Roundwood Timber Framing Course in support of Spitalfields City Farm

Course dates 5th – 8th Sept 2016 – Gloucestershire


roundwood timber framing course wholewoods


Learners signing up to our Roundwood TImber Framing course this autumn
will be supporting the amazing work of Spitalfields City Farm.

During this 4 day intensive course, running at the Wholewoods Woodyard
in Gloucestershire, participants will build 3 cruck or ‘A’ frames. These will
be presented to the Spitalfields Farm charity who will use them to create their new farm shop.

We are looking for people keen to learn Roundwood Timber Framing skills who would like to know that their efforts will be going to support a great cause.

Course details and booking info can be seen here:

The course will run at the Wholewoods Woodyard in Gloucestershire
and is fully catered with delicious organic meals.

Work opportunity

If you are interested in the job below contact Julian at
Dear Adrian,
I am halfway through constructing a roundwood rotunda in West London 5m diameter and 8m high with 2 floors and a sweeping circumference staircase accessing 2 storeys. It’s a beauty and the main structure is up with 2 floors. Work now required is the staircase, continuation of railing panels, the roof and completion of deck surfaces. The wood is Robinia. I really need 2 capable people. Please  can you help recommend people?

Roundhouse Build – Call for Volunteers

Gloucestershire July – August 2016 We’re building a 9mtr turf roof roundhouse for the charity Farms For City Children and are calling for assistance. The 2 week Full Build event will give you a chance to be involved right through the building process. Your participation on this event will assist the charity Farms For City Children in the building of their roundhouse. This is something between work experience, volunteering and crowd funding but not a course – your fee is actually a donation to Farms For City Children, which helps to fund the completion of the outdoor classroom. The donation for this event is on a sliding scale according to your income.  Everyone pays a deposit of £80 which covers the costs of Katherine cooking our evening meals for two weeks. The additional donation would be maximum £320 but you choose what amount you can afford to donate. You can pay the deposit via the course bookings page to book your place. There will be the opportunity to stay on for longer if you’d like but we ask a minimum commitment of one week and will give preference to those that can commit to two. Also please note that because of the nature of this event you must be physically fit, strong and competent with tools.For info about this and to book a place visit the website here… For those who want a more intensive tutored instruction over a shorter time period we are also running a 4 day intensive course during the build. The 4 day intensive course assembles all the components of a full size Reciprocal Roof Roundhouse frame. We’ll also experiment with reciprocal roofs of different size and pitch, to make sure that you really understand how this intriguing piece of geometry works. For info about the course and bookings see here…

Team Building

Team Building on REAL building projects!

A community building programme  – in every sense – where your involvement enables the construction of natural outdoor classrooms at schools and visitor centres around the country.

Our Team Building sessions offer businesses the chance to champion nature-based learning in local schools and visitor centres whilst providing a memorable, meaningful experience for their staff. Your people will learn new skills alongside our instructors and go home with the satisfaction of having contributed to a real community building project. Some of the engaging, fun and challenging activities are shown below. We suggest that businesses make a minimum donation of £1500 for a Team Building day, all of which goes directly towards the cost of building an outdoor classroom. For more information please look at our website page…

Axe handles – ash vs hickory

Ash vs Hickory

Re-handling and maintaining good tools is a real joy to me. I love working our home grown ash into handles for tools. It cleaves and cuts like a dream, and the grain looks amazing. However today I had desires for hickory. After returning from a day’s felling using the 35” long felling axes I was saddened to find a fracture in the relatively new handle that I crafted only last year. The beast has had only a small amount of use, but it does get used hard. Those long axes have a heck of force when swung and a long leaver for twisting the axe head to pop out the chips after you strike a cut. Also on occasion if the head gets stuck in the tree someone might lever it out sideways. Here is the risk for fracturing. Now it does make a big difference if you are able to get hold of tough, stringy ash for your handles right from the bottom of the tree. This stuff will resist a lot more abuse then clean stuff from further up the tree. Hickory doesn’t grow in the UK as far as I know and I’ve always been a snob for home grown timber. But I am now considering whether to buy in some plank hickory to use as handles or even to buy in some hickory blanks just for my long handled axes as I don’t want to be replacing the handle every year! I’m happy for ash handles in every other tool I use particularly those with shorter or fatter handles.


A good axe handle should be slightly thinner in the shaft than you might imagine so there is a little flex at point of impact to spare your wrists from impact or shudder. This is of course not were the handle breaks if it does. Usually the break will happen right up next to the head at the point where the wood in the metal which is kept straight meets the handle which can bend.