Some of you may remember a house oak frame we put up last summer in Durham from a blog I wrote. Well, recently clients Phil and Kay took a break from project managing the build and sent a stack of photos that they’d collated over the day and a half that it took us to erect the oak frame. I thought it might be a nice idea to revisit the raising and to walk you through some of the typical steps involved. So here goes….
Prior to the oak and the crew turning up, the site groundworks have been prepared to tight tolerances to receive the frame, and the scaffolding readied. It goes without saying that the frame and footings must match perfectly. Everything looks good, the site is well organised, and it’s not raining. In fact the forecast is brilliant for the next few days.
We arrive on site in the evening after a mammoth road trip at the same time as the articulated lorry delivering the frame with just enough light left to unload the 15 tons of oak and barely any time left to worry about whether we have left anything back in Wales.
There are over 300 pieces of oak for this frame all of which are unique and non interchangeable, so sorting them out is not only essential, it makes the whole process run much more smoothly. The traditional chisel marks that were applied in the workshop aren’t just for show, they help us to find the right timbers and to orientate them the right way .
The next morning we’re all on site and raring to go after surviving the night in a dodgy b and b (Tripadvisor has a lot to answer for!) The crane turns up and there’s no turning back. It’s great to get the first piece of oak in place, finally, after months of planning, and months of carpentry .
Getting the frame started is not easy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, where do you start? It’s important to position the first crossframe posts correctly as they will dictate where the rest of the frame ends up. Moving 15 tons of oak at the end of the job, even a few mill is not ideal. Secondly, it takes a while for the frame to start to be self supporting – and until it is, timbers need to be temporarily secured to the scaffolding.
Things are starting to take shape now. 2 crossframes are in place, and we are in the process of connecting the 3rd crossframe jowl post to a girding rail making sure we don’t forget to insert the braces in the process. Adding them at the end is not an option! You’ll notice that we temporarily “peg” the joints with metal framing pins until we’re confident everything is in the right place.
Not a lot to say about this one is there? By lunchtime we’ve got all the crossframes up ready for the wallplates so time to kick back for a few minutes. Kay and Phil have a laid on a tasty and wholesome spread from the confines of their onsite caravan. And yes, that is a hot tub. Read part 2 of our blog (coming soon!) to see whether we end up in the hot tub…
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.