Guidelines for Designing and Building a Timber Frame

These are some of the things I've come to feel strongly about in the design and building process. I welcome any corrections, suggestions, and additions that may make this list more useful to those in the design or building process.

Guideline #1:
Do this if you do anything from this list! You will be glad you did.
Find your timber first and then begin the design process. Most people design first and then hire a builder that is forced to build with unseasoned timber that isn't ready to be used. There are a handful of timber framers that have a stock yard of seasoned timbers (EastWind Timber Frames in California is one, I'd be interested to know of the others so I can point to them). If you've found this framer then you are more than likely in good hands. If you haven't found this framer, or can't afford this farmer, then you will either get a frame with unseasoned wood that will still need to dry, shrink and check, OR you can cut your wood before you design and get a frame that will be joined with seasoned wood that will not dry, shrink or check any further. This makes for the most beautiful and strong frames.
Your builder should understand what needs to be done here. If you have the money you can get your timber microwaved but it's expensive and it lowers the quality of the wood. Slow cured, air dried timber is superior. If you buy your logs first you will also win because they ain't getting any cheaper. Use your time wisely!

Guideline #2: Please ask your designer and builder if they use sustainably harvested timber.
(clear cut timber is not sustainable, it's a one time cut and that size timber is never to be seen again at that cut block, you are supporting 2x4 and 2x6 size tree farming). Trust me on this one. It may be a new concept but so was a round earth at one time and so was organic food. There are many important reasons to want big timber in our forests. Not only do we benefit from big timber (beauty, strength, volume...) but our larger animals need these big trees for their habitat. There are woodlot owners everywhere that do selection logging in stead of clear-cut logging and don't high-grade their cuts either. Just ask them one thing. Are their tops getting bigger or smaller? If smaller, then they're not sustaining their cut and will eventually support only 2x4 and 2x6 markets. We should support the woodlot loggers that try to maintain this stand diversity of size.
"What you are, the world is. And without your transformation, there can be no transformation of the world." —J. Krishnamurti

Guideline #3: "The visual and aesthetic focus is the architecture and its link to the garden, not the contents of the space." Len Brackett

Guideline #4: Orient your home to the sun. In the northern hemisphere the living space is to the south, or south-west. The kitchen is to the east to welcome the morning sun. The utility rooms should be to the north to act as a buffer to the living room and kitchen. The coldest walls are to the north and east so minimize windows on these walls or buffer them with shutters or verandas/porches). Maximize windows to the south and to the west again with verandas/porches but this time they should only shade from the hottest sun of summer and otherwise let it in.

Guideline #5: The cape and colonial homes are the most economical design. There is much to be said for two floor houses. By building two floors you maximize floor space and minimize roof size. A roof is a big expense to build and to maintain. Some argue that old age will make stairs a problem. Maybe so, it's an obstacle for you to decide upon. If one remains flexible in their old age, stairs remain an obstacle and cease to become a problem. My grandparents designed so upstairs rooms became guest rooms in later years and she only climbed the stairs to clean or ready a room for guests/family.
I like the colonial for another reason. It is two rectangles under one triangle (the roof). The living rooms, kitchen and utility rooms are in the first rectangle, the bedrooms in the second rectangle. Having bedrooms upstairs just feels better to me. Also, the roof of the second floor (rectangle) is insulated, leaving the triangle (roof) uninsulated but still useful for storage and hanging out in the cool and warm days of season. By insulating the floor of the attic it allows one to easily maintain the roof from leaks, wear and damage.

Guideline #6: Include a porch to wrap around at least 2 sides of the home. Houses that don't have a transitional space between the outside and inside spaces have a feeling of coldness and separation nature. Porches offer this seasonal living space and transition. The Japanese have perfected this design element known as the engawa.
They even go so far as to wrap the outside of the porch/engawa with translucent screens that allow the porches to be open or closed to the outside/garden. When closed they allow a soft filtered light into the home that is calm, relaxing, and pleasing. This provides an added element of privacy and beauty that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. In our cold climate it also acts as a buffer to deflect cold air from hitting the insulated walls of the house. This must have a considerable r-value.

