27th September 2011 / posted by TimCrump
Oakwrights Ride for Charity
The idea is to have a weekend where knowledge can be shared and talks and lectures held to give interest and knowledge to existing and potential oak frame carpenters. On top of the educational side to the event there is a BBQ and plenty of beer drank and an opportunity to catch up with old friends.
This year frame was held as St Fagan’s open air museum just outside Cardiff. As Oakwrights are based just outside of Hereford we decided to ride to the event and raise money for St Michaels Hospice. Rather than take the easy option on the road bikes, we chose to ride over the Brecon Beacons on our mountain bikes along the Taff Trail. We managed to raise just over £1,000.00 so many thanks to all who sponsored us.
The team start to gather for the big day ahead. The Oakwrights backup lorry is in the background
Tedd in full flight having just conquered the climb
So the day came and we gathered with our back up team ready to head off. In all we had eighteen participants in the ride and along with the multicultural makeup of Oakwrights, we had English, Welsh, Scots, French, and Americans in our team.
The ride up over the Brecon Beacons was beautiful although it was virtually all uphill until lunch time. It never ceases to amaze me just what a beautiful country we live in and all so close to our doorstep.
All the effort was worth it when we found a lovely little pub right next to the toe path of a canal which was giving us a more level trail to follow. Guinness was the order of the day and a very good pub lunch.
There is nothing like a good pub lunch after you have climbed all the big hills
Tedd Benson of Benson wood Timber framing from the United States joined us for the ride. Tedd was the key speaker for the Frame event and stayed with Oakwrights at our show home before hand. Tedd is a legend within the timber framing industry and almost single handedly reinvented the craft in New England back in 1974. Tedd has written a number of fascinating books and if you want to look at some fantastic frames US style have a look at www.bensonwood.com.
There is also nothing like a good pub lunch to make you feel as though you would rather have a nap all afternoon rather than go mountain biking. This is Ant making the most of his rest.
Tedd liked to keep in touch with his team back home
Also on the trip we had Terry Batey who works for Dietrich’s which is the software that we use to design our oak frames - www.dietrichs.de - It is this software that allows our designers to apply all the joints and compound joinery to our Oak frames enabling us to build complicated structures efficiently using our Hundegger K2 beam processing machine - www.hundegger.de
Elie, second left, with fellow French campagnons who are all working for different oak framing companies as part of their training to become master carpenters
After fifty five miles across country and down the back streets and paths of many small welsh valley villages and towns we arrived at St Fagan’s. On the last three miles up hill to the museum I was broken by David Grey Oakwrights sales manager who was driven hard by Elie a twenty year old French carpenter who is working for Oakwrights as part of his training as a Campagnon which will make him a master carpenter in France.
Neil May, centre, and Ted Benson, right, sharing a beer and discusssing the many benefits of highly insulated breathing wall systems
Following the talks the evening festivities commenced with the Oakwrights Cruck Marque coming into its own. The rain poured down but tucked in the dry within in our tent, john’s BBQ and plenty of Herefordshire Butty Bach beer we were very happy to carry on partying to three in the morning - well some of us did. Sunday morning did prove to be an interesting experience.
Tedd giving a talk to all of our workshop team back at Oakwrights in Hereford
Once at St Fagan’s Frame began its educational theme on Friday evening with a lecture by Neal May of Natural Building Technologies. Neal is a most knowledgeable speaker on all natural materials that can be used in the construction and their insulation values. It was Neal May who inspired Oakwrights to develop their Wright Wall Natural system for a highly insulated wall build up that gives a healthy living environment within the home - www.natural-building.co.uk
On the Saturday Tedd Benson gave his keynote lecture which was very inspirational and the meeting hall which was an old miners gathering hall was packed. The theme of Tedd’s talk was the history of his company and how from the development of timber framing he moved into experimentation with SIP panels twenty years ago which led to the development of his Open Built system which again you can see on his web site. Tedd is now using blown cellulose within a wood I-joist to create a highly insulated and breathing wall.
The BBQ in full swing. The pouring rain could not dampen our spirits
Once back at base in Hereford, Tedd gave a variation of his talk to all of the Oakwrights workshop team. The team really enjoyed the talk and it again gave us great inspiration. We are now back making oak frames fully re invigorated.