Oak Porch for Arts and Crafts House

A local client who recently moved to a 1920’s Arts and Crafts thatched house sought designs for a new oak framed porch as part of a wider refurbishment of the property. The brief was to remove the existing “Eastern” style porch, that is understood to be a later edition, to what was originally the rear of the property.

Later Porch addition

Removal of old porch

The existing porch had a shallow lead finished roof that ran from a central apex and the height was limited by the window above and height of the front door. This proved particularly challenging as the client wanted to retain the existing floor level, but with new thicker stone slabs and the first floor window remaining as the limit for the maximum height.

After removal of the old porch all the heights were checked before installation was started, with the new york flagstones forming the new base.

York flagstones installed and left for a week to properly set

The oak framing was pre-fabricated in the workshop to keep the on-site work to a minimum. This also ensured all of the brackets could be accurately fitted and the holes for the oak pegs offset to ensure joints were pulled tight as the pegs with installed.

Joints being checked before moving to site

The erection of the main oak frame required the assistance of a JCB to lift the main front beam into place which had to have the brackets inserted and the beam was placed on the vertical posts.

Main beam and structure in place

All the oak was sand-blasted before the roof was boarded and slated, to remove saw and construction marks and staining.

The finished design had vertical posts in the side window area, a rendered finish below the sills and slate roof finished with a zinc gutter along the front. The tolerances were tight but the roof pitch met the minimum standards. A small bench was supplied from left-over oak to give the porch a final touch.

Oak Porch

From Tree to Table

Felled Oak tree on Two Cocks Farm and Brewery

It is a rare opportunity to be able to use the timber from a client’s own tree to make a piece of furniture for them. Back in 2017 I was asked to look at a dead oak tree that had been felled on a nearby farm, the Two Cocks Farm and Brewery . It was unclear why the tree had died, though some insect damage was obvious in the felled trunk. The wood though appeared pretty solid and it was worth trying to salvage some of the timber.

A few weeks later a mobile bandsaw mill was brought in to cut the timber which was then moved to the farm’s barn to start the drying process.

Mobile Mill and friendly guard dog

The mill took about half a day to square the main trunk off and cut it down to a variety of thicknesses for the legs, top and rails. This was all taken by trailer down to the farm’s barn to start the air dried process and share the next 24 months with the lambing ewes! Hard woods such as oak require a year for every 25mm of thickness to dry. Early in 2019 the wood was sorted and brought in to the workshop to start squaring it off and getting it ready for working. The thicker sections still had a moisture content of 25%+ so these were set aside and taken off to Tyler Hardwoods kiln for 8 weeks to continue to the drying process, after treating for the insect activity.

Oak planked up and drying in barn

Back in the workshop, measuring, squaring off and planing got underway.

The size of the finished table at 3m x 1.2m required a design that enabled the table to be moved to site and later to be moveable should the owner ever relocate. The size and weight of the table, plus the need to enable it to be moved later, meant it could not be made as a single piece of furniture with fixed frame and top. The decision was made to make the top in two parts with detachable legs.

The main table top boards, because of the size of the felled trunk, were not long enough to meet the full length of the table, so the top was made in two 1.5m halves with breadboard ends to minimise movement in a warm, dry environment that has underfloor heating.

The main boards for the top were cut to allow a free tenon, glued up and the breadboard ends added.

The next job was to make the sub-frame and add the legs. The wood, with it various knots, holes and insect damage ensured the wood had lots of character. Larger holes and splits were filled with black epoxy resin and the smaller holes with oak filler, produced from sawdust created when sanding the oak.

Sub-frame assembly

After a final filling and sanding the oak was sealed with 5 coats of Danish Oil, rubbed down with 0000 wire wool to create the final finish.

The end result was a large, attractive piece of furniture, full of colour and contrast, where the original farm oak was reunited with the property.

The table now takes pride of place, in the main kitchen area of the Grand Designs featured farm house. A beautiful contrast of modern architecture and traditional furniture.

Oak returned to farm

Summer House Project

Design

Oak Framed Summer House for a client in Wiltshire designs by Cronoak and built with partners Penny’s Mill Ltd


Work finished in May 18 on an Oak framed Summer House for a client in Wiltshire.  The design by Cronkoak was developed with the client who wanted a year round building that could be used in the summer to enjoy their stunning views or at other times as a bolt-hole.

The oak frame was built in our partner’s, Penny’s Mill Ltd, workshop and we worked with the client’s own builder who provided all the attendance work.  Cronkoak also obtained planning permission for the development producing all the associated drawings for planning, the workshop and builders, plus the building spec.

Waney edge oak delivered to workshop

Workshop Phase 1

Once the design is finalised, cutting lists are prepared to determine the amount of timber required.  If waney edge timber (wood that still has the sap wood and some bark on), is being purchased, it’s necessary to make an allowance for wastage.  Working with a timber supplier who has someone who is good at selecting timber for a cutting list can make a significant difference on price.

Once the timber has been delivered, the first step is to select and cut the rough sections, allowing for wastage to get square edges.  Then it is planed down so you have square face and top edges before putting it through a thicknesser, to get the timber to the required finished size.  The last stage is to cut to length.  The old axiom of “measure twice and cut once” is very true of this stage. 

Cut sections that have been planed to size and length

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workshop build – Phase 2

Once cut to length, assembly gets underway.  More complicated sections, such as the roof trusses, were cut to a template to ensure they were all of equal size, making erection of the completed build on site much easier.  The frames is erected in the workshop so that any problems or issues can be ironed out before being transported to site.  This ensures all the joints and sections fit together, door hinges and locks cut, leaving only the internal roof cladding and external oak cladding to be cut on site.

Roof trusses were templated

Trial frame erection

Erection on site

Prior to erection on site the builder cast a new slab for the oak ground beam to stand on.  Once that was dry, erection commenced.  Knowing that everything will fit together makes the on-site work much more straightforward. All of the frame had to be erected on site and is fixed with oak pegs.The trusses were screwed with stainless steel screws, prior to the cladding being added.  The roof was a warm roof construction, with the builder adding a roofing membrane, an insulation layer, ply sheeting, battens and slates over the internal oak clad ceiling.  One side and the rear wall were oak clad externally with a membrane, insulation layer and a decorated plaster board finish internally.  Powder coated aluminium windows to match the house colour were installed over panels with brick facias. Finally tiled flooring was laid on a ply base in between the ground beam. Close working with the builder was essential to ensure a successfully completed summer house. 

Straightforward erection on site

Finished summer house with decking and garden complete

Summer house images

Side view with brick facia

Front view

Internal finsihes

Side detail