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Introduction to Timber Framing

February 7 - March 23


Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village presents

Introduction to Timber Framing

Past Traditions to Present Practice

Part of a Series on Traditional Ways and Means

6:00pm-9:00pm Thursdays and 9:00am – 2:00pm Saturdays,
February 7, 2019 to March 23, 2019


Course Description 

Timber framing and “post-and-beam” construction are methods of building with heavy timbers (posts and beams) rather than dimensional lumber such as 2×4s. Traditional timber framing is the method of creating structures using heavy squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs (larger versions of the mortise and tenon joints in furniture). It is commonplace in wooden buildings from the 19th century and earlier. The method comes from making things out of logs and tree trunks without modern high tech saws to cut lumber from the starting material stock. Hewing with broadaxes, adzes, and draw knives and using hand-powered braces and augers (brace and bit) and other laborious woodworking, artisans or framers could gradually assemble a building capable of bearing heavy weight without excessive use of interior space given over to vertical support posts. Since this building method has been used for thousands of years in many parts of the world, many styles of historic framing have developed. These styles are often categorized by the type of foundation, walls, how and where the beams intersect, the use of curved timbers, and the roof framing details. Three basic types of timber frames in English-speaking countries are the box frame, cruck frame, and aisled frame.

This will be BNHV’s 4th year offering our Timber Framing class! Our past years we built the hay barn and its addition that are now a part of our farmstead. This years project will be our own 14×14 lambing house. The class will be an important segment in our education series “19th century structures and construction”.  By using the square rule method we will construct the structures posts, tie beams, sill plates, joists, braces and top plates. Virtually all will be done by using period and traditional tools. You will learn to make large mortice and tenon joints the way they were skillfully done century’s  ago. As well  as learning to Timber Frame, you will also enjoy working as a team with other class members, the past classes have all become very close friends getting together at the museum for projects and festival demonstrations. After completing this class you will be an official BNHV Woodwright!

Group will generally meet on Thursday evening and Saturdays from February 7, 2019 to March 23, 2019. There may be special days that we may get together.

Participants will receive a list of tools to bring.

Course Outline

  • Learning to lay out a stick with drawings, squares and other period measuring tools
  • Sawing timbers with hand saws
  • Make mortice and tenon joints with period drills, chisels, mallets and other period hand tools
  • Make pegs with a drawknife and shave horse, drill holes for pegs
  • Assemble the parts and raise the structure! The best part!!
  • We also will take a barn tour and go into the woods to cut our own timbers

Additional Information

This course begins February 7th. Some knowledge of wood working  would be helpful, but is not necessary. Minimum participant age is 17.

Course Fee

$175 Non-Members, $150 BNHV Members


Please direct all further inquiries to Historic Buildings and Grounds Manager, Scott Schotz, at sschotz@bnhv.org or 716-689-1440 ext. 7713.



February 7
March 23


Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
3755 Tonawanda Creek Road
Amherst, NY 14228 United States