Rory Millar was a teenager living on Vashon island near Seattle when he met the French master timber framer, Frederick Brilliant. With an immediate connection to the man and the work Rory spent these years taking on the skills and techniques that Frederick had in abundance.
Moving back to the UK – Rory works for a reputable Oak Frame company where he stands out from the crowd, working on a wide variety of projects from the Restoration of Windsor Castle after the dramatic fire, to a new theatre for Bedales School.
Rory Millar starts the English Oak Buildings (EOB) story- the idea from the start was to provide the best quality oak frames using his experience working in America and the UK. Rory employs Mark Hulford – designer and carpenter – and they begin their first amazing project; a 65ft single span bridge.
New workshop. We move into our current workshop in Claverton, conveniently located on the outskirts of Bath. The old milking barn floor was dug up and a lovely flat floated floor was installed, perfect for Oak Framing. The space was even big enough to build our offices within the barn.
Rory employs his longest serving carpenter, Mat Hulford (Mark’s brother), who is still expertly cutting frames for English Oak Buildings today. It is telling that Mat is still with us today, forming part of the solid core of EOB staff that keeps the standards of workmanship high.
English Oak Buildings continues to grow with more and bigger projects on the books, completing a stunning four bay, three storey house in the Republic of Ireland.
‘EOB’ joins a training scheme run by Iris Bertz Ltd, which offers German students the chance to work in an English workshop, to help improve their vocational skills and English language at the same time.
EOB becomes the first oak frame company to offer SIPS (Structurally Insulated Panel System), pre-made in our workshop and installed along side the oak frame with a crane. This dramatically changes the pace of progress for our clients on-site, as well as overall build times.
EOB employs a full time office manager to take the day-to-day running of the office out of Rory’s hands, improving the overall efficiency of the business. We join the ‘Les Compagnons du Devoir’ – a scheme offering training/apprenticeships to French students in manual trades.
Dexter Buxton starts on an apprenticeship scheme at 17 years old. Today he is the Workshop Manager, overseeing the fabrication of our frames and is a highly valued member of the team.
Extra workshop and yard space is taken on to cope with our ever increasing workload and storage requirements.
Rory and Mark celebrate 20 years of working together at EOB, which happens to coincide with the completion of one of the biggest frames we have built to date – a stunning twelve bay, L-shaped barn in Suffolk.