TOP TIPS FOR WINNING NEW BUSINESS FOR SUBCONTRACTORS

Running a small or specialist business can have its pros and cons. On one hand, offering a niche service can offer you a monopoly on the market. On the other hand, not being able to win new contracts to sustain the business could land you in hot water.

Small business often find that they are restricted by resources and budget, and many find themselves stretched thin with the general day to day running of the company. This can mean that prioritising sales can quickly fall to the bottom of the to do list, especially if you’re not a natural salesperson and don’t know where to begin. However, when it really boils down, if you’re not promoting yourselves and nobody knows about your services, you could be faced with a bleak future.   

Luckily for you, help is at hand, and we’ve put together a list of tried and tested top tips, to help you get on track, win new business, and to help keep the wolves from the door.

View-of-St-Paul's

Identify potential clients and find out how to get on their supply chain

Although this might seem obvious, without having a clear idea of who you want to work with could lead to a lot of miss directed efforts and a less than fruitful yield.

Start by making a list of the top 20 companies you want to work for, and then do some research into their tender process. Sometimes it can be as simple as applying via their website to be added to their supply chain. If there isn’t an option on their website, try reaching out to them via social media. If all else fails, pick up the phone. It might seem taxing at the time, but it’s guaranteed to put you under the radar of the buyers and opens up opportunities to tender and win new jobs.

Do you have relevant industry accreditation?

Although these aren’t essential, being able to prove that you can meet strict industry standards and work to a high level helps prove your credibility.

Networking events

Although this might seem daunting, getting to know other business owners in the trade is a great way to build rapport and trust. It’s also great for recommendations and is far more effective than receiving a cold email.

Avoid going in with a hard-edged salesy approach, and show a genuine interest. Ask questions about their business requirements and offer solutions.

Three-women-meeting

Tap into your local resources

Take a deep dive into public sector contracts using this handy Contract Finder tool and you could find yourself coming up trumps. With a multitude of regularly updated tender directories up for grabs, it’s a great way to win new business and keep up to date with local developments.

Take advantage of your borough benefits by reading up on section 106. This government initiative between Local Authorities and developers will favour local suppliers. Register for their online portal for additional pricing opportunities.  

Do you have an online presence and is it up to scratch?

There’s no denying that we are living in a digital age, and having a digital presence is crucial to the success of any business. If like the joinery, you have previously relied on repeat business or recommendations, you might find that you are limiting your potential, and stunting the growth of the business. So get online and tap into a larger network.

Having a low-quality website that doesn’t represent the company well can have an equally as negative effect as not having a website at all. So try to look at your website or digital platforms objectively and try to think about the message that you’re trying to convey. What makes your business unique, what are your values and company ethos?

People-at-work

Invest in marketing

If you don’t know how to do this yourself or simply don’t have the time, get a professional in. Having someone who can set up your accounts efficiently and get the maximum results is a no-brainer, and will save you time trying to learn the ropes yourself.

By investing in marketing you can start to build your brand and audience, tell your story and create trust.

Prove the quality of your work with case studies and testimonials

A great way to create trust is by telling your potential client base about the work that you have done. Take this one step further ask your client for a short testimonial. Having these touch points will get your audience a clear idea of the quality of your work and will help them visualise what you can do for them.

We hope that you have found this guide useful, but if you have any questions or would like to discuss your joinery requirements with us, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

FOUR EASY STEPS TO PROTECTING YOUR TIMBER DURING WINTER

During the winter months, the cold and wet weather can have a disastrous effect on your external timber. Being a natural material it will react to its surroundings. If left exposed to the elements and untreated, you might find yourself faced with damages. If like most you are keen to avoid having to fork out on hefty repairs, now’s the time to think about weatherproofing your timber.

Moisture and mould

One of the main causes of rot is moisture and mould. Once your timber has been affected by one or both it can be tricky to reverse the damage. Therefore it is important to take preventative measures to help nip it in the bud.

Luckily for you, future proofing timber can be achieved in four easy steps and we’re going to show you how:

Step 1: prepare and clean

Before applying any paint be sure to clean your timber with a none abrasive sponge or brush. If there is any peeling or chipped paint, you should also consider lightly sanding those areas. Be sure to wipe away any dust and residue. Then using warm water and soap, wash away any dirt or mould, and wait for your timber to dry.

Step 2: inspect and repair

Once your timber has been washed and dried. Inspect the wood for any holes or surface damage and if needed fill them in where necessary.

Step 3: Choosing the right paint for you

There’s a huge variety of waterproof wood paint, and ultimately they don’t differ too much in quality. However, our personal favourite is the Ronseal 10 Year Weatherproof Wood Paint, they’ve even provided a handy application guide to help you get the best results. But do your research to ensure that you are able to find the best paint that suits your requirements.

Step 4: waterproof and seal

Once step one to three have been completed you are now ready to apply the waterproof coating. Paint liberally to ensure that you cover every nook and cranny.

We would advise that to keep your timber protected all year round that you should conduct regular seasonal inspections and be sure to repeat this process annually. Although this may seem time-consuming in the short term, in the long term it will put you in good stead and will save you a fortune in repairs.