Guideline #7: Don't ever rush a decision. If you feel rushed, pause, back up, slow down and contemplate (breath slowly and deeply). The answer will become clear eventually. If you don't meditate or contemplate, now is the time to start :)

Guideline #8: Never build on the most beautiful location of your property. Live on the property for at least 4 seasons before breaking ground.

Guideline #9: Divine your water source with several diviners to cross reference. You will be amazed at their accuracy. You will also find out other lines, faults and fractures running through your property that have never proven to be harmonious, healing locations to position your home. The flow of 'chi' or detectable current/frequency of energy is too chaotic to be beneficial to a healing home energy. I was unaware and skeptical of this but I have experienced too much consistent evidence to doubt it any longer.

Guideline #10: Read 'A Pattern Language' by Christopher Alexander. He studied all the vernaculars of architecture and design of many cultures from around the world and distilled one common "language" that we all use to define and make our spaces beautiful. So many great ideas of how to design and build our spaces. Highly recommended before you design your space. One example is to use larger windows that lower the sill level. The classic French design is this and allows for better and more beautiful natural light into the room.

On Being Responsible For My Health

To build a home one must be healthy. To do anything that requires strength, skill and endurance one must be healthy.

As I cross the threshold of middle-age I notice my body taking longer to heal and respond to rest. Responsibility means the ability to respond. Some people respond to health issues by trusting in an alopathic doctor. Over the years I have chosen to respond to my health issues personally. I learned how to research while at University. I have had amazing success with my health by following simple rules, they are non-invasive so there is no harm in trying them, they work for me, they may work for you. I am sharing this information because I feel that much, if not all, of our health concerns can be treated by simple means if a few simple guidelines are followed. This ability to respond to our own health has a huge impact on the health system. Our health system needs some relief.

Guidelines to Maintain Personal Health (print and tape inside kitchen cupboard or somewhere you will see it daily)

Observe my self daily.

Spend 5 to 30 minutes daily in a relaxed position and focus mind and breath inwards. Sit comfortably on the edge of a chair with sine erect, shoulders and arms relaxed, or sit comfortably on a cushion on the floor with legs crossed. At the very least breath 3 times slowly and deeply through the nostrils. Observe the mind and the breath. Attach no judgement to any thoughts or emotions. Simply observe and relax. This simple exercise is very powerful.

1.1 It helps calm the mind and prioritize thoughts. Thoughts out of constant control eventually lead the mind to stress and the body to eventual dis-ease.

1.2 It helps relax the body and realize where the body is tense. Continuous tension in parts of the body (back, neck, stomach, brain...) eventually manifest as some form of dis-ease. Realization of tension allows me to make necessary adjustments in posture, attitude, diet etc.).

1.3 It helps rejuvenate the spirit and focus these energies to move the body and mind towards set goals. Whether one calls this spirit, matrix or energy, there can be no doubt it either flows with ease or dis-ease in a positive or negative manner.

See disease as dis-ease. If recognized early enough, it simply means the body is not at ease and needs simple adjustment. If ignored, constant chronic dis-ease will transform to an acute form of dis-ease that will require major adjustment. The best way I've found to recognize dis-ease is by observation (see 1.0).

Breath deeply and calmly throughout the day. Anxiety, frustration, fear and anger only arise when the breath is too short, not relaxed, ignored or unfocussed.

Maximize circulation. Breath is circulation. Flexibility allows maximum circulation. Stretch, breath deeply and relaxed, keep a positive mental attitude...

Drink plenty of water.

Eat a diet low in high-glycemic carbohydrates. Eat a diet low in mucus forming foods (wheat, meat, and dairy).

Wendell Berry on Consumer Responsibility

Since my years in University I have come to the conclusion that our only real democratic vote now lay with our dollar/peso/pound; our consumer currency.

We vote once a year or once every four years for someone that is so wrapped in bureaucracy and under-the-table handshakes to be rendered useless if not harmful to the greater good.

