Saturday, 11 October 2014

Jamie's Farm Outdoor Kitchen

In April last year I was involved in building a large outdoor kitchen at Jamie's Farm in Box, Wiltshire. Jamie's farm is a charity which hosts groups of children for week long residential visits, aiming to help them re-engage with education, with great results.

The outdoor kitchen was built looking out over the vegetable garden. This allows food to be picked, cooked and eaten all within a few metres. This build was largely done by volunteers - Jamie's farm provided food and accommodation and the Cherrywood Project provided tools, Lloyd and myself, the apprentices at the time, and Tim Gatfield's expertise and project management experience. We decided to build it in a week using Roundwood Timber Framing techniques - an ambitious goal seeing as none of us had any direct experience in this style of framing. We managed to rope in Dan Tuckett and Jacob Lambert, who both had some experience in the technique, to help us. Dan had done a short course with Ben Law, and is now, having gained more experience, looking at setting his own green building business, and Jacob, an old friend of mine, had been involved in building the beautiful outdoor classroom at the sustainability centre. Jacob and I are now building roundwood structures together.

It was a steep learning curve for all of us, especially considering the short time allowed for the build, but we did manage to get all the frames erected and secured by the end of the week.

The stucture was effectively a post and beam frame with truss roof, except an existing wall replaced the need for posts or beam on one side.

The hand hewn beam being moved into place
Working on the frames
The above photo illustrates how the frames are constructed. The 6"x2" frames are called 'framing beds' and are used to get everything level and accurate and ensure all frames match at the key points. The joints are called 'butter pats' and cup around the opposing log with a 'cog' and a notch fitting together, ensuring a tight, secure fit. One of the joints can be seen in the centre of the above picture.

First frame being raised
Action stations for the ridge pole being fitted

In the end me and Lloyd spent another couple of weeks putting the roof on, cladding the gables, finishing the pizza oven and putting a protective roof over it. All timber came from Cherrywood and was only moved about 3 miles to get to the construction site. This includes the larch cladding for the roof, which was milled at Cherrywood.

The finished product. All furniture was made by volunteers or Lloyd and myself