Cruck Frames — 5 Comments

  1. I know I’m raising an ancient thread from the dead, but if anyone is still out there, I’m interested in building a full cruck frame, but the trees I have access are the big Douglas Firs of the Pacific Northwest (US). These trees only grow straight but they can be very wide (50″ on my property) and I am able to cut curves out of straight beams, but not at the lengths shown here. My ideal design is the magnificent Seagull House in Devon ( or the Shipton Conservatory in France (Cercles?) ( Anyone know architects who are designing these kind of structures in the US?

  2. The key point about base-cruck frame building is that the weight of the roof is carried directly down to the ground so that any sort of wall can be used and even changed without touching the basic structure. So waddle and daub, mud & stud, brick, stone and even earth bags can all be used.

  3. Not sure, but it’s possible the word “crucked” has the same origin (or is the same word, just in an older form) as our word “crooked”.

    Just a random thought. Love the houses! :-)

  4. Variations include hewing or milling the timbers flat, or leaving the wood in the round. Yesterday’s blog post showed roundwood crucks in Ben Law’s house. Roundwood is stronger and saves lots of work. And as noted above, you can cut the crucks in half lengthwise to create a matching pair.

    Curved versus straight crucks? Both are possible. My first choice would be curved, because they’re more graceful and provide more headroom underneath. Look for leaning trees in the forest that are naturally curved. Sometimes a tree will fall against another tree and cause it to bow. The challenge is finding enough curved trees of similar size and shape.

    Note other details:
    – The collar can serve as the loft beam.
    – Side walls (earthbags, timber frame, etc.) can extend above the loft as shown in yesterday’s video. With additional purlins on the crucks, you could build a ceiling and insulate the attic.
    – The timber frame helps stabilize earthbag walls. No buttresses would be needed with this design.
    – Ben Law’s house gives a good sense of scale, more so than simple drawings. Compare the modest size timbers to his fairly large house. Not sure what type of hardwood he used. One site says chestnut.

    And for new readers, all these various building techniques we’re discussing can be used with earthbags.

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