Saturday 17 August 2013


The last week turned out to be a bit of an adventure.
After a few phone call, someone going to Liverpool passport office for me and a ferry ride, I ended up going with a friend to work in France for the week!
Leaving England behind
 The job was to fit a flight of stairs, handrail out a balcony and to second fix as much of the house as possible. We got loads done over some really long days.
Unfortunately the stairs were a nightmare to fit. Whoever had measured them to fit had given absolutely no tolerance to get them in. They had winders round a complete 180 degrees so things became a little difficult. It would have been much easier if they'd had gone in before the house was boarded or plastered. We got them in in the end but we did have to cut the wall in a few places to make them fit.
These stairs were the most awkward I've ever fitted

Not much space to get them in
 The balcony handrail also took some thinking about, this went in easy once we decided on our method and looked really smart when they were finished
Balcony to be hand railed off
 The only difficult with them was clamping the handrail to the newel posts as the glue went off. Tom and me managed to quickly knock together a wooden clamp that could be wedged up so the glue could go off over night, leaving a perfectly tight joint in the morning.
Clamping the handrail together with a quickly built clamp

The adjustable end of the clamp

Balcony handrail finished
 Tom and me worked really fast doing the second fit together, I think we were both impressed with the amount of work we got done in the time. We had a good system going and each stuck to a certain job to increase speed and keep the quality high.
Tom routing hinges out of the doors

Oak doors, pine linings and MDF architraves and skirting fitted.
All in all it was an interesting experience. I enjoyed working with Tom Weston again - who is an excellent carpenter (I think we both learnt a lot from each other) and made good friends with the plasterer, Rick, who came out with us. We worked hard and did a serious amount of hours, but I was missing my family by the end of the week so I was glad to come back to a rainy UK yesterday.
I learnt lots and got some good stories to tell, not much more you could ask for really!


  1. That was a real adventure, lucky you had someone to plaster with you. Raining here as well, nice to be home on a rain day.

    1. Yeah my wife says I normally pick jobs that are interesting rather than one that pay well

  2. Sacre bleu mon dieux.. zee problem is obvious mon amie..I zink zee problem with making zee stairs fit was that you had an English tape measure and you really needed a french one.. ;-)good work Kev.

    1. I'm quite glad that I never measured the stairs to fit! If we could have assembled them outside, took the roof off and dropped them in then they might have fitted, but with all the angles of trying to assemble them on site it was a nightmare!

  3. Good work! (And I didn't know Michael was such a smart-alec!) :-)

    1. Cheers Gorges (and I had my suspicions...)

  4. I have ten cottages to build in Angola each measuring 6x8 metres, just bedroom and en suite. You up for it?

    1. If I can prefab them here and ship them over then yes! But I think shipping costs might be a little steep and my labour might be a little more than your African labour!


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