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The Quiet Side of Timber Framing
Deaf student learns age old craft at timber frame workshop.
By: Bonnie Pickartz, Goshen Timber Frames
Workshops are held at Goshen Timber Frames twice a year. Students from around the world come to Franklin, North Carolina to learn this very ancient craft. Communication has sometimes been a challenge when the student or apprentice spoke Japanese or Turkish and very little English. Ken Heath, a deaf student, didn’t let anything stop him from learning to timber frame.
With Cindy Bohner, a local interpreter provided by Goshen, the workshop is helping Ken to learn the craft. Cindy tells us that “both Ken and Goshen were determined to make this a positive experience. Ken plans on building timber frame cabins on his own campground. He’ll leave with the skills necessary to do just that and with new friends he’s met along the way.” Ken is the owner of Mason-Dixon Park, a private campground located in Seven Springs, North Carolina on Highway 55.
The sound of saws and drills isn’t necessary for someone to become a timber framer. The desire to build something with the same techniques used for centuries, a building that will stand as a testament to the craftsman’s dedication, is enough.
The noisy shop is quiet for Ken, but working with the Goshen joiners and Cindy, he doesn’t miss the noise and hustle and bustle. Joel Scott, Ken’s instructor, is pleased with Ken’s progress, “Ken picked up on layout and cutting techniques quickly. This isn’t his first time to build with wood, and it shows.” He will leave with new skills and will continue to use them for years to come.
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