We’ve been working on a double height and vaulted oak framed extension for a while now, and on Thursday of last week, Jake, Angus, Lloyd and I made the arduous 4 mile trip down the road to Titley to erect the frame. Bizarrely, despite the relative proximity of the job, it didn’t seem to stop me worrying about forgetting bits and bobs even though we could have walked home to pick them up. Frame raising day always seems to set the butterflies off in the pit of the stomach…….mixture of excitement and trepidation as everything builds to a climax.
Having lived through one of the longest driest summers on record it was slightly disappointing (well bloody annoying actually) to be slopping around in the aftermath of a heavy downpour the night before in my steel toe capped flip flops. Hey Ho.
The wind died, it did stay dry, the crane turned up, everything went to plan. Here’s a pictorial guide of progress throughout the day.
Pegs being trimmed. Much easier to put this together in one “H” on trestles rather than separately – those pesky tight curved braces are really tricky.
Lowering the first wallplate onto the jowl posts and braces. This frame has no mid height girding rail as it is double height with no first floor.
The last crossframe forms part of a minstrels’ gallery which will be accessed from the existing house. The balusters need inserting as we go along or it will be too late.
This extension has been designed by Andrew Thomas architect from Hereford and forms part of a major refurbishment of an old oak framed house in Titley near Kington, Herefordshire. Ian Hamilton of Covenhope Construction is managing the building works.
We’ll keep you updated as the build progresses.Aug-30-18 a las 9:20 am Herefordshire, Jowl Post, Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
Chris and Wendy were stepping back from running their busy campsite at Bishops Castle and commissioned a simple, single storey oak framed annexe from us in the Spring of 2017. We helped them prepare planning drawings and then designed a 3 bay structure with a low ridge height, the oak frame fully visible internally to be sheathed with an insulated softwood envelope.
We began to manufacture the frame at the beginning of August and 3 weeks later were ready to go to site for the raising.
Chris and Wendy had prepared the base, and erected the perimeter scaffolding and we were able to crack on with the raising in no time at all.
Unbelievably, by the end of October, Chris and Wendy were able to move in! Who said self-builds always take longer than you think? The key for these whizzer clients was knowing exactly what they wanted, and having the right tradespeople lined up to keep the build schedule on track, and on budget.
I popped in last week to see the results and was more than impressed with their spacious, quirky and comfortable home.Jowl Post, Shropshire. Sin Comentarios
Last week Jake, Sylvan and I ventured to the border with Scotland to put together a large house frame we have been building for Andy and Sue a couple of miles from Gretna Green.
As usual with frame raisings, as the time approached, so our apprehension grew. So many things have to come together for a raising that at times it feels an almost impossible task. Will the groundworks be accurately set out to receive the frame? Will the scaffolding have been erected correctly? Have we made enough oak pegs?
Have we remembered the oak pegs? Will the crane turn up? Will the weather be kind to us? Would there be any tea and biscuits? See what I mean?
We motored past the Lake District along the M6, taking in the spectacular Cumbrian scenery, and arrived on Monday evening in time for a quick site inspection with Andy and Sue, ready for an early morning start the next day
You’ll be pleased to know the groundworks were spot on, the scaffolding perfect, and the oak had already arrived and been offloaded. So far so good
Next morning the crane arrived with Graham our operator for the next 2 days, and we ran into our first real issue – the crane’s stabilising outriggers on the one side were pushing through the stoned ground and disappearing into peat bog! If we couldn’t safely stabilise the crane, the frame wouldn’t go up. We needed railway sleepers. Lots of them. Strangely and fortuitously enough, Andy had an impressive railway sleeper collection in his garden which we were able to pilfer, and we kept stacking them below the crane’s outriggers until they stopped sinking. We had lost valuable time at the start of the day, but at least we could begin to assemble the frame
The weather was set fair, we pinned up the drawings, sorted out the multitude of curved braces and made a slow and steady start. As is usually the case when we raise frames, taking photos of progress gets forgotten due to time pressures and our frame sequence generally follows the same pattern 1) picture of open site ready for frame 2) picture of completed frame. This frame was no exception
So here’s a picture of the scaffolding….
And 3 days later, here’s the completed frame:
In between times we lifted in bay posts, girding rails, floor beams, wallplates, trusses, floor joists, purlins, ridges and rafters, at times in the dry, but more often than not in the driving rain. By the end of the first day we had raised the main frame including the trusses, on the 2nd day we lifted in the double purlins and ridge using the crane, along with all the floor joists by hand, and finished knocking in the 700 oak pegs. By mid afternoon on the 3rd day we had fixed the common rafters to the roof and invited Andy to “top out” the frame with an oak branch scavenged from a nearby hedgerow.
Sue kept our spirits up and our soggy bodies going throughout with a constant supply of bacon butties, cups of steaming hot tea, muffins, scones, tea cakes, haggis (yes really!) and best of all, the amazing, never to be forgotten self-filling box of chocolate biscuits, which replenished itself constantly and mysteriously for three whole days.
Thanks to Andy and Sue for their kind hospitality and for giving us the opportunity to play a part in building their new homeApr-06-17 a las 11:48 am Jowl Post, Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
Yes, it’s been unseasonably warm, but it’s also been seasonably wet!
