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Workshop inspires TimberFest 2023

by MARCY TIMBLIN / Contributing Writer
| June 6, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Members of the Timber Framers Guild will converge on Sandpoint this weekend to participate in a special workshop organized by local craftsman Collin Beggs.

Guild members will learn from two master carpenters specializing in traditional Japanese timber framing during a 10-day course at the University of Idaho Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center, and the class project, a bell pavilion, will be installed at Pine Street Woods to hold the bell crafted by local artisan Mark Kubiak.

While in Sandpoint, the Timber Framers Guild, in partnership with Kaniksu Land Trust, will host TimberFest, June 9-11. This event, open to the public, will bring together more than 100 attendees for a weekend celebrating craft and community. Featuring a variety of demonstrations and speakers, as well as a KidsBuild and tours, TimberFest will be a time to gather and learn from one another.

The weekend kicks off with a tour during which TimberFest participants will tour a local mill, the Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center, and Pine Street Woods, including a stop at the Kaniksu Lumber milling site, where they will learn about the portable mill shared through a partnership with Bonner Soil and Water Conservation District and the lumber retail and forestry education initiative supported by Weyerhauser Family Foundation.

Saturday features presentations by Dale Brotherton, who builds in the Japanese tradition; indigenous craftsman Shawn Brigman; Ken Conger of the Bonner County Historical Society; Joe Miller from Fire Tower Engineered Timber, who provided his expertise in reviewing the engineering aspects of the bell tower; and Autumn Peterson, a “local hero” who will talk about the Guild’s Community Building Projects in her hometown in Oregon. Before dinner, Collin Beggs and Katie Egland Cox, along with Mark Kubiak, will talk about the bell pavilion, its inspiration, and its development.

Throughout Saturday, attendees will have the opportunity to visit exhibitors and take in demonstrations. Master craftspeople will be demonstrating tool sharpening techniques and care, hewing, and more. Participants in TimberFest may also wish to try their hand at the axe throwing or hewing competition.

Before closing out this weekend celebrating timber framing, we welcome engineer Jennifer Anthony and architect and designer Mira Steinbrecher to share their perspective on the design and engineering of timber frame structures. Mira will offer insights and inspiration for design using mixed materials, while Jennifer will discuss how builders, homeowners, and designers can help make the engineering process work smoothly. Finally, they will be joined by a timber framer for a roundtable discussion about how all three professionals work together to create these unique structures.

Guild members and Kaniksu Folk School instructors will also lead KidsBuild, a woodcraft and timber framing workshop for children of local families and visiting Guild members. Younger children will build a timber frame bench and table. Older youth can participate in a two-day collaborative project building a larger timber frame structure. The cost for KidsBuild is $25 per day. All supplies and tools are provided.

Participation in TimberFest is open to the public. Registration is available through kaniksu.org/happenings.

Founded in 1985, the Timber Framers Guild is an international non-profit educational membership association dedicated to the craft of timber framing. Serving as a center of timber frame information and design for professionals, aficionados, and the general public, the Guild hosts conferences, sponsors community-building projects, coordinates regional gatherings, offers professional development and education, and publishes two print magazines. For more information about the guild, go online to tfguild.org.

The Pine Street Woods — a 180-acre community forest — opened to the public in 2019 after a successful community fundraising campaign to purchase the 160-acre parcel from the Weisz Family and a 20-acre land donation from L.E. Krause. The land has a rich natural and cultural history that Kaniksu Land Trust envisions expressing through a commemorative art piece.

Artist and neighbor of Pine Street Woods, Kubiak went to work designing and crafting the bell which pays homage to the area’s natural and historic heritage.

“All of the work that has been done on the bell is referencing the flora and fauna of the area and things that might be seen or experienced in the woods around here, plus a little bit of Native American mythology,” he described.

“I call it the legacy bell, referring to the ongoing legacy of Pine Street Woods.”

Over the two-week-long workshop, guild members will build the timber frame structure at the University of Idaho Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center. The structure will then be carefully dismantled and transported to Pine Street Woods where the bronze cast bell will be mounted on the structure and an official community timber frame-raising event will take place at a future date.

“This event has been over three years in the making, starting with the gift of the commemorative bell designed and cast by Mark. Then, we pulled local timber framer Collin Beggs into the project knowing that the bell needed a very special structure to house it. Collin’s idea to incorporate the Timber Framers Guild and the greater community in the creation of this space is such a fitting culmination of the project,” Katie explained.

“For many years I’ve dreamt of an opportunity to bring the Timber Framers Guild to Sandpoint for a community workshop. When I found out that the bell was being created I saw an opportunity to have world-class craft training and cultural exchange while serving the community of Sandpoint, which I love,” Collin shared.

Allison Aurand, of the Timber Framers Guild, noted the significance of building relationships with communities for the organization.

“Guild members are all about learning together and sharing their craft, and these kinds of workshops and events offer an opportunity not just to connect with one another but with new friends in new places. We’ve been lucky to join with Kaniksu Land Trust and the Sandpoint community thanks to Collin Beggs, and can’t wait to see how this friendship develops.”

Cox said she envisions future partnership opportunities between the land trust and the Timber Framers Guild.

“We hope this is the start of a longer-term relationship with the Guild given that our programs involve the teaching of the timber frame craft in our youth program all the way to adults through our Folk School. To learn and watch master craftspeople at work will be an amazing opportunity for our community. I imagine this will be just the first of many endeavors between our two organizations.”

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(Photo courtesy KANIKSU LAND TRUST)

Timber Framers Guild are coming to Sandpoint for a 10-day course at the University of Idaho Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center. The class project, a bell pavilion, will be installed at Pine Street Woods to hold the bell crafted by local artisan Mark Kubiak.

photo

(Photo courtesy KANIKSU LAND TRUST)

Guild members and Kaniksu Folk School instructors will also lead KidsBuild, a woodcraft and timber framing workshop for children of local families and visiting Guild members.