- Workshop 130m2
- Locally sourced douglas fir frame
- Traditional barn raising
- King post trusses to support lifting gantry
- Fabrication – four weeks
- Raising – one day
Having outgrown our original workshop at Castle Ring we decided to design and build a new one that would be bigger, better and warmer. In other words it needed to be the mother of all workshops, the ultimate, never to be improved upon “uber” workshop.
Timber framing is heavy work and most timber framers end up a lot shorter than when they started so one of the main requirements was to design it with the capacity to support a lifting gantry. To keep costs down and to support out local forestry economy we also decided to use douglas fir grown over the hill in the Teme valley.
With a maximum safe working load of 500kg and a clear span of 9m, the frame needed to be carefully engineered to support itself and the additional loading of the gantry. King post trusses with metal straps and huge curved braces were deemed the best way forward.
An articulated lorry load of logs were duly felled and delivered to Castle Ring where Paul Bufton and his mobile Serra Sawmill made short work of them providing both the structural timbers and all of the cladding. 4 weeks later the groundworks had been completed and the frame was ready to assemble. Craftily I decided to combine the raising with my birthday so that I could turn the whole thing into an event – I think everyone realised it was free labour dressed up as a party, but friends and family dutifully turned up anyway.
A crowd of willing volunteers began with the sole plates at 11 am and by 5 pm the roof purlins were on (in the dark!) and we were back in the warm and dry where we enjoyed a birthday feast and the shared satisfaction of a brilliant day. Most people even said they would do it again.
After the speed and elation of a successful raising it is sometimes hard to maintain the momentum required to bring a building to completion. The workshop was no exception and in fact it took nearly a year to get to grips with the studding, insulation, cladding, roofing, electrics and all the other important building bits that turn a frame into a functioning finished space. We recently installed solar PV panels which means we should be able to produce about 3300kw of electricity per year.
The gantry works a treat, there is abundant natural light and dare I say it, working in such a space is a real pleasure.
One good idea from Owen Rimmington, and a fag-packet design, fired everyone’s interest and before we had even considered the impossibility of undertaking such a monumental task, wheels started to turn.
Money was raised and pledged, permissions granted, designs finalised, helpers mustered.
An extraordinary concerted effort over a number of months saw the groundworks completed, the hybrid larch and steel frame erected and the roofing sheets and cladding applied.
We played our part and built the timber frame and oversaw the safe raising of the main structure.
The barn was completed in time for the Presteigne Carnival and was universally enjoyed by young and old.
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.
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.