Teamwork Makes the Beam Work

The brisk wind wasn’t the only invigorating movement on campus on Wednesday, May 17. English and art teacher Darrell Beaupre ’86 led a group of students and employees eager to help establish the foundational frame for a new sheep barn behind Miller Bicentennial Hall. The day’s events are part of Beaupre’s spring timber framing class. 
The barn arrives just in time as KUA’s flock grows. Four lambs were born this spring, delighting students and community members alike.
In its second year, the course has introduced a traditional means of building while teaching students new skills. Timber framing utilizes carpentry practices brought to the United States by colonists and relies on a self-supporting network of timbers inserted into one another.
“It’s like putting together a puzzle,” says Sam ’24.
A puzzle it is, but one abundantly solved by Beaupre, who spoke confidently and logically about each step of the process, focusing on the importance of careful planning. “With woodworking, you have to think three steps ahead,” he says. 
It sounds a bit like chess carpentry, where geometry is queen. However, there’s no one winner here, instead a combined effort of teamwork and mentorship. Prior to the day of building the frame, students in the course prepared for the lift by sawing slabs of wood and cutting indents into them for proper fitting. Beaupre says this is the first time students have been exposed to this type of work. 
“I had a kid from Spain who used a saw for the first time,” Beaupre says of last year’s class project in building a sugarhouse just behind Flickinger Arts Center. “Offering this class on woodworking, a skill that’s older than America, is really unique for students. It brings a sense of pride.”
Liam ’25 agrees, adding that his favorite part is seeing it all come together.  “I’ve helped on smaller projects, but this one is exciting because it’s the largest one I’ve helped with,” he says. 
It’s not just the students in the class who enjoy the process; many other members of the community lent their hands to help bring the frame together. Or as Beaupre acknowledged in his call for volunteers, “many hands make light work.”
To see more photos from the day, visit our Flickr page.