We are much more powerful in our daily activities to vote each and every day (hopefully resting one day a week) with how and where we spend our dollars. This is a sword with two edges that cuts deeply to the heart of the matter; by giving our dollar to an efficient merchant/producer that is working to be part of a solution (i.e. organic food or sustainably harvested timber) we also keep it from an inefficient merchant/producer that is continuing to be part of a problem (i.e. chemically farmed food or clear-cut timber). This is much more powerful than relying on the diplomat (diplomat comes from the French 'di plume' meaning 'two faced').

Have you ever read something and said "I wish I could of said it like that." I'm reading Wendell Berry 'The Unsettling of America'. He is a Kentucky farmer and poet/author. It is my current Bible. Jesus would have loved this man. I recommend it to everyone. Here is a little excerpt:

From ‘The Unsettling of America’ by Wendell Berry

'The consumer may proceed to organization and even to legislation by considering only his (her) "rights." And most of the recent talk about consumer protection has had to do with the consumer's rights. Very little indeed has been said about the consumer's responsibilities. It may be that whereas one's rights may be advocated and even "served" by an organization, one's responsibilities cannot. It may be that when one hands one's responsibilities to an organization, one becomes by that divestiture irresponsible. It may be that responsibility can be fulfilled or failed, but cannot be got rid of.

If a consumer begins to think and act in consideration of his responsibilities, then he vastly increases his capacities as a person. And he begins to be effective in a different way - a way that is smaller perhaps, and certainly less dramatic but sounder, and able sooner or later to assume the force of example.

A responsible consumer would be a critical consumer, would refuse to purchase the less good. And he would be a moderate consumer; he would know his needs and would not purchase what he did not need; he would sort among his needs and study to reduce them. These things of course, have been often said, though in our time they have not been said very loudly and have not been much heeded. In our time the rule among consumers had been to spend money recklessly. People whose governing habit is the relinquishment of power, competence, and responsibility, and whose characteristic suffering is the anxiety of futility, make excellent spenders. They are the ideal consumer. By inducing in them little panics of boredom, powerlessness, sexual failure, mortality, paranoia, they can be made to buy (or vote for) virtually anything that is “attractively packaged.” The advertising industry is founded upon this principle.

What has not been often said, because it did not need to be said until fairly recent times, is that the responsible consumer must also be in some way a producer. Out of his own resources and skills, he must be equal to some of his own needs. The household that prepares its own meals in its own kitchen with some intelligent regard for nutritional value, and thus depends on the grocer only for selected raw materials, exercises an influence on the food industry that reaches from the store all the way back to the seedsman. The household that produces some or all of its own food will have a proportionately greater influence. The household that can provide some of its own pleasures will not be helplessly dependent on the enertainment industry, will influence it by not being helplessly dependent on it, and will not support it thoughtlessly out of boredom.

The responsible consumer thus escapes the limits of his own disatisfaction. He can choose, and exert the influence of his choosing, because he has given himself choices. He is not confined to the negativity of his complaint. He influences the market by his freedom. This is no specialized act, but an act that is substantial and complex, both practically and morally. By making himself responsibly free, a person changes both his life and his surroundings.

It is possible, then, to perceive a critical difference between responsible consumers and consumers who are merely organized. The responsible consumer slips out of the consumer category altogether. He is a responsible consumber incidentally, almost inadvertently; he is a responsible consumer because he lives a responsible life.

A Few Crafty Elders

Experience can lead to wisdom if nurtured with due focus and attention. Where knowledge has its roots in the past, wisdom has its roots in the present drawing energy from the humus of the past and turning into the fertility of the future. It is wisdom that is the essence of craft.

It is safe to say that an elder has had the most experience along both the beaten and less traveled paths. The craft of traditional wood joinery is a path that needs constant travel or the path becomes difficult to follow. It is these people honored here that have kept the path accessible. For that I dedicate this bit of cyberspace in the hopes of inspiring others to walk the path of working with ones hands and teaching others. Thank you for teaching and encouraging me.


