- Upper floor glazed gable with balcony overhang and two porches
- Green oak features in a contemporary new-build
- Dramatic solution to a tricky engineering issue
- Workshop – three weeks
- On site – one day
On the face of it, a traditionally built modern self-build, but with some eye catching green oak features that really transform the house into a standout design.
Designed and built by local firm Wearside Contractors, we were invited to manufacture and install the two oak porches, and upper floor glazed gable with balcony overhang. And we came up with a dramatic solution to a tricky engineering problem within a tight budget and time scale.
Careful coordination was essential to ensure seamless integration of the masonry and the oak, and after 3 weeks in the workshop, we travelled (a long way!) up north to raise the frames.
Thankfully there were no nasty surprises, and we were able to complete the raising in a single day, leaving Tony from Wearside Contractors to complete the rest of the build.
We hope you’ll agree, the results are spectacular.
The oak work consisted of a series of traditional half-trusses with roof purlins, and for a separate part of the building, some contemporary trusses with stainless steel elements connecting the principal rafters. Stainless steel and oak can combine to wonderful effect showing off the clean lines of the metalwork against the warmth, colour and texture of the oak
Unusually we supplied the frames for this project on a “supply only” basis, as the builder was happy to put up them up
All went quiet on site as the build progressed but after several months we were delighted to see the fabulous results. A wonderful juxtaposition of light, materials and colours
Take a look at Jean and Phil’s project which started with the simple aim of building a beautiful, interesting and individual house. Jean and Phil loved the look and feel of natural wood and had some ideas about aesthetics and design and engaged a local architect to take them through the planning process. Communicating with us at all times, they ended up with a design that was compatible with an oak frame, and once planning permission had been achieved, appointed Castle Ring Oak Frame to design, build and erect the oak structure.
Jean and Phil decided to “wrap” the oak frame with sip panels so we worked closely with the sip provider to agree on the necessary detailing
With the arrival of the oak, we could then get to work crafting the frame in the workshop – a process that took about 6 weeks. We were really happy to invite Jean and Phil down for the day to see their frame taking shape and to show them how we work
With the frame complete, and the excitement rising, we transported the 15 tons of oak components up to Yorkshire for the final raising. Jean and Phil had organised the groundworks ready to receive the frame, and over two perfect days, we were able to raise the frame on site with the aid of a crane
It was a truly memorable experience for all involved.
With the frame erected, Jean and Phil project managed the rest of the build, including the sip installation, and eventually completed their stunning home. Not bad for complete new build novices!
‘This time last year building an oak framed house seemed nothing more than a pipe dream, until we came across Rob and ‘Castle Ring Oak’. We were totally inspired by the oak framed house that Rob had built for himself and for his passion and knowledge. From initial idea discussions and design to final product we have been guided, advised and kept informed the whole way through. To be able to visit the workshop during manufacture of our frame was a fantastic experience.
Rob is such a pleasure to deal with and the ‘raising of the oak frame’ is a time we will never forget. Rob, Jake and Sam felt like they became part of our family for those few days and we thoroughly enjoyed their company. For all of us, husband and boyfriends alike to be allowed to be actively ‘hands on’ in the creating of the heart of our new home is something we will always remember. Once the frame was up I commented to my daughter ‘ we don’t need to put any pictures or paintings on the walls because the oak frame is the art’ . This is so true, what Rob and Castle Ring Oak create are true works of art and craftsmanship.
We are still smiling in Yorkshire and we could write a book with the comments of admiration from everyone that has seen it. Wishing you all the very best’
– Jean & Phil
This particular project required us to design a low pitched, ridged and hipped oak framed roof structure to an expansive open plan living/kitchen area. The vaulted and open roof would also expose a multitude of common oak rafters providing visual interest and a counterpoint to the contemporary interior. It was a huge and complex frame with all sort of engineering difficulties to overcome, not least how to accommodate the cantilevered glazed “prow” which could not under any circumstances bear any load on the oak frame for structural reasons.
We built and assembled the whole frame in the workshop to minimise time spent on site and travelled south to install the frame. With access to the site compromised by a steep slope, we had to lift all of the 150 timber pieces one by one over the 3 storey house and into position. A time consuming and delicate operation made possible only by the invention of the walkie-talkie as there was no site line with the crane operator.
