Unlocking the Secrets of Stick Build Construction: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)


Embarking on a journey to construct your dream home? The stick build method stands as a testament to timeless craftsmanship and eco-conscious choices. In this guide, we delve into the intricacies of stick build construction, exploring the steps involved, building regulations, and innovative methods that set your project apart.

Understanding Stick Build Construction

The term "stick build" may evoke images of small sticks, but in reality, it encompasses a spectrum of timber elements, from roundwood poles to engineered timber beams. The core principle involves creating a structural frame on-site, providing flexibility in design and allowing adjustments for optimal precision. Contrary to misconceptions, this method doesn't limit you to traditional stick dimensions.

Steps in Stick Build Construction

1. Factory Precision, On-Site Freedom

  • Start by crafting the structural frame in a controlled environment like a factory or shed.
  • Precision in the factory ensures seamless joint connections.
  • On-site assembly allows adjustments not feasible during factory construction.

2. External Wall Panels

  • Insulate external wall panels thoroughly for energy efficiency.
  • Choose exterior facings such as brick, blockwork, stone, or cladding based on design objectives.
  • Ideal for eco builds, allowing renewable insulation like straw bale.

3. Roof Trusses and Design Flexibility

  • Explore creative roof truss designs to enhance aesthetic appeal.
  • Flexibility in design, a hallmark of stick build, accommodates interesting roof configurations.

Oak Frame Method: A Timeless Example

In the realm of stick build construction, oak frames exemplify traditional craftsmanship. Crafted by skilled artisans, these structures showcase the adaptability of stick build methods. Let's explore two distinctive layouts within the oak frame domain.

1. Aisled Frame Layout

  • Series of frames creating bays supporting the roof.
  • Rafters extend down external walls, reducing roof loads on the structure.
  • Enables the removal of most roof loads from external walls and wall panels.

2. Post and Beam Structure

  • Horizontal beams across uprights create open-plan spaces.
  • Repeat frames along the building length for structural integrity.
  • Timber bracing ensures resistance against racking forces.

The Innovative Segal Method

For the adventurous self-builder with an eye on environmental sustainability, the Segal method offers groundbreaking insights.

Key Principles:

  • Bolt-jointed timber post and beam framework.
  • Embrace simplicity, accommodating tolerances, and thermal movement.
  • Buildable by individuals with basic carpentry skills.
  • Utilize standard material sizes to minimize waste.

Embracing Roundwood Structures

A centuries-old building method, roundwood structures, emphasizes natural aesthetics and sustainable sourcing.


  • Natural appearance, reminding us of timber's origin.
  • Circular section poles offer superior strength.
  • Allows the use of coppiced and smaller diameter trees.
  • Reduces energy and financial costs associated with intensive processing.

Construction Process:

  • Timber felling in autumn.
  • Joint cutting in winter.
  • Frame erection in spring.
  • Weatherproofing by summer, finishing in autumn.

Timber Drying Considerations:

  • Natural drying versus kiln drying.
  • Factors affecting drying time.
  • Considerations for using green timber.

A Hybrid Approach for Efficiency

For those seeking a balance between DIY commitment and professional assistance, a hybrid approach proves advantageous.


  • Engage a joinery company for timber member and joint fabrication.
  • Follow the Segal method for on-site construction.
  • Utilize stainless steel dowels and plates for separation from concrete foundations.


As you embark on your stick build journey, armed with the wisdom of traditional craftsmanship and innovative methods, you pave the way for a unique, eco-friendly, and structurally sound home. From oak-framed elegance to the simplicity of the Segal method and the natural allure of roundwood, the possibilities within the stick build realm are as diverse as your aspirations. Remember, precision, adaptability, and a touch of creativity are the cornerstones of a successful stick build venture.


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