Working with green oak

18 October 2012, Arts, events and places, Would you like to leave a comment?

Local furniture makers DF Timber have just finished building this green oak porch. It has been made to replace an old decaying cedar one and provide a better entrance to my showroom, which is just inside.

The whole structure has been built using locally sourced Cumbrian green oak and is constructed using traditional mortise and tenon techniques. All of the major joints have been pegged to ensure everything stays nice and tight as it slowly dries out.

We decided to opt for an overhanging roof, which adds greatly to the character. This is also an advantage, since the front door is protected from the rain and is less likely to expand. The curved struts are an added feature, but aren’t structural supports – at least I think!


One of the problems with green oak is its tendency to move and distort slightly during the drying process. This can cause difficulties with glazing and can often result in leaky windows, if traditional putty is used. A special sticky back rubber seal has been used for all of the windows. This can expand or be squashed depending on how the glass moves and is supposed to reduce any potential water leaks around the edges of each window pane – I guess only time will tell if it works!

All of the window beads have been fitted with brass panel pins and all necessary fixings are made from stainless steel. This is very important, since the tannin present in oak reacts with iron and can cause rather unsightly black stains.

Well, I guess the nice yellow will fade as winter kicks in (have we actually had a summer?) and will take on a silvery grey appearance over time. This is quite normal and one of the endearing characters of oak - I will post some more pictures in a couple of years from now!

Jonathan Leech

Written by Jonathan Leech

Jonathan Leech is a woodturner working and living in Cumbria. He specialises in making bowls, dishes and platters from local sustainably sourced timber. Read more or about Jonathan or see a selection of his work.

Your comments

  1. Gravatar of Steve walker
    Steve walker30 September 2013 22:58

    Green oak porch looks great. Is there a way of keeping that golden colour rather than letting it go silver. I have oak front door and frame and have used Sikkens wood stain and treatment to protect it from uv but would this work the same way with green oak?

  2. Gravatar of Jonathan  Leech
    Jonathan Leech1 October 2013 09:42

    Hi Steve,
    Green oak is always moving and cracking, so the water can get through a finish which has been painted on. I'll have a chat with the furniture makers who made it and see if they have some advice on finishes.
    Best wishes,

  3. Gravatar of Rachel thompson
    Rachel thompson24 February 2014 21:24

    We are looking to put a porch on the front of our house very similar to this - just wondering ball park figure what it cost to have it custom made - any information would be greatfully recieved!

  4. Gravatar of Jonathan Leech
    Jonathan Leech25 February 2014 22:27

    Hi Rachel,
    DF timber made the green oak structure and said it would be around £5500 - £6000 + vat. The slate roof and brick walls were both done by a local builder, which were an additional job. Please give me a call if you would like any further details or contacts.

    Many thanks, Jonathan

  5. Gravatar of claire
    claire14 November 2014 18:29

    Can you please give me a price for this particular porche with door please. Measurements are 1.5metres by 1.5 metres thankyou.

  6. Gravatar of Jonathan Leech
    Jonathan Leech18 November 2014 08:51

    Hi Claire,

    I'll contact DF Timber and get some details for you. They should be able to make it in kit form, you will need a joiner to construct it. If you wish to discuss this project with them, they can be contacted on 016973 71075

    Many thanks

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