The completed house is an amazing feat of design and engineering
Excited by the structural and aesthetic possibilities of green oak he tasked us with creating something both functional and dazzling that would sit at the heart of the building. The internal frame would provide the structure around which a sip overcoat would be wrapped. We drew up some exciting frame design options for Peter, over which ultimately he had the final say. And having been involved in project management at the top end of motorsport for decades, he jumped fearlessly into the process of self-building, and the fact that this venture was “off-grid” only added to his enthusiasm!
Peter lives less than five miles from our workshop and once we’d started work on the frame, was able to pop round regularly to check on progress. For our part, we loved sharing the secrets of timber framing with a client who was so clearly fascinated by the process’
A main contractor was involved in the build right through from the early demotion to the final fit out. Peter is delighted with the results, and as you can imagine, this eye-catching holiday home is bearing fruit, with a steady stream of happy customers.
Raising the frame was the two-day culmination of a fascinating and most enjoyable six weeks of manufacture and finally putting up the oak structure. But then, why would one get involved in such a large and time-consuming, never mind expensive project if one didn’t plan to enjoy the whole process.
I’ve known Rob since he was recommended to me for the construction of an oak decking, designed by John Williams, on the side of my existing house, which is next-door and a little way further up the hill. He came to install it in December 2013, and of course it snowed. It was this job that led me towards an oak frame for the cottage; with John designing it and Rob building it Oh yes, Les and his boys also did the footings for the decking as part of the landscaping for my house.
One of the marvels of the frame is the way Rob and his small team of Jacob and Remy have turned 16 tonnes of sawn oak into a complex and beautiful structure in just a few weeks. I had suggested to Rob that he shouldn’t hold back on the “fancy bits” and the end result, with its beautiful curved frames and wind braces, is just right. Standing inside the bare frame is like standing inside wood, surrounded by trunks with branches everywhere.
The two-day climax of raising the frame was just a wonderful experience and I found I couldn’t keep away from it for long, in spite of having other things to do! Rob was in complete control of the tricky process of lifting heavy beams from stacks around the site to their intended locations on the frame, and instructing and guiding his team to assemble the complex joints. The crane driver, Russell, was inch perfect and Rob alone communicated with him with a suite of hand signals, but never a word.
I’ve worked extensively with small, skilled teams in motorsport and this team was right up there with the best: few words (as with any small, skilled group, those they used were the jargon of timber framing) and coordinated actions. It was a delight to watch. The work was very physical and it was a weary team that completed each day.
Now the frame has been up to two weeks while we await the delayed SIPS panels. Many people have come to view it, often just dropping in as they pass by. It always seems to have an affect on those that come and view close-up, especially when they step inside the frame:
“Wow, it’s like a church!”
“How do they work out those joints?”
“Will you still see the pegs? They are beautiful!”
“Doesn’t it leak a bit?”
I can’t wait now to find out how it will look once the SIPS panels are up. From the outside it will become a monopoly house, but the inside will retain the magnificence of the frame.
Great job Castle Ring!
Kevin and Christine had the designs approved and permission granted to build a quite frankly enormous retirement home.
Determined to do things their own way, and never having built a house before, they decided to “upsize” from a bungalow into a six bedroomed, three storey mansion, and set about tracking down an oak framing company that could build them a frame and still leave them enough money to finish the project!
Kevin travelled the length and breadth of the country and spoke to every oak frame company out there, before visiting us at Castle Ring. Impressed by our can-do attitude, the quality of our hand-crafted and unique oak frames, and not least our manageable quote, we were eventually selected to design, build and raise this substantial frame.
Once Kevin and Christine had approved our frame design, over 50 tons of oak were ordered and we set to work in the workshop where we beavered away for three months. During this time, Kevin was able to organise and complete the groundworks ready to receive the frame.
Coordinating such a large and complex raising is not without it’s difficulties, but after a whole solid week on site with a crane, we were able to knock in the final oak peg (there were over 2000!) and hand over the rest of the build to Kevin and Christine.