Higgs Murphy

Higgs was my introduction to timber framing as my instructor at the College of the Rockies, Timber Frame Production program. He was first a carpenter, then a log builder taught by Alan Mackie back in the stone age. He evolved towards timber framing sometime in the bronze age. My dates might be a bit off but he's been at it a while and I have yet to meet anyone who knows more about every tool and also owns at least two of every tool. He arrived at the college with his loader and sawmill on a flatbed and his truck (with extra springs) hauling a trailer with 6 or 7 Greenlee tool boxes, one of which had 7 or 8 chainsaws. He has also invented his own tool for morticing into round logs, the Higgy-digger. I was fortunate to have him as my first intstructor. He is now to be found with the esteemed Macdonald and Lawrence team on Vancouver Island. (

Mike Laine

I first met Mike at my first Guild conference. He was teaching a workshop on the Japanese hand plane with James Weister. After hearing Mike talk a while I could tell he was present during the sixties in California. One of the survivors, he has taken his mind blowing experiences to the next level with his woodwork. It would make sense that he has evolved towards the Japanese style and discipline for his attention to detail and commitment to perfection are second to none. I had the honor of learning from him again at the Bainbridge island Japanese memorial project, and from the Guild conference at Monterey where we built a 'machiai' with 3 daiku masters from Japan. Here he created the hidden joint used for the corner of the tatami mat. Here are pictures of the test/sample joint.
Check out Mikes work on his beautiful website:


James Weister
(in progress)


Jay Van Arsdale

I first learned of Jay Van Arsdale when I bought his Shoji book. The thought of a western person doing Shoji blew me away and inspired me. "White people can do this!" "Right On!" When I found out he was speaking at the Timber Framers Guild conference at Asilomar I jumped at the opportunity to record him. The podcast of his lecture should be on the main page of my blog. It is well worth downloading and listening to. I get something from it ever time I listen to it. "Japanese work ethic is about focus, patience and repetition, this is why they are so good at what they do." Jay's website is He teaches in Oakland, California.

Makoto Imai

Should Formaldehyde Be In Our Homes?

Should our homes heal and recharge us is another way of asking this question. Healthy homes are the latest movement towards personal and planetary health.

Many modern materials tax our immune systems in stead of recharge them. Given todays high paced culture I can't see this as being a wise decision. Formaldehyde is one of the leading identified toxins that off-gas into the modern air-tight home. The article below sheds light on this subject.

The simplest way to avoid formaldehyde is:

Don't buy pre-made cabinets for your kitchen and bathroom from Home Depot and the like. They are made with MDF board which is high in formaldehyde. Find a local cabinet maker and get your cabinets made out of real wood or plywood which has much lower levels of formaldehyde.

Don't sheathing your home with OSB, another formaldehyde laden product. Use plywood if you must rely on modern code. Or start pushing the envelope with more environmental materials and methods (straw bale, rammed earth, cob, light clay...).

If you are building a modern stud wall, you can now buy formaldehyde-free insulation from all the major manufacturers.

CDC: Gulf Coast trailers have toxic air

AP Medical Writer

ATLANTA (AP) -- U.S. health officials are urging that Gulf Coast hurricane victims be moved out of their government-issued trailers as quickly as possible after tests found toxic levels of formaldehyde fumes.

Fumes from 519 trailer and mobile homes in Louisiana and Mississippi were - on average - about five times what people are exposed to in most modern homes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some trailers, the levels were nearly 40 times customary exposure levels, raising fears that residents could contract respiratory problems.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency - which supplied the trailers - should move people out quickly, with priority given to families with children, elderly people or anyone with asthma or other chronic conditions, said Mike McGeehin, director of a CDC division that focuses on environmental hazards.

"We do not want people exposed to this for very much longer," McGeehin said.

In New Orleans, Jim Herring, 63, who recently moved back into his partially renovated house in the badly flooded Lakeview neighborhood, said he wasn't surprised about the finding.

"The workmanship is pathetic," said Herring, a retiree who worked for 25 years in a chemical plant.

Herrings and his wife Susan decided not to stay in their trailer, which they received in April 2007. Both Herrings are smokers, but Jim said he did not have a cough until they moved into it.

"Let's face it, these things were not meant to be lived in for a year," Jim Herring said.

While there are no federal safety standard for formaldehyde fumes in homes, the levels found in the trailers are high enough to cause burning eyes and breathing problems for people who have asthma or sensitivity to air pollutants, said McGeehin.

