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Roundwood Timber Framing: Building Naturally Using Local Resources Hardcover – November 11, 2010

4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Ben’s beautiful book shows that intelligently sourced wood is ultimately the best building material we have.”--Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall



“The sheer visual, sensual, even animal, pleasure in wood, from seedling to final giant ridge pole, comes through in every page”--Tony Wrench



“The intelligence of Nature’s forests speak through Ben Law ... a beautiful manual”--Rachel Shiamh

About the Author

Ben Law trains apprentices and runs courses on sustainable woodland management, roundwood timber framing, coppice crafts, and permaculture design. He was a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council. He also has worked for Oxfam as a permaculture consultant. He is the author of The Woodland Way: A Permaculture Approach to Sustainable Woodland Management and The Woodland House. He lives in West Sussex, UK. Law's woodland house has been featured on The World's Greenest Homes, a series of the Discovery Channel's Planet Green.  Ben's latest book is Roundwood Timber Framing, a full colour guide to his building techniques. His website is www.ben-law.co.uk.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Permanent Publications (November 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856230414
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856230414
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #502,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Roundwood Timber Framing by Ben Law is filled with great photos and layout, passionate writing, and some challenges for we Americans. Law lives in England. He uses mostly metric measurements and presents word challenges to this wordsmith and amateur builder: cruck, bender, jowl, disco jowl, ping, wang, feltch. I recommend that you read the two glossary pages before beginning the book.

A cruck is at the heart of this building style; it is essentially an A-frame that is braced and then surrounded by a box frame. The multiple crucks are made on the floor, then lifted erect one by one, pulling a log ridge pole up and onto their tops as they are lifted. This produces a strong structure but fills the living or working space of the building with angled poles. The building process requires a crew and/or special lifting equipment.

The book chapters include tree species used for specific parts of the construction--some species are not found here but for which we have substitutions that are not given in the book, tools--some not commonly found here, and how to hand chisel the various pegged joints that keep everything tight together. Many of the tools are specialized and would add to the cost of constructing a single home or shop building.

I applaud Ben Law's eco-sensitive outlook. He eschews concrete foundations, opting for one-square-meter gravel foundation pits topped with square "york stone," for which we Americans would almost certainly substitute concrete. Alas, he does not address the issue of frost heaving. He uses coppiced trees typically harvested from the building property, greatly reducing the need for oil-consuming and polluting transportation. Insulation is often sheep's wool, with which we on this side of the pond have zero experience.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wanted the Roundwood Timber Framing book mainly for the mortise and tenon section. Only one picture of the wooden jig for the mortise and tenon. Not very helpful. The information on the jig talked about in the book is that they use a jig to make the mortise and tenon. No information on how to make the jig or how to cut out the mortise and tenon in the round timber.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is beautiful but it's more laid out like a coffee table book with lots of glossies and only shows some basic elements of building with round wood. Law is very skilled and I believe is committed to ecologically sound building but his massive scale-- very large buildings (his own large home is a "showcase") negates the push for lightening our carbon footprint. The reader is left with a few big issues:
the author is in England and uses Chestnut which is not available in North America;
round wood building requires a huge investment in tools and equipment: think "timber frame tools" and double or triple the cost;
putting up these structures will require a large, skilled crew;
all structures featured are hybrids which include lots of milled lumber (the author probably has his own bandsaw mill which is shown in some pictures);
The cruck frame appears redundant and, although it does eliminate the need for angle bracing on the gable ends it causes lots of extra labor and money to work with and around;
these structures will require lots of exterior maintenance, especially gable end walls that have small overhangs.

If you are wealthy and can afford to spend lots of time and money to apprentice yourself for a year or so, then invest in tools (include at least 5K for a starter bandsaw mill) and hire two or three skilled timber framers and put them through the apprenticeship, you will eventually have a showpiece. If you are not wealthy you will learn a few tips and might consider including a few round logs in your timber frame structure which would be more feasible.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book—seems that Ben rarely messes around. This book has a lot of depth, especially for those of you who have spent many hours scratching your head over roundwood timber framing joinery and design. I know I have! Couple this book with the equally well made DVD and you're on track to get jumpstarted on roundwood timber framing. Only bit missing is the experience. So get on it...
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