Sutton Timber were approached to provide oak for the construction of a boathouse on the banks of the River Waveney in Suffolk. It needed to be aesthetically pleasing and sit happily within this area of natural beauty. A sizeable amount of oak was required for beams, posts and plates and we were advised to use structural grade green oak for the project.
We recommend structural green oak for all oak framed building enquires. It’s strong, durable and easier to work than air dried. (Air dried oak takes 3 -5 years to dry and with increased storages costs this is reflected in the price.) With it’s renowned resistance to decay, green oak is an excellent choice for such a building as a boathouse. All our green oak has been felled within the last eighteen months.
With a relatively high moisture content, green oak is easier for cutting and shaping joints precisely. Shrinking in width, this is taken into account by the craftsman when detailing the connecting mortice and tenon joints. Pegs fixing the joints are tapered with the holes between the timber. These are offset so that as the timber dries the joints are drawn more tightly into alignment.
Due to access problems with overhanging trees to the lane leading up to the property, the timber was delivered to the site from Sotterley Sawmills in batches. A local builder and carpenter assembled the frame on site with all joints being crafted by hand. A curved brace king truss was chosen for the design of the roof. Consisting of a pair of principal rafters joined at the apex, with a bridal joint, and tenoned into a tie beam at the bottom. Curved posts, are added to stiffen the truss and stop the principal rafters from flexing. Once completed a teleporter was hired to lift the large Queen frames in situ.
Splits and cracks are a natural occurrence in green oak and have little effect on the structural integrity of the frame. Splits open up along the grain as the fibres dry and are a natural feature of oak. They do not manifest across the grain and therefore the beam is not weakened. The ageing process increases the strength of the oak frame and at the same time adding that much-loved character.
The whole process has taken more that a year to complete. The resulting oak framed building has transformed the setting of the whole property. Housing the owners boat in style and protecting it from the elements. It will stand the test of time for many years to come.
Ben Sutton commented: ‘It is great to see our structural grade green oak used for such a fabulous local project. The building will gradually mature to a silvery grey, blending in with it’s natural environment along the banks of the beautiful River Waveney.’