Training, historic building expertise & apprenticeships
Nigel 07899 794125
OFTF 01275 462242
Nigel Howe specialises in timber framing. His timber structures are distinctive because of the use of wood, milled to create 'swan' timber.
He is a founding member of the Forest of Avon Wood Products Co-operative and Director of the Carpenters Fellowship. He is also a training officer for the Oak Frame Training Forum, an organisation that run specialist Apprenticeships and Up-skilling Programmes in heritage framing skills, up to NVQII and NVQIII level, in conjunction with the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board).
In addition, Nigel is a member of the Forest of Avon Trust, The Carpenters Fellowship and Oak Frame Training Forum.
His father was part of a self-build project in the 1950s that built 50 homes, all 3 bed semi-detached with garages & long gardens. So he grew up among tradesmen who built their own homes, conservatories, sheds, greenhouses. Over the years he learnt how to dig foundations, lay bricks, measure, level, triangulate & work with timber. His school was a Secondary Technical School (boys) specialising in the building trades in Reading, Berkshire. As part of the curriculum, they built extra workshops on the site & built an outdoor pursuits centre in the Wye Valley where they spent weeks at a time. There he developed skills in technical drawing TD, & woodwork in particular. Part of the idea of the school was to train the architects & craftsmen, & the building inspectors for the area. The school was a tough mixture of Hells Angels, skin‘eds, swots & hippies with a mutual respect for their building skills & sporting prowess. There were 14 of us in the Berkshire U15 Rugby squad of 30.
He then moved to Bristol, married Jackie & trained in to be a teacher. Wherever they have lived they have built, extended, repaired & maintained properties. They have taken on derelict & almost uninhabitable properties & raised our children amongst saw dust, lime mortars, linseed oil & the smell of log burners.
30 years ago he left mainstream teaching & helped set up the Forest of Avon Wood Products Co-operative along with Jim O’Shaughnessy & Rupert Newman (Westwind Oak Buildings).
He worked on the Leigh Woods Barn Project & a 3 bay open barn at Chelvey Court & decided to buy a Wood-Mizer mobile sawmill. He then took on the lease for the redundant farm buildings at Chelvey & set up the Chelvey Designer Makers Cooperative of woodworkers. He has worked with Henry Russell & Gudren Leitz, & met Charley Brentnall, on the Westonbirt Arboretum Great Oak Hall project. Every timber went across the Wood-Mizer & they did 12-hour shifts to keep ahead of the framers. This build was instrumental in the origins of the Carpenters Fellowship & they photograph their new SAP intake with John Russell’s model of the Great Oak Hall.