About

oak structures

What We Do

We specialise in the design, manufacture and installation of traditional green oak frames and timber structures. We work on commercial and domestic projects throughout the UK for a wide range of clients, including individuals, private estates, charities and educational organisations.

Our passion lies in keeping traditional building skills alive and relevant in today’s ever-changing building industry. We combine traditional techniques and sustainable materials with modern efficient building practices to create structures that will last for generations.

Our projects range from oak-framed buildings to bridges, sheds and cabins. We’re proud to have worked on high profile projects, such as the Back to Nature Garden at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, co-designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. But we also love working closer to home, in Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire, on house extensions, porches and garden structures. All our structures are created in the workshop in Cumbria, then delivered and fitted on site.

Our work includes:

Traditional Oak Framing

Traditional oak framing uses recently felled green oak which has a very high moisture content, this makes cutting the joints easier as it is softer. As the frame ages and dries out, the structure gets harder, stronger, and the joints become tighter as the timber shrinks. Joints such as mortice and tenon, lapped and dovetail joints are secured with handmade oak pegs, to form solid structural frames. These frames are sustainable, long-lasting, repairable and have a natural beauty and warmth.

More recently, timber has been used in conjunction with steel to create structures that can span greater distances and create uninterrupted open spaces – something that would not be possible using traditional timber framing techniques alone.

To understand more about traditional timber frames, have a look at our blog posts on the process of green oak framing and how traditional oak framing works in a modern world.

We are passionate about building sustainably, and where our materials come from. We source only British timber, and work closely with leading British sawmill company Whitney Sawmills.

Who We Are

We are a family-run business based in Cumbria. Husband and wife team, Mary and Jonny, run the business from their home and workshop nestled in the Howgill Fells, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

 

Photo of Jonny

Jonny Briggs

Jonny founded the business in 2010 having completed his NVQ Level 3 in site carpentry and joinery. In 2011 Jonny was accepted into the prestigious Prince’s Foundation Building Craft Apprenticeship: a 9-month programme that allows apprentices the opportunity to learn heritage skills such as timber framing. He won the Hancock Award for achievement and was commissioned to create pieces of furniture for the Prince’s Houses at the Ideal Home Show in 2012. Jonny designed and built several statement pieces at Dumfries House in Ayrshire (famously saved by Prince Charles in 2007) which provided the foundations of his portfolio.

Jonny went on to become the timber framing tutor at the Prince’s Foundation programme from 2012 to 2017 and enjoys passing his passion for timber framing on to the next generation.

Photo of Mary

Mary Briggs

Mary’s background is in Architecture, specifically the conservation of historic buildings. Mary discovered her passion for traditional building on the Prince’s Foundation in 2013. She has a thorough understanding of traditional vernacular architecture and conservation practice, as well as experience of working with the planning authorities in both the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. Before joining the business full-time in 2020, she worked for Hoare Ridge & Morris Architects in Suffolk (2014-2017) and Crosby Granger Architects in Kendal (2017-2020).

With their combined skills in designing and making, Jonny and Mary take pride in creating high quality, bespoke timber structures.

Col

Col shares his owners’ passion for timber, preferably in stick form. He spends his days moving timber off-cuts from one side of the yard to another, ever hopeful that someone will throw one for him.