We’re thankful we haven’t had to endure anything on a par with Cumbria but close inspection of our feet reveals we are beginning to notice the appearance of webbing between the toes.
We’re grateful to have a warm and dry workshop to float about in and thankfully it’s just big enough to accommodate our latest project, a large, shallow pitched, hipped roof which is to be part of a new build home near Swansea
We can’t get the whole thing in and up in one go so we’ve broken it down into 3 sections for practical purposes
There’s quite a bit of tricky joinery to work out, framing up the “dragon ties”, “hips” and heavy 6″ x 4″ jack rafters, but it makes much more sense to be getting this done in the warm and dry with the advantage of the gantry and block and tackle, rather than on site in the wind and rain
How are we going to get it out the workshop?
Jan-06-16 a las 3:30 pm Jowl Post, Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
A few months ago you may remember we travelled down to Essex to add a complicated oak framed extension to an existing cottage for clients Richard and Abby. The raising day had been inked in, cranes, lorries and hotels booked, only for some stormy weather (the remains of a Caribbean hurricane apparently) to scuttle in accross the Atlantic.
There was to be no escape or shelter from the wind, especially as the cottage was on the site of an old windmill, and sure enough we had no choice but to postpone everything until hurricane Mabel (can’t remember what she was called but that will have to do) had blown over. Putting up an oak frame is hard enough without the added excitement of hanging onto wildly swinging timbers 30 feet up in the air.
Everything went smoothly, as I hope you can see from the photos, and Richard (who works in construction) and friendly neighbour Jerry mucked in wholeheartedly with the raising. Indeed, one of the highlights of the trip was the sight of Richard “adjusting” an existing dormer window to make room for the new oak frame with a………… chainsaw!
A few weeks earlier we had been able to witness at first hand Richard’s enthusiastic approach and more refined carpentry skills. At Richard’s request, he came and spent a day with us in the workshop getting to know his frame and actually making some of it! Along with sweeping up sawdust and making the tea, we had him scribing and chiseling out joist pockets for the floor layout.
Jul-06-15 a las 2:36 pm Jowl Post. Sin Comentarios
One of the countless ways we manage to turn timber into sawdust or shavings is by drilling holes in it. These are so that different timbers can be joined together using offset oak pegs (a process called “drawboring” – see this previous blog on the subject). Most of the holes we drill are either 25mm (1 inch) or 19mm (3/4 inch) depending on the size of peg required for the forces within the joint, for example whether it is in compression or under tension. All when and good so far ………the tricky bit is being able to drill the hole vertically, through a piece of oak that might be a foot deep. If, using a long auger bit, you get the angle wrong to start with, there is no way to correct it, and it might emerge half way towards the next parish. Not good. That is why all timber framers display a “concentrating” “serious” face when drilling…Jowl Post. Sin Comentarios
To pick up the thread of our last blog post, we were sitting by, and not in, a hot tub eating lunch having made a decent start on raising a full house frame for Phil and Kay in Durham.
With barely enough time to get indigestion, it’s back to work hoisting the wallplates into place and then…..
The king post trusses are fully assembled at ground level on trestles. The curved braces that will eventually support the ridge purlins are also fitted at this point to avoid fitting them at height later on.
Sending complete trusses soaring into the sky is always a thrill and a good photo opportunity.
The trusses are then oriented correctly (this gable truss is faced outwards) and gently lowered onto the teasel tenons of the bayposts, being careful not to forget the bracing.
Cross frames for the one storey part of the build can be fully assembled complete with funky sling braces and curved collar.
This section joins up with an existing brick barn outbuilding so great care was taken at the design stage to ensure the roof planes would match.
With the main structure fully raised, it’s time to fit the wind bracing to the roof. With the purlins cogged over the principal rafters, cleats are fixed against the purlins to stop any rocking and the braces nailed down onto the top of the main rafters.
Lovely curved wind bracing not only looks good but also provides vital resistance against racking forces.
Andy, Dani, Jake and Rob having a quick break and doing some posing.
Back to work driving in the 600 or so hand made oak pegs and feeling the whole frame tightening up.
The weather just gets better and better.
Time for some more posing with Phil (the modest one).
As the sun fades and brings to an end a hugely satisfying frame raising.Mar-02-15 a las 11:31 am Jowl Post. Sin Comentarios
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…Jan-28-15 a las 10:25 am Jowl Post, Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
A selection of our recent timber frame videos – from frame raising to the Castle Ring Oak Frame team in action in the workshop.Jan-14-15 a las 3:16 pm Jowl Post. Sin Comentarios
In the workshop at Castle Ring we spend 50% of the time measuring stuff and the other 50% of the time re measuring stuff to make sure it’s right. Building a beautiful oak frame that doesn’t fit would be funny for a nano second and catastrophic for a very long time, not to mention costly.
Finding the right set of measuring devices is therefore critical, and having as many as possible to hand, essential for the mental wellbeing of the stressed out timber framer.
As you can see, Jake and I have embarked on a Tolkeinesque quest to collect as many different tapes and rulers with which to clutter up the workbench. They all have different qualities – weight, colour, length, ergonomic design (whatever that is), imperial, metric, magnetic etc
If anyone else out there suffers from a similar affliction, you’re not alone!Jowl Post. Sin Comentarios
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.