You may recall we built a small hipped green oak frame a few weeks ago and erected it in the yard as a “dry run” prior to shipping it to site near Swansea.
Not something we normally do, but in this case, cutting and fitting all the compound angles of the jack rafters, the bird’s mouth joints and the rafter end cuts in the comfort of the workshop, would save plenty of time on site, and ensure that we could install the whole oak frame in one day (hopefully!)
So we loaded up early morning and trundled down to South Wales in time for a 9am start. All was going swimmingly until the telehandler we were using to raise the frame, decided it only wanted to go backwards, and couldn’t be coaxed into any forward motion for love nor money. By the time a mechanic had been called for and had diagnosed and fixed the issue, we were battling the clock and our leisurely day on site had turned into a stressful sprint. Jake and I ran about in full Benny Hill mode but without the backing music, and were able (just) to get things back on schedule.
That time spent in the workshop was definitely time well spent.
Once we had finished the raising, we spent a few minutes looking over the finished internal roof frame we had installed a couple of years previously for the same client.
We look forward to being invited to their first barbecue!Sep-09-19 a las 1:26 pm Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
Peter and Emma commissioned us to build an oak frame for their small family self-build, the result of years wading through the planning process, and coming out the other end with a Section 106 agreement for a “local connection” which aims to help local families afford homes in the area they grew up – you could throw a stone in both directions and easily hit Peter and Emma’s childhood homes on the northeastern edge of the Long Mynd.
The family, including dogs, chickens and 3 children have been living off-grid on the site in preparation for the build, and so it was with a great deal of excitement and apprehension that the raising day finally arrived. Just the most perfect conditions – dry, warm, sunny with the merest hint of a breeze.
The following pictorial record should give you an idea of our time spent on site and in their delightful and charming company. To be honest, it really didn’t feel like work! But work it was, and everybody mucked in to ensure that the whole frame, complete with 2 fully joisted floors, and common rafters on the roof, was “topped out” in just a shade over 2 days.
Special thanks to Paul “the crane” Stealey, to Matt the builder (for just wanting to be there), to Kai and Jake (the raising crew). And extra special thanks to Emma and Pete and the kids for not only choosing us to make their frame but joining in the fun too!
Good luck with the rest of the build!
May-28-19 a las 11:52 am Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
Here’s a quick update on the completion of the frame raising we started on Monday.
We made the right decision in delaying our return to site to finish the raising – we missed a day of continuous heavy rain and sleet in Carmarthenshire on Tuesday.
Back to it on Wednesday though beneath clear blue skies, although we did have to contend with mortices full of frozen ice for the first couple of hours. Thankfully there was a kettle and some boiling water to hand.Feb-01-19 a las 3:46 pm Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
This is a brief account of the first part of the frame raising we carried out yesterday in West Wales. Stepping back a little and to provide some context, we were approached last summer to see if we could help with a new roof to an “L” shaped dairy barn which had collapsed over time, and was being extensively restored. We carried out a survey of the wreckage –
– and came up with frame drawings and a 3d model.
It would have been nice if the two wings of the barn had been at right angles, but sadly (for our sakes) they happened to be 91.7 degrees – which ensured some complicated joinery at the corner!
After 6 weeks or so in the workshop, we finally booked the crane and packed off the frame to the site hoping to avoid the incoming snowy weather.
The centrepiece of the whole frame is the cruciform truss configuration which makes up the corner, and for many reasons, it made sense to assemble the whole thing so we could drop it in place in one go. The hip and valley truss is put together on trestles and raised vertically with the crane.
We then used a telehandler to assemble the other bits and locate into the octagonal central “boss”.
Purlins were also fitted at this stage to proved stability, and also because we couldn’t work out how to fit them once the cruciform was in place.
Before installing, we had to scribe and fit the “dragon tie” to the outside corner of the barn to support the hip rafter. Dave the builder, set to work with his angle grinder –
– and Rob cut the “dragon tie”.
The crane de-rigged at the end of a truly brilliant day.
