Roundwood timber framing course 2011

This was a double first for us. First 5day course and first time running a course at our new wood yard. Both worked very well I thought and definitely to be repeated next year. The course was over subscribed but we thought we’d keep the numbers low to see how it all worked, sorry to anyone who missed out. The course will probably be 3rd week of Sept 2012. My goodness it feels funny typing that date! There will be more space next year as we’ll be extending the barn, and the kitchen is being re-built. My thanks to everyone that came and made the week so wonderful. The star of the show was most definitely Kath the chef and we all bow to the awesome power of the haybox. The haybox is king. Anyone who is interested in the course do contact me via the main website. Cheers

roundwood timber framing course
roundwood timber framing course

roundwood timber framing course

roundwood timber framing course

Clay rendering a strawbale classroom

I’ve just finished teaching my usual slot on the London permaculture course. This course is mainly based Hawkwood run by Organiclea a community food growing coop. The 12 acre site is host to a bounty of amazing activities including this rather wonderful course. For the last two years the practical session of my green building slot on this course has been clay rendering of the strawbale classroom. We are using an experimental technique fixing split wood lathe to the stud frame and daubing this as if it were a wattle and daub wall. The daub is neat fresh dug clay mixed only with straw.

This technique though not commonly used fitted the brief of entertaining 20 people for 1hr only on each annual course, allowing them to experience a ‘whole’ process of digging clay from the site and rendering the wall. So far the process seems to be working and this second year we returned to plug the gaps and apply a second layer. It remains to be seen whether plugging smaller and smaller gaps on successive visits finally results in a smooth finish, and if the final man/hrs spent is much different that if we have mixed all the clay with sand first.

rustic outdoor classrooms

clay rendering wattle and daub

Outdoor classroom in Watford


rustic outdoor classroom queens school

Wow, what an exciting and heart-warming day I have just had! I‘ve just returned to Queens School in Watford to do a safety inspection of an outdoor classroom I built there with the children. I always re-visit building projects 6 months in to check that it has settled in and is safe to sign off. So much has happened since I was last there. The staff and students have really made this space their own. Wood chip paths have been laid through the spinney and logs have been installed for seating. Rustic seating also adorns the classroom and it is obvious that the students and staff are really enjoying the space. I’m really pleased with the way the structure has seasoned and settled in. During building we had worried that in the unexpected scorching sun the poles would season too quickly. Amazingly a small bird, yet un-seen has taken to using the structure as a place to hunt.