Classic Architecture Meets Sustainable GreenTechnology
This book "Oak-Framed Buildings" by Rupert Newman, gets my vote for
all around best book of its kind. It describes in amazing clarity, the
process of framing in England with heavy timber. Its auther, Rupert
Newman, started out as a naval architect and the relationship between
boat design and timber house design will become evident in the book. A
point of clarification: in England, "timber framing" means light wood
construction with dimensional lumber, nails, and plywood - what we
would call "stick framing" in the US.
"Oak Framing" in England refers to a tradition of framing with heavy timber and compex joinery, largely
in oak, but also in other woods such as fir or larch. In the U.S. we would call this timber framing, though
the English tradition has some marked differences.
This book does a marvelous job of taking the reader through first the history of oak framing, then a step
by step procedural outline of how to buy land, design your house, and cut and erect a frame. The
drawings and photographs are first rate and organization of the book is outstandingly easy to follow. The
language is interesting enough to keep you aware that the auther comes from the place where the
language was conceived, peppered with words like "whilst".
I was struck by many things in this book, the first being the realization that with land being so dear in
England, once a future homeowner secures a piece of property, they will tend to spare no expense in
creating a beautiful built environment. The next thing that got my attention was that the traditional
English frames that Mr. Newman is designing and building are both massive, and so beautifully
proportioned as to seem graceful and flowing in all perspectives. I am completely humbled by the work
that Mr. Newman and his countrymen are doing, my own work seeming so basic and simple by
comparison. In closing, this is the first book that I have seen on this subject of timber or oak framing,
with which a reasonably skilled craftsperson could use to help him or her design and build their own home
with no outside assistance. My hat is off to Rupert Newman for this landmark piece of work!
I got my copy from my neighborhood book store, I see that amazon has them, and the publisher is Guild
of Master Craftsmen Publications.