With the groundworks well under way and the frame due for erection during the second week of September, it’s a good moment to look back at the oak frame design process and to see how it fitted in with the planning drawings.

Peter, our client, had indicated from the outset that he wanted to build the house with a SIPS envelope around a structural oak frame, and consequently the house design and layout was created by John Williams with this very much in mind. It’s much better to start with the oak frame to the fore of design, rather than trying to shoehorn the oak frame into an existing scheme.

With the planning drawings approved, it was now our job to come up with a detailed frame design that both worked as a structure and appealed to Peter. The first thing we did was to talk to him about the kind of thing he wanted to see — “do your thing and make it interesting!” was the gist of it.

The main body of the house is a storey and a half with fully vaulted ceilings which give plenty of scope for showing off lots of lovely oak carpentry especially upstairs — interrupted tie beam trusses, wedged dovetails, curvy wind bracing in the roof. In the main bedroom we have introduced some huge curved sling braces that flow into a curved collar. Downstairs in the single storey wing there is another feature crossframe with jowled posts and sweeping curved collar and ‘slings’.

One consideration with such a relatively small cottage was to restrain some of the framing so as not to appear too heavy, and so Peter decided not to expose oak floor joists or common rafters. We gave Peter several options of truss configuration for the feature trusses and he had the final say, but before the drawings could be signed off we sent them to a structural engineer for a report and to prepare the calculations required for Building Regulations approval. These calculations ensure that the frame that we have designed will do it’s job and that the oak members are adequately sized.

Take a look at the approved oak frame drawings below.


frame-B-oak-frame frame-c-oak-frame frame-d-oak-frame frame-e-oak-frame frame-f-oak-frame


Next week: Blockwork


About the author:

Rob Dawson built a stunning oak frame home in 2009 for less than £100,000. He is now the owner and founder of Castle Ring Oak Frame.

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