OUR PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE COURSE
Tiny homes are very popular and justly so. Scaling your living space to your lifestyle and your passion for the environment are choices that resonate with many people. In this class our goal is help you develop the skills you will need to efficiently build a tiny home with sustainable materials. We will discuss the construction of the basic structure, framing, cladding and roofing. We’ve designed this class for individuals who are looking to build their own home or who may lead a crew in community tiny home building projects.
What make this course unique?
Traditional techniques in a contemporary context:
Our instructors bring with them the knowledge from building gypsy wagons and timber framed structures to show how those techniques can be applied to a tiny house. We will build the house using joinery techniques and sheath the structure in solid wood rather than plywood. Both these techniques speak to the possibility of using locally sourced materials.
Building off the grid? Learning to use hand tool for construction and joinery, balanced sensibly with the power tools you’ll need to be efficient.
Hands on experience:
There is no substitute for hands on experience. After four weeks, you’ll leave with the skills and confidence to do it yourself, a better understanding of what you are looking for in a tiny house design, and how to execute it successfully.
Quality and craftsmanship:
We emphasize quality, attention to detail, considering impact and longevity, and working to high standards for lasting work. Our instructors are experienced craftspeople who recognize the value of passing on their skill set to the next generation of woodworkers. We strive to connect you with others who have a passion for craftsmanship and tiny houses.
We're committed to passing on the living tradition of woodworking--rooted in techniques that create lasting results and instilling the values and practices of fine craftsmanship, sustainability, and creative expression.
The bones of a house are the most essential part of a dwelling. In this class we will focus on what it takes to make a sturdy, roadworthy, weatherproof, and well-proportioned structure. This class spends the bulk of its time focusing on the principles that go into building the underlying structure and how to plan early for electrical, plumbing, and heating systems.
Because the layout of a tiny home is highly individualized by nature, there won’t be time to work on the interior build-out and finish work, but you will have the opportunity to discuss interior design/layout and get feedback on plans of your own.
We’re looking for a partner in the Port Townsend area who would want to sponsor a tiny house or two that we can build as a team. If you are interested in sponsoring a tiny house to be built in this course - please let us know. Please read this document, Tiny Homes Structure Sponsor Information that addresses questions about the site prep, moving the structure, costs, etc.
The design (or at least the parameters of the design) may be fixed by the time the class starts but we’ll walk you through the design and materials selection process.
Building a Tiny House
In the class you’ll work as a team building a tiny house with a footprint of approximately 8’x16’. The houses can be built on skids to be transportable or on a trailer.
Want to read more? Check out this alumni blog by Raphael Berrios and Amy Sleeper. You can see what they built in class and how their house is progressing as they finish it out.
Topics covered include:
The Construction Toolset
- Blending traditional hand tool and machine techniques for efficiency in the shop and for small production runs
- Tuning, sharpening, and the use of hand tools for joinery and detail
- Safe usage of stationary and portable power woodworking machines for milling stock and joinery
- Safety equipment
Design and Materials
- Establishing your requirements for a tiny home
- Planning for a static or transportable tiny home
- Designing for character and efficiency
- Planning for electrical, heat, water and wastewater
- Planning for efficient working
Materials Estimation and Selections
- Wood choices for construction
- Finding local and sustainably sourced materials.
- At the lumberyard: selecting materials for aesthetics, strength and minimal waste
Framing and Joinery
- Selecting joinery for strength and visual appeal
- Traditional joinery techniques with hand tools and power tools
- Timber framing techniques vs conventional framing
Roofing, Sheathing and Insulation
- Roofing options - metal or composite
- Sheathing - diagonal or horizontal with diagonal braces
- Options for installation
Considerations for Doors and Windows
Making the Tiny Home Yours
- Brief exploration of decorative choices
- Choosing the right finish; balancing durability, look, and environmental impact
Setting up Shop and Tool Maintenance:
- Selection and maintenance of woodworking tools and machinery
- Setting up shop for efficiency and safety
- Using, storing and disposing of hazardous materials
- First Aid
Running a Tiny House Project
- Project Management and Planning resources
- Running a crew - a primer
COURSE DURATION AND HOURS:
Class hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday in Building #304 with an hour break for lunch. If you need lodging look at the listings at this link, Where to Stay. We also have a list of local residents who offer housing options; from private bedroom/shared facilities to furnished apartments and houses for registered students. The average monthly rent is from $500 to $1,200 a month and usually within five miles of the school at Fort Worden State Park. Please call us at 360-344-4455.
You won't need to bring any tools to this class. However, if you have any of the following tools we recommend that you bring them with you. Tool list
The course cost includes safety equipment for your use during the course.
This class is open to aspiring tiny homes builders. What do we mean by this? We think it means you are a person who has decided to commit to building tiny houses; has already acquired some woodworking skills and has a strong sense of the limitations of your own knowledge and skills.
We prefer that you have woodworking experience before taking this class. If you have limited woodworking experience - we’d like you to produce evidence of strong practical skills, problem solving ability, and experience with hand work. We're looking for the right attitude.
COURSE Information and REgistration:
Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.
Please also read our Registration Policy.
Tuition Fee: $2,400
Materials fee: $25
Class size: Minimum of 6 students and a maximum of 8 students
When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.
Scholarships are available for this course. Please read "Learn More" if you are applying for a scholarship. This will explain the terms of the school's scholarship application.