Engineering for Historic Timber Framing Workshop: Building Techniques and Issues Arising in Preservation

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training is partnering with the Preservation Trades Network, the Association for the Preservation Historic Natchitoches, and the Friends of NCPTT to hold a workshop investigating the engineering issues facing historic timber structures. This workshop will bring in preservation engineers, timber framers, site managers, historic building owners, and other parties to discuss best practices for planning and implementing these multi-faceted projects. The focus of these workshops will be African House, which a 200 year low fired brick and timber framed building, located at Melrose Plantation near Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Classroom sessions will be held at Lee H. Nelson Hall with site visits to Melrose Plantation and Magnolia Plantation. Africa House, so named because local lore attributes it’s unusual umbrella-like roof to African building traditions, is a 200 year old structure built using both heavy timber and low-fired brick. Among the issues facing African House is a lack of understanding of the structural capabilities of traditional heavy timber joinery. During the engineering workshop, instructors experienced with historic timber framed structures will discuss this building technique and issues that arise during preservation, focusing on the example of African House. Participants will learn what is acceptable for these structures and what they need to look for when evaluating these buildings on their own.


Lisa Sasser has worked in preservation since 1972, beginning as a Museum Technician at the Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas. In 1977, she received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Texas Tech University, completing as a thesis project, a Historic Structures Report and restoration plan for a post-1680 houserow at Tesuque Pueblo, New Mexico. From 1979-1984 she was employed as a Historical Architect on the Northeast Team of the Denver Service Center, the centralized planning and design office of the National Park Service. She currently provides consulting, teaching and technical services for documentation, conservation, repair and maintenance of historic structures. Lisa is a founding member and past President of the Preservation Trades Network, and past President of the Timber Framers Guild.

Rudy R. Christian is a founding member and past president of the Timber Framers Guild, founding member and past president of Friends of Ohio Barns, founding member and past Executive Director of the Preservation Trades Network and is a founding member of the Traditional Timberframe Research and Advisory Group and the International Trades Education Initiative. His experience includes participation in the Quingue Forum, numerous speaking engagements and instructing educational workshops as well as publication of various articles about historic conservation.

For more information contact Sarah Marie Jackson at or 318-356-7444.

Cost of the Workshop

$399 Registration
$199 Student Registration (limited student seats are available. Student must provide photocopy of current student ID and a letter of interest. Student applications should be emailed to before February 1, 2015)

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