Surrey Carpentry

Professional Carpentry & Joinery Service

February 22nd, 2011 by admin
Built in Fitted Wardrobe, Woking, Surrey

Built in Fitted Wardrobe, Woking, Surrey

Built in Fitted Wardrobe, Woking, Surrey

This job was for a customer who had just moved into the house, but didn’t have room for a wardrobe that had hinged doors, and needed a lot of storage space for clothes.

In this case the solution was to use sliding doors, with hinged cupboards above. They were to be painted, so it made sense to save money and use cheap materials like softwood and MDF.

As you can see in the picture to the left, this wardrobe has three sliding doors, with six hinged doors above them. It was 2.8 metres in total length. The large blank sliding doors were brought into proportion by fixing rectangles of bead to them, giving the effect of smaller doors matching the ones above.

Shelving and first stage of framework

Shelving and first stage of framework

The upper doors are fitted

The upper doors are fitted

The sliding doors are fitted and the beading is fixed to all doors

The sliding doors are fitted and the beading is fixed to all doors

First of all, was to mark out where the shelving was to be placed. These were for folded items such as shirts or jumpers (blokes stuff!) After that, the sides of the wardrobe needed to be scribed to the wall. This can be fairly time consuming if the house is old, which this one was! The walls were all over the place!

Once the wardrobe sides were scribed they were fixed to the wall using softwood baton. The shelves could now be cut and fitted into place including the main shelf along the total length to which the sliding door gear would fixed. A runner was then fitted directly below the top track of  the sliding door, to which the bottom track would be fixed. These needed to be absolutely horizontally parallel.

The upper doors were then fitted using cabinet hinges, and adjusted accordingly to even up the gaps between them.

The hanging rail was fitted next, which ran the entire length of the wardrobe, and was safely supported at intervals using brackets fixed to the shelf above. No-one like dresses in a mess on the floor!

Last of all, the sliding doors were cut and fitted, making sure there were the correct overlaps and stops, before the beading was then pinned on. With the beading pinned on, this fitted wardrobe really came together well.

A built-in fitted wardrobe is one of the best ways to use space in a bedroom, every last centimetre is put to good use. And there is the added bonus of not having to dust the top of them all the time! :)

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The converted office, with new worktops and bookcases

The converted office, with new worktops and bookcases

Home Office Conversion – Worktops, Bookcases and Filing cabinet, Shalford, Surrey

Its always nice to bring new life to a room that when you first enter it, has a strange damp smell, no electricity, and very little appeal whatsoever. This was exactly the case when we converted a damp, dank and dark old scullery in a grade 2 listed building in Shalford, Surrey into a well spaced out, attractive and useable home office for the family.

The room was already equipped with worktops made of slate and granite, and planning control stipulated that they must remain where they were, and not be touched, even though they had seen better days.

To soften and warm up the room ready for office use, the solution was to clad the existing stone worktops in 25mm Oak-faced MDF, which would be much more pleasant for day to day use.

In addition to this, we installed bookcases with adjustable shelving throughout the room, maximising the useable storage space, and also a bespoke fitted filing drawer cabinet system, described in detail HERE.

Main existing slate worktop

Main existing slate worktop

Other existing slat worktops

Other existing slate worktops

Other existing slate worktops

Other existing slate worktops

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF being fitted

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF worktop being fitted

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF being fitted

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF worktop being fitted

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF worktop being fitted

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF worktop being fitted

First of all, we got the oak-faced MDF worktops fitted.

To do this we had to establish where the highest point of the unlevel existing slate worktops was, and use that as the datum level to which the new oak MDF worktops would be set. The necessary packers were cut and placed, and the new worktops were then cut and scribed into position. The first worktop was the main “L” shaped one, which was made of three peices, all biscuit jointed, glued, and wound together with worktop connectors, seen above.

"L" shaped worktop fitted, and being wedged down

"L" shaped worktop fitted, and being wedged down

"L" shaped worktop fitted

"L" shaped worktop fitted

Worktops 3 & 4, 3 being the top of the filing cabinet, and 4 on packers, above existing slate worktop

Worktops 3 & 4, 3 being the top of the filing cabinet, and 4 on packers, above existing slate worktop

Worktops 2, 3 and 4, came after this, in clockwise fashion. Worktop 2 was essentially the base of one of the alcove bookcases, worktop 3 was the top of the filing cabinet, and worktop 4, pictured above, went onto the last of the slate surfaces, and had to be packed up by approximately 50mm to bring it to the same level as the rest of the worktops.

