Although we're not a glazing company, glass forms and integral part of our projects. Selecting an appropriate glass for any job is very important, not only for safety and energy performance but also for aesthetics. You might of noticed when looking at old windows or any type of old glazing that the glass is not "perfect". Near perfect glass is a pretty recent thing, only during the 1960's did "float" glass become widespread thanks to the developments made by Alastair Pilkington and Kenneth Bickerstaff. Before their innovation in production, glass was much more costly to produce as the processes were much more labour intensive. Here's an overview of some of those earlier methods. Early glass would often be described as "Crown Glass", the process of making this glass would require blowing a hollow globe, followed by flattening, reheating then spinning to produce a piece of glass that could be cut to size. The wonderful video from LambertsGlas shows the process brilliantly.
Cylinder Blown Sheet Glass was another method that was used, similar in many respects to Crown Glass but large panes could be made this way. In this method a large cylinder is made the ends are cut off and the glass cools. The glass is then heated, cut and unrolled. The video below from Stockholms Glassworks Skansen is another brilliant demonstration.
There were other processes too, more industrial in nature that sought to make glass more cost effective. None came close to the Pilkington float method. What all these early glass making methods share is some degree of defect that sets them apart from modern methods. These defects add a subtle change in the perspective, a wobble would be a good description, that softens the look and makes it feel much more appropriate for period work. We are able to obtain and use restoration glazing methods when required, and in addition to those authentic methods, some versions of that glass can now be used as safety glass. The photo above is a piece of laminated restoration glass, you can see the amount of "wobble" very clearly. And thankfully, due to the laminated specification it's safe within this context too. One of the issues with old glass is there was no safety glass used in areas where we now consider it to be essential. Thankfully modern innovation can create the appropriate look while at the same time keeping us safe.
If you're planning some heritage joinery work, do think about the type of glazing. Yes costs will be a bit higher and the waiting time for a finish product might be increased but the final piece will be worth the effort, look excellent in a period building and help maintain our rich and diverse built environment.
The question "What do you think you could do with these shutters?" or "Do you think you can make these old shutters work?" are some of the hardest questions to answer. For people who own a Georgian, Regency or Victorian home, a set of original smoothly operating shutters are something that naturally most people want. Sadly it's not always too easy to achieve. It is always possible to have fully functioning shutters, but it can be hard work to get there. The sheer amount of time required can kill off the project before it begins. My advise to those who do want the ideal, is to accept a very rough estimate of cost, know that you can afford to spend more if required and then work with us to get the measure of success you want.
Also, don't assume that just because shutters were there that they ever did work properly. Often shutter reveals are to small to of ever proved effective, shutter leafs have often shrunk, twisted, split or all three and ironmongery may never of been up to the task. It's a case of "how long's a piece of string" as to the woe's. However, don't let that deter you, we've successfully been able to have old shutters back and working. In addition there are other ways around the problem. The photos in this blog post show a pragmatic solution to the problem. Fix the shutters and use them as decorative paneling.
Although this sounds a short cut, it's pretty common to find original shutters nailed into the reveals, covered by layers of paint. Suggestive that people got frustrated by them pretty quickly. In the project photoed, we had a series of five windows to set up and a pile of old shutters. The shutters were original to the house but no longer fitted due to the internal walls being dry lined. In addition the dry lining had reduced the depth of the shutter reveals so our only option was to create fixes panels. To do this we made small face frames to set the shutters in with a scratch bead detail. In addition we made new architraves to reflect existing designs within the house. On site it was a case of assembling the whole thing to give the look of authentic shutters. We were happy with the outcome and so was the client who then employed a painter and decorator to bring the whole thing together.
So if you want fully functioning shutters, have deep pockets and an open mind. If you don't, shutters fixed in position work well too.
In this blog post we'll give an overview of how we put together a price for your joinery, from initial phone call to a proposal for your consideration. Most people start the process with a phone call to our office, 01769 572 134. On the rare occasion we can't get to the phone you'll be put through to a secretary, not an answer machine, who'll take your details and we'll aim to get back to you within the same day. In addition, if you have plans, drawings or photos please email them using the email address on our website. As our joinery is bespoke and individually crafted to suit your situation, an appointment is normally required with one of the Directors, Graham Haydon, Daniel Haydon or Andrew Haydon who will discuss your requirements and take the necessary measurements. Depending on how busy we are a site survey can be done as early as the next day or two weeks from initial inquiry being the very longest time you should expect before a visit.
Once we have the details, we work at providing the best proposal we can. We aim to make that process as fast as possible but are mindful it does take time to make sure the materials we are sourcing are of a the right quality and are as competitively costed as possible. We use modern estimating software for the majority of our work and can provide drawings when required. As with booking a survey you can expect an proposal to be with you as soon as the next day or up to two weeks depending on how busy we are and the complexity of your project. After that point you'll have an proposal sent to you.
As you'll see from the example estimate above, we include a photo of the existing item to be replaced or a reference photo of some kind. This really helps any further discussions and avoid problems. Always make sure when reading any proposal you receive, check all details carefully. Truly we don't mean that to be patronizing in any way at all, rather it is mindful that most clients may only order bespoke joinery on a few times and like any craft, joinery has its own jargon. When comparing cost do also make sure that specifications match up. Things like timber, ironmongery, coatings and site fitting can be offered in different ways and above all, never be afraid to ask questions. We'd much rather take the time to discuss the project to ensure everything is totally clear. If your satisfied with the proposal we'll often arrange for another, more detailed survey for making the item, raise a Purchase Order for you to approve and normally a deposit invoice too.
This might seem very boring stuff, but I know from personal experience how hard it is to understand processes and jargon when you've not used a service before.
It's been a while since we were first introduced to Accoya and it's proved itself to be a useful and versatile timber. We've worked with it on a diverse range of projects, from the contemporary style conservatory shown above along with cladding and general joinery. During this time we've learned a lot about how Accoya differs from other timbers and how to get the best out of it. Although we've found the wood very good in service, it's not yet become a default recommendation to our customers. With such a diverse amount of timber suitable for exterior joinery, Accoya finds itself in an already crowded marketplace, and with many of our suppliers now offering FSC certified, durable hardwoods it has to earn its keep.
The main benefit of the timber for our customers is its durability. If there is a job where the conditions are highly exposed and there have been rot issues before, Accoya is something we look to first. We've also found it works brilliantly with traditional linseed oil paints. With our experience I would look to Accoya first on authentic, single glazed heritage style work. Although single glazing has its issues, there are listed properties that do need to retain the single glazing detail. One issue with single glazing work in service is condensation, coupled with modern living it's not unusual to see windows "streaming" with water. The condensation then pools on glazing bars and rails and even with the best work, some of this pooling water can find its way behind glazing and start to become a catalyst for rot. Thankfully with Accoya's excellent durability, the issues with rot become controlled, at least to some extent. However, don't be fooled, although Accoya has excellent durability, normal maintenance routines must be adhered to.
The Medite Tricoya product, which is the sheet material product made from the same process as Accoya has been brilliant. The only barrier to using it more is its high cost relative to other solutions. But in a similar fashion to Accoya it's durability is a boon. We have been disappointed with the quality of ply for some time and Tricoya can be used in some situations to reduce these issue a great deal. Places like box ends on fascia boards, exposed panels on doors or similar situations have proved successful.
So for us, Accoya is firmly part of the picture for providing good quality joinery. It'll be interesting to see how this evolves over time, and as stated above, if rot is the overriding risk in your situation then Accoya could be an excellent choice.