Saturday, 31 July 2010
After a busy spring and summer building green oak timber framed extensions of different shapes and sizes around Cornwall, its quite nice to get back to making a good old fashioned barn/workshop. We started this is in the workshop last weekend, and although its largely built in local Douglas Fir, its nice to be working on a free standing frame that will be raised about 100 yards from the workshop. My back is certainly enjoying the change from hefting green oak beams around the yard!
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
This green oak timber frame went up at the end of last week, on one of those days when it poured down everywhere else, but somehow missed Falmouth. The client is updating and re-fitting this house, and wanted a fully glazed extension to make the most of the views out towards Carrick Roads.
The 6m tie beams in these king-post trusses weigh over 250 kgs, with a complete truss weighing over 550 kgs, so we hired this neat little spider crane from fellow framer Stefan Roux. When all folded away, it's no more than 650mm wide, so can be driven on its caterpillar tracks through doors and gate to help raise frames in the most awkward spaces.
Doesn't seem that long ago that we were cutting this in the workshop, laying up the frames in the horizontal, and scribing in each joint with a plumb bob to get a perfect fit regardless of the nature of the timber. All our green oak frames are laid up like this...its the only way of ensuring really good tight joinery and the massive structural integrity that goes with it, as well as making raising the frame a simple, fool-proof process.
I took a break from green oak timber framing in May to help a friend work on his railway carriage. This old girl is about 130 years old apparently and made the long journey down from Suffolk earlier this spring...I think it used to operate on the Great Eastern Line. The story is that after the war, returning soldiers were often housed in decommissioned railway carriages, and over time these were extended to and became the core of a rambling, sprawling self improved home. There are about 9 layers of wallpaper inside this to suggest this was indeed the case.
Like so many things of the Victorian age, it was extremely well built; an oak carcass on a massive steel subframe, and then externally clad in teak sheets and trim. The bogeys and wheel sets are long gone, and the past 100+ years have taken their toll. However, the new owner is keen to preserve what's left and replace what's too far gone, so we spent some time cutting out and replacing rotten window sills, door frames, re-glazing throughout, and insulating and re-roofing. With a new set of doors, a woodburner, and many more months of tlc, there'll be life in the old girl yet.