For more than 4,000 years, oak framing has enjoyed a long tradition in the United Kingdom, being the favourite home building method. In recent times, it has experienced significant revival and the current self-builders are gradually adapting it.
Oak is a very versatile material that is not only resistant to harsh conditions, but also stands up to the test of time with ease. This very solid material boasts both strength and stability, and apart from withstanding attack from insects and fungus, it has an amazing grain pattern, making it best for practical use and decoration purposes.
Oak frames are ideal for anyone, who would like to construct a house with instant charm. Self-builders are proving that they are capable of creating contemporary and traditional-style properties with the addition of characteristic oak.
The customary craft of oak framing has remained almost precisely the same for centuries, the only major change to the construction being that, nowadays, the frame is craned into place instead of being erected manually.
So What Is The Best Oak For Frame Building?
Green oak, air dried oak, and reclaimed old oak may be used for frame building. However, green oak is more preferable.
When we talk about “green oak”, green is the reference made to the quantity of moisture in the timber and not the colour. Heavy timber framing has its own unique style and rawness and it all has to do with the material. The use of timber in its unseasoned form has developed alongside with its style, rhythm and methods. During the detailing stage, any possible problems the timber’s shrinkage and movement could create are designed out. This creates contemporary buildings which maintain their beauty and stature of their historic precursors while at the same time meeting and surpassing strict current building standards including water-tightness, airtightness and insulation.
It needs to be worked in its green state, because four or five years down the line, it becomes so hard such that you can’t cut or machine it anymore. Most of the expertise in working with green oak involves knowing how the timber will shrink and design the joints in such a way that they get tighter as the timber becomes harder.
Seasoned Air Dried Oak
When the green oak has been cut to a specific size and length, and then left to dry naturally, it then turns into seasoned air dried oak. Naturally dried oak shrinks at its own pace and, unlike the green oak, does not pose any significant future danger of deformation or shrinkage, because it has much lower levels of moisture content. The seasoned air dried oak’s harder texture makes it easy to polish, and appropriate for carving and detailed framing work, as well as for repairs to old oak timbers.
Reclaimed Old Oak
Reclaimed old oak is reusable oak timber rescued from old barns, farms houses and churches. Our timber comes from England and France. The reclaimed old oak has stood the test of time, which demonstrates its durability for many more years to come. It’s character adds authenticity to a timber framing project, whether it would be a full house frame or barn frame.
Choosing the right type of oak for frame building is vital and varies from project to project. We have years of experience in timber framing. Give us a call today to discuss your next timber framing project.