Archive for December 2012
Carpentry and Joinery BooksThursday 27th December 2012
Most of us interested in Carpentry and Joinery probably have a few books on the subject. Perhaps they are textbooks from college, reprints of old books or if you are very lucky vintage books. I am very fortunate to have a full set of "Joinery & Carpentry" printed in 1931 by The New Era Publishing Co and "The Carpenter and Joiner, Stair Builder and Hand-Railer” written by Robert Riddell and published around 1860 – 1880. Both are great reading and the books from the 1930’s have been a very useful reference. However the book by Robert Riddell is on another level.
Within Mr Riddell’s book you will find a design for a house front in wood, designs for bay windows, a design for an observatory with curved roof, the French or Mansard roof, elements of handrailing, platform stairs, plan of staircase with winders in the quarter circle, the wreath and ramp at landing of circular stairs and so much more. Although I grasp the principles of the jobs and gained further understanding the geometry involved is very complex for someone of a modest understanding (me). Any carpenter, joiner or enthusiast who has a very good understanding of geometry would get so much more from this book.
One of my favourite sections of the book is the introduction of which I will share a section with you.
The young beginner in Carpentry should start with a full determination to excel and attain eminence in a trade that is both honourable and manly. His first practical lessons begin in the workshop. Everything then depends on the use that is made of time and observation. The workmen are necessarily his real instructors: to them and all others, let his conduct be such as to merit general approval. To be civil and obliging is nothing more than the duty of an apprentice. He should at all times be willing and ready to comply with reasonable requests. Even the poorest workman is entitled to respect, who may, perhaps advance some idea that will be of service. Treasure up every valuable hint, and select, for a model, the most skilful and scientific workman. Notice with what ease and rapidity he handles tools, displaying neatness and finish in execution of all his works.
The high standard of excellence is within the reach of any one having a spark of ambition to be something more than the mere operative that plods, works, and never thinks. It was never intended that the whole of life should be spent in toil and drudgery. The mind was made for better and nobler purposes, and he who exercises in the right direction, cannot fail to succeed in any pursuit. In a word, endeavour to aim at that point of excellence just alluded to, which gives dignity and respectability to mechanic art
If you are fortunate to find a copy at a reasonable cost snap it up and enjoy.
Heritage GlassWednesday 19th December 2012
We have been fortunate enough to be refurbishing some old sliding sashes of late. Each window has needed some special attention. During the refurbishment we have made when needed new sashes, repaired the box frames and added draught resistant seals.
We also needed to replace some glazing as some panes were already cracked or we broke them when trying to remove from the old sashes. As the sliding sash windows are pre 1950 the glass in them was made before the invention of float glass. We therefore had to source appropriate glass to ensure the new glazing blended in seamlessly with the original glass.
Our client had been recommended to Pearsons Glass by a friend who had the same issues. We contacted Pearsons to discuss the options of which there are a few. We went for a Polish made glass which comes in sheets of approximately 1000mm x 1000mm. The glass arrived today and I am very pleased with the appearance. Once in it should blend in very well indeed. Our local glazing firm is taking care of the cutting and glazing. The Clients decorator is then ensuring all timber is well prepared and decorated.
By taking the extra time to source the right glass our client has windows that feel very original and avoided having the harsh float glass that on this occasion would of clashed with the old original glazing.
What is “FSC”Tuesday 11th December 2012
Maybe you have heard about it or maybe you have seen the logo stamped on a wood product you purchased. What is FSC? FSC stands for “Forest Stewardship Council” . Founded in 1993 it’s aim is to promote responsible forestry management. This was in response to concerns about deforestation and to ensure a trustworthy product was available to the public. FSC UK is a charity and supported by the woodland trust and Greenpeace.
FSC work toward eliminating illegal timber from the supply chain and promote well managed forests. When you buy an FSC product (for instance asking us to make your wooden windows from FSC certified wood) you would be given a chain of custody number such as SW-COC-005535-CD .You would then be able to search for the supplier to ensure they are audited and within a chain of custody.
It is really important to ask us for an FSC certified product as it is not something we offer as standard. Clients working with local authorities or National Parks should be aware that it usually part of the procurement process to use FSC certified timber. Falling foul of specifications could lead to situations like this . Please drop us a line if you would like to use FSC certified wood for your project.
Why Choose Wood Windows?Monday 3rd December 2012
Plastic, aluminium and other materials do have their place, but for an authentic period home, timber windows are essential. They may be a little more expensive but they ensure the original charm of a period home is retained. With certain properties they really are a must, otherwise you could detract from their value, break listed building rules and destroy our valuable heritage. If you own a period home always check with you local planning office for guidance. For North Devon Click HERE.
Wooden windows have been with us for a long time and have evolved along with our building styles. Windows of the past were well made from durable timbers; many examples are still with us today. Unfortunately the reputation of timber windows and doors suffered during the last part of the 20th century due to a focus only on bottom line cost. This of course prompted a huge surge in the use of Plastic or PVCu.
Although PVCu does have it’s applications and can sometimes be a good choice, it is not always the answer, especially in old houses. With chunky sections and clumsy lines they are not always the best choice for a period home. Many areas of the country have lost massive parts of our collective architectural heritage due to the indiscriminate fitting of inappropriate PVCu windows. It is truly sad to see this loss. No surprise that English Heritage will not allow plastic windows for older or listed properties. Click HERE for building conservations website.
On the plus side a renaissance in our interest in the built environment has prompted us to consider our buildings more carefully. If you are thinking of having windows fitted review all the options carefully and ask your local joiner for a price. You may well be surprised at how much value well made timber windows and doors could add to your home.