Highlights – 2012 Eastern Timber Framer’s Guild Conference

Whew! What a whirl wind of activities and emotions over the past few days. Once again, I am sitting in the airport reflecting on the past 3 days of the 2012 Eastern Timber Framer’s Guild Conference just outside Washington, DC in Leesburg, VA. Meeting new and old friends and 2012 Eastern Timber Framer's Guild Conferencecolleagues who all share a passion for the craft of timber framing always leave me feeling good about the path that I am on.

The main speaker was Tedd Benson of Benson Homes. He is one of the folks that revived this craft from the ashes in the
US in the 1970s. The first time I heard him speak was at my first conference over 10 years ago. He motivated me then and continued to do that this time as well. In his presentation, “The Heart of a Timber Framer”, he spoke about finding timber framing, the path he took to getting to

where he is today and the state of this noble craft. One thing that I never knew is that he started off as a conventional framer in Colorado Springs, and continued developing his skills, finally finding timber framing. From there, he became the icon in the industry. Here are a few things I took away from it:
– We own the problems that we see.
– Homes are the center of lives and families.
– Quality of life begins at home.
– How you are working is more important that what you are doing.
I look forward to the next time I hear him speak…For me it was one of the highlights of the conference.

That was just the beginning of the fun and motivation that I got during the weekend. Another great presentation was hearing Jack Sobon talking about using hand tools exclusively and the economics of it. He has been keeping track of his time and had some data that made his point that sometimes it is just quicker to use hand tools over grabbing a power saw or drill. It is certainly something that I will continue to employ in my projects.

Once again the teams from FraserWood and Firetower Engineering put on the Joint Busting Contest. You can see some of the highlights in this video. They have been testing and breaking mortise and tenon joints for the past few conferences and next year will change up and start busting a new type of joinery. I look forward to reviewing the results and the next round of timber frame joints they plan to bust.

The slide show was great success and great fun. It is always good to see what other are doing from around the country. I always take away something that I can put to use in my designs.

In the evenings we retired to the bar for some great bluegrass music played by a group of the attendees, and great conversations. This time around I threw my iphone of the floor and recorded a song that they played you can listen to it by clicking here. It was a good time had by all.

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 organizing this event. The 2012 Eastern Timber Framer’s Guild Conference was a great success.

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. I hope to see you at the next one.

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