Kevin McCloud’s Shed, Kevin McCloud’s Man Made Home, Planking notes for the self builder

one man and his shed - planking
We used a Stihl 660 chainsaw running a 48” pico ripping chain and a Heath Robison chainsaw mill.

We de-limbed the big oak tree with chainsaws where it fell and the trunk sections were driven out with a very large logging arch. You don’t see this on TV, but it’s a beefy steel frame on wheels with an arched axle. The logging arch is driven over the trunk and the trunk is then winched up into the arch at its centre of balance. One end is then secured to the tractor and off you go.

logging arch - Kevin McCloud's Shed - Kevin McCloud’s Manmade Home
logging arch to move heavy timbers

I extrapolated a cutting list from the design drawings for Nick, our milling expert, and he made sure that we got the most economical use of the timber. If you can build with green timber you do save a lot of money, and if it’s local or your own wood then it’s low timber miles too, which is great.

We decided to plank the swept oak where it fell and then carry the planks out by hand. It’s more difficult to get a bendy tree into an arch and in any case, a normal timber mill can’t mill it. The only way to plank such a curve yourself is to do it by hand with a chainsaw mill. These attachments to chainsaws sit on runners that are in turn attached to the tree. A ladder works well as the runners, but the supporting framework we normally make bespoke for each tree using wooden battens. Getting this framework right sets your cutting line parallel to the greatest volume of timber in the tree, to get the best use of the wood. I rip-sawed these huge through-cut planks down the pith with a chainsaw, then made parallel cuts removing the bark and sap wood on the sides. It will be interesting to see how much these beams twist and move over time as they shrink. We used a Stihl 660 chainsaw running a 48” pico ripping chain and a Heath Robinson chainsaw mill.