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Accoya Conservatory

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.

Squirrel Attack

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.

Banham Lock

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.

Banham lock South West

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.

Banham Locks Devon

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.

Joinery Business Books

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.

Woodworking Book

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%!

Woodworking Business Book 1970's