Axe in flight

Highlights from the 2012 Timber Framer’s Guild Conference in Leesburg VA

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2012 Timber Framer’s Guild Conference at the National Conference Center in Leesburg VA.

From meeting a lot of the top timber framer’s in the country, to great talks, joint busting and axe throwing there was a lot to take in.  Below is a quick recap of some of the more memorable events from this year.

Conference T-Shirt, Wood Bookmark, Swag from the show
Conference T-Shirt, Wood Bookmark, Swag from the show

I was excited to meet a lot of the guys who helped to found the Timber Framer’s Guild and wrote many of the books I often reference in my work and teaching: Jack Sobon, Ted Benson, Will Beemer, and many others. It was also great to see lots of friends from the field and make new connections.

Keynote Presentation by Ted Benson
Keynote Presentation by Ted Benson
Hard, Slow Learning: We Weren't Very Good Yet, but at Least We Were Skinny -- from Ted Benson's Talk
Hard, Slow Learning: We Weren’t Very Good Yet, but at Least We Were Skinny — from Ted Benson’s Talk

Rich Friberg, my good friend and the second year instructor at the North Bennet Street School gave an interesting talk on Preservation Principles and Methods and showed off some of the great work the school is doing.

Rich Friberg Talking About Historic Preservation Topics
Rich Friberg Talking About Historic Preservation Topics

We also got the chance to meet Thomas C. Hubka author of “Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England” and learn about his current research as well as the other projects he’s been involved with including the Timber Framed Synagogue in Europe.

Thomas C. Hubka author of "Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England"
Thomas C. Hubka author of “Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England”

I was excited to get up on stage Friday night and talk about some of the timber framing work I did with NBSS.  Shown below I was discussing the new square rule barn and also the historic ~1791 two bay English Style Barn we restored at Brookwood Farm in Canton MA.

Bill Rainford (Me) talking about some work I did with NBSS at Brookwood Farm
Bill Rainford (Me) talking about some work I did with NBSS at Brookwood Farm
Bill Rainford (Me) talking about some work I did with NBSS at Brookwood Farm on Friday Night
Bill Rainford (Me) talking about some work I did with NBSS at Brookwood Farm on Friday Night

BANG — CRACK — SNAP — JOINT BUSTING! In a corner of  the trade show portion of the conference during the inter-session breaks we got to see a lot of the joint busting competition.  Basically you build a timber framed joint meeting some specific size specifications and it is placed into a hydraulic or pneumatic press that will apply an incredible amount of pressure to see what it would take to cause the joint to fail. This info is projected on the screen and also logged by computer sensor for research purposes. When the joint fails it often makes quite the sound.

Joint busting competition at the trade show
Joint busting competition at the trade show
Some of the many and varied joints that were busted this year
Some of the many and varied joints that were busted this year
Great looking joint with carved embellishments
Great looking joint with carved embellishments

Look out for flying axes at the AXE THROWING COMPETITION!
Outside the guild setup some targets and allowed us to practice our axe throwing before the big competition. I had never thrown an axe before, but after a quick lesson, it was a lot of fun and with a little practice we made some good shots.

Kim Catlin (NBSS Graduate) Throwing an Axe
Kim Catlin (NBSS Graduate) Throwing an Axe
Bill Rainford (NBSS) Throwing an Axe
Bill Rainford (NBSS) Throwing an Axe
Axe in flight
Axe in flight
Bill Rainford (Me) standing next to my bullseye shot
Bill Rainford (Me) standing next to my bullseye shot

I had a great time at the show, I’m all fired up to get out in the yard and start hewing and framing some more outbuildings and I can’t wait to go back next year!

2 thoughts on “Highlights from the 2012 Timber Framer’s Guild Conference in Leesburg VA”

  1. I’m almost surprised you made it home already, took me a couple days to escape the labyrinth (had to shake that damned Minotaur) that is the National Conference Center last year.

    Glad you had a big time.

    I do expect our paths are bound to cross at some point.

    — Will

    1. Yeah, the NCC buildings were incredibly obtuse in terms of layout — and the underground paths were like a series of bunkers. I had a great time and look forward to going again at some point. Hopefully we will cross paths soon.
      Take care,
      -Bill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s