FEBRUARY 2020 Timber frame course

“We had a fantastic group of people for our forth Traditional Timber Frame course,” says Tiny Lifestyle co-founder Liv Scott.  “5 women and 2 men between the ages of 21 and 60 spent 6 days getting their heads around the sometimes complex techniques involved in traditional timber framing. The gentle sound of chalk lines snapping, mallet hitting chisel and handsaws humming was sometimes overlayed with the roar of the chain mortiser and skillsaw giving our students the full scope of experience using hand and power tools.”

The week long course began on Sunday afternoon with introductions, health and safety, an outline of the course and some history of timber framing. “This set us up beautifully to get stuck straight in on Monday morning,” says Liv. “Graeme Scott, our head tutor and timber framing expert, sensitively guided our students through all the processes and techniques of traditional timber framing ensuring that everyone was supported through this sometimes intense learning experience.” 

Tiny Lifestyle was very lucky and honoured to have Bracken Vanstone, a travelling timber framer from the UK, as an assistant for Graeme. Her enthusiasm, patience and humour were invaluable to the success of the course.

During the course there were many ways and opportunities to connect and get to know each other. “Our communal meals, river swimming breaks and having most of the students staying onsite – either in the communal house or camping in the grounds – created a fantastic camaraderie between them and Tiny Lifestyle team  – we became more than just a group working together, we became whānau,” says Liv. 

Delish cafe, based here in Golden Bay, served absolutely stunning, wholesome kai which enabled the team to keep their focus and energy levels up during the week.

After 5 and a half days of concentrated learning, understanding and action, they erected the frame: “Piece by piece it slowly went up with everyone aware of the joints that they had worked on, excited and a bit nervous to see how they would all fit together,” says Liv.  “When it came to the ridge beam lowering into place and connecting beautifully with the principal rafters and braces everyone breathed a sigh of relief and awe at what we had created together. For some this had been their first time using these tools, for others they had much more experience under their (tool) belts but all felt extremely proud of our achievements to hand craft this stunning timber frame.”

Here are some testimonials from our students:

‘If you want to learn about traditional timber framing or build a tiny house/sleep out with character then this course is excellent regardless of your experience. It is a great balance of hands on and theory. The tuition is excellent and the course manages to be good fun, informative, challenging and very rewarding.’

‘Highly recommended. I learned a lot. Beautiful place and a great team’

‘An awesome week transforming a pile of timber into a frame full of learning and small triumphs, mastering new skills and techniques. Totally enjoyed the experience and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Cheers team, well done.’

‘I would just like to thank the team once again for a Fab week of fun, frustration, friendship, brain drain, delish food, wood chips, sweat, restless nights dreaming about timber frames and all the possible projects ahead. It was an absolute joy to spend the week in your company and learn so much through the whole process from a pile of timber to the erected frame. Totally awesome. Still buzzing.’

‘I enjoyed the whole course and think it was very well planned and delivered. Graeme was patient and a very good teacher.’

If you are interested in taking our Traditional Timber Framing Course please get in touch!  www.tinylifestyle.co.nz 

Merging into a greater vision by staying tiny

Merging our traditional Timber Frame Tiny Home Courses with Tiny Lifestyle has been a fantastic cultivation and germination process for us. The seed funding behind Tiny Lifestyle is enabling us to unfold and widen our vision of empowering people

  • to take responsibility for creating their homes and shelters,
  • to learn wood working techniques that will stand the test of time and
  • to tread lightly on the Earth.

Stemming from similar values, similar ideals and a similar vision of the future this entwining of people, organisations and energies has been a smooth and easy process fitting like a tenon into a perfectly chiseled mortise to take our collective vision further.

We can now offer more Timber Frame Tiny Home courses and bring you some very special, stunning tiny structures.


From our brand new workshop, with an onsite communal house, we run our Timber Frame Tiny Home courses. These can be part or fully catered, with multiple accommodation options from free camping, to a bedroom in the communal house or other local options. The next courses are on the 1-7th December and 2nd-8th February click on the links to find out more and book your place.

We also provide specially tailored Team Building Experiences for businesses wanting to create stronger bonds within organisations. Hands on crafting, calculating and working together to create a beautiful structure that you can keep or donate to a cause or community group close to your heart.


Using local, sustainable timbers we build beautiful hand crafted 10 square meter structures which can be the base for adorable tiny homes, stunning sleepouts, hardy workshops and unique pergolas. You are limited only by your imagination!

We are always working on new creations to make our quality, handcrafted, soul nourishing, healthy, natural, sustainable, timber tiny spaces accessible to a wider audience. So keep your eye on the Tiny Lifestyle website to stay up to date as we announce more products.

Pole Lathes

The very first round joints date back to the Egyptians as early as 1350BC and the earliest recorded wheel was dated to 1300BC although how either of these were produced was not known. The earliest depiction of a pole lathe is pictured in an Egyptian tomb and is dated 300BC. Romans turned wood and stone, and the Saxons were very good turners making cups and bowls as they were not very good at pottery. In the mid 1700s cup and bowl turning started to decline while chair production increased. By the late 1700s some of the chair turning work was being ‘done outside [of the] chair – shop‘ this was the start of bodging. Now after almost totally disappearing the art of bodging is having a resurgence that you can join too and enjoy the satisfaction of drinking out of a cup you have made by hand. Come and learn how to build a pole lathe at Golden Frames Woodworking School. Our next workshop is 2nd – 4th August.