CDC officials said the study did not prove people became sick from the fumes, but merely took a snapshot reading of fume levels. Only formaldehyde was tested, they added.

FEMA provided about 120,000 travel trailers to victims of the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2006, some occupants began reporting headaches and nosebleeds.

The complaints were linked to formaldehyde, a colorless gas with a pungent smell used in the production of plywood and resins.

Commonly used in manufactured homes, formaldehyde can cause respiratory problems and has been classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Last May, FEMA officials dismissed findings by environmentalists that the trailers posed serious health risks. They said the trailers conformed to industry standards.

By August, about 1,000 families in Louisiana asked FEMA to move them to other quarters. In November, lawyers for a group of hurricane victims asked a federal judge to order FEMA to test for hazardous fumes.

The CDC, working with FEMA, hired a contractor. The firm - Bureau Veritas North America - tested air samples from 358 travel trailers, 82 park model and 79 mobile homes.

Analysis of the samples, taken from Dec. 21 through Jan. 23, came back last week, McGeehin said.

They found average levels of 77 parts formaldehyde per billion parts of air, significantly higher than the 10 to 17 parts per billion concentration seen in newer homes. Levels were as high as 590 parts per billion.

The highest concentrations were in travel trailers, which are smaller and more poorly ventilated, McGeehin said.

Indoor air temperature was a significant factor in raising formaldehyde levels, independent of trailer make or model, CDC officials said. McGeehin said that's why the CDC would like residents out before summer.

A broader-based children's health study is also in the works, McGeehin said.

Last week, congressional Democrats accused FEMA of manipulating scientific research in order to play down the danger posed by formaldehyde in the trailers.

In its initial round of testing, FEMA took samples from unoccupied trailers that had been aired out for days and compared them with federal standards for short-term exposure, according to the lawmakers.

Legislators also said the CDC ignored research from - and then demoted - one of its own experts, who concluded any level of exposure to formaldehyde may pose a cancer risk. A CDC spokesman has denied the allegations.


Sound Joinery

It is important to me that all joints are fully housed. I am surprised how many timber frames I see without housed connections. It is a corner cut for sake of time and money, however, one that could seriously jeopardize the integrity of the frame.

This tie beam seen here is housed one inch into the post. This allows the weight of the second floor to transfer properly onto the post and down to the foundation.
For maximum strength and aesthetics it is best to increase timber size proportionately. This allows one to fully house the timbers into each other. Two things are achieved by this design. The beam and the post are fully housed to 'lock' the timber in place which prevents any unsightly twisting. It also hides any shrinkage which occurs if perfectly dry timbers aren't used which is usually the case. The joinery might look tight at first, but after one or two years there will be shrinkage gaps. This solves that aesthetic issue.

The Owner Built Timber Frame

Have tent will travel seems to be my motto this year. This past spring I taught an organic farmer how to build a timber frame fruit stand for his farm.

This fall I taught a father and son how to build a timber frame home.

Many people want to build their own home and some of these people are drawn to the art of timber framing. What I have found so rewarding about this approach to timber framing is witnessing the process of learning, and the sense of accomplishment in building ones own home...

There seems to be a right of passage I see in the faces of everyone the first time they join two pieces of wood together with a wooden peg...

Getting ready for the roof! Job well done by all!

Timber Frame Porch Addition

Timber frame additions are great added value to a home.

Here's a before and after look at a home in Osoyoos.

I built this frame with Bruce Baker of Rock Mt. Land and Timber. We used locally harvested standing dead Douglas Fir and Western Larch. Both of these species are the hardest of the softwoods used as posts for mine shafts and as railway ties. Fir and larch are almost as strong as oak in compressive strength.

Here we used two king post trusses with wedged half-dovetails to span the 26'.

Their son Marsh Murphy is a documentary film maker from Edmonton.
He made this short film of the raising day.
His website is
The music is by Stephen Hardy,
a piece called 'Little Cat'.

Why Use Sustainably Harvested Timbers?

I believe in the saying "We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." Now that I have children I realize my children and other children look at me and our elders for guidance. It's a monkey-see monkey-do, lead by example experience. If I feel that I am part of the solution , and not part of the problem, then I am doing my part for our children.

