The Frame that Heather built.
The completed frame, near Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada.
Heather Burrill poses in front of beams she cut herself.
Drilling the mortise for her sill beam.
Cutting and shaping the rafters.
The Build Your Own Frame Program
lets you design the building you want, and then come to our location and cut your frame, using our tools & shop resources.
• You don't need to buy your own tools.
• You get help moving heavy, large beams by our team.
• You get help when you need it, at pre-arranged times during your stay.
• You get help to mark and drill your mortises.
• You don't need a trailer to haul your frame.
• You don't need a shop or barn to cut your own frame.
• You get to live in our unique community, surrounded by nature, our wilderness retreat center, organic gardens and small farm, in the heart of upstate New York.
We believe this program is a great opportunity for people who want to create their own home or barn.
Here's how it works:
Step One: You contact us for a consultation call about your project to discuss your location, your building needs, your budget and your woodworking or building skill level. We discuss options for your structure, and what is realistic to build in the time you have available to complete.
We also discuss the price of the Build Your Own Frame Program, which depends on several factors, including time needed to complete the frame, the amount of wood and joinery needed to be cut, and other considerations. It is generally in the ballpark of $800 per week.
Step Two: We put together a Build Your Own Frame Proposal for you and your project, and create a frame design that will accomplish your goals and objectives that also meet the requirements of your local building codes and regulations. We also start with a $500 deposit to get started working on these plans. (This amount is included in the total cost of the program.)
Step Three: You take your plans to an engineer or local architect to get them approved for any necessary permits you will need for your building, and determine what foundation style you will use (full concrete basement, a concrete crawlspace, a concrete slab, concrete piers, a stone foundation or some other locally approved method).
Step Four: Ideally, you will enroll in one of our Timber Framing Skills Intensives, where you learn the skills of how to cut all of the joinery you will need for your frame.
Step Five: With Permit in hand (if necessary), you send us the program deposit (approximately a third of your Build Your Own Frame price, so we can order the beams from our local sawyers and have them ready for the start of your program. We also coordinate with you for your stay at Hawk Circle for your frame cutting and arrange a building schedule that works with your time frame for getting your frame cut and raised in a timely manner.
Step Six: You arrive at Hawk Circle and begin to cut your beams. We assist each day to select and mark your beams, and supervise as needed. We assist in moving beams, sharpening chisels, drilling mortises and other supportive aspects of your framing.
We help check each beam for accuracy and a great fit. You also get help moving beams into place when needed.
You'll also begin at this phase to carve the wooden pegs from logs we provide, a few each day, so you don't have to carve them all at the end of your project. Cutting pegs is a great way to 'take a few hours off' from working on the larger beams, and just enjoy working in our barn workshop on a rainy afternoon.
We also put together a time frame for your transportation and beam raising, too, as we see how quickly your project is getting along.
Step Seven: When your frame is half completed, the second program payment is due. You complete your frame and we load up the cut beams onto a trailer or truck, and transport your frame to your building site. At this time, we arrange a raising party with your group of friends and family and then assemble the bents and raise them over a long day or weekend, on the foundation you provide.
Step Eight: Your frame is raised and completed! You are done with our part of the building, and now have the frame for your new home, workshop or barn, ready to put up a roof and enclose it with siding or natural building method of your choice! We celebrate your new skills and new home!
Note: If you have purchased rough cut roof boards or siding, we may be able to help you cut and install those at an hourly rate if that would be helpful and it works out with our schedule.