Slim double glazing has been around for a while now and it's prominence within joinery and the construction industry was raised during a 2009 episode of "Grand Designs" on channel 4. If you'd like to see that episode you can view it on channel 4's catch up service here, you'll just have to register before you can view and FFWD to 31:00 to see the section on the windows. We've used slim units over the years and view them as a usefull option for our clients. You can see from the image below how the phrase "slim units" was coined, especially when compared to the standard double glazing unit positioned behind it.
One of the things we appreciate most about slim units is the chance to use completely traditional methods of construction and detailing when the project demands it. This is especially true in respect to glazing bars. With a standard double glazed unit the slimmest glazing bar we can work with is 36mm, and even then, 36mm can sometimes be too slight and on occasion glazing bars can be increaed up to 40mm to 45mm to support and conceal the edges of a standard double glazed unit. You can see below some traditional glazing bar sections, typical of the Georgian and early Victorian period from Peter Nicholson's "<Mechanic's Companion>". We would be able to make all the glazing bars below and glaze them with slim unis, the only change being adding a bit of extra depth to the rebate but no change to the width that is normally around 18mm to 22mm.
As I mentioned, you'll notice I used the word "option" at the start of this write up. The reason is that when it's possible to use standard double glazed units I would always recommend doing so. Standard units are more efficient, better value and easier to get hold of. And even single glazing is still not always such a bad thing. Single glazing can't break down (you'll know if your double glazing is broken down as misty look develops inside the unit) and as long as the pane of glass is not actually broken or shattered it will last forever. Other things to bear in mind are that lead times are longer with slim glazed joinery. Due to the small size of slim units, they require a great deal of hand finishing during the production, this boils down to an extened lead times. Also the glazing takes longer. It is not accpetable to bed any double glazed units into putty, therefore we bed and seal the slim units into their rebates, this is then allowed to cure for 24 hours. We then apply the putty, the putty will then require two weeks to skin before paint can be applied and we would always recommend that paint is applied to the putty before fitting. This creates a lead time from starting the joinery to having it fully painted, ready for fitting of 8 weeks. Once you include the pricing of the job and fitting the overall project time of 9 or 10 weeks from inital inquiry to finished project. There are ways you can reduce the project time, such as not having them painted by us or sorting out your own glazing. However, do be warned, it is our experierience and only our experience that slim units really do benefit from being sent out in fully finished joinery.
So if you do have a project you think slim units might be suitable for please do get in touch, we'd be happy to share our experience with you and provide a proposal for your project 01769 572 134
I've learned through experience that writing off architects and designers ideas is often a mistake. Perhaps because working within a trade creates such a practical mind or it could be that I'm just cynical, but giving room for unique idea and working hard to get the result our client needs is important. On the project shown here, both the site contractor and I were left scratching our heads, wondering why anyone would want to back light some rough old doors. "Stud over it and plasterbaord it", "Fit some obscure glazing" were all ideas that seemed much more sensible to our practical minds. We even put those ideas forward, not through being lazy, but wanting to save the client money. But we kept going and made sure we did what was specified.
And the resuls were pretty impressive. I might of drunk the designers Kool-Aid but but the lighting really gives a glimpse of the age and original use of the building, something that is quickly lost when a renovation project is done. Making the oak doors was quite epic, due to the specification the doors finish just slighly under 90mm thick, real monsters. But it all worked out quite nicely. Although the photos are not the best, I hope you can see through the large fire resisitant units and see the old ledged barn doors with patched repairs, wooden latch and forged nails.
Although happy with our contribution it seem only right to give fair praise it seems fair to draw attention to the Architect who was great to work with throughout
Richard Boxall, Burn Valley Property, 01884 860 288
Also the contractor who we've worked with for years and always turns out a first class job.
