I am sitting here in the San Francisco Airport looking back and reflecting on the past few days. You see, I just attended the 2012 Western Timber Framer’s Guild Conference just outside Monterey Bay at the Asilomar Conference Center.
It always amazes me just how much I enjoy hanging out and talking with a group of like minded folks who are all passionate about the craft of timber framing. It was the first conference that I have attended in the past several years, and I am certainly planning to make a more regular appearance after the great conversations and speakers that they brought in.
It is also the first Western Conference that I have attended and it was good to meet and introduce myself to everyone on the west coast. As well as a great place to visit, Asilomar is located right on Monterey Bay. During the breaks it was nice to be able to go for a walk along the boardwalk and see some of the local deer that are located on the peninsula.
The conference started on Friday with a quick meeting to hear news from the Board of Directors of the Guild and then the start of the various presentations. I won’t go through them all, but the presentations ranged from hard skills like design and timber drying, to marketing and the history of timber framing in California. After the TFBC Trade Show, which displayed the latest tools and innovation that the specialty suppliers provide to us all, after dinner we all sat down for the slide show where everyone can share their work with the group. It is always good to see what other folks are designing and building. I have always been able to take away some incredible details that I can incorporate into my designs.
Saturday morning, we all gathered for the Feature Presentation by Dr. John Francis on Redefining the Environment. It was an amazing story of one man’s journey after deciding not to speak, or travel in a motorized vehicle, for 17 year after a devastating oil spill in the San Francisco Bay in the early 70s. He followed up with how he was able to help change the way folks look at helping the environment. I have added his book to my must read and I recommend that you read it too. It is titled The Planet Walker.
After his passionate talk, it was off to more presentations covering topics from working with an engineer, design flaws, and air infiltration. During the middle of the day, the finals of the Axe Throwing Competition took place and Gabel Holder from the Holder Bros. TF won the day. The day was wrapped up with the Benefits Auction which is always a great way to hang out with everyone and support the guild.
During the entire conference the team from Fire Tower Engineered Timber was holding the Joint Testing Sessions. Basically anyone could submit an entry to the contest and they were put through the test. It was certainly a highlight of the show for everyone, and I was disappointed that I was not able to have an entry. After I looked into the shipping of the timbers through UPS, I decided I better hold off until the Eastern Conference this fall in Leesburg, VA. After the results are officially published, I will include a link so you can see the results.
On the final day, I attended the Veterans Voice presentation with John Miller of Cascade Joinery. With his motivational talk, I was able to walk away with things to think about and put to use in my life and businesses. Last, a presentation on timber frames and seismic events along with a one on one session with an architect. Sunday is left as a half day to help folks get back to home so they can start assimilating all the information that they consumed during the 3 day event, and start putting it to good use. I know my mind is racing with new directions and topics I want to learn more about.
I would recommend to everyone that has an interest in the craft of timber framing, whether you are a person just curious about the craft and want to learn more, or a seasoned joiner in the shop, to attend just one of these events. It will not be a waste of time. I would like to also like to thank Joel McCarty and the Board of Directors of the Guild
for the hard work that they put into the organization of the event. I can only imagine the amount of work that it takes to pull one of these events off. Another thanks goes out to the other sponsors that made the event possible. I will be working in the next couple of weeks to get their names so I can post them here.
Until the Fall Conference….