Surrey Carpentry

Professional Carpentry & Joinery Service

December 16th, 2009 by admin
Continuous oak handrail - Alton

Continuous oak handrail and spindles - Alton

Continuous oak handrail and spindles – Alton

This job was actually for my grandmother.

The image to the left shows the finished job, having installed the continuous oak handrail and spindles on to the staircase that before i started,  actually had no safety measures in place whatsoever! And what kind of wood-working grandson would I be if I simply allowed my grandmother to continue dicing with death up and down an unsafe staircase?!

As you can see in the picture to the left, the spindles are morticed into the cut string, and at the top eventually diminish into a rail on the ceiling.

This meant that in order to have a single handrail all the way up on the right side the staircase, there had to be an “S” bend in the handrail for it to get around the ceiling.

"S" bend in the oak handrail

"S" bend in the oak handrail

Continuous handrail is shaped around the ceiling

Continuous handrail is shaped around the ceiling

Staggered oak spindle to avoid awkward joint to handrail

Staggered oak spindle to avoid awkward joint to handrail

Up until the “S” bend, the oak spindles were slotted into a groove on the underside of the handrail. Above the “S” bend, the handrail had no groove, as the spindles were no longer underneath the handrail, since they diminished into the ceiling, and it was bracketed to the wall.

The “S” bend however presented difficulties when it came to joining it to the spindle that was underneath it. I got over this by chopping the top of the spindle at the same angle as the pitch of the staircase, and about 40mm below the handrail. I then chopped another small peice of the spare oak spindle with the same angle at either end, and glued that to the shortened spindle, before finally chopping a 3rd small peice angled at the bottom end but square at the top, and glued this to the 2nd peice, which left me with staggered spindle that missed the “S” bend of the oak handrail, and joined neatly into, and formed the first spindle of the ceiling rail.

Its funny how the smallest jobs can sound so confusing!

The end result was a good one though, and a big plus is that my grandmother is now safe :)

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Double winding staircase in softwood & MDF

Double winding staircase in softwood & MDF

Double Winding Staircase in softwood & MDF-Guildford.

This was another staircase built on site.

It leads from the first floor of a semi-detached house in Guildford up to a loft conversion on the second floor.

The strings (sides of the staircase) and the newels were in softwood, and the treads and risers were in MDF.

There were two winding sections, one three “kite” tread section as you step on to the staircase, turning right as you go up, then a six tread straight flight before arriving at the second three “kite” tread winding section turning again to the right and onto the second floor landing.

This staircase was directly above the staircase from the ground floor to the second floor, allowing the required minimum 2 metres of headroom between the two.

The Process

Setting out the staircase

Setting out the staircase

Routing the strings

Routing the strings

Gluing the risers into the treads

Gluing the risers into the treads

Sanding the strings before assembly

Sanding the strings before assembly

Assembling the straight flight section

Assembling the straight flight section

Trying the newel posts on

Trying the newel posts and winding treads

Fitting the staircase, main section first.

Fitting the staircase, main section first.

Fitting the winding treads

Fitting the winding treads

Fitting the handrail and spindles

Fitting the handrail and spindles

Installation complete, ready to be decorated and carpeted

Installation complete, ready to be decorated and carpeted

I always find staircases extremely satisfying to do.

When done well, they add a great deal of character to any house.

In this case, there wasn’t a huge amount of space to work in while making the staircase, but it is always an advantage to have the place where the stairs are going to end up close by so that any measurements that you need during the job are there to hand and progress is not hindered.

I love getting rid of the ladder that has been used upto the point of staircase installation and standing back and enjoying a newly fitted staircase. And everyone else working on the site is always pleased to not have to carry all their tools up and down ladders anymore too!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

December 13th, 2009 by admin
Newly fitted bannisters

Newly fitted banisters

Newly fitted banisters in St Johns, Woking

As a carpenter and joiner, it’s always a pleasure to bring wooden furniture and household features up to date.

What you see to the left is the newly fitted banisters that replaced some that were fairly out of date.

In this case, the square newel posts were kept as they were, and we installed new handrail, base-rail, spindles and newel caps, which were sourced by the customer from Wickes in St Johns, Woking.

Once i have met with the customer and advised them on what their options are, with replacement handrail jobs,  I usually suggest that the customer gets hold of the materials themselves, because that way, they get what they want and they know that they are paying the right price.

