EcoNest Natural Building Workshops and Timber Framing Workshops

Call Us: 541-488-9508
9:00am - 5:00pm Mon.-Fri. PST

May 2013

News Flash! April 29th was a monumental day for straw clay enthusiasts around the country!

A proposed appendix on Light Straw Clay Construction co-authored by Martin Hammer, Paula Baker-Laporte and Richie Duncan was approved by the ICC Committee for inclusion in the International Residential Code, opening the way for nation-wide code acceptance. Final Action Hearings will be in October after a public comment period. We will keep you informed! The proposed appendix along with supporting documentation can be viewed at:

Spring Workshops Sold Out

Our Spring workshops are sold-out including the June Japanese timber-framing workshop with Dale Brotherton.

July Workshop Series in British Columbia
We still have room in our mid-summer program. We will be building the timber-frame and straw clay wall system of a home for our host Keary Conwright, an up and coming EcoNest Affiliate. The workshop. will take place in beautiful Sooke BC (link to-,_British_Columbia ) on Vancouver Island. On-site camping will be available. For further information about the location you can contact our host at 250.642.0535

Check the calendar for upcoming workshops-

September Workshop in Ashland

We are anticipating a very special workshop in Ashland, Oregon at a private retreat. More to follow. We expect that Registration for this event will fill early. Robert is now accepting apprenticeship applications for the fall. You can make your request for more information about this workshop at:

Paula’s new blog.

Mother Earth News has invited Paula to help inform their readers about the concepts of healthy and natural housing and Building Biology. Here is the link to her first article:

“My Journey Home from Chemical Sensitivities.”

Hand Tools: Reasons to use them… today

There’s a special quality about an object created by hand. One that’s inescapably obvious, yet beyond description. Could it be the minute imperfections inherent to hand work, or some subtle embedded energy? It’s hard to say. Whatever it is surely accounts for the attractive warmth of antiques created when hand work was the norm and factory creations were still looked at with suspicion.

In today’s “practical” modern world there is good reason to be fluent in hand tool use. On a scale ranging from mass production to one-of-a-kind custom work there is a point where hand tools just make more sense. Picking up a $50 chisel and spending 15 minutes cutting one unique mortise clearly beats spending a half hour setting up a $3000 mortising machine or even a $300 router then having to finish cleaning it out with a chisel anyway.

Perhaps the most important aspect of hand work is the knowledge and skill derived from the process. The use of hand tools facilitates a close bond with the wood itself opening the opportunity to truly become students of Nature. And believe me, each piece of wood has a story to tell! The depth of this experience adds volumes to the woodworking experience, which translates into the creation of objects unique and full of life.