It doesn’t look much at the moment but this is the arrival from Normandy of the oak for Dave and Viv’s new house in Dinedor Hereford. A detailed cutting list was sent to Granville Bois sawmill three weeks previously and now we’ve got something to get our teeth into in the Castle Ring Oak Frame workshop.
It doesn’t take long to unload and there’s a pleasing symmetry about stacking a pile of oak in our own planted woodland here at Castle Ring:
Once we’ve ferried the timber up to the workshop we can begin the process of getting organised for the weeks ahead:
Before we can start the timber framing per se, we spend a day or 2 sorting out the curves. As you can see they arrive “slabbed” through, complete with bark and sap wood….
…so we shape the required curved braces, collars and slings with a portable bandsaw. Care is taken to follow the grain of the timber which maintains the inherent strength of the wood grain whilst adding a unique quality to the curves. On the downside it is backbreaking work!
Now we can start to lay up the timbers and begin the “scribe rule” process. This is an esoteric and mysterious art that is only revealed to a chosen few……and involves….well I can’t really say. Oh what the hell…., it involves the vertical plotting of the joints of one timber down (or up) into another, usually with the aid of a plumb bob or spirit level.
Here we have started on the first of many crossframes and the collar is being scribed down into the principal rafters and king post.
Dave and Viv’s design is a “storey and a half” with dormers, which means that the tie beams are interrupted upstairs with a raised collar to allow access through the partitions.
We cut the tenons with hand held circular saws and the mortices with this nifty beast…the chain morticer! Not to be messed with.
Once the joints have been cut, we reassemble everything to check they fit and that the overall dimensions of the frame are correct. Stainless steel tapered framing pins or “podgers” which act as removable oak pegs, allow us to pull the joints in nice and tight. This joint is a for a floor beam which benefits from a bevelled housing for extra support.
Almost without realising it things are starting to take shape:
One of the upstairs bedrooms of this 3 bed house has some particularly lovely curved braces:
After 5 weeks in the workshop the frame is now ready to go to site and is loaded up for it’s final journey from Castle Ring:
On site Russell Davies from Hereford is manning the crane for the frame raising:
Pegging up a feature truss with sling braces:
Sometimes it makes sense to put together a whole crossframe rather than lifting in each piece at a time:
Purlins jointed into the truss rafter with a pegged spline:
Wallplate scarf and cog awaiting tie beam.
This is how far we got by lunchtime:
The ridge height of the L shaped wing comes in at a lower height.
Roof frame with central purlin, wind braces and ridge.
Nice view of all the king posts.
Curved sling braces in the upstairs bedroom.
My feet (not to scale!)
Topping out the finished oak frame. Dave attaches a fresh oak branch to the highest truss – read more about this timber frame tradition here.
Chatting with Dave, Viv and Jake at the end of a successful frame raising.
Raised in a day!
“It has been great to work with you. The frame is amazing; far more than we imagined. We are grateful to you for being so helpful, straight forward, flexible and easy to work with – a real pleasure.”
Thank you too Dave and Viv.
If you're considering an oak framed building (or larch, or douglas fir), let's talk. We'll gladly put together an outline quote (completely free, with no strings attached). And we need very little information from you to do so.
Equally, we're always here, at the end of the phone, to talk through your ideas.