Members of the TFG toured Shelburne Farms (near this year's Burlington conference) a few years ago in preparation for a restoration project.

Guild conferences

2014 conference: Ken Burns highlights

Will Beemer

Come to the Guild’s 2014 Conference, August 7–10, at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) in Manchester, N.H. Just over an hour’s drive northwest of Boston, this venue is in the heart of timber framing country. Here’s what we tentatively have lined up.

The historical track will again play a prominent role in the conference, as we incorporate the Traditional Timberframe Research and Advisory Group (TTRAG) annual symposium into the agenda. The Thursday all-day bus tour to mills and barns in the area is organized by Dan Boyle and Arron Sturgis. Presentations during the TTRAG symposium on Friday and Saturday will include Swiss timber framing, the barns of Maine, the history of American timber framing, repairs, historic trusses, and building dry stone walls.

Also on Thursday will be three pre-conference workshops, including the Timber Frame Engineering Council symposium, the demonstration of snap-line scribe, and a drawing workshop by compagnon Patrick Moore on L’Art du Trait—the art of geometry.

The main conference will include a Design and Engineering track, with presentations on timber frame design, the use of geometry in historic buildings in the U.S. and England, team building and collaboration on timber framed projects, and more. The Business track will be packed with useful seminars on estimating for the small business, contract law for timber frame companies, breaking into commercial work, photographing your work, appraisal trends, and marketing. 

We will highlight presentations from all the tracks throughout the conference that may be of particular interest to architects and we will be offering Continuing Education Units for them.

Since it will be the height of summer, we'll have many outdoor hands-on activities—a continuous stone wall building demo, peg making, hewing, and the revived Timber Olympics with events like Speed Boring and Sawing, Graeco-Roman Mortise and Tenon, Slalom and Biathalon, Caber and Cutoff Toss, Stump, Timber Stacking, Axe Throwing, Maide Leisg (look it up), and of course, Joint Busting.

Other returning attractions include an update on the Guild’s Apprenticeship program, Veteran Voices, plan review, the member meeting, the Trade Fair and Mixer, Slide Show (show your work!), Benefit Auction, Summerbeam Bookstore, and Tool Swap. There will be plenty of opportunity for camaraderie and networking at our shared meals in the Dining Center at SNHU.

Finally, we are extremely fortunate and excited to have the well-respected documentary film director-producer KenBurns as our featured speaker at the Conference. Ken is recognized for his popular and highly regarded PBS documentaries—The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The War, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Prohibition, and The Central Park Five. He is also a timber framing fan whose studio was built by Bensonwood. Thanks to Tedd and Christine Benson for contacting Ken and enticing him to come.

We plan to have the lineup of events finalized by late April with registration open on the Guild website by mid-May. Please mark your calendars and save the date.

2013 conference proceedings available  PDF (4 meg)

2013 Conference TFG/TTRAG
Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont
August 8–11, 2013

Conference theme—“Back to Our Roots”

This year we combined the Timber Framers Guild and the Traditional Timberframe Research and Advisory Group conferences. The Timber Frame Engineering Council added engineer-presenters and  the Timber Frame Business Council took part as well.

John Abrams, architect and author, as plenary speaker wrestled with what he called The  Long Now.

Fire Tower Engineered Timber added shear testing to their joint-busting. 

Pre-conference workshops included stairbuilding with Billy Dillon; Mike Beganyi on Advanced SketchUp + Layout; Ellen Gibson on chip carving; scribing natural forms with the help of Josh Jackson; the TFEC engineering symposium; and Clark Bremer taking you through compound joinery with Google SketchUp. 

Jan Lewandoski and Eliot Lothrop led the TTRAG tour of Vermont churches and barns.

Conference reports to follow soon.


2012 Eastern Conference
Leesburg, Virginia

The Guild gathered for the second time at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia, October 17-21 for a round of preconference technical workshops, a tour of local timber-framed structures and two days of presentations. Some 165 members and presenters  participated in a rich menu of workshops and seminars on timber frame design, history, engineering and business, as well a lively auction and slide show of new work. The Guild's Timber Frame Engineering Council held its annual symposium and a featured speech by Tedd Benson reviewed the early history of the timber framing revival and the evolution of his own company. The indispensible joint-busting completed a new chapter.