Posted on: 15th June 2017


Having been around Carpenter Oak for several years you might think that I would have a vast knowledge of the various projects they have been involved in.  However, until recently, my relationship with Carpenter Oak has been more about community and less about the projects they have been involved with.  I often hear various client names mentioned in the office but to get a more in-depth knowledge of past Carpenter Oak projects I tasked myself with finding out directors Paul and Adam’s more significant projects.

I should have been prepared for their endless list of projects, Paul and Adam have been with Carpenter Oak from the start, however I was pleasantly surprised at the huge number of projects that they have fallen in love with.  Out of a growing list of 48+ projects there are 2 that they have in common: Bedales School and Penistone Market.

The Oliver Theatre, Bedales, Hampshire, 1995


Remembered as Paul’s first job doing frame design, with a pencil!  Frame design and steel work pushed the boundaries to produce a (still) unique oak frame.  A large post (600 x 600 x 6000mm) slipped out of the slings, the imprint of the brick on the post (from the impact) can be clearly seen in the theatre.

“An extraordinary job to be involved with so early in my career.”

Paul Kirkup

For Adam, it was the fantastic design and brilliant team that made Bedales special. Some of the frame was built at the school with the students and some was built in Devon. The team that worked on Bedales was the team that moved to the Westcountry to form Carpenter Oak’s Devon Yard.

Penistone Market, 2010


In response to Barnsley’s local authority running a competition with timber framers to build a structure, to house the farmers market, this frame was designed by Paul Kirkup.  The end result was a massive, outdoor, public, community space in the town centre, an experience open to everyone.

One of the largest oak frames in the UK, it stands at 24 metres wide, 35 metres long and 13 metres high, containing in excess of 100 tons of oak.

Reflecting architecture and materials of the area, the barn style building was crafted using traditional carpentry techniques. With inspiring proportions it is possibly the largest, public, oak frame built for hundreds of years.

A favourite amongst many Carpenter Oakers, this was possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved in a project of such scale, something that Carpenter Oak would relish to be involved with again.

From here on in, the list varies greatly, some projects have yet to be completed.  Those that follow are in no particular order and the list is longer than one blog post entry so expect to see some ‘Significant Project’ features in the future. Here are a couple more for this entry.

The Duchy of Cornwall Nursery, Lostwithiel 2010


Supplying their own timber of Douglas fir and oak, grown in their local estate and cut in their own sawmill, the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery worked to utilise local materials. There is something unique and special about working with locally sourced sustainable timber, it gives an added dimension, a story and history to an otherwise new building.

As the Nursery is a public building it is available for anyone to experience and enjoy, a great place to visit for ideas and inspiration or for a cuppa and a browse of the shop.

Tree Dial, built for Westonbirt Arboretum Garden Festival, sponsored by Wood for Good 2002


A temporary structure that was a tricky build and involved working with heights, at present you won’t find it elsewhere on our site. Carpenter Oak worked with Mark Lovell Design and Roderick James Architects to produce this distinctive sculpture. The large lengths of oak in the round are suspended and supported by a complex array of cables and metal work. The result is a configuration that is impressive, dramatic and functions as a sundial.

Wilson I 2000


This next project has found its way onto the list by combination of being smoothly run, unusually large for its time and commissioned by one of the top ever clients.  Not that Carpenter Oak favour clients, but this particular one provided a cooked breakfast, every day, on site at 10:30.  The breakfast may have been a contributing factor to a large section of the frame (with oak rafters) being raised in a single day… or it could have been the glass of wine whilst watching Wimbledon at the end of each long day.

Alec Wilson is a returning client, his latest project, featuring curved beams, can be viewed here.

Look out for further ‘Significant Projects’ in the future.  If you have your own project in mind please contact us.