We are delighted to report the Carpenters’ Fellowship have begun the reconstruction of the House of Wessex. Sharp axes, around 40 people and good weather has led to a great start in beginning to convert the wood to the timber frame. This phase began with the felling of the trees at Blenheim.
On a few sunny days in February foresters at Blenheim felled 82 trees. We even managed to fell one using an axe! We have a variety of species, a mix of ash, sweet chestnut, oak and silver birch.
The wood was delivered to site mid-March taking three trips to deliver 30 tonnes of wood. It was stacked ready for the start the timber conversion stage in late March.
The first construction course began with the Timber Conversion Course run by Carpenters’ Fellowship. For five days we had a over 30 people on site learning how to hew and cleave to turn 30 tonnes of timber into a timber frame. It was a fantastic week with everyone enjoying all the activities helped by sunshine.
The Carpenters’ Fellowship return in June to prepare for the exciting final stage in July for erecting the timber frame. We have great plans for the July session - we have been discussing gin poles, derricks and rope lifting techniques which will be spectacular fun and provide good
opportunities for everyone to join in. We still have places available for you to come and be a part of installing the timber frame almost on its original location. You will be involved in setting earth-fast posts, jointing and fitting wall frames in situ, and rearing and assembling the roof frame. It is a major milestone for the project and will be a very exciting week on site. Do go to the website to sign up. It is a fantastic atmosphere, lots of activity, great food and plenty of exercise!
June will also see the laying out and cutting of the trench ready for the installation of the timber frame. This is being overseen by Dr Jane Harrison from Oxford University Dept. Continuing Education. The frame will be raised in July and then the fixing of the hurdles, wattling and thatching take place in August. If all goes to plan the reconstruction part of the project will be completed by mid-September.