Fitted bookcases

Fitted bookcases

Electricity meter cabinet

Electricity meter cabinet

Electricity meter cabinet

Electricity meter cabinet

Once all the worktops were fitted, we attached solid oak lipping to the front edge of the oak-faced mdf to conceal both the mdf core and the stone worktops beneath. Of course the lipping on worktop 4 had to be much larger that the rest of the worktops due to the extra 50mm packers between the stone and the new worktop.

The next stage was to fit the bookcases onto the new worktops. These were done in plain MDF. We scribed the sides into place and fixed a fluted trim to the front of them, which would conceal the gaps between the adjustable shelves and the sides of the bookcase.

Once they were cut to size and lipped with softwood for a better finish, the 25mm thick mdf adjustable shelves were placed on “Tonk” inset shelving strip, which allows increments of about 15mm in adjustment, so they are very versatile.

We also housed the electricity meter below the main worktop in a small cabinet to conceal it, this was also done in oak-faced MDF.

The finished oak worktop bookcase

The finished oak worktop and bookcase

Bookcase above worktop 3 and filing cabinet

Bookcase above worktop 3 and filing cabinet

Bookcase above "L" shaped main worktop

Bookcase above "L" shaped main worktop

Bookcase on worktop 4, with its solid oak cornice, and side fluting

Bookcase on worktop 4, with its solid oak cornice, and side fluting

Finally the solid oak cornice was fitted to the bookcase above worktop 4, and it really put the finishing touch to the job. The reason you now see all the books and items already on the shelves is that we planned for the painters to come and paint the plain MDF parts of the job before we came back to fit the cornice, which took a little longer to get hold of from Mayford Joinery, Mayford, as they were quite busy at the time.

In this picture, you can also see the routed fluting down the side of the bookcase, which was the same on all the other bookcases.

All in all, this job was a great deal of work, but as always, it’s great to stand back and enjoy the result.

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Bespoke fitted filing cabinet in pine and MDF - Shalford, Surrey

Bespoke fitted filing cabinet in pine and MDF - Shalford, Surrey

Bespoke Fitted Filing Cabinet in Pine & MDF – Shalford Surrey

This large, two drawer filing cabinet was done together with installation of the bookcases and worktops described here, when we converted an old scullery in a grade 2 listed building in Shalford, Surrey into an office.

Once the room was tanked and treated for damp issues, we got to work.

The scullery already had worktops made of slate, which cold, out of level, and very uncomfortable to work on by today’s standards, so in order to modernise it, and because it was a listed building meaning we could not remove or alter any of the existing features, the slate worktops were clad in 25mm Oak-Faced MDF.

Oak MDF top and plain mdf carcassing

Oak MDF top and plain mdf carcassing

Heights of oak-faced mdf worktops uniformed off various slate heights

Heights of oak-faced mdf worktops uniformed off various slate heights

Large MDF filing drawers are made to fit the carcassing before fitted using strong telescopic ball bearing drawer runners

Large MDF filing drawers are made to fit the carcassing before fitted using strong telescopic ball bearing drawer runners

First of all, we had to establish the highest point of the unlevel slate worktops, from which we could level round the height of the new oak faced MDF worktops, which would give the available internal height for the filing cabinet drawers.

With this done the  carcassing could be constructed, and then the filing cabinet drawers themselves, which were made of plain MDF, and fitted using some very robust telescopic, ball-bearing drawer runners. The drawers‘ width and depth dimensions were based on having 4 outsourced metal filing chassis’ fitted inside them, which maximized the storage space, as well as kept the cost down due to less labour in manufacturing the drawers.

Drawers fitted and working

Drawers fitted and working

Pine and MDF drawer fronts

Pine and MDF drawer fronts

Two drawer fronts per drawer breaks up the large size of the filing drawers to make them look more proportional

Two drawer fronts per drawer breaks up the large size of the filing drawers to make them look more proportional

Because of the large size of the filing cabinet drawers, we decided it would look nicer if each drawer had two drawer fronts on it to make them look more appealing and proportional. If we had actually had four drawers, we would have lost about 20cms of storage space, and it would have been more work and more money. In this case, I think we chose the best option :)

Locks fitted for security

Locks fitted for security

The completed filing cabinet, yet to be painted

The completed filing cabinet, yet to be painted

The completed filing cabinet in action, and using every millimetre of space!

The completed filing cabinet in action, and using every millimetre of space!

Security was another important factor for the client, so we happily fitted some cabinet locks to the filing drawers, a necessary addition considering the important home and work documents that will be filed in them.

