Complex Roofing Course Information (25th March-29th March 2019)

Advanced Roofing

COMPLEX ROOFING COURSE – Monday 25th March – Friday 29th March

Incorporating the geometry of a Rhineland Helmet & a Cruciform Kite-on-Plan roof. The course will combine the geometry & hopefully the manufacture of one or both of these structures.

Tutor: Alan Creasey MSc
Venue: 16 King St Bristol BS1 4EF
(There will be limited overnight, shared accommodation available on site. Apply early if required)

CITB funding available for registered companies. Please email for more information and to book your place.

Learners should bring their own tools, PPE, log/trig tables or scientific calculators (or mobile phones!)

The centre provides timber, drawing instruments and paper/card.



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Friday 1st September – CPD event day. – Free to FRAME 2017 weekend ticket holders!

Registration is from 09:00, for a prompt start at 10:00 when the first lecture starts.  If you can’t stay for the whole weekend, you can buy Day tickets for this event only at the CFshop *You can buy weekend tickets here, too*

IMPORTANT – If you would like a meal on Thursday evening, this will cost £10, payable on the day. However, you MUST book your meal, at least 24 hours in advance, by emailing Tim Potts at to let him know.
The campsite will be open on Thursday 31st August

Ours is the first event to be held in the brand new state-of-the-art 120-seat lecture theatre at St Fagans, which should be a pleasure for presenters and delegates alike.

Timings and Lectures – for more information on the lectures you can have a look here.

Friday 1st September

Time What’s happening
09:00-10:00 Registration
10:00-11:00 Piers Taylor
11:00-11:15 Break
11:15-12:15 Fergus Feilden
12:15-14:00 LUNCH & Museum visit
14:00-15:00 Oakwrights Passive House
15:00-15:15 Break
15:15-16:30 Glazing Green Oak Frames

Saturday 2nd September

Saturday lectures
09:00-09:45 Robert Demaus – The Assessment and Repair of Historic Timber
11:15-12:00 Laurie Smith – Historic Geometrical Building Design in Wales
13:00-13:45 Hooke Park – Advanced Fabrication, Experimental Architecture.
15:00-15:45 Rick Collins – “The Most Famous Barn in America”

Sunday 3rd September

Sunday lectures
09:00-09:45 Grigg Mullen – From Timber Framing to Boat Building, an interesting transition….
11:15-12:00 David Young – The vernacular architect of Ethiopia

Carpenters Fellowship Special Project – Llys Llewellyn: A Royal Welsh Court for St Fagan’s Museum

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Background to the Project

Llys Llewellyn (welsh for Llewellyn’s Court) is intended to be a reconstruction of one of the five royal residences that were in use in Wales in the early part of the 13th Century. Sadly none of these buildings has survived. The Carpenters’ Fellowship UK, working alongside the archeology experts of the Museum have created a design for this timber and stone building based on evidence from contemporary surviving wooden halls.
The construction is to be undertaken by a core team of CF members but other CF participants will be given the opportunity to get involved at the stage immediately prior to the site erection of the building.
All participants in the course will have the opportunity to contribute to the fabric of this unique building which will be a spectacular living history resource for many generations to come.

Focus on: Ant Sawyer – Self Employed Carpenter


13575992_629634773870837_346143702949275731_oThis month we chatted to Ant Sawyer who is a former apprentice of OFTF about what he does now and what he hopes for the future – enjoy!

What does your role involve?

As well as subcontracting in the workshops and onsite for Carpenter Oak, Emmanuel Hendry and Oakleigh Design Build in Devon; I also design (site survey, draw on SketchUp) and build oak frames directly for clients. I also have a small peg making operation!

What do you like about your job?

I like the variation between office (drawing) workshop (when it’s raining) and site work (when it’s sunny!)

What’s your working day like?

8am-5pm Monday to Saturday – although being self-employed evenings and Sundays are often taken up with quoting for the next job or accounting etc. When on site, I am away from home during the week – which is probably one week every couple of months on average.

What skills do you need in your job?

To be a useful subcontractor you have to have qualifications and tickets that allow you to be on site. CSCS Health and Safety as a minimum, but tower scaffold, telehandler, MEWP and Slinger/Signaller are all useful/essential to remain employable!

Tools and experience build as you progress – so I’d say a positive, honest attitude and an ability to communicate are things you should bring to the table as an oak framer!

What was your background before starting this role?

During my 20’s I was an athlete with the British Athletics squad (Decathlon – Commonwealth Games 2002) and then the British Skeleton Team (World Ranking of 6th in 2007/8) I didn’t make the cut for the 2010 Winter Olympics so it was time for a career change!

I started carpentry with a course at The Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis, then an oak framing course at Woodenways, 2 years at Oakwrights, then completed my apprenticeship with several projects and tutors at The Oak Frame Training Forum in Bristol – which for me was a great experience, combining exposure to different techniques with great networking opportunities (i.e. beers round the fire!)

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m glad I have a desire to learn, and a belief that you can make a happy career oak framing!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I’ll be 47!! Still in South Devon – in a home I’ve built – kids, veg patch, little boat – 3 day week working week!!!

