Carpenter Oak - The Professional Timber Framing Company
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Impressive Oak Pool House in St Petersburg

International timber frame build completed in six different languages

The logistics of this timber frame build are pretty impressive: 43 tonnes of green oak timbers transported 2000 miles by road from Devon to St Petersburg. Carpenters from three different countrys speaking six different languages (including sign language) working together in temperatures which dropped to zero degrees. The construction of the frame took eight carpenters, seven weeks in the workshop (1500 hours) and included the largest sling brace ever designed in green oak to span the 12 metre wide frame.

There was no room for manoeuvre, the massive steel reinforced oak frame had to fit within the four posts already in place – which it did.

Paul Slemmings, Frame Designer

Carpenter Oak worked closely with the clients architect (based in Russia) and a translator (based in Exeter) to ensure we are all singing off the same hymn sheet, or ‘пением гимна же листе’ in Russian. The different language, cultures and legislation led to some interesting ways of working.

Meet The Team

Lead Carpenter:
Architect:
Frame Design:

carpenter-oak-quality-timber-frame

Lead Carpenter Jean

Definitely one of the most interesting builds I have ever been involved in, the builders out there had a very different approach to health and safety!

2050 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

When the team arrived all 43 tonnes of timber had arrived safely but was all piled up in a building adjacent to the build site. Each timber, weighing a minimum of 250kg, had to be found and retrieved in sequence (and aren’t they always at the bottom of the pile) before being carried to the build site and navigated around the already excavated swimming pool.

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Your questions answered...

  • What is Carpenter Oak Ltd?

    pegs-in-oak-showbarn

    Devon (UK) based award winning specialists in the design, construction and raising of oak timber framed buildings. We have a dedicated team of Project Managers, Frame designers and Carpenters who work closely with clients and architects to deliver a wide variety of bespoke oak frame projects across the UK, Europe and beyond.

    We celebrate the beauty and joy of timber frames in many different styles and raise over 60 frames a year for inclusion within schemes ranging from oak sunroom extensions to extensive high-end architectural oak houses.

    We love wood, we love design and we love a challenge.

  • Why should I choose Carpenter Oak Ltd?

    Here at Carpenter Oak we live and breathe timber framed buildings, large and small, and we love a challenge. We create truly unique frames that respond to your brief giving you a bespoke 'made to measure' and personalised solution to your brief and budget. Carpenter Oak is the most established and experienced timber framer with a yard in Cornwall, Devon and Scotland - we are well placed to supply design and timber framing services across the UK and beyond.   Carpenter Oak holds dear several important factors:-  

    Our People

      • Our team of 25 long serving and highly trained timber frame carpenters who build and raise the frames are widely regarded as being the best in the business.
      • The carpenters who cut the frame will take it to site - project ownership throughout. This maintains high standards where it matters most while giving variety to the working week.
      • We have 4 full time frame designers. 3 office based, 1 Cornwall based. This gives us the time to get involved in each project and help spot and solve potential problems early on while working with your architect.

    Our Craft and Materials

    • We do not use large 'soulless' CNC machines, but favour a hand crafted approach which enables us to work in a variety of styles and with the most challenging designs – we work in Oak, Douglas Fir, Larch, Chestnut Glu-Lam, in contemporary, quirky and cutting-edge styles as well as in more established traditional designs.
    • We have spent 20+years developing a relationship with our preferred sawmill. They know our exacting standards for all our timber. Other sawmills cannot match this service.
    • We really care about where our materials come from and invest in their sustainable management through our saplings programme in the UK.
    • We do not compromise on timber quality, why should we? This can mean that we are a little more expensive than some BUT not every time!
    • Air dried brace stock. Bought in at least 12 months before we need it to minimise the shrinkage of timber on critical (aesthetic and structural) elements.

    Our service

    • We are able to make it easy for you by being approachable, knowledgeable and professional. Whether it is a oak frame and glazing service, complete build or an oak and SIPS wrap service you need we can help get you there easily.
    • We are large enough to have capacity yet small enough to be versatile and flexible which is important when your timescale is quite tight!
    • We have a experienced team of designers, carpenters and office staff. Everybody in senior roles has been a carpenter with vast experience of timber framing on the workshop floor. It would seem obvious for a carpentry firm but this is rare.
    • We thrive on the differences between each and every one of our projects, overcoming the challenges of the build (access, design and budget constraints) while developing a strong rapport with our customers.
    • We carry out approximately 60 projects a year ensuring a personal service - whatever the size of the build.
    • Most of all without exception throughout the team of people that work here, we love what we do!
     

    Call us to talk through your ideas or project:- 01803 732900

    What our customers say about us:-
  • Where do you work?

    We take on oak frame house or extension projects in all corners of the UK, Ireland & the Channel islands as well as Europe and beyond (in the last 5 years we have sent frames and raising teams to France, Germany, Cyprus, Holland & Russia.) See our case studies pages for examples of our work and check out the international projects page too! We would love to hear from you wherever you are. See where we have worked near you - click here
  • 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.

  • 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.