Richard Slee, R J Slee Construction, 01769 573 907
When presented with the instruction from one of our best clients, that they'd like us to make a table top from Cedar of Lebanon, I was taken aback. It's a rare timber for starters, with only UK grown and converted wood avaialble. Luckily for me I did't have to supply the wood, the client had a storm fall tree that they'd converted a while back. It's not a species that originated here, most trees were typically planted as a specimen tree or similar. Traditionally Cedar of Lebanon has been used in the inside of furniture as it has a great fragrance and keeps moths and bugs away from your prized threads.
Each piece was a stunning 3.200mtr long x 450mm wide x 52mm thick with a view to make a top 2.900 x 850 x 47. Luckily we're well equiped with a planing machine that will cope with boards up to 520mm wide and a sanding machine that will deal with finished work up to 900mm wide. At about 560kg/m3 it's not too heavy but much heavier than the more commercially common Western Red Cedar that weighs in at around 330kg/m3. I was able to handle the seperate pieces with ease but called in help when the top was glued up.
When edge joining I always come striaght from our machine. I have read than many people favour taking a handplane to further refine the glue joint. All I can say is that I'm lucky that we have the quality equipment that get the result right first time without having to take the extra step. I normally only revert to a handplane if the work piece is to awkward to take to a machine, something like building up a stair string for a winder. The adhesive I favour for edge gluing is polyurethane adhesive, it has never failed on edge joints on a wide range of timber species and I feel it is much better than PVA or cascamite for this purpose. If you've never used it the glue foams as it sets has a bit of mixed reception by woodworkers. Perhaps people assume the foaming will fill gaps. I can only say that using polyurethane adhesive for gap filling is foolish in the extreme. The joint must fit as well as possible. The only area I don't like polyurethane glue is for gluing up joinery frames, especially with intricate mouldings. There's just too much clean up.
After sanding and moulding the edges with a small pencil round the top s ready for delivery. It's a very mellow and interesting timber to look at with nice movement in the grain. I was lucky that the two piece were defect free on the show faces and I was able to create a well matched top, the third image from the top shows that quite well. I hope the clients enjoy the new table top ad although cedar is perhaps not the best choice, it's quite nice to have a top that was made from a storm fall tree.
You wait ages for someone to ask you sharpen their saws and then two jobs come along at once. As soon as I had finished my previous client's saws I had another few arrive. Two were Spear in Jackson in black finish, not sure if it's a stealth edition they did but they were quite unsusual. They only needed minor work, just a quick touch with a file, large handsaw was crosscut, I filed the small dovetail saw rip. I was able to do that for £8.00 each. The Disston panel saw needed quite a bit more work. My client had hit a screw when cutting some wood, cutting a screw is often worse than a nail as screws are normally harder than nails. Not only were the teeth in the middle ruined but the tooth line was very hollow as you can see below.
With the straight edge touching the heel and the toe it highlighted that I had my work cut out to get the saw back into shape. After securing the saw in the vice I worked the teeth on the heel and toe with a file until the tooth line was close to straight. I could of gone for a touch more, but I often have to balance the time I spend against what the client is willing spend and the tooth line was much improved, lets say, more than accpetable. Teeth being removed shown below.
Teeth being formed again
Once the teeth were formed and sharp all that needed to be done was to add the set. For this much work I would need to charge in around £25.00. Last was the nice Spear & Jackson tenon saw. Sadly, my Woden saw vice would not allow the brass back of the saw to pass through, so I improvised and used a couple pieces of batten held in between the quick release vice on the bench.
With all the sharpening done I then took a moment to look at the etching on both the Spear & Jackon and Disston saws. The etching on both was from the same company, "John Hall Tools".
I thought it was interesting that both brands had the same etching. It didn't take long to discover that John Hall Tools were a large tool dealer selling various brands. You can read an old brocure here and see one of their shops in Bristol here . It felt good to get the Disston back into a well functioning tool, athough I had to work on the teeth the rest of the saw was in excellent condition. Hopefully the client can put all the saws to good use.