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Softwood & MDF staircase with Oak & Chrome handrail - West Sussex

Softwood & MDF staircase with Oak & Chrome handrail - West Sussex

Softwood & MDF staircase with Oak & Chrome handrail – West Sussex

This was the second of two staircases I worked on in West Sussex, the main staircase can be seen here.

This staircase was built in the newly constructed section that connected two originally separate buildings together to form a large single residence. As you can see in the image to the left, the staircase is actually 3 staircases connecting 4 different levels. This is because one of the original two buildings was higher than the other.

The stairs themselves were made from softwood strings and newel stubs, with MDF treads and risers, while the handrail was from B&Q’s range of Oak and Chrome.

Routing the softwood strings

Routing the softwood strings

The staircase having been assembled

The staircase having been assembled

A single bullnose at the bottom of the middle flight of stairs

A single bullnose at the bottom of the middle flight

It was a fairly straight-forward process, as although the staircase had to connect four floors, it was only three straight flights, with no winding sections. There had to be some careful measuring before construction began, as the tread rise and going for each flight was slightly different, and a landing had to be constructed at the top of the top flight to meet regulations as there was a doorway there.

The middle flight was fitted first

The middle flight was fitted first

The bottom flight was fitted second

The bottom flight was fitted second

The top flight and landing was fitted last, before the handrail was started

The top flight and landing was fitted last, before the handrail was started

The oak and chrome handrail, newels and spindles are fitted

The oak and chrome handrail, newels and spindles are fitted

The softwood stub newels were rounded over for decorational purposes before the chrome newel bases were fitted.

Once they were on, the oak newel posts were slotted in and the chrome handrail connectors were slotted onto them once the newels were cut to the correct height ( the oak newels and the oak handrail are the same and are supplied in lengths of around 3 metres).

The oak handrail could then be fitted and the chrome spindles then followed once the oak base-rail was fixed onto the softwood strings.

I must admit that i was dubious about the appearance of the B&Q Oak and Chrome handrail system, but once it was installed, it felt fresh, clean and modern, and really did look great :)

On the other hand, B&Q sell it as something for the DIYer, but i could imagine the average non-skilled DIYer having quite a bit of trouble getting their head around some of the initial measuring and positioning of components. And this is not helped by the slight irregularities of the chrome fittings which make some easier to fit than others.

But that said, this was another job that went really well, and as always, the best part was that my customer was very pleased with it.

:)

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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!

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Another nice job in West Byfleet this week, i’ve been fitting the oak nosing that goes underneath the curved gallery ballustrading on the first floor of the house.

Here the curved sections of the oak nosing have already been fitted. 18mm of ply facing had to be cut down to take it as well as chiseling out some of the screed.

Here the curved sections of the oak nosing have already been fitted. 18mm of ply facing had to be cut down to take it as well as chiseling out some of the screed.

Once the nosings were fixed in place, the oak balustrading which had already been fabricated at Mayford Joinery could be positioned and fixed into place above  the nosing.

Once the nosings were fixed in place, the oak balustrading which had already been fabricated at Mayford Joinery could be positioned and fixed into place above the nosing.

Here some batons have been fixed to the facing. If you put a spirit level on the batons, they show as plumb, unlike the facing they are fixed to

Here some batons have been fixed to the facing. If you put a spirit level on the batons, they show as plumb, unlike the facing they are fixed to

The nosing could only be fixed on once 18mm of ply facing was cut by the thickness of the nosing, and there was some screed that needed chiseling out too. The curve of the oak nosings and the curve of the ply facing were completely different. I had to position the nosing about 25mm proud of the ply facing in some areas, in order for the apron to be able to slot up into the groove in the nosing.

Once the curved nosing  sections were fixed on, it was pretty straightforward to fit the straight sections in between the curved sections, and between the curved sections and the newels at either end.

Once all the sections of the nosings were fixed in place, the pre-fabricated curved balustrading could be positioned and fixed above the nosing. Mayford Joinery did a great job putting this balustrading together.

With the nosing in place, the next job was to mark down from the groove on the underside of the nosing, measuring how thick the batons that would be fixed to the ply facing would need to be. This was a pretty laborious job, as the ply was kinked and warping all over the place. I had to mark where each 25mm baton would go, being spaced 50mm apart, and then use a spirit level to project down from the rear side of the nosing groove and measuring the gap between the level and the ply facing at the top and bottom facing to work out how thick each baton would have to be at each end.

Batons were fixed on with a screw at the top and the bottom.

Batons were fixed on with a screw at the top and the bottom.