I saw this picture of these children on my way to the Timber Framers Guild conference last year. It is a game where each child takes a turn saying something that is round or circular in their community. When a child can't think of something, then he is out. The last child in the circle becomes the leader of the tribe.

Ecosystems have two general directions they like to head, towards grasslands and forest or towards dessert. A forest ecosystem wants to succeed to old growth characteristics. An uneven stand of infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, and elders. Selection logging allows an uneven stand to continue towards old growth. It keeps a canopy of trees shading the earth to prevent the top-soil, microrhizal mantel from drying out and dying. Clear-cut logging allows this thin layer of soil to dry out as it waits for replanting, allowing the forest to take a dangerous step back towards desertification.

A Beautiful Example of Sustainable Forestry

I had the honor of learning from Merv and Anne Wilkinson. They are an inspiration on how to walk softly and live simply.

The sign on the douglas fir tree reads "Douglas Fir, seedling 190 A.D., 1300(?) years old when Columbus sailed, 1677 years old at Canadian confederation, 1800 years old in 1990." This is one of hundreds of trees on his woodlot.

When he was 30 some years old he bought 100+ acres from Macmillan Bloedel, the large clear-cut forestry corporation that 'owned' most of the titles in the part of Vancouver island Merv was living. It was a mature old growth forest of fir, cedar, spruce, and hemlock. The local foresters suggested Merv clear the woodlot, sell the timber to the mill, and replant with seedlings. This didn't make much sense to Merv as he wanted to live there as well as work there, and he wanted to live in the forest.

Merv decided to attend the University of British Columbia's forestry program long enough to figure out how to measure the basal metabolic rate (BMR)(how much timber grows each year in a defined area). He then returned to his woodlot and did the calculations. He decided to cut 80-90% of the BMR each year and to leave 10-20% "in the bank" to accumulate "interest."

He didn't make as much money as the clear-cut loggers, but he lived a life full of a richness that I could not even imagine until I set foot onto his woodlot.

Merv hung up his chain saw and scaling stick while in his 90's.

Why Prana?

What is Prana?

Prana is vital energy. Vital means necessary to life.

I learned about Prana at university and it has dramatically improved my life. I no longer have chronic asthma that had me dependent on pharmaceutical drugs and afraid of farms, animals and feather pillows. I now realize I was using a small fraction of my lungs to breath. No one had ever taught me how to breath properly.

From the inside out it involves the control or flow of ones breath which eventually leads to the control or flow of ones life. If I can control or regulate the flow of my breath, I can control or regulate my ability to respond in this world. This responsibility allows me to remain calm when I would otherwise find myself anxious or tense. This anxiety or tension once led to asthma attacks, me reaching for my inhaler, or me heading to emergency for an adrenaline shot.

This path of healing myself has grown like the proverbial onion. I first began with my self. Like Achilles heal my lungs are my weakness and they were the first to benefit from my increased breath and increased oxygen to my blood. Then I started to realize the fuel i was feeding myself and started buying more organically and locally grown fresh produce. Now I grow a lot of my own. Then I started looking at my clothes and where they were coming from. This led me to supporting local craftspeople for my socks, hats, sweaters and the local thrifts store to reuse what others didn't want anymore. I didn't want to enslave women and children for my cheap but stylish fashion anymore. And this finally (is it?) led me to what I now feel to be the outer reaches of my self, my home; how I create and manage my household.

Economics simply means management of the household (economos). How I manage my household or my home involves my self and my relationship with my family, my food, my clothing, my shelter and my village. As I learn to understand these relationships with my self I have chosen the path of timber framer as my connection to my village.

The idea of using large timbers for the frame of a home has led me to many new realizations about why and how we enclose these spaces we live in. Our homes need to be healthy for us to heal and recharge. They are our sanctuaries where we conduct our daily rituals that allow us to reach out further and remain a positive influence to all our relations. A home needs to breath correctly as do we.

Yoga, Tai Chi and Timber Framing

Timbers are heavy.
They have taught me the importance of a healthy back and hips.
Flexibility and strength is key to working with heavy objects.
Strength alone will eventually break without flexibility.

