Timber Frame Caulking Kit

Old buildings were designed to breathe – that way, they stayed dry.  Ships were built like that too – the old sailing ships were built entirely from timber – but kept waterproof and flexible.  They survived years of storms, sea water, and distortion of fragile timber frames subjected to enormous stresses during ocean storms.

We use the same technology and equipment within Heritage House to keep timber framed buildings dry and warm.  Used on the roof of Windsor Great Chapel after the fire, and many timber homes around the country, it is tried and tested.  It’s even used in a monastery to seal the oak framing of the cloisters..

Oakum is a fine hemp fibre, soaked in Stockholm Tar (makes your hands nice and soft, and smells great!) Its imported in large bales from Sweden, where it is soaked for many months before being centrifuged to an even oil content. We break down these huge bales to nice manageable chunks that will keep you going for ages.

The Making Iron is a specially made shipwrights tool, used for hammering and shaping the oakum into the cracks between the planking of wooden boats.  It has a wide blade, and a big flared top to make sure you dont miss when gently hammering it.  A set of these was recently sent to America as a gift to a yachtsman where they are proudly displayed on the bridge of his ship, engraved by his wife!

I always recommend that you cover the oakum with a thin layer of lime putty finish – this stops pesky birds from pecking it out as a nesting material in spring, and helps to keep water away from the joint.  We include a little container of this in each kit.  Lime putty keeps forever – all you need to do is mix it again – dont add water, just knead it to a nice putty like plasticene, and knife a bead of it over the oakum. 

If you need spares, we sell each of the bits separately so you can replenish your kit.

Our kits consist of 2kg of the finest shipwrights oakum, a Making Iron (itself a work of art) and a pot of lime finishing putty.  All you need is a light hammer to work the oakum with the Making Iron. 

Every timber frame owner needs one of these kits – used regularly, it will save your frame from rotting, keep water at bay, and give you peace of mind that it will stay good condition.  If it ever springs a leak, five minutes with our rescue kit will sort the leak...

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