We hope that you enjoyed reading this article, and you have any questions or would like to discuss any upcoming project, get in touch today.

THE JOINERY MAKES MACMILLAN OUR PRINCIPLE CHARITY

Macmillan logo

This September saw our amazing staff bake up a storm and work together to help fundraise for the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Support. 

Sadly, each year almost 120,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer, and many of our employees had a personal connection to the cause and felt passionately doing their bit to kick cancer once and for all.

With this motivation in mind, the Jerram Group have named MacMillan as our principle charity of choice and will continue to host fundraising events going forward.

Macmillan cancer support bake sale

The day was a huge success, and our team were proud to be able to present a cheque to Macmillan Cancer Support and help spread their important message. Together with our sister company we were able to raise £593.96 for this amazing charity.

We want to thank everyone who baked, bought, and donated to the event, because no matter how big or small the donation, every penny counts.   

WORKSHOP WISH LIST OF OUR TOP 10 JOINERY MACHINES

In the workshop our joiners are always discussing new joinery techniques and practices to help increase efficiency and boost productivity. One topic that always seems make its way into the conversation is the desire to continually purchase new machinery.

Joiners pick

It is widely felt among the team that by doing so it will help cut lead time in half and reduce the potential for error and waste.  Although we pride ourselves in our continued investment in machinery, at times it difficult to justify upgrades when restricted by budget. So even though we can’t always have the latest shiniest new toys , it’s always important to dream big, and so we’ve created a workshop wish list of the top ten machines that we’ve got our eye on. 

LeaderMac planer moulder

This heavy duty, cast iron planer, comes fully loaded with six head pre-straightening blades, offering the user versatility. With features including: chrome bed plates, driven bed rollers, full carden drive feed system, pneumatic pressures centralised lubrication system and electronic setting to front side head/top head and beam.

Used to make parallel indents for door frames and other furniture pieces. This machine is equipped with a cutter unit and two saw units to allow the machining of 45° cut. The F9 model machine automatically single both cases and single crosspieces. The locking of the pieces takes place automatically at the beginning of each cycle. The same takes place for the release of the pieces at the end of each cycle. 

Omec F9
Vertical CNC Processing Center DRILLTEQ V-200

This versatile machine is a heavy hitter and can be used for drilling, trimming and grooving. There so much that comes packed in to this might machine, saving time, energy, and money. 

This compact spindle cutter is highly functional with a user friendly control system and is the ideal machine for any company as it provides an effective way to expand manufacturing options in trade and industry. With its individual customisation options, it is the perfect spindle cutter for a wide variety of applications.
 
Spindle moulder T12
TN4000 PORTABLE RF WOOD WELDER

The R.F. generator produces radio waves, through a pair of triode valves. it is then modified to 27 megahertz and passed down the coaxial cable to the hand gun. The electrodes on the hand gun are placed over the glue line and when the trigger on the hand gun is activated the radio waves pass into the glue line. The Radio waves vibrate the water molecules in the glue, this vibration causes heat and the heat sets off the glue, all within seconds. 

This newly upgraded tool has some special features that have left us weak at the knees. A front cover has been added to enclose the cutter chain as part of the new EU regulations and some electrical parts have been changed to comply with the electromagnetic compatibility-requirement. This tool is ideal for making mortises and notches quickly, make it the ultimate time saver.  

MAKITA 7104L
ForKa ECO

If you’re looking for a tool that’s both fast and effective look no further. This little pocket rocket can be used for convex and concave edges as well as straight edges, and processes ABS-, PVC- and solid wood strip edging. With a minimum inner radius of 25 mm is possible, and a fast warm up time. this ForKa is the perfect addition to any workshop.

Press structure is composed by fe 430 beams assembled and welded together. Fixed and movable platen structure composed by fe 430 beams assembled and welded together. All reference planes are machined by mean of cnc tool-machines to ensure a perfect parallelism during the final assembling of the press.

oil heated press
JOST BIG BOY 315 X 460MM 230V LARGE SURFACE SANDER

The Big Boy orbital sander is especially suitable for the sanding of large surfaces. Its innovative extraction system together with the UseIT abrasives gives you fast, cost saving and dust free sanding and the full processing spectrum is possible, from coarse sanding to polishing. 

The standard features of Binks MX4/32 air assisted airless & pumps position them as the premier choice for high speed surge free paint delivery. The pumps have undergone new design in pump technology utilizing patented magnetic detents to dramatically enhance smooth pump operation and change over with no pulse to provide the best “surge free” paint delivery for the perfect finish.

Binks MX 4-32 - Pneumatic Air Assisted Airless Package

We hope you’ve enjoyed our round up of our top ten favorite tools. If you have any questions regarding any of our services, why not get in touch and discuss your requirements today 

FUTURE PROOFING THE WORKFORCE

With an ageing workforce and fewer people choosing to enter the joinery and carpentry profession, it’s now more vital than ever for joinery companies such as ours, to take charge and create more employment opportunities for young people, as well as nurture and develop their skill set to help future-proof the industry.

