Blog. Check out the latest thoughts from EmanuelHendry construction carpentry. Our blog includes current news from the company as well as sharing some of the things which inspire us.

Prefabricated cladding panels

Prefabricating our uk Larch cladding panels ready for craning in on site.   These cladded panels will create an instantly weathertight building following the installation of the Douglas Fir Structural timber frame.   A unique full package service offered by EmanuelHendry.   


Arched brace jointed cruck in the Lickey hills

A successful days crane raising saw this 'Arch brace jointed cruck' installed near the Lickey Hills.

The green oak timber frame made in our workshop in Devon near Exeter, will form a first floor vaulted roof space in this 2 storey extension.
The unique aspect being the 117.5 degree turn in plan that creates a stunning arched brace Hip Valley truss.


Island Fish House

Really excited to be going back to the Isles of Scilly again.  

This time to deliver and install a commercial premises for Island Fish Ltd on the Island of Bryher.
The building will be a prefabricated structural timber frame of Uk grown Douglas Fir and Larch.

Just planning the transport which is throwing up some interesting options.
A 50t landing craft with 6t hydraulic boom crane.

AJ Small Projects Award

Our latest Garden extension in Belsize Park has been shortlisted for the much coveted, Architects Journal Small Projects Award.
See Article here
And here

The AJ has revealed the remaining 10 schemes vying for this year's AJ Small Projects Awards and our is one of them.
Playful concepts, materiality and attention to detail made the final shortlist stand out amongst the others.   The winner will be announced on 29th of March.

The timber frame building is made of oak with a white translucent oil stained finish.   The concrete base and roof glazing create some striking shadow gaps at the junctions between timber and masonry.


Studio by the Sea

We are coming to the end of a really exciting project situated on the cliffs between Shaldon and Torquay in South Devon. 

We were approached by a client with a brief of developing a compact yet challenging plot of land halfway up a cliff, the views are simply spectacular and it is easy to see why the client wished to push ahead with their desire for a structure in this location.

Their idea of a clean, simplistic studio was developed with ourselves over several months, with various ideas / finishes mooted until it became clear that a single room, served by a hidden door and with glazed sliding doors on two facades was the form factor that the client was after.

There were other important key features incorporated within the design, primarily that the structure blended in with its surroundings, augmenting and reflecting the scrub woodland surrounding the plot. Colour was of great importance, this is why a deep chocolate brown ThermoAsh cladding was chosen with no visible fixings. The cladding makes use of a quick clip seems that fits inside a dovetailed housing on the back of the profiled cladding. Similarly the sliding doors were ordered in a vibrant green to contrast the deep chocolate of the cladding.

Breaking up the outline of the building and helping soften the edges is the sedum roof, comprised of hardy succulent, perennial plants, sedum is an ideal plant for tolerating the extreme conditions that you find not only on roofs but buildings located so close to the sea!

Implementing a living sedum roof requires care at the design stage so as to ensure the correct roof structure is installed - we chose a single ply Sika Sarnafil membrane with a root protection layer on top of this prior to the install of the sedum roof.

Due for completion in the coming weeks - this project has been a joy to work on, from the stunning views of not only the sea but the surrounding wildlife, in particular a pair of peregrine falcons that can occasionally be spotted gliding past.

Wyndhurst House Throwleigh

1st day of Wyndhurst House Installation, High up on Dartmoor,. 

The respite between the winter storms allows the crane on site!

Building Information Modelling (BIM) - Point Clouds

We are often asked to build around, and into existing structures. Being able to digitally manipulate a 3D representative model of the existing structure within our CAD programs, greatly aids us in ensuring an accurate fit and thus minimising on site disturbance.

We have blogged previously (here) about Building Information Modelling (BIM) and how it is gradually becoming the norm in the construction industry. One of the major benefits of BIM is the ability to further develop your design ideas at an earlier stage of the project than would have been possible, even as little as 5 years ago. 


A major driver of this is the improvement in digital photogrammetric techniques, whereby laser measuring and photography is intrinsically linked to provide a powerful 3D measurement and data collection solution.


How this helps BIM, is the ability to capture large, high quality, point cloud datasets that enable you to not only take measurements, but understand the positional relationships between different aspects of the existing building structure. an example of this can be seen in the image below.