Yoga simply means to 'yolk' or join body and mind harmoniously.
When body and mind are flexible and working together,
One is strong and does not break easily.

Tai Chi simply means flow of energy.
Energy can collide or flow.
If one learns to flow with one's energy,
the path of least resistance is achieved.
The path of least resistance is the ultimate strength,
and conservation of energy.

Timber framing simply means to 'yolk' or join timbers harmoniously.
The job of the timber framer is to join timbers harmoniously,
using the path of least resistance.

Whatever sport I did, my coaches had me stretch and warm up my body. If I didn't do this, I inevitably pulled a muscle or strained a ligament or tendon. As I don't play organized sport anymore, I no longer have coaches encouraging me to stretch. As I have aged I have found my body to become less flexible. It was a serious back injury that has finally lead me back to stretching and bringing flexibility back into my life.

I discovered Yoga in university. Yoga is basically a comprehensive system of stretching that involves the body, mind and breath. It has greatly increased the quality of my life. As I work in this industry of joining heavy timbers I notice many injuries to myself and others that can be avoided by this daily practice.

One basic healing quality I have found to be highly beneficial to my body is in the 'asanas' or postures. For example, there are many postures for the back and hips that put the body into a particular position that allow fresh blood to circulate around the vertibrae and hip sockets. As we stand, walk, sit and lie down our vertibrae and hip sockets find themselves in continuous positions that forbid circulation to particular areas. In tai chi this is known as 'stagnant chi'. By involving the breath and breathing a minimum of 3 deep breaths, Yoga postures/'asanas' and tai chi 'forms' allow freshly oxegenated blood to penetrate otherwise stagnant areas.

What does the Timber Framers Guild do?

The Timber Framers Guild puts on many projects and rendezvous over the year.

Here framers volunteered their time and skills to the lay out, cutting and assembly of two matching gates and an information pavilion for the Japanese American Internment and Exclusion Memorial on Bainbridge Island.

"On March 30, 1942, 227 Bainbridge Island residents were the first Japanese Americans in United States history to be forcibly removed from their homes by the U.S. Army and sent to internment camps. They boarded the ferry Kehloken from the former Eagledale Ferry Dock, located at the end of Taylor Avenue, in the city of Bainbridge Island, Washington State. The city of Bainbridge Island has adopted a resolution stating that this site should be a National Memorial, and similar resolutions have been introduced in the Washington State Legislature."

Here is a great idea! Assemble the roof on the ground as one, then raise it!

A SmartWood Guitar for Roseanne Cash

As a longtime supporter of the Rainforest Alliance Roseanne Cash was presented with a Smart Wood guitar in a 1996 benefit concert for the protection of remaining rainforests. As Miss Cash gently fingers the strings on her new guitar she explains, "Musicians take their instruments seriously, each one has its own life. If its made of wood, the tone is affected by the way the material was aged and worked and then by how the musician has played that instrument over the years." Smart Wood, a program designed by the Rainforest Alliance, is the label afforded to sustainably harvested wood products. Smart Wood Guitars were created by CEO Henry Juszeiewicz of Gibson Musical Instruments. Today the gleaming faces of guitars like Cash's comes from Maple trees supplied by the Menominee Tribal Enterprises (MTE). MTE manages 235,000 acres of tribal land within the state of Wisconsin. Robert Brander, an ecologist walks through the tribal lands remarking at how the forests seem so untouched. Since logging began in 1854, the MTE have harvested over 2.5 billion board feet, which is the equivalent of removing the forest three times over. The method of forest management leaves more trees today than when logging first began in 1854. The trees standing today are of the highest quality, so superior that forest products engineers had to create a new lumber grade designating the product as better than the customary top classifications. MTE also maintains twice as many jobs as other conventional operations of its size.
When selecting trees for harvesting MTE recognizes the importance of securing quality habitat for all the forests inhabitants, nutritious aspen buds for grouse, dry grassy clearings for deer and butterflies. People from around the world come to the MTE woodlands to learn and observe how to treat the land and still harvest for commercial profits.
Here is a link to the Menominee Woodland