The Tamar Joinery Company

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About Us

Nigel Harrison

"I have been involved in many unusual carpentry projects over the years. My woodworking career started many years ago when I was taken under the wing of a retired traditional coachbuilder, who was keen to share his knowledge, and who taught me how to build and restore traditional ash internal car body frames in vintage cars. I have been involved in the restoration of many vintage and classic cars including Sunbeams, Aston Martins and Lancias , as well as the construction from bare chassis of the 'vintage' car used in the 'Mummy' films, but I decided in the mid 90's to change course towards architectural woodwork. I became interested in building green oak timber framed structures when my imagination was caught by the strength, beauty, and extraordinary durability of English Oak timber framed buildings. I have been timber framing for over 20 years now and I am passionate about preserving traditional carpentry techniques and using them to construct new, durable, environmentally friendly, energy efficient buildings, using local sustainably produced, renewable materials".



Building Biology - Healthy Homes

We have a passion for low energy sustainable design and we are committed to using sustainable, locally grown timber in our buildings, combined with with natural, non toxic building materials.

As homes become more energy efficient, they can also become less healthy.To quote David Gale from Gale & Snowden architects, certified Passivhaus designers, and building biology consultants:

If you make a building more airtight, badly ventilated and have lots of toxic chemicals in it, you’re going to have problems.”

Andy Morton

Dave: "If I lean back, will it make it more upright?"

Nicky Harrison



Topping Out: The topping out ceremony is the all important tradition that marks the final stage of the timber frame construction. We pin an oak or Yew branch to the highest point and pour a small amount of whatever tipple is available. The significance of topping out is believed to date back to pre-Dark Age Scandinavia, where a branch was fixed on top of a new building to appease the tree dwelling spirits of displaced ancestors. Viking invaders are believed to have intoduced the tradition to England.



Sascha Nitsche - Our Master Carpenter colleague consultant from Germany who has inspired us with his extensive knowledge of timber framing, CAD design, timber restoration and Building Biology


Below: Sascha Nitsche - and our highly enthusiastic next generation of craftsmen!

Our location:

We are based in the beautiful Tamar Valley in West Devon.

Our workshop is in (partly) converted cattle sheds on Philleigh Farm, Bere Alston, PL20 7HJ, approximately 6 miles from Tavistock and 13 miles North of Plymouth.






The Tamar Joinery Company

Holm Oak, Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon. PL207HJ