Point clouds are a dataset of points that are each assigned a three-dimensional coordinate, this dataset helps digitally represent an existing physical location (think terrain, structures etc). Once complete, this dataset can be manipulated with Computer Aided Design (CAD ) software to provide us with more information than can be achieved with a traditional hand measured walk round survey.


The short video below gives a brief view of how this data is represented within the CAD software. The ability to walkthrough the existing structure is a powerful tool in the design process. Further benefits, include being able to design the 3D CAD model of the proposed construction works around the Point Cloud, this helps us to provide the client with a realistic representation of the proposed design.


Whilst extremely useful for projects that involve construction around, and into existing structures, current costs mean that it can become cost prohibitive for new builds or other projects that have minimal existing structures.


That said, we have no doubt that point clouds are here to stay, with them becoming increasingly used as part of the mainstream, construction design process. As far as we are concerned, this can only be a good thing! 


St Agnes - Royal visit

With the Larch Timber Frame installed and finished in the August of 2013, and the finished building completed in 2014. EmanuelHendry were privileged to be invited to attend the Royal visit of HRH Prince Charles & Camilla, to the St Agnes Island hall in the July of 2015.    

The visit was scheduled during the Royal couples recent trip to the Isles of Scilly, part of the Duchy estate, it was the first time in 10 years they has visited St Agnes. The Duchy had asked to meet the local team behind the fundraising and bringing the building to fruition; as well as the Architects PBWC and EmanuelHendry who provided the structural carpentry and Larch timber frame.

Charles was very interested to find out about our company, how we operate in the west country using local materials in our sustainable timber design, and about our apprenticeship scheme where we train up young carpenters from around the world as well as the local community.

Both Charles and Camila seemed genuinely impressed with the architecture and timber framing and thought that the popularity in contemporary timber framing was a very good thing.

Rachael Gaunt the Architect from PBWC who obtained the planning and designed the concept joined us to talk about the building and were keen to promote EmanuelHendry as a key part of the success of the project.   The project has now gone on to win a number of awards, including most recently, Cornwall Sustainability awards.

At the end of the visit Charles was asked to unveil a slate marking the date of the visit.

For more photos of the installation of the frame please click here

Healey Barn - Wedding Venue

We have recently returned from the final phase of development at the latest Cripps wedding venue. Healey Barn is set in the Northumbrian countryside near the small village of Healey, it is made up of a collection of traditional stone farm buildings surrounding a sheltered courtyard. 

EmanuelHendry Ltd were commissioned to replace the roofs on both the Long Barn and Dining Room. Joinery and a glazed wall were also installed on the Dining Room. We also produced and installed a large set of glazed doors, which are to be the entrance into the long barn.


The roof of both the long hall and dining room were completed in oak. the Long Hall roof is an 8-bay raised cruck roof with arch braces and collar. the Dining Room roof is a 9-bay, king-post truss, complete with tusk tenon connection between the king post and collar. The Dining Room also features a glazed wall, with several double doors that open onto the internal courtyard.



Completed over several phases, the installation was a joy to undertake given the famous northeastern hospitality and positively barmy weather conditions (note snowy conditions in some of the photos!) as the local tradesmen eloquently put it.



With their first wedding scheduled for early June, the whole site has been transformed from a collection of derelict agricultural buildings into a modern wedding venue    


More information on the venue, including how to book can be found here

Sliding doors...

Emanuel Hendry Ltd were contacted by Artist Robin Dutson in late 2008 with the idea of constructing a two storey art studio for him to work on his full size fruit tree replicas. Taking 6 years to come to fruition - the building was completed in the winter of 2014.

As part of the design we were asked to include a set of full height sliding doors on one aspect of the studio. This would enable Robin to easily transport the materials to and from the art studio without affecting their shape and structure!


Incorporating full height sliding doors proved to be a challenge in getting the frame to satisfy the structural engineer. It was decided early on that the aspect of the building that contained the sliding doors, would be constructed from a metal frame to hang them from. Our Douglas Fir frame was cut to fit around the metal frame.



The doors are hung from bearings that run inside metal sliders that run the full length of the building. This enables the doors to be opened such that two-thirds of the interior is exposed. Part glazed, the doors offer a fascinating link between the interior of the building, and the surrounding woodland - providing much of the inspiration for Robin’s work.


