Carpenter Oak - The Professional Timber Framing Company
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A Bothy in the Scottish Highlands

An amazing small space

Everyone has dreamt of spending time in or owning their own private cabin or retreat in a location away from all the distractions of life. Traditionally a small hut, or cottage, for housing farm labourers, or for use as a mountain refuge, this bothy was built as a walkers’ retreat. Constructed with a 6m x 6m Douglas fir frame it contains a small gallery, a shower room, and an open plan living area with a log burner.

Six carpenters had the once in a life time experience of spending 5 and a half weeks on the island of Oronsay off the western highlands of Scotland building a Bothy.  The project was no small task as all building materials and tools had to be shipped across to the island on a landing craft which could only gain access with tides……. lots of fun!

The Bothy was a classic example of Carpenter Oak taking on a challenging project for the fun of it – we love a challenge!

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Meet The Team

Lead Carpenter:
Architect:
Frame Design:
carpenter-oak-quality-timber-frame

Carpenter Tom Kempton

"A minimal, no frills build, with all fancy technology stripped out - the ultimate getaway from the distractions of life."

Back to Basics

The project really emphasised the appeal and beauty of small living spaces in the right location and how, underneath it all we like simple ways of living. Yes, it is a hand made timber frame cabin, but this was a frame that was a minimal, no frills build, with all fancy technology stripped out. Just a timber frame which was simple, designed purely to provide accommodation and shelter - just as a traditional bothy would have been. With a hipped roof and mezzanine loft space as well as a glazed front, this one bed cabin really has a small yet spacious open plan feel.

The walls of the retreat are clad with weatherboarding and the roof is finished with western red cedar shingles.

Get in touch to discuss your plans or continue discovering inspiration and ideas.

265 Oak Saplings

Planted For This Project

Oak Saplings planted - Carpenter Oak We arrange for 10 oak saplings to be planted for every tree used to build your frame. Read More

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Your questions answered...

  • How much does a Carpenter Oak frame cost?

    Budget considerations are of course one of the primary factors for anyone undertaking an oak frame self build project whether it's a new build oak frame or a timber frame extension. 'How much will it cost?' is therefore a question which will be asked over and over and will almost certainly form a central thread of your project.

    The cost of building a New Build Oak Frame House or Timber Framed Extension

    Overall build costs for a complete new build oak house typically vary from £1,500 to £2,000+ per square metre (referring to the useable area of the lower and upper floors added together) i.e. for a two storey property times the area by 2. We would suggest that you budget from £1,200- £1,800 per sqm (or £120-£180 per sqft).

    For extensions we would suggest budgeting from £2,000 per square metre - don't forget to add VAT (for UK customers). It is worth noting that guide price is for a complete build based on a contractor doing the work with the timber frame is usually a 20-30% proportion.

    If you intend to self build then expect to budget toward the lower end of the scale (although of course it may take longer!). There are several caveats with this guide price including the following key considerations:-

    • Oak Framed Boathouse, Lake Windermere

      Oak Framed Boathouse

      Access:- Difficult access effects the whole build not just the timber frame aspect, but don't panic if your site is tricky as there is usually a solution for the most extreme cases. We love a challenge at Carpenter Oak Ltd.
    • Size - smaller doesn't necessarily mean cheaper!
    • Ground conditions
    • Specification ie Kitchens alone can vary from £1,000 to £100,000.
    • Design and shape. A house designed with a timber frame in mind from the outset will be more efficient to build. Consider this at the planning stage.
    • Complexity of the building and its shape. A 'H' shaped will be more expensive to build than a rectangle.
    • Good information and knowledge from the architect, builder, timber framer and the rest of the team you employ.

    At every stage your decisions will affect the overall costs, from the complexity of the design to the level of finish. Engaging an architect will almost certainly save you money in the long run. Getting advice from us on the timber frame concept prior to going in for planning will minimise the risk of sending your architect 'back to the drawing board'.

    • A timber frame can be a simple primary structure or a partial one in a certain area of your house. It can incorporate fully raftered vaulted roof spaces, mezzanine floors, balconies and fully joisted areas, all of which will affect the price of the frame. Areas such as the roof structure can be done in revealed oak frame or can be entirely hidden and done by your builder in softwood. This will affect your overall cost to some extent but will vary the value of our work significantly.
    • The timber frame is just one element of your overall build cost and can typically range from 15% - 30% of the overall figure.
    • All of our frames are unique and so there are no standard price or designs. We do show a variety of designs in our pack however with corresponding frame prices and overall build prices which will help you to get a good sense of the cost. The cost of a frame often ranges from £300 - £500 per square metre.
    • As soon as you have architects drawings, we can offer you an estimate for the manufacture and raising of the frame. We generally offer clients a fixed price.
  • When should I approach you?

    The Carpenter Oak Show Barn in DevonWe are happy to discuss your ideas with you at an early stage and can offer you advice along the way. It is helpful for you to build a scrapbook (you could use Pinterest) of your ideas and wishes – this makes your brief to us and your architect much clearer. Once you have a plot in mind we would encourage you to come and see us in the show barn at our yard to discuss your ideas in more depth and help you establish a concept design and rough costs.

