How we do it
Ancient craftsmanship complimented by modern methods and tools
Our Story - Designing and building traditional jointed and pegged heavy timber frames since 1998
Our passion is working with Nature’s best renewable building material, using the best ancient construction skills and techniques combined with the best modern technology and techniques.
Our Vision - Creating beautiful, durable, environmentally sensitive buildings which are healthy and uplifting
We love to work with others who care about ‘building biology’, healthy buildings and environmentally sensitive construction methods. Although any construction undeniably carries some ecologically damaging consequences, using the right materials and techniques can minimise the negative impact on the environment of the construction itself and the lifetime use of the building.
Sustainably grown Westcountry timber sawmilled in Devon
We buy much of our timber as saw logs from local sustainably managed forests which follow the practice of tree species biodiversity which, in turn, supports wider biodiversity of flora & fauna.
We are committed to supporting our local sustainably managed forestry industry which will encourage the managed sustainable production of timber as a carbon neutral building material, increase forestation and maximise CO2 absorption.
Traditional specialist timber frame carpentry skills
Our highly skilled craftsmen are trained in traditional scribe carpentry, using complex and highly accurate joinery on large and irregular timbers. The hand tools that we use daily are virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. We are passionate about using ancient techniques combined with modern technology to produce sustainable, ecologically sensitive, energy efficient buildings with a timeless beauty and charm.
Heritage traditional timber frame carpentry skills training in Devon
We are enthusiastic about promoting heritage skills training to facilitate a new generation of young craftspeople to learn the skills, knowledge and expertise to conserve historic timber frames and construct new buildings of outstanding quality, beauty and durability.
Promoting heritage skills training in the timber frame industry will help to preserve ancient carpentry skills and techniques but will also provide our young craftspeople with lifelong employment opportunities.
A formal apprenticeship gives young people the opportunity to learn and become skilled in a traditional craft which will give them confidence and pride in their work which, in turn, will ensure the quality of their work throughout their lives.
What is heavy traditional timber framing?
Heavy traditional timber framing uses large section green timbers, and the ancient framing techniques of traditional mortice and tenon joints which are drilled with slightly offset holes secured with dry oak tapered pegs create a tight and secure joint. These ancient building techniques can be applied equally well to traditional or contemporary style buildings.
Preserving the best traditional timber framing skills and techniques with the best modern design and technology
Bespoke projects, and those involving complicated joints or bent or wainey timbers, such as cruck frames, jowel posts or restoration timber framing are hand built in our workshop by our skilled carpenters using traditional scribe timber frame techniques.
For standard or repeatable structures, large projects, softwood ‘stick’ framing projects and contract timber framing, we now have access to innovative and ground-breaking CNC heavy timber jointing facilities and we are able to offer standard repeatable timber structures accurately quickly and efficiently built with CNC machinery and finished by hand, all with traditional mortice, tenon and pegged joinery.
A combination of traditional highly skilled hand crafted carpentry, state-of-the-art production machines, with the latest construction knowledge facilitates the production of the highest quality timber frame carpentry work.
3D CAD CAM Timber frame design software
We offer an in-house 3D CAD design service for timber frame projects. We use specialist timber construction 3D BIM/CAD/CAM software (Viskon v.17 by Weto Technologies) which provides detailed frame renderings and component cutting lists, as well as all construction and insulation layers and detailing. The technical drawings are used by our carpenters are also used to instruct the structural engineer. These drawings can also be used to show our customers a 3D image of their building project. For larger and commercial projects, or standard repeatable designs, these files can be sent direct to a Hundegger CNC carpentry jointing machine for fast and accurate machining.
Natural Building Materials
Wood is nature’s most versatile building material but there is some question about whether timber should be used in construction. The answer is yes: if it comes from a sustainable source.
Timber is a versatile, renewable and beautiful building material. Using timber, and other natural materials in construction can massively reduce the embodied energy and life-cycle impact of a building. There is also the issue of landfill waste at the end of a building’s life. In the UK, construction waste produced per person is more than double that of collected household waste!
We avoid chemical treatment of timber whenever possible. Chemical treatment of timber has become almost standard practice in the UK, but it is very rarely necessary if the construction detailing is correct.
Breathability, or vapour permeability is the ability to buffer moisture to soak it up and then release it. Most natural building materials are breathable, but it is important that they are not sealed up behind finishes that will trap moisture. There is no reason that vapour permeable buildings cannot also be air tight – if the correct materials, design detailing and techniques are used.
Wood fibre Insulation
All insulation products are capable, to a greater or lesser degree, of retaining heat in a building. High quality wood fibre insulation delivers significantly more and provides protection year round.
Wood has a great thermal storage capacity, and wood fibre insulation absorbs more heat and stores it longer.
In cold weather, wood fibre not only insulates but works like a giant storage heater. We are confident that this theory works in practice. We live in a timber framed house which has been insulated with wood fibre insulation. The pleasant indoor comfort, remarkably stable temperatures and thermal performance has exceeded our expectations. The building remains pleasant in the hottest summer and radiates a comfortable warmth in winter with minimal heating demand.
Why choose wood?
Wood, when kept dry, is one of the most durable building materials known.
Timber structures are versatile and more fire and wind proof than steel and concrete buildings. They can be taken down, reassembled, reconfigured and given new life.
And, around a tonne of carbon is stored in every cubic meter of timber used in construction.
There are so many reasons for choosing sustainably grown timber as a genuinely renewable building material and we can do no better than ‘Wood for Good’ have done on their website so please have a look at all the reasons that wood is the best renewable construction resource.
Heritage timber frame carpentry skills training with the Oak Frame Training Forum
The OFTF is the training wing of the Carpenters Fellowship which was set up to provide formal training in traditional heritage structural post and beam timber framing skills.
We are committed to supporting the training of our skilled craftspeople by lifetime learning and by formal apprenticeships, which helps to maintain our own high standards and also preserves and promotes traditional skills within our specialist sector of the construction industry and within the Westcountry.
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