Steiner School - Bunkhouse

Mid 2014, we were approached by LHC Architects to see if we would like to tender for the creation of a Bunk House for the Rudolf Steiner School, based in Dartington, South Devon. We felt that this type of project fitted well with what we do here at EmanuelHendry Ltd. 

The Bunk House is an 8-bay, 2-storey primary timber frame, constructed from Douglas Fir with straw bale infill to be added upon completion of the frame.


We were joined on site by students from South Devon College, who, as part of their diploma in site carpentry were gaining the experience necessary to go on to become carpenters. They gained valuable knowledge from our carpenter Hugh Arnold, on not only the technical aspects of traditional carpentry, but important aspects of its history to.



The last oak peg to be driven home and signal completion of the primary frame was done to much fanfare, and in front of a large proportion of the students, by Class 6 teacher and Vision Group Chair Jonathan Liddle. Prior to the peg being hammered home, a class at the school had written a series of ceremonial writings upon the peg itself.



Part of the schools Gateway Project, the Bunk House was designed to offer not only accommodation but communal space, staff rooms and a workshop as well.


Building Bridges

The Dartmoor Arts Project is an artist-led organisation founded in 2006. part of their remit is running courses throughout the year, as well as a summer school. One of their courses is a week long look at spatial structures, it gives students a chance to design and then construct in a 1:1 scale, something usually missing from most architectural courses. The 2014 course design brief, was centred around a bridge that was to be designed and constructed from timber.

EmanuelHendry were approached by the Dartmoor Arts Project to help provide assistance and some technical knowledge, on how best to utilise the materials at hand. EmanuelHendry Lead carpenter Hugh Arnold writs an account of how the week unfolded. 

The week began with a group of Architecture students, a few qualified Architects and a couple of others coming together in a cob barn in deepest Devon. The course tutor, Jerry Tate, an architect of some standing in his profession, was an enthusiastic and animated leader. He was ably backed up by Geraldine Holland, a lively and observant architect currently working in London. Following introductions and a site visit to the previous years’  courses, we were straight into the design process. 


The brief was to build a structure to cross a stream so as to create a short circular walk around the valley below North Cuma Farm. After a consensus was reached on the location of the ‘bridge', each course member was asked to produce a concept for the design. What came out of this, was a curved bridge surrounded by lots of circles! As the Carpentry tutor, I was charged with overseeing workshop and site work, organising materials, teaching woodwork and advising on design decisions. So no wonder I swallowed hard when the group graduated its concept toward a sweeping swooping bridge surrounded by a tunnel of wooden rings of varying size.

The material available for the build was wood, the sawmill was due on site on the Tuesday so they can be ready to start sawing the wood on Wednesday morning. We needed to have a hard concept, good design and a cutting list sorted by the end of Tuesday. 

The students worked in two groups so that some could start testing building techniques and others continue with a scale model. The students worked hard, and by the end of tuesday, we were somewhere near where we need to be.


The building of the bridge over the next three-and-a-half days involved long hours,  committed hard work and lots of learning. The group learnt to use tools and materials,.  The Saturday came around, and at about 2pm we had just finished off the triangles (which took the place of the circles in the original design). The “purlins” were finished off, and all of a sudden the bridge took on a life of its own. It had gone from gawky to elegant in about five minutes. The visitors who stopped by to admire the bridge were very complimentary. The team sat down and admired it. They had created a structure, 

Hugh Arnold

More information and images on both past, present and future courses can be found at the Dartmoor Art Projects website here.


Old Tools for New Tricks

We have recently returned from a week working away in the heart of the cotswolds. Our brief was to construct and install a substantial outdoor terrace at a popular wedding venue. 

This particular venue is one that we have worked on before, with us having installed an open plan Oak structure adjacent to their main barn several years ago.

Measuring roughly eleven metres by five metres, the terrace is constructed of green Oak and ties in with the vernacular style of the surrounding handrails and benches. Its primary function is to enable Cripps Barn the ability to offer an increased external space for wedding parties / functions to socialise and mingle.