    You can meet with one of our frame designers and an architect if required (Roderick James Architects offer a free initial consultation). We can offer you an estimate for your budget costings at that stage based on a timber frame sketch scheme. You will then be in a position to draw up a planning application, knowing that you will be able to achieve what you want with the frame. We can offer you an accurate estimate based on a timber frame sketch scheme once you have architects drawings. Once your planning application has been approved we can get going on a detailed frame design for you.

  • When can I talk to you about my ideas?

    We encourage you to talk to us at an early stage. We welcome hearing about your ideas and plans and can offer you advice along the way. Obviously we hope to be able to build you an oak frame when your new build or extension comes to fruition and if you include us in discussions about design and site particulars at an early stage it will enable your architect to understand the requirements of the timber frame and incorporate them into the overall design early on. This is likely to save you money, time and hassle in the long run.
  • How affordable is a Carpenter Oak timber frame?

    We are proud of our product, service and materials, and provide great value for money.

    kitchen-interior-oak-framed-extension-inglisIt would be understandable to assume that being a sizeable company we are therefore more expensive but this would be a mistake - we put a great deal of effort into ensuring we are competitive without compromise! We build and raise in excess of 60 frames a year. We are experts in timber framing and can offer you the assurance of a fully insured highly skilled team, with the economies offered by our size.
    Crucially by choosing Carpenter Oak Ltd, you are choosing a whole team – a client manager to facilitate the initial stages of your enquiry and and ensure your requirements are fully understood, the Frame Designer who works intensively with you and your architect to interpret your brief and develop a detailed design which fits into your overall building, the Project Management team who oversee the making and raising of your frame and a team of skilled Timber Framers who undertake the workshop carpentry and raising. Each step is crucial and we have a vey committed, skilled and experienced team. Meet the team here. 
     As in most walks of life,  if it looks too good to be true then it probably is.
    You get what you pay for and if price is the only factor which drives you then you will always find someone who is willing to cut corners and do things cheaper. We are confident in our competitiveness and can say with some experience that there will be a reason for a substantially lower price even if it is not obvious to you. This can mean that things have been left out of the price (a common tactic) or it can mean that the service you would receive in terms of project management and design support and guidance is not as complete which can simply increase your costs elsewhere. It can mean a lesser grade of materials, less time spent on the craftsmanship or cheaper less skilled labour.
    We are different and instead pursue excellence – we look to be the best at what we do whilst maintaining affordability, accurate and realistic pricing – we seek the trust and loyalty of our clients as this is the basis of positive working relationships which last beyond the raising of the frame.
    We highly value our reputation and this can only be built on getting things right with you, our client.
    We could save thousands of £'s by compromising on the quality of our materials but we never would. See our materials page.

  • Are Carpenter Oak’s frames made by hand?

    tools-and-tea2 We only use handheld tools and power tools (such as chain morticers, circular saws and drill) to cut and shape the timber. We are adaptable – we design and build bespoke frames (not repeat designs), often incorporate large beautiful curves within them and utilise a huge variety of structural framing techniques. Skilled carpenters adept in all the techniques and who can use their judgement in the selection of every timber and the cutting of every joint are therefore critical. The same carpentry team carries their understanding of the frame right through to seeing it raised on site. We do not use large automated 'Hundegger' CNC machines to cut whole frames. We don’t believe in this way of doing things for a number of reasons: Hundeggers reduce your options – they only handle planed timber and give the finished frames a homogenised look (check the curved braces), they can't cope with large curved timbers such as slings and curved ties and, since the programming of the machines is so time consuming in relation to the cutting time, they are ideally suited to repeat designs.
  • Where does your oak come from?

    All of our Oak is from sustainably managed woodlands located around a single sawmill in Normandy, France (PEFC certifified). When this mill is unable to fulfil our order we divert to an alternative mill in Germany. The mills have access to a plentiful supply of exceptionally well managed and very high quality timber.

    Why not use UK sourced oak, I hear you ask?  Sadly, the lack of investment and good timber management for hardwoods in this country over many years means our domestic supplies are generally of a lower quality, inconsistent supply and can be more expensive. Although the situation will gradually change, it means that currently continental Oak is the best option for our framing. Carpenter Oak Ltd are investing in the future of UK woodlands.

    For every tree used in a project we will donate 10 Oak saplings to an organised planting scheme in the UK

    Douglas Fir and Larch all comes from sustainably managed UK forests.

    Read more about our Materials

  • Do you offer a ‘Turnkey’ (complete build) solution ?

    Cabin with Lake View constructed from Douglas Fir Timber with Western Red Shingles by Carpenter Oak Ltd Devon

    Image courtesy of Michael Harris

    Yes.  If you are looking for a complete build or ‘Turnkey’ service, we can offer a solution to include each stage of the process, from the feasibility assessment, design, management and construction, right through to completion. We pride ourselves on being adaptable as every client is different.  We can offer a number of routes for you and your project, depending on how involved you want to get. We aim to understand your particular situation and respond to deliver what you need. For many people that means us working as a contractor alongside your architect and builder, for others, involvement at each stage or a self build project. Get in touch to find out which route would suit your project best and we can deliver a range of options from a finished frame to a finished house, ready for you to move into.

    Find out more about Carpenter Oak's Complete Build solution
    Click here to visit our 'What We Do' page.