and erected a barn for a living history farm in Ohio. It, too, was a good experience, frustrated by bad weather and some other scheduling problems, but well worthwhile. I can assure you that this amount of exposure is nowhere near enough to do fulfill your dream, but there is no shortage of opportunities. I am currently scheduled to attend a class in PA being conducted by Fox Maple School in an attempt to get as broad a perspective as I can, rather than getting all my training from one source. One other piece of advice I have is to keep your training sessions as close together as possible or experiment with what you have learned, because I am finding the older I get, the less I remember from one time to the next.

Good Luck!


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