Dispatches from the South

March 3, 2013

Deep in Central America near the continental divide, where you may least expect to find chisels, mallets, and an antique boring machine in working condition, the ‘tink, tink, tink’ of timbers being framed can be heard above the screechy hummingbird calls and other forest noises. David Hooke, Timberhomes partenaire extraordinaire, is directing the construction of a 30×60 timberframed Meetinghouse, to replace the Quaker Meeting hall that’s been in use here for decades to serve the ex-pat pacifist community who moved here in the 1950’s in protest of American militarism, and the draft. The community has grown, become increasingly Costa Rican over the generations, and is now large enough to warrant this building.

This project was designed and laid out by Timberhomes, but is being entirely cut by volunteers trained by two Timberhomsians, almost exclusively with hand tools. There are 1,292 joints to be cut before raising day (scheduled for March 22nd), and we’ve just crossed the 1,000 joint count. Pictured below is the crew of volunteers present when we hit the halfway mark, including four octogenarians.

Most of the wood used for the frame is Mexican cyprus, a “softwood” that’s invasive to Costa Rica and was accessible to the school. There have been a few flashier local woods added to the frame, including the Cucaracha king post below.


Another post to follow once the building is raised. You can find more photos and information on this project on the Monteverde Friends School facebook page.


test fit arch


Alec Ellsworth volunteers on the Timber Frame Meetinghouse project in Monteverde, Costa Rica

A volunteer works on joinery