January 21 & 22, 2017   Instructors: Micah Lindquist & Deanne Bednar

2 Day Workshop – Sat 10a  – 5p and Sunday 10a – 4p    Arrive at 9:30a each  day.
Strawbale Studio, on rural land 1 hour north of Detroit, MI, USA.    

Learn principles & hands-on basics of round pole framing for small structures. Tour thatched roofs & round pole structures on site, harvest wood, debark logs, practice making notches using hand tools ~ make a mallet to take home plus a small team project & design a small structure. Limited to 12 participants; includes overnight accommodations if needed.


Early Bird Special ! $89 if prepaid by  Jan 10th or $110 thereafter, with RSVP, if there is room. Some scholarships available. Registration 


Did you ever wonder  . . .”If round pole is so beautiful and free, why aren’t folks using it more?”   

raftersThat can be said of a lot of skills that early people commonly used ~ like making yoghurt, or growing food.  Yet with round pole and notching, there is a learning curve…in fact one that is rather challenging to learn from a book, which is likely part of the reason there are hardly any books on it !

In this class you will learn the skills needed to make a small outbuilding from wild harvested round poles.

BIO’S & Background:  

Micah & I have been exploring and creating with round poles both individually and together for several years. We have found that information in books and on the internet is almost non-existent and experience is the best teacher. We are eager to share what we have learned with you, including some tricks to make it easier using a bit of “appropriate technology”.   

Kids Cottage thatched frame

Deanne thatching on lashed round pole frame.









Micah Lindquist has been involved in the woodworking aspects of Strawbale Studio for 5 years, and has helped greatly on the woodworking aspects of the Hobbit Sauna.  He has attended and assisted with 2 previous Round Pole workshops with Mark Angelini, and helped on his outdoor round pole kitchen and other projects.  Micah loves wood, and has been carving spoons for several years, having studied with Mark Angelini as well.

Deanne Bednar:  My adventure into round pole began with the Strawbale Studio, hiring some folks to put up the timbers, and finding that the building wasn’t very stable, and that I wanted to learn how to do this stuff myself !  When I couldn’t find resources on the process, I brought in a farm manager who has done many projects, yet even he had a hard time applying his knowledge to “round pole”. We did come up with some strategies that worked  Since then, Micah & I have together, and individually, done a number of projects, learning as we go. I have used round pole in the construction of the Kids’ Cottage, Spiral Chamber, Thatching Frames, The Hobbit Sauna and the Log Loft in the main house. I also attended a 5 day class on Round Pole Viking Construction taught by an instructor from Northhouse Folk School. 

This workshop will take place on beautiful wooded rural land at the Strawbale Studio, with part of the time spent in the woods and outdoors, and the rest of the time in a pole barn heated by a Rocket Stove Bench !  A tour of the grounds will include a number of round pole projects: The Strawbale Studio, The Kids’ Cottage, Log Loft, Living Roof Woodshed, the Hobbit Sauna and The Spiral Chamber.
Since each piece of wood is unique and irregular, it’s very useful to learn hands-on with an adviser.  Join us as we cover the basics of round pole from how to plan & design the project, select trees, fell & debark them, use a hatchet, saw and chisels to make notches, and fit the pieces together into a strong structure.  You will take home a wooden mallet and a small demonstration project you will make to learn and use the principles, and several handouts on notching & design.

What You’ll Learn About  

  • Designing a small outbuilding or project.
  • Foundation & Roofing Options
  • Selecting, Felling & Debarking Trees.
  • Terminology & Beginner Strategies
  • Simple notching Techniques & safe use of Tools.
  • How to incorporate creative shapes and branches.
  • By-products of round pole projects.



Harvesting Poles on the land.

When:  January 21 & 22 , 2017  

2 Day Workshop – Sat 10a  – 5p and Sunday 10a – 4p    Arrive at 9:30a each  day.

Where:  Strawbale Studio  Oxford, Michigan, USA 48370  How to get there. 

Limit 15 students

Fee: Early Bird Special ! $89 if prepaid by  Jan 10th or $110 thereafter, with RSVP, if there is room. Some scholarships available. Registration
Some worktrade scholarships available. Overnight accommodations if needed.   


AGENDA ~ not necessarily in this order

  • Individual introductions- why you are here, your background with wood/round pole
  • Mallot Making
  • Harvesting, debarking, drawshave, shaving horse.
  • Types of wood: Rot resistant wood in the Midwest: Black Locust, White Oak, Cedar.  Wood can also be charred to about 1/8” where it will go in the ground.
  • Principles of design: Strength, Terminology, Foundations & Roof Options.
  • Terminology: “reading the log”, bent, post, beam, brace, tenon & mortise, half lap notch, draw shave, shaving horse, ledger board, charring bottom for rot resistance.
  • Types of structures where Round Pole is appropriate.
  • Tour of Round Pole Structures & Small demo Projects: Strawbale Studio, Hobbit Sauna, Living Roof Woodshed, Spiral Chamber, Kids’ Cottage, Log Loft, model frame, notching examples, tripods.
  • Demo of Tool use and notch making. Examples of notches.  Small models & sketches.
  • Safety, types of chisels, use of shaving horse and draw knife.
  • Small Hands-on Project in teams.  Make a small individual project to take home.
    • removing bark, using a draw shave, hatchet, chisels.
    • “reading the log”  for which way is up and down, top and bottom.
    • snapping chalk “reference lines” for orientation and depth of  notches.
    • notching and connecting
    • Shaping wooden pins on the Shaving Horse with a draw knife.


Steps for planning future projects:

  • Felling, debranching & cutting timber assortment to length.
  • Determine notching techniques based on the purpose of the log and size of structure and spans.
  • Determine diameter and length of poles to harvest (posts can be 5-8” in diameter) and make a list, keeping in mind to harvest longer lengths than needed.
  • Sketch a Design for a small project you might be interested in building. Earth oven frame, etc.)
  • Thinning stands, can use trees with knots, not good for lumber.
  • Sort into piles for storage


 By-products of cutting round wood structures:

  • Pulpwood, hugelmounds, firewood, etc.
  • Coppicing for future pole resource late winter or early spring (feb – Mar). Large trees can take 2 years to regrow.  Cut near ground. Pollading: cut during dormant season about 6 feet above ground, continue to harvest. Poplars, such as hybrids, aspens, or the mighty white poplar. Alder, black locust, some maples.
  • Uses for bark:  Cherry bark drink, Hickory, inner bark for cording & ropes, lashing, Oak bark, astringent, medicinal. (add other uses here !)
  • Round Pole saw horses.

Resource List (more to come) :

Blog of 2014 Round Pole Framing Class !   Full list of 2014 Winternship experiences     PHOTOS by Kirstin Pope       Kirstin

Grape Arbor made of poles.  Scroll down on this link.