Fox Maple
Costa Rica Community Building
Timber Framing Workshop

February 23-March 5, 2004

In the Monteverde Cloud Forest

This Workshop will combine both Timber Framing and Natural Enclosure Systems
Our community building workshop program in Costa Rica over the past three years has been extremely productive and rewarding. We have solidified a solid core group of talented timber framers and created deep friendships with community members. We look forward to returning in 2004.
The Timber Framing workshop in 2004 will again take place in the shadows of the majestic Monteverde Cloud Forest, in San Luis, Costa Rica. While the design of the project is still unfolding (as usual until the time comes), we will be working with the Coope de Santa Elena and the cooperative farming community of finca la bella. The coope is made of farmers from 7 surrounding communities. Their primary cash crop is coffee, which has taken a nose dive on the world market of late due to globalization, but hope is on the horizon. While not long ago, most of the coffee produced was exported, today nearly all of it is sold locally.
The project is part of our ongoing Indigenous Peoples Community Building Initiative, which is intended to train indigenous community members building skills that will help to make them more self sufficient.
We have worked closely with the small community of Finca la Bella, a small farming community of about 150 people made up of 25 families, over the past three years, and will continue working with them to source materials and manpower. Finca la Bella is located in a mountain valley adjoining the Monteverde Cloud Forest in San Luis, Costa Rica. Their economy is primarily subsistence based, with principal income coming from growing coffee and gathering seeds from endangered native rain forest trees in the local forest, sprouting them in greenhouses and growing them to hardy saplings ready to plant for government and private reforestation projects. In the last ten years they have successfully nurtured and planted over 150,000 seedlings. The roads in the area are rough and travel by horseback is still one of the common modes of transportation.
This promises to be a truly wonderful experience.
Above) One of the farming plots used to grow saplings from seeds of native endangered trees. Below) Noe Vargas, a community member, holding coffee husks, which will be used as the binder of the clay infill, and fresh coffee beans.
                                        Greenhouse flats with a variety of sprouted seeds.   Traditional building style of indigenous peoples of Costa Rica
Project Overview
Timber Frame
The frame plan is still evolving, but it will, as always, combine a broad variety of traditional mortise and tenon joinery details, both intro and advanced. As an instructional model, the frame will be designed to give students the broadest understanding of the system of timber joinery that can be applied to future building projects, and also in a style that is appropriate to the local climate and environment.
The frame is designed to use a specie of pine timbers harvested from one of the many stands that were planted in the area over the last 50 years to provide windbreaks. This pine makes an ideal framing timber because it is a non indigenous species that has an adverse effect on the local ecosystem. Current policy in Costa Rica is to eradicate these trees and replace them with native species.
Enclosure System
The enclosure system will be a clay/coffee husk fiber wattle and daub. The wattle and daub will be 3 to 4 inches thick, and will be placed between the timbers, leaving the timbers exposed on both the interior and exterior.
Mixing clay with water to a consistency of very thick syrup makes up the clay slip. This slip is then mixed using pitchforks with the coffee husks. Experimentation on site with a number of mixes will be done to find the best recipe using the materials at hand. The fiber is mixed with only enough clay slip to fully coat the fiber. This may range from equal parts clay slip to fiber to a 1 to 3 ratio of clay to fiber.
This workshop will be a very rewarding experience for all involved. We hope you can make it.
Tuition for the workshop is $1,350. This includes transportation via bus from San Jose to Monteverde, home stay lodging with a local family and meals for the duration of the workshop, all instructional materials, book and T-shirt.
All travel costs to and from Costa Rica are the responsibility of the students. But once you get there, you will have a home. All basic Fox Maple workshop policies apply.
To register go to our Registration Link and follow the instructions. Or contact us at the address below:
Fox Maple School of Traditional Building
PO Box 249
Brownfield, ME 04010
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