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From Forest to Frame: Intro to Timber Framing Hogback Community College Course, May 16 - June 21, 2015

Over the course of three Saturdays, workshop participants will learn about timber framing from standing tree to framed forest hut. The workshop got off to a great start on May 16--take a look at the photos below to see what's got participants so engaged and excited:

Photos by Louise, Devon, and Callie Brynn.

Day 1: May 16, 2015


Will Gusakov (center) shows workshop participants the proposed design for the timber-frame forest hut on the Ann Hoover Dam at The Watershed Center's Waterworks Property in Bristol.




Left: White pine at the Waterworks Property, marked for cutting. Right: Students assess a felled hemlock trunk.

The hemlock will form the sills of the forest hut, so students need to select straight sections for milling.


Logger Paul Cate, left, leans on a felled hemlock as he discusses

Game of Logging tree felling practices with Will Gusakov and students.


Paul Cate (center, orange jacket) talks with students before gathering the logs for the forest hut with his Vimek forwarder. Using a forwarder to move logs protects forest soils and helps keep streams clear and logs clean.


Paul Cate places logs on the log landing for milling with a portable sawmill.


The forest hut's design will highlight the beautiful curves of this sugar maple, which will form the gables.

Miles Jenness of Vermont Heavy Timber saws the timbers on site with a Woodmizer portable sawmill.


The timber-frame forest hut will sit atop this foundation at The Watershed Center's Norton Brook Reservoir.


Day 2: June 6, 2015

The adventures continue at Will Gusakov's workshop in Lincoln, Vermont.

Will Gusakov describes the process of hand-hewing this red pine log, which will form one of the plates on the

framed forest hut.


White pine rafters. On top rest four red oak angle braces with two sides sawn, and two sides left uncut to reveal their natural curves.


Will explains the differences among three methods of timber framing--scribe rule, mill rule, and square rule.


Shaving the shoulder of a tenon on one of the white pine posts.


Using a froe to split white oak into billets to make the framing pegs (also called trunnels, or "treenails")


Participants split white oak billets (foreground) into blanks (right) that they then carve into trunnels.


Will demonstrates how to use a shaving horse and draw knife to carve trunnels.


Practicing the art of trunnel-making.



Left: Using an ax to rough-down a red pine log; Right: Following up with a broad ax to fine-tune the hewing.


Laying out a mortise.


Will demonstrates a modern method for mortising logs.


Day 3: June 21, 2015


Participants gathered for the frame-raising at the Waterworks Property in Bristol, on the Summer Solstice. What a day. Hard work, collaboration, comradery, joy. An immature bald eagle and osprey surveying the scene. And in the end, a beautiful forest hut, built by participants of wood from the Waterworks land. Come see it for yourself.


Will Gusakov orients the class to the upcoming process of raising the frame.


Rafters at the staging area, awaiting installation.



Left: Cutting posts to length. Right: More trunnels (framing pegs) were crafted on site.


Assembling the first bent (post, plate, and a diagonal brace).


Raising the western bent in silence.


Eastern bent. The top plate was hand hewn by students. All others were sawn on portable mill on site.


Carrying the sugar maple gable tie with its beautiful natural curves.



Affixing a hemlock branch to the roof peak is an old framing tradition.


Post-Workshop Roofing

Come enjoy this beautiful shelter at the Waterworks!