By now Kevin was well into the swing of project managing and he was able to coordinate the sip installation, the internal and external trades, the sandblasting, the joinery, the roofing etc.
Remarkably for a build cost of £610k @ £1,326 per m2, the house is now valued at over £2.1m and looks magnificent.
We are proud to have played our part in such an impressive project.
Both committed organic growers, they purchased a 2 acre field near Knighton, Powys and worked hard to establish a viable market garden, while toughing it out with their 2 young girls in a cold and draughty mobile home.
Eventually the fruits (or vegetables?) of their labours paid off and they were granted planning permission to build an affordable dwelling with a section 106 agreement.
JBD architects of Hereford came up with a contemporary design with single storey open plan living space and Mick and Alice were all set to go with a conventional modern timber frame construction when they happened upon Castle Ring Oak Frame.
After an informal discussion with Rob and a look around his home, they decided to see whether they could incorporate a traditional timber frame into their design and at the same time keep within their limited budget.
Balancing the design and build costs were key and were achieved by combining a post and beam douglas fir frame with a SIPS building envelope provided by SIPS eco panels.
Mick will be the first to admit that while he’s great at growing pumpkins, building is not his specialised subject so it was with fear and trepidation that he embarked on project managing the build, starting with the groundworks.
Somehow he managed to survive a desperately cold and wet winter and a building site that resembled a scene from a wet Glastonbury festival, to emerge in the spring ready for the frame raising.
Friends and neighbours were called upon to help and finally the great day arrived. Mick’s groundworks were perfect and everything proceeded skywards without a hitch.
The sips “overcoat” followed on quickly once the frame was up and provided a dry shell for Mick to oversee the rest of the build which was finished with the help of friends and local subcontractors. The house looks stunning and has blended into its rural surroundings with the help of locally sourced larch weatherboarding and agricultural sheet roofing material. The sips envelope gives it fantastic thermal performance and it’s environmental credentials are further enhanced with a state of the art wood boiler and solar thermal panels.
“Our whole framing experience with Castle Ring was a thoroughly positive one from start to finish; from initial discussions of vague possibilities, on through the design stages, and right to the final peg in the final hole.
The advantages of using Castle Ring soon became apparent. One of Robs skills is his ability to listen, which then made us feel like we were getting what we wanted, not what he wanted to offer us…he always suggested, never proposed an idea. Communication channels were constantly open and he was happy for us to view the frames progress whenever we wanted. On site for the frame build Robs qualities shone through again; working quickly, quietly and completely in control of the situation…very ably supported by his team. It was a very special day for us seeing the frame rise before us, and even Rob’s ability to recognise that in itself meant a lot.
Rob has provided us with a hand made frame of breathtaking quality and beauty in a totally personal yet supremely professional way which was, in short, exactly what we wanted.”
It’s a long story, but if you’re interested, here’s a fuller version of events!
Necessity being the mother of all invention, our tiny budget was matched by our huge (some would say foolhardy) ambition, and we somehow contrived to design and build our own family home against all the odds on a Welsh hillside amongst a woodland we had planted ourselves.
We built the green oak frame on site in a small and cramped workshop, incorporating as many sinuous and curvy features as we could, raising the frame with friends and family (and a crane!) in double quick time.
The house features extensive oak joists and rafters, spectacular vaulted ceilings, a mezzanine and void. The softwood stud wall envelope is insulated with Warmcel, and the building benefits from a cost-effective ground source heat pump. The exterior cladding was milled ourselves from locally sourced larch.
Entered for the Homebuilding and Renovating/Daily Telegraph self-build of the year awards in 2009, we won in three categories,
The brief was to create an open plan living space to be used as a lounge and dining area.
Sarah was particularly keen on incorporating soft, natural curves into the design, having seen examples of our work, and asked us to “go to town” where we could!
The frame design revolves around a central sling brace truss with a curved collar, bookended by king post trusses with curved queen posts. The central purlin, ridge and wind bracing add interest to the roof space, the structure being “clad” with a sip envelope leaving the entire frame visible internally.
It was a pleasure to work with Sarah and Tim and to have helped create their dream family home.
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.