by Willis Rozycki, Cascade Joinery

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness, and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.”
~John Hope Franklin

On a mild and drizzly fall morning, I caught a ferry to Vancouver Island. I made my way north toward Churchill Timberworks where my fellow timber framers, novice and expert alike, were gathering. Our host Randy Churchill was set to lead a compound joinery workshop, followed by a “raising rendezvous” at the Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre on Hornby Island. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but my desire to expand my knowledge of compound and irregular roof joinery inspired my trek by land and sea.

My fellow students turned out to be twelve timber framers from across the western United States (Washington, Oregon, California, and Utah) and Canada (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon), as well as one timber framer making the journey all the way from West Virginia! Over the next few days, we delved into the Hawkindale angles in Randy’s shop. As we grew more comfortable with the concepts, we started applying them to the design with which we were presented: an octagonal roof frame that sat on canted round yellow cedar posts. After wrapping our heads around the design we started turning our thoughts into action. Layout and cutting started mid-week, and as complicated as the frame was there were a lot of good heads on the job to make things go smoothly.

We loaded the frame on a truck bound for Hornby Island on the evening of October 4 and, after a journey that involved two ferry rides, we met it the following morning at the Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre. People came from all over to see the beautiful frame go up, and many were there to volunteer to help with the raising. Because of the complexity of the frame, the raising stretched through Canada’s Thanksgiving holiday and the week that followed.

Although I did not see the frame go up in its entirety, I returned home with a smile on my face, after learning a great deal about compound roof joinery and gaining some new friends in the process.

I’d like to thank Randy Churchill for his immense hospitality, as well as his neighbors who took many of us into their homes. And I’m sorry to the pubs of Courtenay, British Columbia, for taking us in – though I’m certain we paid our tabs. I appreciate the opportunity to expand the depth and breadth of my expertise – truly skills I can take to any project we might undertake.

Read more about the Tribune Bay Shelter HERE.

Willis Rozycki is a certified Journeyworker, having completed the Apprenticeship Training Program through the Timber Framers Guild with the support of his employer, Cascade Joinery. Developed over the course of a decade, the curriculum requires of the apprentice more than 5,000 hours of work experience and over 400 hours of related training. The apprentices also undergo rigorous testing and must develop a lesson plan centered around a skill or concept, which they must then present prior to graduation and granting of Journeyworker status. This final element is critical to the Guild’s philosophy of learning and teaching, and the role its members play in sharing their knowledge with future generations of timber framers and one another.

Sign up to receive news and updates.