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.
The Build Your Own Frame Program
lets you design the building you want, and then come to our location and cut your own frame under our watchful eyes, using our tools and 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 any time.
• You get help to mark and drill your mortises.
• You don't need a trailer to haul your own beams.
• You don't need a shop or barn to cut your own frame.
• You just need to invest time in creating your own home.
• You get to have fun living in our unique community, surrounded by nature, our wilderness skills summer camp, organic gardens and small farm, in the heart of upstate New York.
We believe this program is one of the best opportunities we've ever seen available for people who want to create their own home or barn.
Here's the program:
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.
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 get a small deposit to get started working on these plans.
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: With Permit in hand (if ncessary), you send us the program full 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 Five: You arrive at Hawk Circle and begin learning about how to cut your beams. We usually start with your knee braces, and sill beams, and you work with our timber framers each day to mark your beams, and teach you each step of how to cut each beam.
In this program, you will be supervised by our framers as you cut, until you feel comfortable cutting safely on your own, and we check every beam for accuracy and a great fit. You also get help moving beams into place with our apprentices, and we help you drill out your mortises, and give you lots of assistance as you go.
You also begin at this phase to carve your 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 day 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 Six: 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 a few of our staff, and then assemble the bents and raise them over a weekend, on the foundation you provide.
Step Six: Your frame is build, 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!
Cutting and shaping the rafters.