The Oak Frame

We source all our timbers locally where possible and once all the design and planning stuff is sorted and your timber is delivered by the sawmill, we can get down to the serious business of making your frame.

In our workshop, your timbers are cut and joined using intricate mortise and tenon joints which are scribed and cut by hand and held together by temporary metal pegs (called podgers). These will be replaced by the permanent wooden trenails when we get on site. This is all done in a ‘flat’ 2D form – setting out the timbers on trestles and fitting all the joints very precisely.
We’ll invite you along to the workshop to see ‘work-in-progress’ – it’s amazing to see your frame all laid out and relating the chunks of timber to your drawings. You’ll see all the different types of joints the carpenter has chosen to use in your build and see the skills employed in this ancient time-served craft.

When completed we disassemble ready for transport to site. It’s a huge jigsaw of pieces and the carpenters use a complex numbering system to help reassemble your frame in the right order, so when you see a load of numbers and squiggles on the wood – that’s what they’re using to know exactly what goes where. While all this is going on your builders will be making ready for the frame too – they will have been briefed what’s needed prior to our arrival.

‘Raising the Frame’ (yeah!) This is carpenter-speak for putting the frame back together on site. We get excited about this regardless how many times we’ve done it – it’s a remarkably quick process and rarely takes more than a few days. It often signals the end of our involvement in your project – but what a finale! Other than very small builds, most frames are erected using a crane to fly individual pieces or whole bays into place. If your frame needs one, ‘Crane Day’ is certainly one not to be missed.

Everything so far has been on paper so to watch huge slabs of your frame being raised high into the air and then gently lowered into place is an amazing sight. The carpenters will drive home the vital wooden trenails that hold the whole structure together. If feasible we normally invite you to knock a peg or two into the frame with us– it’s a very satisfying act and one that ties you to the wood forever.

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