Thursday 31 May 2012


With the structural work of the prison ceilings done I decided it was time for a change. I had enjoyed the prison job and it was a very different experience (counting tools in and out, etc) but the drive was killing me and there was only boarding left which could be left to labourers.
I'd had a phone call a few weeks earlier from a carpenter, who I knew from when I was an apprentice, offering me some work in a large house that he is renovating . He wanted people who could put quality first and had experience of working on large high spec projects. The job sounded right up my street so I jumped at the chance.
The location is beautiful, with rolling Herefordshire countryside all around, miles from anywhere - very different to working in Birmingham, no need to lock the van here!
Studding under the roof truss
I started on some large stud work under a roof truss.
Using a chalk line to line up the noggins
I'm pretty sure there's no more enjoyable prospect than a pile of clean straight 4x2, a nail gun, a mitre saw and some stud walls to put up.
High ceilings make it interesting
Adding the ply which is part of the sound proofing for the room
I do love being a carpenter! I had a great couple of days and I'm going back after the bank holidays next week. Hopefully there will be some more jobs like this to get my teeth into.
Anyone else got a bit of their job they love?

Sunday 20 May 2012

Ceiling Repair

A Bit of Restoration Work

This is some work I did a few weeks ago for a long standing customer. They live in a beautiful old Rectory in a near by village and I love working on the house.
The work was a semi emergency repair to a ceiling in one of their B&B rooms. I say "semi emergency" as I was there to look at some other work they wanted doing and she showed it me this as "future work" but I thought it was a little too dangerous to leave any longer.
A past leak in the roof had cause the lath to rot and plaster to crack
I arranged to do all the work while they were on holiday so there would be no disturbance to them and it would be all painted and cleaned up by the time they got back.
Getting the scaffold up there was the hardest part, it all has to go up slowly to avoid damaging any walls, door or paintings. I also cut sheets of ply to protect the floor and wallpaper.
The loose plaster removed and rotten lath - the roof is no longer leaking!
I only had to touch the cracked area and it came down on top of me! Messy job - I wouldn't have wanted to leave this repair any longer!
Now for the bit of controversy - the modern repair.
I'm afraid to say that no lath went back up. Instead two layers of plasterboard to bring it out to somewhere near the same level as the old plaster. And also no lime plaster was used just multifinish as this repair needed to be finished in the week with paying customers due in the B&B at the weekend - no chance of waiting for lime plaster to dry!
I first framed the hole out to make sure there was plenty of fixings for the plaster board, then cut the boards so there was minimum gaps all the way round.
The hole boarded out ready for plastering
I got my friend, Sean, to plaster the repair and blend it in with the old ceiling, I like using top tradesmen I can trust when it's not my area of expertise and I've known Sean for many years andhis work is always of a high standard.
This repair may crack slightly in the future at the joint between old and new, but that can be filled if needed and will blend with some of the other cracks already in the ceiling, i do think this will be minimal though from past experience.
Sean plastering and blending it in
I then waited a few days for it to dry before giving it about 5 coats of paint and removing all the other evidence that I'd been there.
She was a happy customer when she returned from her holiday! No mess and a B&B room ready to hire out with no risk of a ceiling dropping on any ones head!

Saturday 12 May 2012

Oak Key Organiser

The other day I finished the key holder mentioned in utility room revamp.
The finished organiser
Hammered in hooks
With blacksmithed hooks and painted black label holders above to complete the look, I'm quite pleased with the way it came out. I'm glad I made the effort of routing a grove as a border round the outside otherwise I think it would have been too plain.

Sunday 6 May 2012

What? No Picture?

Well for last week I've been in a high security prison and I'll be there for a few more weeks yet. I should stress that I'm working there not doing hard time!
Although the job is quite far from glamorous I wasn't really in a position to turn the work down.
There's quite a few downsides to this job, I can't take any pictures of the work we're doing (for obvious reasons) but we're basically removing 8 suspended ceilings and replacing them with timber ones. I'm running the job and its a nightmare to organise deliveries at a certain time and the materials can only be outside for so long - the companies supplying the good never quite understand until their delivery has been turned away.
On the plus side our guards are nice enough and it's certainly an interesting place to work. Shame it's taking me 3 1/4 hours to drive home each night - long enough to put a dampener on any job!
Anyone else worked in an "interesting" place?
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