We’ll be back on Wednesday all being well to fit the remaining 9 trusses, with purlins and ridges, and will let you know how we get on.
Nick and Mary got in touch to see if we could help them design and build an oak framed extension to their quirky half-timbered cottage between Kington and Hereford. Previous owners had obtained planning permission and made a start on the groundworks (see below) before giving up on the project and selling up.
We arranged a site meeting, discussed various options, and quickly settled on the outline of a design which we then firmed up with some detailed frame drawings. Open plan downstairs with oak joists and stairwell, raised collar trusses on the first floor with central purlin, ridge and windbracing.
The drawings were signed off by Nick and Mary, we ordered the oak, and set to work in the workshop when the next slot became available.
Issues we had to contend with on this project were: a wonky old building to connect to, a less then perfectly level base, difficult access for the crane, and not enough room for a wraparound scaffold.
What we didn’t have to worry about was the weather (it was perfect!) and Nick and Mary’s unbeatable hospitality. I should perhaps explain that they are fully committed smallholders with sheep, geese, chickens, polytunnels, bees, smokehouse and probably multiple other bits I didn’t notice or can’t remember. Suffice to say our pack lunch boxes were soon kicking around redundantly as we tucked into a multitude of delectable homemade, home-produced goodies. Future clients be warned – Nick and Mary have raised the bar! We were even sent on out way with a further hamper of loveliness.
The raising was a reminder of how lucky we are to do this kind of work, and a pleasure from start to finish. Yes, hard work, but hugely rewarding to see a project through from start to finish. Making stuff is good!
Thanks to Nick for taking and donating most of the photos.Oct-02-18 a las 11:44 am Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
A short while ago we put up a small frame in Presteigne park to serve as a weather shelter for kids during the rainy season (11 months of the year…)
We were asked to contribute the frame, and despite trying really hard to find a reason to say no, we couldn’t, and so rustled up this little number in the workshop.
Powys County Council donated and prepared the concrete base, and so one quiet morning when no one was around (if memory serves it might have been during the royal wedding) we snuck down to the park to have a play on the kids equipment, and then to perform some guerrilla frame erecting.
Involved in this clandestine operation were old hands Rob and Jake, plus newbies Alithea and Rune.
From start to finish we had the whole thing up and pegged together in under an hour before Alithea (our designated getaway driver) drove us pedal to the metal to a safe house to lay low for a few hours.
Coloured tin sheets were fitted some time later, and no doubt the whole thing can now be spotted from outer space.Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
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
May 2017 was when Matt contacted us with a view to providing oak framed elements to his new build family home that was going through the planning process near Newmarket in Suffolk. Despite everything running smoothly and to plan, it has still taken just over a year to be in a position to erect the frames. Building in the UK requires patience and stickability it seems.
We actually finished the oak work just before Christmas and parked the frames until Matt was ready for us.
This year’s prolonged cold spells played havoc with the groundworks and caused lengthy delays, but finally we were able to load up and head East for the raising, hoping that a) the frame had not dried out and moved too much in the intervening 5 months, and that b) we could remember how it all fitted together.
The oak had already been delivered to site earlier in the week and we were able to make a prompt start on Thursday morning with Simon our crane driver from Huntingdon Plant. The oak work consisted of a 2 bay single storey vaulted kitchen/dining room, 2 porches and 3 internal partition wall frames.
By lunchtime on a perfectly clear and baking hot day, we had finished the roof of the main vaulted structure, which meant we could concentrate on the porches and individual frames in time to send the crane home at 4pm having done all the heavy lifting. Matt had decided to temporarily support the porches on blockwork, with a view to propping them at a future date, and building the brickwork up underneath them – a good way to ensure that the brickwork ends up in the right place!
Friday turned out cooler and damp but we still dodged the rain and so were able to enjoy putting the finishing touches to our work with the pressure off – driving in all the hand made pegs, fixing the ridge and purlins down onto the trusses, and fitting the oak common rafters to the 2 porches.