A bit of advice for anyone thinking about a career in construction?

Be an intelligent craftsman – aspire to be at least!!


Focus on: Nigel Howe – Training Manager The Oak Frame Training Forum

In our regular series of interviews with members of The Carpenters Fellowship – we talk today to Nigel Howe. Nigel responsible for training the timber framers of the future. Phew. Not too much pressure then……

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How did you start your career in Timber Framing?

My father was part of a self-build project in the 1950s that built 50 homes, all 3 bed semi-detached with garages & long gardens. So I grew up among tradesmen who built their own homes, conservatories, sheds, greenhouses. Over the years I learnt how to dig foundations, lay bricks, measure, level, triangulate & work with timber. My school was a Secondary Technical School (boys) specialising in the Building Trades in Reading Berkshire. As part of the curriculum, we built extra workshops on the site & built an outdoor pursuits centre in the Wye Valley where we spent weeks at a time. There I developed my skills in Technical Drawing TD, & Woodwork. In particular. Part of the idea of the school was to train the architects & craftsmen, & the building inspectors for the area. The school was a tough mixture of Hells Angels, skin‘eds, swots & hippies with a mutual respect for our building skills & sporting prowess. There were 14 of us in the Berkshire U15 Rugby squad of 30.

I moved to Bristol, married Jackie & trained in to be a teacher. Wherever we have lived we have built, extended, repaired & maintained properties. We have taken on derelict & almost uninhabitable properties & raised our children amongst sawdust, lime mortars, linseed oil & the smell of log burners.

20 years ago I left mainstream teaching & helped set up the Forest of Avon Wood Products Cooperative along with Jim O’ & Rupert. I worked on the Leigh Woods Barn Project & a 3 bay open barn at Chelvey Court & decided to buy a Wood-Mizer mobile sawmill. I took on the lease for the redundant farm buildings at Chelvey & set up the Chelvey Designer Makers Cooperative of woodworkers. I worked with Henry Russell & Gudren Leitz, & met Charley Brentnall, on the Westonbirt Arboretum Great Oak Hall project. Every timber went across the Wood-Mizer & we did 12-hour shifts to keep ahead of the framers. This build was instrumental in the origins of the CF & we photograph our new SAP intake with John Russell’s model of the Great Oak Hall.

What is the biggest challenge within the Timber Framing world?

Timber framing is heavy demanding work & requires the rare ability of engaging brain, eyes & hands to work with a variety of tools in all weathers & ground conditions. We are all mad; some quietly behind the drawing board & others barking in the framing yard.

What is the most inspiring project you have worked on?

I have been fortunate to have worked on several inspiring projects which in their own ways have played a part in shaping me (mainly my hands, knees & back). The Chelvey Court barn shelter, Penny Brohn Cancer Care centre garden shelter, the OFTF buildings reflecting the training of the CF members. The one project that must rank as the greatest challenge in so many ways & therefore the most inspiring & depressing must be Timber House.

The transformation of a Grade II* Listed building that had been derelict for many years. 16 King St Bristol. A jetted 4 storey Jacobean merchant’s house built circa1663 in the period of the Restoration of the monarchy after the Civil War. So from Restoration 1660 to restoration 2014-17.

The building shows all the signs of wear & tear & changes over the centuries. When we took it on the previous leaseholders had done major repairs to the roof & cellar but ran out of steam. When we took it over there were a few original ceilings & floor joists but no floors. The work has been a combination of repairs & restoration alongside upgrading to comply with up-to-date standards of thermal & acoustic insulation & other building regs for fire & structural engineering requirements.

People who have worked on Timber House include: Jo, Sarah & Rob; Henry, Pete, Alan, Jeff, Marius, Finn, Sam, Mark, Will B, Ant, Will R, Tom C, Ollie, Tim H, Reza, Brendan, Tommy, Will, Finley, Graham & other helpers & support from Sheila, Amy, Freya & Heidi.

This has been a monumental task & has emphasised that balance & compromise that face us all when dealing with our heritage “What to leave in & what to remove?” Wherever possible we” leave in” to be rediscovered By future craftsmen & investigators. If we remove we are making a value judgement on what is worthy.

Now that the building regs have been signed off & it is being used Timber House has been given another chance to stand proudly in the historic heart of Bristol.


Where/what is your dream home and why

One in which I can sit down with a glass & a book!

One where the grandchildren can play among some of the Oak sawdust that I have brought in from the workshop. A home where Jackie is happy surrounded by her artwork.  Probably with a view of the sea on the North coast of Cornwall so that the sea is blue.  I haven’t seen it. I don’t know if it exists or whether I have yet to build it.

Thanks so much Nigel!

Focus on: The Carpenters Fellowship – Interview with Tim Walton

How did you start your career in Timber Framing?

My first taste of vernacular building came when I was at primary school. We had a trip to the nearby Weald & Downland Museum, where they had recently finished the frame of the now iconic Bayleaf Farmhouse, and were working on the wattle & daub infill panels. We got to work on the daub, which was, of course, delightful and exciting for us 8-year olds!