More batons fixed on

More batons fixed on

All batons now fixed on

All batons now fixed on

Conrad at Mayford Joinery very kindly let me mark out and cut all 74 batons at his workshop using the bandsaw. I have to say that without a bandsaw, this part of the job would have been a bit of a nightmare, and wouldn’t have been that accurate!

With all the batons tapered and numbered, it was pretty easy to fix them onto the facing, actually it was quite therapeutic!

The next job was to cut the mdf apron to size. We used a sheet of 6mm mdf with one side having been kerf-cut, allowing the mdf to bend very easily while keeping the face side very smooth for when it will be painted.

The measurement from in the groove of the oak nosing to the ceiling below was about 415mm so i cut two 420mm strips of bendy mdf, one to go into each of  the curved sections of the gallery.

Once cut, the 8' length of bendy mdf was pretty unwieldy, so i had to use a sash cramp to hold it in place. My aim here is to slot the 6mm mdf up into the 6mm groove in the oak nosing before pinning it to the batons.

Once cut, the 8

After a few minutes of trying to persuade the apron into the groove, it was becoming clear it waqs going to take more than two hands and a sash cramp to get it in it's groove, so my client jumped up and gave me a hand and we got it sorted. He took this photo too, nice guy!

After a few minutes of trying to persuade the apron into the groove, it was becoming clear it was going to take more than two hands and a sash cramp to get it in it

First section of the bendy mdf is fixed on. We did the same on the other curve. Once they were both fixed, i then just had to cut 420mm x 1232mm peice of regular 6mm mdf onto the straight section between the two curves. All that was required to fix them on was a single course of pins along the bottom edge of the apron and along the sectional joins. Where the joins met, i added an additional baton to the facing that both joining edges of the mdf could be fixed to.

First section of the bendy mdf is fixed on. We did the same on the other curve. Once they were both fixed, i then just had to cut 420mm x 1232mm peice of regular 6mm mdf onto the straight section between the two curves. Because the top edge was secured by the groove, all that was required to fix them on was a single course of pins along the bottom edge of the apron and along the sectional joins. Where the joins met, i added an additional baton to the facing that both joining edges of the mdf could be fixed to.

Once all the sections of 6mm mdf apron were fixed on, the next job was to tidy up the bottom edge, by taking off 5 or 6mm to match it to the ceiling line. This was more difficult than you might think due to the kerf-cut mdf. If i planed it, it would have broken off the kerf cuts on the back of the apron before they had become short enough not to obstruct the cover bead that would later be fitted. So i marked the ceiling line onto the mdf using a very sophisticated peice of notched out baton, placed the notch over the apron excess and slid the baton along the ceiling behind the aprons excess and used the remaining end of un-notched baton as a scribe to run my pencil along, giving me the perfect ceiling line. I then belt-sanded the apron excess up to the line.

With the apron now flush to the ceiling, the next job was to make the cover beads for the underneath of the apron.

The 35mm wide cover bead was made using 6mm mdf. The straight sections were very straight-forward and use very little material, but when it comes to the curved sections, you need to make sure you have enough material! You cant bend a straight section, you have to cut it to the radius you need, and for two curved sections of 35mm bead, you'll need nearly a whole 8' x 4' sheet of mdf

The 35mm wide cover bead was made using 6mm mdf. The straight sections were very straight-forward and use very little material, but when it comes to the curved sections, you need to make sure you have enough material! You cant bend a straight section, you have to cut it to the radius you need, and for two curved sections of 35mm bead, you

I made the curved sections of the cover bead using a router. I basically used it like an over grown pair or compasses. I cut a peice of mdf long enough to fix my router to and measure from the cutter along to the point of my radius. I then screwed through the pivot point and made sure that enought material was under the cutter of my router when i moved it along the circumference of the circle.

I made the curved sections of the cover bead using a router. I basically used it like an over grown pair or compasses. I cut a peice of mdf long enough to fix my router to and measure from the cutter along to the point of my radius. I then screwed through the pivot point and made sure that enought material was under the cutter of my router when i moved it along the circumference of the circle.

Here are the finished curved beads. I also routed a 4mm radius detail onto the edges of all the sections of bead. Quite a lot of work for something so small!

Here are the finished curved beads. I also routed a 4mm radius detail onto the edges of all the sections of bead. Quite a lot of work for something so small!

Once the routing was done, i then cut the curved beads to the right length and fixed them underneath the apron by pinning them to the same batons the apron is pinned to. Once they were on, i then cut the straight sections between the curves and the newels.

Job Done!

Me just about to pack up at the end of a produdtive day!

Me just about to pack up at the end of a productive day!

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