Members of the Timber Framers Guild and volunteers raised a picnic shelter at Lake Roesiger county park in late May. (Rich Patton)

Members of the Timber Framers Guild and volunteers raised a picnic shelter at Lake Roesiger county park in late May. (Rich Patton)

Ancient timber framing practice kept alive at county parks

Volunteers came from near and far to learn traditional methods to build picnic shelters and a stage.

MONROE — Trees the Snohomish County parks department cut down for safety or forest health have found new life as picnic shelters and a stage at Lake Roesiger, Whitehorse and Kayak Point county parks.

On Memorial Day, a picnic shelter took form as about 35 volunteers from near and far hoisted up a timber frame made from the trees.

Led by instructors from the Bellingham-based Timber Framers Guild, the volunteers spent a week at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds learning details of the craft and constructing two identical, covered picnic shelters slated for Lake Roesiger County Park and Whitehorse County Park and a small stage for Kayak Point County Park.

Timber framing is a style of construction involving heavy lumber and wood joinery techniques, which are held in place with wooden pegs.

The practice was common until about 1900, when the demand for cheap, fast housing ushered the use of lighter lumber, according to the guild’s website. Today, members of the guild work with local communities and nonprofits to keep timber framing alive.

Raoul Burchette traveled from Apple Valley, California, to attend the guild’s workshop in Monroe.

His interest in timber framing started when he picked up a book on the subject on accident. The aesthetic, as well as the community-oriented process of building, drew him to the craft.

“I was just so excited to get an opportunity to do this hands-on,” Burchette said.

Working eight-hour days or longer, he and the other volunteers shaped massive, 150- to 900-pound beams into the bones for the shelters and stage.

“I didn’t know anything about how to do it or even the idea behind it until we did it,” Burchette said.

After a week of lifting, cutting and hammering, the structure was ready for raising.

The group used a crane to lift sections of the frame into place, each piece fitting together like a puzzle.

“It was very satisfying,” Burchette said.

Volunteers came from as far as Norway to help with the project, guild executive director Mack Magee said.

The organization does about three similar projects a year, either for nonprofits or local governments.

“We do it to teach people how and to spread awareness about timber framing as a modern alternative to common building techniques,” Magee said.

The Lake Roesiger shelter was $95,000 in county funds, according to parks spokesperson Shannon Hays. The Whitehorse shelter and stage for Kayak Point were an additional $55,000.

Most of the lumber came from trees slated to come down at Squire Creek Park near Darrington.

The shelter for Whitehorse Park is scheduled to be installed in 2020.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Traffic will be rerouted from a closed section of 220th Street SW just west of I-5 for overnight road repairs Wednesday and Thursday. (Sound Transit)
Overnight work to close 220th Street SW and southbound I-5

Contractor crews plan to repair 220th and need to close the freeway for light rail work.

This condo on Norton Ave. in Everett was sold Friday, June 18. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Snohomish County home values soar in latest assessment

Lack of affordable housing put the squeeze on buyers and drove up home prices across Snohomish County.

With credit scores out, will insurers cut or hike your rate?

Lack of affordable housing squeezed buyers and drove up home prices across Snohomish County.

Lynnwood man is challenging the legality of his imprisonment

The Island County Jail inmate was temporarily sent to a state prison and allegedly held in solitary confinement.

Chris Stack and Samantha Soule film a scene of their movie, "Midday Black, Midnight Blue," on the Coupeville wharf June 14. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Indie film crew: Whidbey residents are ‘generous and welcoming’

The movie makers are shooting scenes for a full-length feature at various sites around the island.

Community Transit is asking for feedback on options for a pilot program to bring a community van or microtransit, on-demand public transit, to Lynnwood in spring next year. (Community Transit)
Are you ready for public transit ride-sharing in Lynnwood?

Community Transit is planning a pilot program next spring and wants to hear what people think.

Edmonds council moves to ‘prevent unnecessary evictions’

An emergency ordinance was passed Tuesday with the aim of helping fill a gap in eviction protection.

Harry Lee Jones Jr.
Man gets 31½ years for shooting Everett motel guest 12 times

Harry Lee Jones Jr., 27, beat and then shot a Farwest Motel guest in 2018 while two accomplices looted his room.

Everett's Patrick Hall was among people who put up signs in March to save the Longfellow School building.  He is now part of an advisory task force looking at options for the building, which the Everett School District had planned to tear down.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
National register listing could be next for old Longfellow

But the designation wouldn’t stop the Everett School District from tearing down the former school.

Most Read