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But it was a few years later, just after Christmas in 1980, when as a former pupil and neighbour of Bedales School in Hampshire, I was contacted by my old woodwork teacher to ask if I would help out with a project they were working on at the school.

The school had developed an ‘Outdoor Work’ department – a small-holding – to give the pupils opportunities to work with plants and animals. The had been given a Victorian timber framed barn, which had been dismantled and was awaiting re-erecting on the school grounds. I was called in to help with the foundations. It was freezing and wet, but great fun, barrowing loads of concrete into collapsing trenches! It so happened that the carpenter in charge of the project was one Charley Brentnall. We got on, and I loved the work, so asked Charley if I could help him in the school holidays. So I got to work on some of Charley’s earliest barn projects. When I finished my A-levels, I went to work with Charley full-time in my gap year.


At the end of my gap year, I went to York to study Psychology. This led me away from timber-framing for a few years, but by a very circuitous route, I came back to Charley in 1989, and was introduced to Carpenter Oak (which I thought was a nickname for Charley, as he hadn’t told me about the business!).

Charley was looking to develop the ‘Woodland’ part of Carpenter Oak & Woodland, and I enjoyed making shingles & pegs, so took on the development of ‘Woodland Products’. I enjoyed running this for 15 years, until in 2004, I left to start my own little company, Greenwood Direct.

One of our first framing jobs turned out to be a roof frame for a burned-out cottage in the New Forest, which was featured on Grand Designs! I got to meet Kevin McCloud a few times during the filming, and invited him to speak at Frame, to which he agreed!


What is the biggest challenge within the Timber Framing world?

The ageing workforce – framing is a hard physical job, and most people I know have been doing it a long time. The OFTF is doing a great job to help develop new framers through its Special Apprentice Programme, but our culture needs to rebuild respect in craft skills.

The availability of good quality oak. It seems we are all relying on oak from the continent, as UK forestry doesn’t seem to be producing enough suitable quality timber. This makes us vulnerable in terms of supply and costs.

The economy – the crash of 2008 caused long-term damage to the building industry, and Brexit could do the same.

What is the most inspiring project you have worked on?

I’ve often wondered if my love of timber buildings came from the experience of working on the Bayleaf as an 8-year old. I’ve certainly always found the Weald and Downland Museum an inspiring, almost spiritual place to visit.

But I’d have to say that the Gardener’s Shelter at Cressing Temple answers this. Partly because of Laurie Smith’s beguilingly beautiful daisy-wheel design, with its geometrical echoes of the magnificent 12th century Barley Barn, just a few yards away, but mostly because of the experience of its creation. Hewing oak beams from the round, converting them all by hand and scribing the frame, all with no tape measures or power tools, with a group of superbly enthusiastic and fun people was not just a great pleasure, but a genuine inspiration.


Where/what is your dream home and why (feel free to send us some pics!)

I consider myself extremely fortunate to live in a house I love, in a beautiful part of the world, but in a fantasy world, I would love to live in mediaeval splendour in the aforementioned Bayleaf, preferably with modern hygiene and medicines!


*New Course* Dietrich’s Introduction to 2D CAD – Feb 9th and 10th 2017


The Oak Frame Training Forum are offering to CF members Dietrich’s Introduction to 2D CAD – Feb 9&10, 2017

ONLY £50 per person for 2-day course – venue – King St, Bristol

Each participant will receive a copy of out D CAD 2D-L version and a Pdf tutorial with the contents of the 2 days. Each participant will also need his or her own laptop. Below is summary of the content of the course.

During this 2-day taster course, a simple frame shed will be drawn.

Points to be explained are:

  • How to get started • Settings •   Tool bars •   Page layout •   Dimension/text settings •   View ports •   Layers •   Title blocks •   Library’s • Templates •   Measuring •   Drawing •   Mirroring/copying •   Drawing functions •   Hatching •   Dimensioning •   Printing

To book please email

Focus on: The Carpenters Fellowship – Rupert Newman

This month we are chatting to Rupert Newman who is on the board of Directors at The Carpenters Fellowship.  The Carpenters Fellowship is a not for profit organisation. Set up in 1998 The Carpenters’ Fellowship was formed with the aim of: promoting communication, training and sharing of knowledge amongst those interested in historic and contemporary timber framed structures.

Rupert runs Westwind Oak in North Somerset and is also the author of ‘Oak-Framed Buildings’ which is a practical book on the technique of timber-frame construction for carpenters, builders and aspiring self-builders, but also a source of inspiration to anyone who appreciates beautiful buildings. You can get a copy of the revised edition from Westwind Oak.

How did you start your career in Timber Framing?

I started working for a village carpenter at the weekends when I was 12. When I was older I got into building roofs, then repairing old roofs. This led on to working with green oak and building new roofs. That was 28 years ago!


What is the biggest challenge within the Timber Framing world?

Mainly people! Shrinkage too!

What is the most inspiring project you have worked on?

Building a bridge with a 60-foot clear span across a river and the first house I built in the Alps on the side of Lake Annacy.

Where/what is your dream home and why?

My dream home would be in Cornwall by the water. Like the one I built at Mylor Creek.



One word: WOW