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Monday, 30 January 2012

Loft Hatch and Door Hanging

Nice job today.


Changed a moulded door over to a 15 panel glazed door to start with.

Then added in a loft hatch in the garage as there was no access to the roof.

Fitted lining made on the job with stops and architrave - looked like it had been there from the start by the end. I did however notice that Wimpey Homes had only put 50mm of insulation above this customers utility room and being the nice soul I am I offered to fit the insulation while I was up there fitting some flooring at no extra charge if they got me the insulation.

A nice little job working for nice people - Good way to start the week!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Coppicing - A Bit Of Variety

Another week, another interesting job!
My brother booked me in a few weeks ago to give him a hand for 4 days coppicing along a stream for the same farmer who we did the coppicing for last year. The wood in the area has been untouched for some time and all the Hazel and alder are overstood and need coppicing back, as well as a few ash and birch.
My job mainly involves driving the tractor, operating the winch, hooking and unhooking the wood. This is as well as dragging brash - although my brothers log pick made moving timber easier (a lot less bending down). The weather today hasn't made moving stuff any easier (I think water proof trousers are something you should buy and never have to use!) and it looks worse for tomorrow.
Pretty psychical work but its good to have a change. As well as this it gives me a greater understanding (and without wanting to sound like an arse - respect) for the material I work with everyday of my life.
Mind you, when I normally work with timber I don't normally end up getting this dirty!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Hang That Door

A light week for work (for what I hope are obvious reasons) but I did go and finish a job I started last week, changing 6 doors over.


I removed some tired looking flush doors that had been filled one too many times and replaced them with some new 6 panel moulded doors supplied by the customer. I chipped away at the layers of paint on the hinges and had the old doors off in no time, but then the fun began.

The linings (frames) were all different shapes and nowhere near level or even straight. This made the job a much longer process as I basically had to scribe each door to fit each frame.

To make matters worse the doors supplied (naming no names - B&Q) must have been stacked on a pile of bananas as they were completely warped out of shape ("Oh yes we've had a lot come back" - they said). You might have to open the picture to see how bad.

I added an extra hinge to each door and made sure they were fixed firmly so hopefully they will pull back into shape (they were all working sweetly by the time I left). When I finished hanging them I chopped in all the locks and loose fitted the handles.

Then to make sure the doors wouldn't warp due to atmospheric change (heating) I gave each a coat of primer, helping the customer get that bit closer to finishing.

Off to hopefully finish the job on the hotel tomorrow (yes a Sunday!) as very few bookings mean good access to rooms.

Monday, 16 January 2012

My Greatest Creation

On Sunday at 7.30 my life changed forever. My daughter, little baby Evalyn, was born into this world weighing 6 1/2lb. Both mother and daughter are doing well although very tired
I feel such a proud Dad!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

How to fit a Door Closer

Or more to the point, how to fit 40 door closers.


I think I've got it down to a fine art now. The tricky bit is removing the old perko door closer (door closers are fitted here due to building regulations and stopping the path of a fire - not sure if you guys have the same rules in the states) these are fitted in the back edge of the door, sprung loaded and can be nasty if your finger gets caught. I've been using a pair of needle nosed mole grips (you'll get them back dad I promise) to hold the chain while I take out the screws (many have had to be drilled out due to the last carpenter rounding off the heads). When I release the mole grips it snaps together and makes you wince at the thought of your finger being in there (or at the height they're fitted at something worse)!

Then I fit a new overhead door closer (the setting out measurements are forever in my head 68mm, 105mm, 16m, 46mm) pretty easy things to fit if you read the instructions and use the templates - practice makes you faster.

Later I've got to drop back and repair all the doors where the perkos were, but access in a hotel can be a problem and it does hold me up a bit when rooms aren't available. Still the chamber maids are a good laugh and not many carpentry jobs you can wear a t-shirt in January.

Sorry if this is a boring post!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Hospital Job



Don't worry I've not cut a finger off or anything.

"Hospital job" is a term we use in the building industry for a job we can drop on anytime and fill in between our other work. To have a hospital job is great as it gives a little bit of job security, even if its only for a few weeks, it means if a customer cancels at the last minute you've got another source of income for that day or if you finish a job early you've got something to keep you going.

I've got a great one for this winter - Renovating a horse box from a rough shell to holding three horse with living quarters in the front. The only thing I've ever done like this before was when I converted an ambulance into a camper van (then travelled all round Europe in it with my now wife- but that's another story) so this should be a good challenge. The other bonus is the truck is being stored in the larger of my dads workshops (heating in January and good company - I think I'm going to be spoilt!).

The shell is pretty rough (I'm not doing the metal work on the outside - my work is just the inside) and after looking at the kitchen and units in it (and smelling them) I decided to rip them out. The last "coach" builder made a couple of mistakes, like not tanking the living quarters off from the horses so every down hill trip resulted in more urine under the floor - not a great smell. Stripping the carpet off the walls revealed more flies than I've ever seen in one place, the wall was black in places with them.

Still the dirty work is done now. Last week I managed to get a new dividing wall up, insulated and fit the ply floor base, fit ply to the rear ramp and refit all the windows (its also been painted and body work patched up) so its looking better already.

Not working on it this week, fitting 39 overhead door closers in Birmingham, but no doubt I'll be back on it again soon (it's a job that will wait for me).

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year

And sorry about the lack of posts! We're now in our new house and currently have no Internet or TV, had a manic Christmas driving round seeing friends and family and only now will our life start to get back to normal - well until the baby turns up!


The move was quite rapid with lots of helpers, although I was told off by quite a few people that I shouldn't have made my wife move at 8 months pregnant, but everyone could see why as the new house is ideal for us to bring a family up in.


[Picture looking across two of our fields at our new house- a 1950's semi]

I've got my container all set up to house my tools, made a few minor alterations to the house and unpacked lots of boxes, changed the fuel tank, put furniture back together - it pretty much felt like home the first night there.

The house is a cosy little 1950's semi-detached with open fires and a nice layout, we've then got a good sized garden and 5 acres to the side and below. This is split into three fields, all to play with, divided up with some beautiful large oak trees, a few larch, ash and willow with some patchy Hawthorne hedging. I've already had my brother there altering a few trees to allow a tractor in the bottom field!

The next year is going to be interesting! A new baby(really exciting), hopefully lots of work coming up, a smallholding to plan and get going and a new veg garden to start growing.

I'll be posting all my self sufficiency type stuff on my other blog http://keepingmyroots.blogspot.com/ which will now involve more than growing veg and a few chickens. Hopefully we can now produce more of our own meat as well as plant an orchard with a big veg garden right on our doorstep. I'll be trying to preserve as much produce as possible and hopefully we're become less dependant on the "Big Machine".

This blog will still detail what I get up to with wood (as well as the work we've got to do on the big oaks (I hope you're reading this Dave)) and I'm going to push hard for interesting and varied work on a wide variety of projects.

Thank you all for following me over the last 12 months or so, having this blog and reading everyone else has made me so more passionate about what I do (if thats possible) and its made me want to learn much more. Thanks again.

This is going to be a good year.
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