We've had a few odd requests over the years, the most peculiar was a request for my Dad to be a life model. But this was a new one for me, Squirrel attack!!!. See below my client's email and the damage on the photo above.
"Hi Graham, I hope all is well with you. I have just gone into my sitting room to discover a squirrel it must have fallen down the chimney and got out through the log burner., anyway it has chewed every glazing bar on my lovely windows!!! I,ll attach picture. It has chewed some of the frames but I think they can be salvaged it's mainly the glazing bars."
We'll be able to repair the joinery without too much issue but it's not something I ever thought we'd add to our portfolio.
Adding a good level of security to doors is an important consideration. There are a great variety of ways to achieve this, from the reliable 5 lever sash lock to multi-point locking systems. We've used those options with great success, recently however, we were asked by a client to install a Banham lock. Before we purchased and installed the lock I will confess, I was skeptical on grounds of cost. Would this lock really offer any benefit over and above locks I was more familiar with? While I can't independently verify it will make a door more secure, my experience tells me it would surely go a long way to doing so. The photo below illustrates the point well. It's a keep which is secured to the frame for the deadbolt or latch to fit within. Now most of us must have seen a some time or another, a short clip on the news or police documentary of a door being smashed open, with the door frame being reduced to splinters in the process. The keep supplied by Banham is clever as it distributes it's fixings over a much longer length and uses more fixings than a conventional lock keep, I'd hate to try and break through a door fitted with this. The quality of the keep is exceptional too, it has a feel of a precision engineered item rather than a cheap and nasty pressed steel item.
The lock itself was of a brilliant standard too. I can recall the flat I rented when I moved out from home first was fitted with a yale night latch, the Banham version is something quite special and a good few steps ahead. While the simple Yale did its job, the Banham feels so much more robust. The lever used to activate the lock from the inside feels it would a lifetime or two and the sheer weight is quite something. I could try and inform you about other impressive things such as the key issuing, but to be honest it would be a copy and paste exercise from their website.
When we finished installing the lock on the oak door we made I was struck by how much better the project looked and felt. Actually, as odd as it may seem, using the door was more enjoyable with the Banham lock fitted. It had the feeling you get when opening the door on a high quality car or operating smooth operating drawers in quality furniture. Although the cost is significant I really do think, if you're serious about commissioning a custom door then it would be a shame not to fully consider using a quality lock to compliment the quality joinery. I'm a skeptic no longer, in my opinion a Banham lock is well worth the asking price.
My Brother has been working on improving the appearance of our office area, so far he's made a new desk and made some display cases featuring some of our old business books from the 1970's. Aside from feeling under pressure to up my game in terms of presentation, I was very interested to take a look at the contents of the books. I'm not sure if any other businesses did things like we did, but these books represent how we created invoices and quotations for jobs. I will confess this method was still in place when I started in the office too. To call it a "method" might be stretching a point. Now, I have to be reasonably computer literate, but then, it was a case of write it neatly in a book and then get the office to write it up in a legible format and do the accounting side of things. When I say "office" I mean Gran or my Mum. These days that approach, with its multiple data entry, means that method had to stop but it has created and fun little vernacular record of work that was done.
Interesting to see the pre 1973 world of Purchase TAX and then post 1973 when we adopted the European model of VAT. Further to that, a VAT rate of 8% in the late 1970's, as of 2016 it is 20%. In 1971 we charged a skilled woodworker at £0.90 an hour and an apprentice £0.36. These days, depending on task it could be between £15.00 to £30.00 depending on the task. Parana Pine was still a legal and relatively plentiful timber and also interesting to see a Quotation submitted to Esso Petroleum for work to a local service station. I must admit, part of me craves the simplicity of a few written pages in a book being all the paper work I'd need to do but at the same time things do change. Hopefully when clients and potential clients come in to visit they can see we've not been afraid to change with the times. Now, if only we could get that VAT rate back to 8%!
Casement windows are one of our most popular items of joinery, most are of "flush" design but many are "stormproof" style as well. One of the basic things we need to communicate between the the designer, craftsman and client is the handing of the casement. Thankfully it's very easy. First of all when discussing any item of joinery it is agreed we talk about it viewed from the outside of the dwelling, in the same way we read building plans or blueprints.
Then we apply a simple note to show the handing. The phrase that helps me understand how this works is "The arrow points to the hinge". You'll notice in the photos that two lines create a large triangle, it's apex is where you'll find the hinges. This should help you understand where your casement window handing. If you don't see arrow then you should assume the item is fixed or non opening.
Below you'll see a chart that's a shortcut on our casement window design system, it gives typical configurations of the most common windows although we regularly have to come up with an alternative as much of out work is unusual prototype work.
Using the codes on the chart I'll pick a few to further illustrate the point.
1A: Fixed Casement
6F: Left Hand Casement Fixed, Right Hand Casement Hung on the Right, Fanlight Hung on the top
13B: Left Hand Casement Hung on the Left, Two Central Casements Fixed, Right Hand Casement Hung on the Right.
I hope that illustrates well the handing of a casement window, if your're thinking of placing an order and are still unsure, never hesitate to ask!