One of the main problems faced when laying decking is ensuring an even gap between each run. This even gap was of particular importance in this terrace given the types of heeled footwear that were likely to frequent the terrace! A decision was made on site to limit the gap to 6mm and not to chamfer the edges of the board. A female employee of Cripps Barn tested this with her own heeled shoes to ensure the terrace was fit for function.

This problem of narrowly heeled shoes and timber decking gaps does not appear to be a recent one, as Joel brought with him what appeared to be a pair of medieval torture devices. Upon closer inspection and with a little tutelage from Joel we soon learned that they were a pair of old Woden Floorboard cramps. They proved to be a great success in helping us maintain a consistent 6mm gap between the decking. 



As can be seen from the images the cramp is locked onto the wooden member (in this case joist) that supports the decking. the locking mechanism is an asymmetric toothed cam that opposes the lateral force required to straighten the decking. Once locked into place the user can then operate the handle, which via the cogged wheels operates a threaded shaft that pushes a plate into the floorboard and thus into position.



Designed and manufactured here in Great Britain during the middle part of the 20th century, these cramps appear to be as relevant and effective today as they were when first made - they certainly aided us in accurately installing over 55m2 of Oak decking.

For more details of Cripps Barn and all of the facilities it has to offer please visit here

Images of the completed terrace can be found here

What is BIM?

For the last few years BIM has seemed to be the Buzzword in the construction and engineering industries, despite this very few people seem to know what this acronym stands for and even less what it means! 
Building Information Modelling (BIM) can seem to mean many things to many people - essentially, it is loosely based on the digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a particular building, structure etc. 
BIM, when used correctly is a powerful tool enabling a more complete overview of the building / structure at a far earlier stage in the design process. This aids greatly in helping everyone collaborated in the project, from the client through to the construction professional, in understanding what is to be achieved.     
Here at EmanuelHendry we have recently adopted the OpenBIM initiative whereby our design files are saved as the Industry Foundation Class (IFC) format. This particular type of file format is platform neutral and means that design data can be shared amongst those that need it, without the individual requiring specialist software on their computers or tablets.
It is this attention to detail that enables us here at EmanuelHendry to keep abreast of the latest innovations, and enables us to work with a greater range of professionals from earlier on in the design and planning stages of a project.

From Plot to Potion... to Contemporary Timber Frame

Galit Zadok is a garden owner who has become increasingly concerned with the safety and effectiveness of modern drugs. Alongside medical herbalist Christina Fattori and gardener Chris Ireson they have transformed a space in the hustle and bustle of central London, from an area set aside for meditation into a traditional English medicinal garden. Here there are 50 varieties of plants that can be used from healing wounds through to removing metals and pesticides from the body.

As part of their brief, they wished to add a structure that would compliment the sentiments they were trying to achieve. They requested EmanuelHendry to design and install a contemporary timber structure, as a means of linking the traditional English medicinal garden with the previous use as a meditative space. Elements of Japanese design were incorporated into the design, which was constructed throughout with the use of natural materials. The frame is constructed from Oak with the roof being clad with Cedar Shingles.

for more information about the garden, including its location and the courses run there please visit: here


First Settlers USA Timber Frame Church Reconstruction

Oscar recently spent some time in Illinois USA with Trillium Dell Timber Frame shop   Helping to fabricate a historically accurate reconstruction of the church for Henricus citie, the second English settlement on the James river Virginia.
It is an English style, aisled frame built from green Oak with wattle and daub infill walls and a thatched roof.

Bradstone Stables

A stunning and unique Grade 1 listed gate house and adjacent Stables at Bradstone Manor, Devon.
With the stable roof part collapsed and the gate house in need of urgent repair, EmanuelHendry were asked to lead the carpentry conservation work.   Phase 1 of the project is underway with the Stables roof carpentry complete and a diminishing course or rag slate currently being applied. 
Hand hewn beams were made in our workshop by our team of specialist conservation craftsman.   
Phase 2 of the Stables is to now replace and repair the damaged and missing 1st floor.


Website launch

We have launched our new website!
One of the first of its kind to include a responsive mobile side to the desktop site, keeping pace with modern devices.
Like our own customers, we carefully considered what we needed and gave lots of thought about how everything should look.
Building the new website was, in many ways, like putting together our bespoke timber constructions: We wanted to achieve practicality, ease of use and most of all for it to look really impressive. 


