Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why choose an oak frame over a conventional build?
    Why choose an iPhone over a $50 phone that essentially does the same job?!  An oak frame in a new home will add character, warmth and beauty in a way no other product can.  A bespoke, hand-crafted oak frame will provide the canvas for a new home to take shape and we take great pride in creating pieces of joinery that our clients will gaze at and take great joy from for decades to come. If you do have to move on, the frame will add far more value to the selling price than it did to the cost. The frame can be designed to be structural, therefore reducing the need for internal walls which is perfect for the modern desire for open-plan living.  The shape of the frame also allows for dramatic vaulted ceilings which add light and space to rooms.  All timbers are from renewable sources and are of course highly sustainable so there are environmental benefits from building with wood too. We believe that you should spend as much as you can of your budget on things that can’t easily be upgraded later such as the structure and insulation. A flashier kitchen or bathroom can be added at any time.
  • How much does an Oak-Apple Frames frame cost?
    Each frame that we build is individually designed to meet the customer’s requirements, and no frame is the same. However, over the years we have built many frames and should be able to give you a good indication of price for your chosen design. When we price for a job, we fully expect to be able to meet that price expectation. Of course, as changes are made through the design process, the quote will change accordingly.
  • If we order a building, what is the process and lead time?
    Once we have agreed a design and price, a position in the work schedule is reserved for you on payment of a deposit. We can then order and saw the Oak so that it is ready in the yard for when we start building your frame. We only start actually building when we have come to measure the footings/ walls to ensure a good fit. As we are a small company the actual lead time is dependent on our work load at the time.
  • Can you recommend an Architect?
    Yes. We have a number of friendly architects and designer draughtsmen who we have worked with in the past and who understand the process of building with exposed structural oak frames. We do however often enjoy working with new designers who maybe local to the build or brought to us by the customer.
  • Can you recommend a Builder?
    We have completed many projects around the country , so there is a chance that we have supplied a frame to your area. We can often recommend a builder who has worked with us before.
  • How far will you travel to put up a frame?
    We do a vast majority of our work in the Devon/Somerset area or the wider South-West, but we have put up buildings in the Home Counties, and even further afield. It is best to contact us, and we’ll see what we can do!
  • How long does it take to put up a frame?
    It does depend on the size of the project of course, but as most of the frame gets test-fitted in the workshop, it can be a very quick process on site. Small frames such as garden rooms or garages can often be completed in a day, larger, more complex frames may take 2-3 days. The raising cost will be included in your quote.  The raising is generally a time of celebration, not only for the client but our team also.
  • Do you offer a full build service?
    No, I’m afraid not. Our expertise lies in the design and construction of the oak frames. However, we have worked with a number of contractors within the region who we’d recommend.
  • Can we glaze an oak frame?
    There are essentially 3 ways to glaze an Oak frame: Cover board, double beading, and rebate. GlazingThey all have their pros and cons though we usually recommend the rebated method. This is more expensive at the frame-building stage, not least because you have to use air-dried timber, but much cheaper at the glazing stage, and we think it looks better because you can see the frame from the inside and the outside.
  • How strong is it?
    Most local authorities require a structural engineer’s report on the design which needs to be included in the design phase – before we can order in the Oak.
  • How long will an Oak frame last?
    There are many Oak-framed buildings which are centuries old. We build our Oak frames in the same way that they have always been done , using draw-pegged mortice and tenon joints– although power tools and especially cranes make our life a lot easier!
  • How much will it move/shrink?
    As a hygroscopic material Oak will constantly adjust to match the ambient humidity. Green Oak is half water (by weight) so as it dries it will naturally shrink and/or distort. This is normal and expected. Air-dried Oak has had some of the moisture removed already so will shrink less. This is why we use air-dried Oak for our glazed sections.
  • How is the oak cleaned?
    After it is cut, the green oak will get marked and stained throughout the process. We strongly recommend that the frame is sand-blasted once it has been raised. Ideally this would take place just after the roof is closed in. This removes the surface layer and especially the softer wood between the lines of grain, leaving an organic, textured finish
  • Is the oak treated in any way?
    We recommend that as soon as possible after sandblasting, a thin coat of Danish Oil is applied (2parts Rustin’s Oil-Based Danish Oil with 1 part White Spirit brushed on). This gives the newly exposed surface protection against marking.
  • What maintenance is required?
    When the frame has been oiled after the sand-blasting it will need no further maintenance apart from the occasional dusting!
  • Are the frames made by hand?
    Yes, everything we make is hand-crafted by skilled professionals in our workshop on the Blackdown Hills.  We use a variety of tools, from our on-site sawmill down to the most simple hand-chisel. We take great pride in producing each and every individual timber that goes into our designs which is why the raising is such an eagerly-awaited and rewarding aspect of our job – when the dream becomes a reality for our client and we see that all the hard work was worth it!
  • Do you make garages and sheds?
    Basically, if it’s made of wood, we can make it for you.  We’ve made a variety of smaller structures over the years; gazebos, boat houses and sleep-outs.  An exposed timber-frame porch or entranceway can also be a cost-effective way of adding some interest to your existing or new-build home. 
  • What about cracks?
    Timber is a natural, organic material and as it dries, over several years, in its new surroundings, checks and shakes will appear.  The initial checks that open up often close again in time as the centre of the piece dries. These are natural cracks in the surface of the wood; checks are small and shakes are bigger, sometimes opening up quite a crevace, deep into the wood but without undermining its structural integrity. This splitting only adds to the character of the timbers and should not be cause for alarm.
  • Where can we see examples of Oak-Apple Frames craftsmanship?
    The majority of our projects are private residences and hence not readily viewed however we can show you many photos and would be delighted to show you any  projects in progress either on site or in our workshop. Alternatively, we were recently contracted to provide the frame for a spectacular dining room at The Railway Inn in Sandford. It is well worth a visit, and the cider and food are pretty good too! http://www.therailwayinn.com;