Skip To Content
Athens District High School Students Gain Practical Skills in Heritage Carpentry Construction Project
Athens District High School Students Gain Practical Skills in Heritage Carpentry Construction Project
Posted on 05/16/2023

May 16, 2023 (Athens, ON) – A group of 18 dedicated Grade 10 to 12 students at Athens District High School (ADHS) are immersing themselves in the world of post-and-beam heritage carpentry through an engaging partnership with Jason Gibson's School of Timber Framing.

Over five consecutive days, these enthusiastic students have been actively involved in measuring, cutting, notching, and chiseling wood to construct two full-sized (9’ by 12’ and 6’ by 10’) sheds. Under the guidance of ADHS teacher Glen Truelove and the experts at the framing school, the students are acquiring valuable skills that can potentially lead to future career opportunities or serve as a hobby.  

"It has been a good experience, and I would encourage my fellow classmates who enjoy working with wood to explore these types of opportunities. Prior to this project, I didn’t have a lot of carpentry skills, but now I have new skills and a greater appreciation for the industry,” says Grade 11 student Alaina Coote.

Brody Smith, a Grade 12 student, highlights the knowledge he has gained in post-and-beam construction. "We've been introduced to a range of new skills and techniques, utilizing various power and hand tools. It involves a lot of chiseling and intricate joinery work, but it has been fun to build something using these new skills and learn about a different form of carpentry."   

Post-and-beam or Timber Frame construction is a traditional method of building with heavy timbers, creating structures using squared-off and carefully fitted and joined wood with joints secured by large wooden pegs. The method comes from working directly from logs and trees rather than pre-cut dimensional lumber.

“Throughout this project, there's been a lot of teamwork between the students. They have all been working together to create the two sheds and I’m very happy with the work each of them has done,” says Truelove.

The students are also familiarizing themselves with the different tools, their purposes, and the maintenance and sharpening of chisels. Furthermore, they are applying their mathematical skills to ensure accurate measurements and precise execution.

"This opportunity has proven tremendously beneficial for the students, as it establishes a tangible connection between their learning and the real-world construction industry through the involvement of community partners and skilled tradespeople who teach them these invaluable skills. When students have the chance to learn from professionals actively engaged in their careers within the community, they begin to realize their own potential," says Brent Brown, Principal of Athens District High School. 

Reflecting on the experience, Grade 11 student Emily Irvine shares, “It's been a really cool experience. Before participating in this project, I didn't even know what heritage carpentry was, I thought there was only one way to build. Every cut or chisel that we make has to be very precise to make everything come together the way it’s supposed to.”  

Although Irvine doesn't intend to pursue a career in carpentry, she recognizes the invaluable skills she has acquired through this project, which will benefit her in the future and potentially in personal woodworking projects. As one of only three young women in the group, Irvine encourages other girls to explore new opportunities, especially in traditionally male-dominated industries.

“Women in trades is important because we can do anything that the guys can do. I think a lot of girls are hesitant because they may be the only girl but, in the end, we’re just as good as them and you get to learn a valuable skill.”

Based on the level of engagement and feedback from other students at ADHS, the project will continue next school year.

For media inquiries, please contact:   

Brent Brown   Principal  Athens District High School 

    Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.