Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Building bridges

I've just finished putting this little bridge up in the woods at Crenver Grove near Praze-an-Beeble. A really enjoyable project to do, and my first venture into bridge building; admittedly not too demanding but lovely working in the woods for a few days. The woods are managed by the Sustainable Trust and are open to all...there are events there throughout the year so there'll be plenty of traffic over this muddy ditch through the years.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Green Oak Extension

The 2nd of my green oak frames on the Roseland has recently been raised, much dodging of downpours and gales, but otherwise a quick and straightforward assembly. Nice deflection in these curved tie beams, and the dragon ties in the corners provide interesting detail where the hips drop in. Unfortunately another looming downpour meant that the tarps and covers went on this before I could get some better photos, but I'll be back in the spring for a visit when all is finished...

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Garden Bench

In the little gaps between large scale oak framing work, there's still smaller projects coming out of the workshop in Falmouth, Cornwall. I had long wanted to make a garden bench along these designs, from large clean slabs of green oak with wedged through tenons. When an old family friend recently married, I had my opportunity... Best wishes Jon and Viki.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Living Room Linkway

The first of my 2 oak framing projects on the Roseland, Cornwall over the autumn, this linkway between old cottage and new extension features wedged dove-tailed through tenons in the collars for added strength. Difficult to raise by hand but it still all went together nicely in 2 days. As always, I look forward to going back when its all finished and getting better photos.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Like it's been there forever...

This conservatory was another collaborative effort between Jamie, Joel and myself...there's a picture of it being raised in Gallery 3, but it's nice to see it 4 years down the line, looking very well settled and part of the landscape. Its curved tie beams inspired the design of the trusses in the extension I'm just about to start on.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Rosy on the Roseland

My next 2 projects come from the drawing board of an architect on the Roseland Peninsula. Jamie Lovekin and I built this balcony and staircase for him 3 years ago, and we're now going back to build a kitchen extension for him. He has also drawn up another oak frame for us, a crisply contemporary linkway dressed in glass and slate. Due to start both next week, workshop photos coming soon.

Furniture too..

In between the larger construction carpentry projects, I'm always glad to take on furniture and garden commissions. Most are of Cornish Hardwoods, with a pegged and wedged assembly that reflects the joinery techniques in the larger scale building work. Generally I like to finish them with a clean, light oil, giving durability while allowing the character of the wood to remain accessible to sight and touch.

Oak coffee table with chestnut slats reclaimed from split roofing lathe (2004)

Solid Beech dresser (2006)

Oak bench outside Liskeard hospital. Colin Milburn takes the credit for this one; I helped him make and install it. His design reflects the St Piran's cross, and the oak came from his farm below Bodmin Moor; we stained the uprights black by allowing the tannins in the wood to react with iron filings in a large bath. (2003)

I made the above bed for my sister in 2004 using ash and spaulted beech from Tino Rawnsley's timber yard near Wadebridge. Its assembly involves just 4 wedges, for ease of carrying up narrow stairways. The bed below is again of ash, with nice olived features in the head and foot boards, this time assembled using pegs.

This garden bench was made using leftovers from a large oak frame we built in Hampshire, and using framing style joinery...all pegs and wedges, not a nail, screw or drop of glue in sight (2005).

Oak and Beech Table and Benches (2005)

Solid Oak doors; framed, ledged and braced (2007).

Hand-split Sweet Chestnut garden gate, pegged mortise and tenon joinery (2007).

Oak and Chestnut seat around old apple tree. (2006)

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Workshop Raising

The workshop in the woods went up on June 9th 2007, culmination of 10 days of cutting and joinery, weeks of weather watching, months of letter writing and form filling, and years of dreaming and planning. A fine crew turned up on a fine day, and after 3 hours of leveling, lifting, placing, raising, hammering and pegging....the Douglas Fir frame was up and sitting pretty in its new woodland home. The fire was lit as the sun dipped, the fish fried and the venison stewed, the ale supped and the guitars strummed. One of those memorable days, the fulfillment of a long held dream, a wee hut in the woods. Thanks to all who helped, the kettle's always on....

When September comes...

Middle car park, last September....the light in the autumnal tunnel. Got a lovely series of framing projects lined up to start in mid-September, which leaves a couple of weeks to tidy the workshop, sharpen the tools, get in the water and on the coping.

Gulval Barns

I've just finished a 7 week project in Gulval near Penzance, a 4 bay barn renovation with some interesting features. Stefan Roux designed and drew the frame, Anton Coaker supplied the oak, and I worked with the customer on this one, leading him and a young lad through the framing and raising. Jamie Lovekin and I had worked with him before, building the roof for another barn at his place, the one he now lives in (below). Always nice to get repeat work and see how past projects are settling in, and I look forward to seeing the new project when finished.

Sunday, 16 August 2009


(above) Shelter Seat in Coronation Park, built in conjunction with Tino Rawnsley, 2007. Oak frame, copper sheet roof.

(above) Barn renovations near St Issey, working with Jamie Lovekin, 2006.

(above) Douglas Fir Bus shelter and bike shed outside the hospital in Launceston. Colin Milburn's project, 2003. Western Red Cedar shingles and cladding from Tino Rawnsley.

(above and below) Joel Hendry designed and lead this project, the biggest one I've worked on. Adding to the remains of a Dartmoor longhouse, we built this 8 bay frame in the summer of 2006, using barn space in the farm next door, with Devon oak from Anton Coaker. A great job to work on.

Gallery 2

Poolhouse in Kent, 2005, green oak frame and cladding, with tiled roof. Built alongside Simon Scott, in Hever.

Angled linkway between barns, again at St Issey with Jamie Lovekin, 2006.

Forestry Barn at the Royal Cornwall Showground. The first green oak frame that I worked on, 2003, it has an interesting range of infill styles, including cedar cladding, lime render, woven split oak and wattle and daub. Great to see it come to life every summer during the show.

Pottery workshop in St. Kew, another project with Jamie Lovekin in 2005/6. The potter has a fineworkshop, I have a fine teapot and mugs.


(above and below) Extension to a listed thatched cottage in Hampshire, again built working alongside Jamie Lovekin, 2005. We built this frame in the workshop at Gear Farm, nr Helford, then shipped it up to the site and assembled it in 2 frosty winter days.

(below) Conservatory Roof, extension to old mill near St. Germans. Collaboration between Jamie, Joel Hendry and myself. Oak frame with Douglas Fir rafters. 2005.

(above and below) A pair of porches at the Old Carpentry Shop, Trelights, 2006. A small enough job to do on my own, though helped with raising by a good builder.

As well as making the porches, I made a pair of oak doors to fit under the front porch, and a seat to go around an old apple tree in the garden. A very enjoyable series of commissions.

(above and below) This barn renovation at a Duchy owned farm near Cullompton, was the job where I really learnt the core skills of oak framing. Working under the instruction and supervision of James Lovekin, a team of 3 built this frame in 6 weeks in 2003. With interupted tie beam cross frames, and plenty of vernacular authenticity, it really fired my excitement for this fine style of woodworking.