Currently, i am hearing from a lot people who would like to have their staircase modernized. When house were being built in the 70s and 80s, it was then fashionable to have the horizontal boarding fitted between the newel posts, but nowadays it isn’t so desirable. Another concern, particularly for this customer, is that their young toddlers could be very tempted to use the horizontal banisters as a climbing frame, which could very easily end in tears!

The Process

70s/80s horizontal bannisters to be removed

70s/80s horizontal banisters to be removed

Old bannisters being removed

Old banisters being removed

Old bannisters now removed and old holes filled

Old banisters now removed and old holes filled

The first thing to do was to put down all the dust sheets to protect the carpet from the majority of the dust.

Next was to remove the existing newel caps and cut out the handrail and balustrading using a handsaw. Once this was done, the tops of the newels needed to be prepared to fit the recess of the new newel caps.

I used angle brackets to fix the new handrail to the existing newels, which had to be rebated into both the newels and the new handrail, so that they wouldn’t be seen once the rebates were filled.

As always with old staircases, over time, the newels had shrunken out of square, so careful measurements and recording of angles had to be made in order to cut the ends of the handrails and base-rails so that they joined nicely to the newel posts.

Once the new handrails and base-rails were fitted, i used two part filler to make good the small holes and cracks around where i had filled the old holes with timber, and sanded everything flat to give a good surface to be decorated.

Spindles now installed

Spindles now installed

Next was fitting the spindles, which required calculating the equal spaces between each, and then cutting the spacers to the right size.

This is one of my favourite parts of this kind of job, because once you have the spacers and the spindles all cut to the right length and angle, fitting them is a very quick job, providing you have a nail gun (which i do!). If you only have a hammer and nails, than it will take about 6 or 7 times as long, but in comparison to the rest of the job, which can be quite strenuous and laborious, it is a real breeze, which is all the nicer when it is the last part of the job!

This job took a bit longer than a normal working day, but I stayed a bit longer in this case to get it finished, as leaving it unfinished wouldn’t be safe for the customers young children.

The customers very kindly let me work on their banisters while they were out, so as to let me get on with it as efficiently as possible. The job was finished within the timescale quoted, and all in all, everyone was happy!

A nice job :)

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

December 1st, 2009 by admin
Dual Pitched Gable Valley Roof - Godalming

Dual Pitched Gable Valley Roof - Godalming

< The end product

We had to get over a few minor architect glitches on this roof.

Viewed from the top, the shape of the new extention onto which we built the roof was an ‘L’ shape, hence the valley rafter, and gable ended at both ends.

It was a dual pitch roof, meaning that the side of the roof you can’t see in the photo to the left was 45 degrees and a lot shorter and steeper than the side you can see, which was  at 17 degrees pitch, longer and shallower.

The original plan, i believe, was for the shallow side of the roof to be 22 degrees, but if we had gone ahead with that, the part of the roof which attached to the house would have been half way up the glass in the windows upstairs, which would’ve made taking this photo rather difficult!

The process

Steel ridge beam with timber bolted to it

Steel ridge beam with timber bolted to it

First common rafter goes in

First common rafter goes in

Once the builders had raised the brickwork and fixed the timber wall plate on, the first thing we needed to do was to position the steel ridge beam, which had been clad in timber so that all the rafters could be fixed to it.

You can see in the photo to the right how the pitches and lengths (run(s)) of the roof are very different.

Once the first rafter had been cut and tried in, I used it as a template to cut the rest, and then repeated the process for the 45 degree side of the roof.

Valley rafter

Valley rafter

Common rafters with spaces for velux's

Common rafters with spaces for velux's

I cut the valley rafter in, shown left, before fixing the common rafters. Its easier to get them in first and work up to them with the common rafters, shown right.The shallow side of the roof had three velux’s in the far section with another two in the steep side, and two in the section attached to the existing house.

Openings for velux's and view of dual pitches

Openings for velux's and view of dual pitches

45 degree pitch with velux's, sprockets and facia

45 degree pitch with velux's, sprockets and facia

Roofers felting, batoning & tiling the roof

Roofers felting, batoning & tiling the roof

Once the common rafters were in, the trimmers were fitted to form the openings for the velux’s, and the common rafters were noggined for stability above the wallplates.

The jack rafters were then fixed to the ridge beam and vally rafter, before cutting some sprockets to be fitted to the ends of the short steep rafters to support the lowest coarse of tiles.

Once the sprockets were on, the soffits and facias were fitted, ready for the roofers to come and make it watertight, a very celebrated event in the english weather let me tell you!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Roofs | No Comments