So no, the frame hadn’t moved, and we didn’t forget how it went together. Good luck to Matt as he oversees the rest of the build!May-27-18 a las 1:54 pm Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
Last Thursday we were due to raise two small oak frames adjoining a property on the edge of the Long Mynd. Three years in the planning, Trish and Gary’s project had finally reached a point where they would get to see some oak!
Photos of the frames in our workshop:
The Beast From The East had passed through leaving it’s trail of magnificent destruction from Siberia, snow drifts had melted, scaffolding was readied, Trish’s biscuit tin was full, what could possibly go wrong…..
As we left Castle Ring early on the day of the raising, all seemed set fair, but trundling over the Shropshire hills towards the Stiperstones, a few intermittent snow flakes developed into something a little more sinister, and by the time we had climbed up to the edge of the Long Mynd, there was a ground covering of the white stuff. Needless to say, the crane got stuck, we got stuck, the haulage company delivering the oak got stuck, and by 9am we had called off the raising – for the first time ever. We grumpily slunk back home and licked our wounds over the weekend, wondering whether Trish and Gary would ever get to see their sunroom and extension.
The answer was yes!
Yesterday we finally got the frames up and it was a beautiful clear and still day. Jake, Adam and I assembled the sunroom first by midday, and finished the extension in the afternoon. Trish and Gary had rinsed the biscuit tin between Thursday and Tuesday which nearly resulted in a walk-out, but thankfully fresh supplies were commissioned, along with a delectable lunchtime spread of goodies to keep us all going. Thanks Trish!
We ran out of time to fit the rafters, but will be back to finish off tomorrow – probably too late for the biscuits though…..Uncategorized. Sin Comentarios
Janet and Peter met us at the NEC Homebuilding and Renovating show in 2015 with the vague notion of incorporating an oak frame into a budding self-build project.
Nearly 2 years down the road, we finally delivered their oak framed house from our workshop to Leyland in Lancashire last week, and spent 2 days erecting the fruits of our labour.
By way of introductory context, Janet and Peter are an extraordinarily intrepid couple who (amongst myriad other things), find the time to be practically self-sufficient, have been running a wood turning business for 40 years, and can build narrow boats from scratch to sell on – they have just completed their 4th! All these activities may need to be set aside for a while, as they get to grips with their new project: no doubt they will be launching into as many aspects of the self-build as is humanly possible!
We travelled up to Leyland on the Monday night and were greeted on Tuesday morning by the clear dry and still weather we had been praying for. We forgot to ask for a bit of warmth and so obviously it was punishingly cold…..but you can’t have everything.
Once the crane was rigged and positioned, we spent a good hour sorting the packs of wood: sod’s law…..everything you need is always at the bottom of the stack, and were ready to start erecting the frame by 10am.
The house comprises 7 crossframes, so we start at one end and keep going until we run out of components at the other. Post, beam, post, rail, post, wallplate, beam, post, rail, wallplate – and of course, not forgetting the braces. Concentrating on one timber at a time can be meditative and helps to prevent worrying about whether you are on schedule or not, and before you know it, there’s a big structure taking shape.
Another of Janet and Peter’s skills was hospitality and we were treated to epic homemade catering fests. Day 1 featured hot dogs, jacket potatoes, baked beans and cheese (perfect for a cold winter’s day) Day 2 was possibly even better – Lancashire hot pot (what else?) all washed down with homemade cake and lashings of hot tea. On Tuesday evening, Rob, Jake and Sylvan were treated to a Lancashire Fondue (?) with various home brewed beverages – cider, strawberry wine and blackcurrant gin!
By the end of Day 1, the main structure was up, and the trusses in place.
Day 2 was equally generous, and we enjoyed the same clear skies and frosty morning. By mid-morning we had installed the purlins, ridges and wind braces. The single storey “extension” was in place by lunchtime and then all that remained was to drop in the joists for the gallery/walkway, peg up and take some photos in the fading light.
We were sorry to say goodbye and left bearing gifts and fond memories.
Thanks Janet and Peter for a great raising.
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.