Surrey Carpentry

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Oak Banister Refurb - Alton, Hants

Oak Banister Refurb - Alton, Hants

Joinery – Oak bannister refurbishment – Alton, Hants

This job was a replacement of existing handrail, which was the largely undesirable 70′s “Planks nailed to the newels” look.

It’s always fun to put a sharp handsaw through those planks to make way for a nice new balustrade, and this time we used solid oak handrail, base rail and stop-chamfered oak spindles and newels with oak pyramid newel caps.

These were sourced from the Richard Burbridge American White Oak range.

The first step was to determine the height at which the existing newels should be cut, as the Richard Burbridge newels were pre-drilled to receive the handrail at the top, and spigoted at the bottom to be inserted into the stub of the old newel.

Once this was done, the existing newels could be cut, and a hole drilled in the centre to receive the spigot of the oak newel about the be inserted.

The edges of the existing newels also needed to be rounded over to match the bottom ends of the new oak newels.

Existing "plank" bannisters

Existing "plank" bannister's

Existing "plank" bannisters

Existing "plank" bannister's

Existing newels cut down, rounded over and drilled

Existing newels cut down, rounded over and drilled

Once the stub newels were ready, the new oak newels could be placed into position to be levelled. With the newels level, the handrail could now be cut to fit between the newels.

Oak handrail cut between oak newels

Oak handrail cut between oak newels

Handrail, baserail, spindles and newel caps fitted

Handrail, baserail, spindles and newel caps fitted

The finished oak bannister refurbishment

The finished and sanded up solid oak bannister refurbishment

With the newels and handrails in position, the baserails could now be fitted, followed by the spindles and newel caps.

All that was left to do now was fill the fixing holes and sand off the edges.

Another handrail success story! :)

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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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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 :)

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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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