Holeland Spiral Stair

A unique Curved stair project in rural devon.

The half turn glue laminated larch stringer creates the centrepiece to this already beautiful newly refurbished space.
The stair was built entirely from measurement so the challenge was to create a perfect diameter curve to give the correct rise and run for the treads.

The handrail replicated the curve of the stringer and was completed with hand forged banisters by local blacksmith James Kendrew.
The concept design was by local Architect Stephen Emanuel.


St Agnes Island Hall frame raising

EmanuelHendry were commissioned to design, fabricate and install the Larch structural frame for this 260m2 public building on the the Island of St Agnes, The Isles of Scilly.
We decided raise the whole building by hand, with the help of a 2500 kg maniscopic some turfer winches and some expert rigging.
Here are some videos of the installation.

St Agnes Community Hall - raising frame 4 from EmanuelHendry on Vimeo.

St Agnes Community Hall - raising frame 5 from EmanuelHendry on Vimeo.

St Agnes Community Hall Stop Motion from EmanuelHendry on Vimeo.

The EmanuelHendry installation team enjoyed an introduction to gig rowing and hope to compete in the world champs next year!

High up in the scissor lift offered amazing panoramas of the other surrounding islands


Shustoke Gothic Doors

Emanuel Hendry are currently on site installing 4 gothic door sets as part of a major refurbishment of a brick threshing barn near Birmingham.

The arched frames, constructed from dried oak, are to be set within a flush glazed opening to draw natural light into this deep plan building. They will form the centre pieces to this future wedding venue, and juxtapose traditional joinery techniques with more contemporary glazing details.

The Big Shed, Hooke park

EmanuelHendry ltd are currently working as subcontractors for Charley Brentnall (International timber design and conservation). We are managing day to day site running of 'The Big Shed' project at Hooke Park, the Dorset campus of the Architectural Association.   The building is an exciting and challenging mixture of groundbreaking design and construction. The project Architect Nozomi Nakabayashi has created a multi faceted Cedar, tin and polycarb envelope fitting over nine clear spanning log trusses and the results are breathtaking.


The Bridge Opening

British sculptor Peter Randall-Page and a team from EmanuelHendry and The Dartington Hall Trust were joined by over 90 special guests on Monday 14 November to officially open 'The Bridge'.

Providing improved access to the Hall's listed gardens for people with limited mobility, 'The Bridge', which is made of air dry English oak with circular granite tread inserts, is designed by Peter and is a piece of functional art in its own right. The structure is a key element of a new route down to the garden's "Sunny Border”, allowing easy, safe and level entry past the Twelve Apostle Yew trees with glorious views of the Tiltyard and terraces at the heart of the garden.

Creator Peter Randall-Page said: "This has been a fantastic opportunity to create my first functional piece of art. It's a particular privilege that the bridge will enable increased access to a place of such beauty and I hope it will be used and enjoyed by all.

Zip Wire launch

Built for Drewsteignton community village playing fields, the Zip wire was officially launched on the 22-10-2011.

Chagford Show 2011

For the 5th consecutive year, we will be displaying and demonstrating traditional carpentry at Chagford show. Please call by our stand, situated on the east side of the main show ring, for a complimentary cream tea and see what we've been up to for the past year.

Show website.

EmanuelHendry open day

EmanuelHendry has just completed a brand new timber frame house project on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. We'd love you to come along to meet the team enjoy a drink and have a look at the stunning craftsmanship on show.

Date - Thursday 14th July 2011
Time - 5pm - 8pm
Address - Fairview, Venton, Drewsteignton, EX6 6PG

Fairview was a self build project taken through planing and building regulations by Stephen Emanuel Architects with assistance from the EmanuelHendry design team.

Some of the features you might be interested in seeing for yourself,
Timber features - Oak screen dividing wall, prefabricated dormer windows, curved 'cruck' principle rafters and face applied glazing south wall incorporating sliding folding doors.
Energy systems - Air source heat pump, solar thermal panels and underfloor heating

All this on a build cost of under £1,000 per square meter!

It would be great if you could let us know if you can come - and if you would like to bring anyone with you. The more the merrier.
For directions, take the road from Whiddon Down to Sandy Park, after about half a mile Fairview is on the right hand side.

We hope to see you there.

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