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Archive for September, 2013

Proud winners of Small Business Award at the Powys Business Awards

Castle Ring Oak Frame won the Small Business Award at the Powys Business Awards on Friday night.

Castle Ring Oak Frame

Managing director Rob Dawson has not only built his own home and workshop using the finest oak but designs, but also makes and supplies finished frame kits to site and then supervises the erection.  High quality and reliable delivery is the mantra of our company, which has a policy of sustainability in all its activities. We design and build houses, extensions, sunrooms, barns, garages, porches and balconies using traditional carpentry techniques.

The award judges described Castle Ring Oak Frame as “a small company doing big things”.

The company is no stranger to awards. In five years of trading, it has won the prestigious National Self-Build of the Year award sponsored by the Daily Telegraph and Homebuilding and Renovating Magazine for one of its projects, as well as the National Self Build Association’s Murray Armor Award.

A  delighted Rob said: “It is such a privilege and I feel so proud to have won this award. It’s a real honour to be recognised for being good. When you are a small company, you have got to be good to survive.”

Sep-30-13 a las 9:02 am Powys. Sin Comentarios

Topping Out

Timber framing traditions

No one’s really sure where it comes from but there is a long tradition in this country of “topping out” a newly erected frame by attaching an oak branch to the top of the ridge.

Whether you believe in such rituals or not, it always feels like a moment to reflect on the contribution (both real and spiritual) of the natural world and trees in particular to our lives. It’s great to be reminded that only 3 months previously, an oak frame was a living, breathing group of 80 yr old trees.

This is also our chance to thank Claire for her hard work over the Summer months and we send her back to Brittany with our best wishes. She stayed on an extra week to see the Gloucester frame go up which was above and beyond the call of duty, and gave her the final honour of “topping out” .

There wasn’t on oak tree within a mile of the site so we used a branch from an ancient Medlar tree in the garden instead. It felt like the right thing to do.

Topping Out - Oak Frame


Sep-27-13 a las 4:44 pm Jowl Post. Sin Comentarios

Timber framer’s nightmare!

Oak Frame Extension

The drawings have been finalised and signed off, the footings have been dug and the blockwork completed in readiness to accept the frame. The oak has been delivered and the frame toiled over and manufactured in the workshop over 6 long weeks. Somehow or other it has been delivered on time down an impossibly narrow dead end lane, and 5 men and a crane are all ready to impress the clients and erect it in a seamless demonstration of fluid professionalism.

But then WHOOPS!

It turns out there is a discrepancy between the blockwork dimensions and the oak frame. A wall is in the wrong place. The builder blames the framer. The framer blames the builder. Then the builder and the framer realise the architect isn’t there so they can both legitimately blame the architect!

Once everyone has calmed down, and the ripples of this potentially disastrous revelation have subsided, the builder and the timber framer (being practical hands-on folk) work out a solution that doesn’t involve any bloodshed, and with a little on site remedial carpentry, the frame is adjusted.

In fact we all agreed that the resulting modification added a certain something to the frame – perhaps we should make mistakes more often….
Castle Ring Oak

Sep-22-13 a las 8:50 am Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios

The Plumb Bob

This really is an ancient bit of kit but the plumb bob is still absolutely essential to the modern timber framer.
In essence, just a weight of any shape and form attached to a thin enough line, which when dangled over two stacked up timbers, forms a vertical can line. If the timbers are out of plumb, the discrepancies can be marked with reference to this vertical.
So utterly simple and brilliant, this is probably the one tool I will choose as my luxury item when I’m invited to appear on Desert Island Discs.

Castle Ring Oak Frame - The plumb bob

Sep-13-13 a las 10:30 am Jowl Post. Sin Comentarios

How to fix your common rafters

Common rafters need fixing down onto the main structural timbers, ridge, purlin and wallplate to prevent your roof from blowing off during the next autumn gale.

In days of yore this might have been accomplished by driving in square wooden pegs to hold them in place. Today, however, we thump in 6″ nails which seems to do the trick, as conveniently the rafters are only 3″ thick when laid on the flat.

In the interest of authenticity, and so that our clients think our frames are held together by pegs alone, we perform this task under cover of darkness with silencers attached to our hammers….

Castle Ring Oak Frame - common rafters

Sep-08-13 a las 10:55 am Jowl Post. Sin Comentarios


Most timber framing joints are held together with oak pegs, and the frame is designed in such a way that these joints are in compression.

There are times however when the timbers in the joint are under tension and want to pull apart. Pegs may not be able to resist these extreme forces so now is the time to call the cavalry and get out the wooden wedges.

Castle Ring Oak Frame - Timber Frame A dry oak wedge driven in firmly above a dovetail benefits prevents the joint from pulling apart. Trouble is, as the green oak frame dries out, the timbers shrink and if the wedge isn’t constantly tapped up, the joint will work it’s way apart. It’s hardly the client’s fault if they forget to keep bashing in wedges, and to be honest, when they ordered the frame they didn’t think they had committed themseves to a couple of years monitoring joints……….always read the small print.

Timber framing workshop - Castle Ring Oak Frame

Sep-01-13 a las 10:21 am Jowl Post. Sin Comentarios
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