Monday, 9 February 2015

A good job made great by the smallest details - The plus side of having an extensive range available for overnight shipping

During the middle of January, I had a call from a friend of mine who is a plumber.  He was in need of some carpentry work at a job he was working, and didn't have the time to refit the three bathrooms as well....

One task was to build a door to cover this newly found spot under the stairs - This often happens in newer houses and conversions as the plan shows the stairs taking up the whole area, and no one thinks to use it as storage. It needed trimming out around the edges and some kind of door to fill the void.

Downstairs, the customer wanted to better use the space either side of the door to the kitchen, for storing the ironing board, boots and coats, so they asked for two cupboards to be built, again with matching doors. You can also just about see in the pictures that several sockets and even an alarm sensor had to be moved to make room for the new stud work. The positioning was quite tricky as I wanted them to be the same depth, but had a consumer unit on the right to cover, and sockets all over the place, as well as an under floor water pipe feeding the outside tap!

Building the stud work, plasterboard (drywall) and then skimming (that's plastering the proper way to anyone reading this in the states ;-) ), was really easy and fairly basic, even making the door linings from scratch rather than buying of the peg packs was straight forward. The doors on the other hand were where the fun started, as the customer had asked that they be similar to the current doors. - I took this as they have to be an exact match! :-)

These are the doors I had try match, they are a "Bead and Butt" on the front, with ledges on the back, no braces, similar to garden gate designs. The ledges on the back are chamfered on all four edges as well.

The architraves also had the same profile to match as well. It's easy enough to do with a router, but to match the existing profiles, I needed a cutter the same size. It's a fairly specialist bit and I doubt many people will have one, and if you do, I doubt you use it much. I only had one, it's not been used for ages, and predictably it was the wrong size! :-)

By measuring the the existing mouldings, and checking the catalogues, I found Trend routing have a great selection of bits like this in not only different sizes, but also different price bracket as well, 

I took a note of the part number I thought I wanted and rang to see how quickly I could get it. After a quick chat with Trend, we worked out that I'd actually picked the wrong one...... These cutters are listed under the radius of the bead, I had measured the diameter of it and asked for a cutter twice the size I needed. Once they pointed this out, the part was in stock and dispatched the same day, shipped  over night and arrived on site just when it was needed! The reason I've used Trend for such a long time is because of their great customer service and you can't ask for a better service than that. :-) Thanks Trend!

Trend T5 router fitted with the 9/72X1/4TC corner bead cutter.

With the right cutter I was able to match the existing mouldings in the house - staining would be the later headache! Luckily the plumber thought to save a lot of skirting board from the bathroom he was doing so this made for a perfect match.

Making the doors turned out to be a pretty simple task, the hardest part was putting the beads on them as I had to do it in a hand held router rather than on a table. Since I was routing on a narrow edge, I added a simple support to the routers fence to support the work - if you wobble on the narrow edge, it ruins the bead, and looks terrible! And yes I'm still using those Piher PRL clamps from the previous articles - and yes they are still great!

The chamfers on the door ledges were simply cut using a chamfering bit in the router. I've found I use my Festool MFT sustainer lots more than I thought I would, and the prototype Piher clamps work great in combination with it. Makes jobs like this on site far easier than before. :-)

My three favourite brands, in no particular order, all working together: Trend, Piher & Festool.
So with everything assembled I was ready to hang the doors. Although I didn't take pictures of this part, I actually used my Trend Skeleton Hinge Jig (there's and earlier post on this for those interested), which really sped up the hanging of the doors.

The plumber nearly had a seizure when he saw me setting up to sand the door down in the room he'd just meticulously cleaned and vacated! Not a spec of dust was left!

All the doors were then stained with a base coat of Mid Oak, water based stain, to see how it would darken, then a coat of spirit based Mid Oak, both from liberon UK. After that A coat of Mid oak Briwax - I don't normally use Briwax, mostly because it STINKS! But I had some left over from christmas reindeer from a few years back, it was a good colour match, and an opportunity to use it up.
(Normally I'd go with Liberon's, Black Bison Wax, because it smells much nicer).

Both the customer and the plumber were pleased, as was I. It was a fun job, and took 4 days to complete. I didn't want this to be a brand infused "In your face, advertising fest". I mentioned them as several points came to me. I have a few brand toys, and although they are not the cheapest tools out there, they go along way to speeding up the way I work, and make the end result better quality. This saving then gets passed back to customers, and hopefully means I am able to make a more competitive quote for future work. Something to think about.

I do not get paid by, nor do I work for, any of the companies mentioned in this post.

If you have any of the tools or parts mentioned above, I'd love to hear from you to find out your experiences - good or bad! Comments and shares go a long way to supporting me at