AUSTERLITZ — The Austerlitz Historical Society is proud to host Jack Sobon, an architect and master craftsman, who will deliver three talks on the history and development of timber framing in New York and New England.

The series will be of especial interest to owners of historic houses built before the late 1800s and will examine the two predominant techniques used to erect houses and buildings at the time: English and Dutch. The choice of technique can reveal much about the ethnicity of the builder and the house’s original owner.

Lectures will be presented on Zoom (see schedule below). Invitations will be sent to all members of the Austerlitz Historical Society by email. Non-members are also welcome and should sign up at (Please be aware that our Zoom capacities are limited.)

Hand Hewn, The Traditions, Tools, and Enduring Beauty of Timber Framing 7-8 p.m. April 14 followed by a question and answer period from 8-8:30 p.m.

An examination of the history of this enduring craft, the beauty and proportion of preindustrial craftsmanship, the appeal of vernacular architecture, and the relevance of timber framing today.

New Netherlands Timber Joinery, A Carpenter’s View 7-8 p.m. April 21 followed by a question and answer period from 8-8:30 p.m.

An exploration of the timber joinery unique to areas settled by the Dutch in New York as well as culturally-transitional areas such as eastern Columbia County and western Massachusetts. Due to the abundance of timber found in these areas, Dutch carpentry reached its zenith by the early 19th century.

The English Barn 7-8 p.m. April 28 followed by a question and answer period from 8-8:30 p.m.

A close look at the barn that predominated in much of the English-speaking Northeastern U.S. (including the Morey-Devereaux barn located at Old Austerlitz). The barn’s function, layout, history and the tools, carpentry, and measurement systems (scribe and square rules) used will be examined.

Jack Sobon is one of the leading experts on traditional timber framing in the United States. Sobon has published four books (among them: Historic American Timber Joinery, A Graphic Guide and Hand Hewn: The Traditions Tools, and Enduring Beauty of Timber Framing) and numerous articles on the subject and has lectured extensively.

A founding director of the Timber Framer’s Guild of North America and the Traditional Timber Frame Research and Advisory Group, Sobon has devoted his 41-year career to understanding the craft of timber framing. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Sobon teaches and consults internationally on traditional building structures and timber-framing techniques. He is currently restoring a Dutch house recently discovered in Hillsdale.

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