LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TIMBER FRAME TEAM BEHIND TY PREN
Our team are a down to earth and friendly bunch. We love working with like minded people to create beautiful and sustainable buildings.
After working on various earthen constructions in South America I came to Wales to learn about the different methods of natural building that were being implemented here. Whilst helping Chris and Erica build their straw bale home at Rhiw Las, I saw a roundwood timber frame for the first time – a Tŷ Pren frame. I was inspired, and made it my mission to learn how to timber frame. I found opportunities to learn volunteering with one timber framer and working for another, which gave me my first experiences using traditional mortise and tenon joinery with roundwood larch poles. I was delighted when the chance arose to work with the Tŷ Pren team and I got stuck in on a King Post Truss Frame for Dance Camp Wales. This was an amazing experience for me and I learnt many things from everyone on the build. The Tŷ Pren cooperative are enabling me to carve out a livelihood doing what I love – using natural materials, hand tools and human power to build environmentally positive homes, that are aesthetically stunning, healthy and affordable.
JOHN ALLEN (“Big Bird”)
Before working at Ty Pren I had been a self-employed carpenter and furniture maker for 10 years but was gradually looking for a more fulfilling and sustainable way to work. Most of my work involved using imported timber which was something I was never satisfied with. Also since my college days opportunities to get my chisels and tenon saw out and do some proper joinery were a bit limited. Thankfully that has all changed working for Ty Pren, I get to use local timber that we fell and bring to the workshop and I do more hand tool work, green wood work and joinery than I have ever done before. I still love to make furniture and hope to bring some of the green wood work skills I’m learning on the job into that side of my work. Cornwall is where I’m from and I moved to North Pembrokeshire in 2017, the move has thankfully been wonderful, much helped by discovering Ty Pren and then being given the opportunity to work for them. I’m enjoying my days working with big logs of local timber and really looking forward to building more high-quality homes and other structures for people to enjoy for generations to come.
After apprenticing at Coppicewood college in 2018/19, I was volunteering for Tŷ Pren with the colleges new workshop in Pengelli when I was offered a chance to work with the team full time.
I have struggled with severe anxiety and depression in my life and working with wood and in woodlands continues to be an integral part of my management and recovery from it.
Traditional outdoor crafts are very wholesome, yet often trying!
It is wonderful to have a job which is creative yet also sustainable and essential for human life. Truly being a part of every stage in a build is a rare and beautiful thing. Individuals in our team put themselves, their passion and skill in every step. From felling and hauling logs, to handmade joints and erecting the frame, often in front of mesmerised clients (I love that part!).
You can get very attached to your log when you are working and I love the passion, quality and time honoured skills used to create aesthetically pleasing frameworks that are built to last. All things should be like this and that is why I wont eat with ugly forks!
I started working for Tŷ Pren as an apprentice a year and a half ago. Having spent several years volunteering on eco and community builds and training in carpentry, Tŷ Pren has been a really good opportunity for me to develop professionally in something that I feel is meaningful and rewarding. I am also interested in community living (I have been part of setting up a co-housing project locally), renewable energy (which I studied at university) and sustainable agriculture. I am looking forward to working on diverse and challenging timber framing projects with Tŷ Pren in the future.