Two-joiners-transporting-timber-in-the-workshop

Partnering up

Over the years we have partnered up with various institutions to help promote our apprenticeship scheme and over the course of this year we were delighted to join forces with Havering Collage, the City of Westminster Collage, and Building Crafts College Stratford, where we were able to roll out the scheme, that offers hands-on, practical work experience, and allows the students to shadow our highly skilled specialist team so that they can learn on the job.

Collage logo banner

Joinery apprenticeship scheme

Using our in-house training system, the student is exposed to every element of the job, from being given access to our 3D Solidworks software, where they will be tasked with creating their own designs, right down to being trained on the tools and machinery in the workshop. All we ask for in return is a passion for joinery, and the enthusiasm to learn. 

Joiner in the workshop

This year we welcomed 17-year-old Stanley to the workshop. Having completed work experience with us, we were so impressed with his work that we offered him a paid apprenticeship, which he is able to do alongside his collage course so that he can earn while he learns.

Stan and Lee in the workshop

Many of our apprentices are currently in the process of completing their studies, and once they pass their exams they are able to progress to positions of responsibility within the company.

If you would like to know more about the scheme or get involved, please visit our work experience and apprenticeship page for more details; or if you would prefer to discuss this with a member of the team – get in touch.

BIM FOR SUBCONTRACTORS – ARE YOU READY?

2011 the UK Government published the Construction Strategy mandating the use of Level 2, 3D Collaborative Building Information Modelling (BIM) on all central government construction projects by 2016, irrespective of project value.
Fast forward to the present, and we are increasingly seeing projects being built twice, one digitally and the other perfectly on site.

Through the implementation of BIM we have been able to construct buildings and infrastructure digitally, which has allowed organizations to identify and resolve issues prior to the start of construction, which has led to reduced risk and error and has attributed to increased efficiency and profit.

BIM software

But what impact will this have on subcontractors and small businesses that are faced with financial barriers?

When the mandate was first imposed for 2016, a number of architects and main contractors were already able to deliver projects in BIM, allowing them to sail through the chain of custody without a hitch. Although great for some, this, unfortunately, had a negative effect on small business and subcontractors who were unable to adapt as quickly and comply with new regulations, which has led to the loss of opportunities and work and poses the threat of liquidation.

Despite the benefits of BIM being undeniable, the sky-high fees have presented significant barriers for smaller business and specialist subcontractors as they struggle to justify the value of the software and weigh up the return of investment.

For some specialists with fewer than five employees, such as joinery, fit-out companies, plasters etc. the obstacles have overwhelmed them and created a reluctance to up skill, which to their detriment has prevented them from being able to work with as many main contractors who have now started to demand BIM as a compulsory requirement.

How will main contractors overcome the skill shortage in specialist sectors?

With the construction industry facing a skill shortage in specialist sectors, main contractors are also facing hardships as they struggle to find a highly skilled workforce that is compliant and able to take on the work.With both parties experiencing the knock-on effects of the mandate, it’s clear that there is a definite training defect within the industry that needs to be addressed.

Funding and support from main contractors

Although things may seem bleak for the small business owner, having a niche trade could, in fact, prove to be in their favour, especially if they have pre-existing or long-standing partnerships with main contractors.

In order for organizations to start a BIM project, they must first demonstrate that they are able to deliver in the environment and that all parties involved in the project are onboard with the process from the get-go. This means that main contractors are faced with two options. They either need to train their supply chain or seek out new suppliers who are BIM compatible.

Although both options present various pros and cons, the latter may present greater risks if the main contractor is unfamiliar with their work, which could lead to potential delays if the new supplier is unreliable. With the being said the main contractor might also find that the pool of specialist contractors is a sparse one to choose from.

BIM funding

Who is responsible for implementing BIM?

Without having a BIM compatible supply chain, main contractors will struggle to deliver on projects, and equally, without upskilling the workforce, subcontractors will face a loss. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that BIM was implemented to promote collaboration across the supply chain.

As it stands if you’re a small business who is at risk of being left behind, now is the time to take action as neither party can thrive without the other.

Although there is still a long way to go in terms of establishing responsibility for implementing BIM, seeking the support of the main contractor can lead to benefits for both parties. By simply asking main contractors about the tools and processes they have in place to implement BIM on a relevant project, will help open doors and will lay the foundations for a better understanding of what’s expected from both sides in terms of training and responsibility, and will help the specialist contractor overcome obstacles and remain a key part of the supply chain.

14 OF THE MOST COMMONLY USED TIMBERS FOR PRODUCTION

There are 60,065 species of tree in the world. However, only a fraction of this is used for production. 

Discover the most commonly used timbers and their properties with our handy downloadable infographic

SOFTWOOD 

Redwood (pine) 

This yellowish-white sapwood and reddish heartwood is one of the most widely used timers in joinery and is suitable for all types of interiors and exteriors.

Redwood pine
Whitewood

Whitewood (spruce)

This yellowish-white sapwood and reddish heartwood is one of the most widely used timers in joinery and is suitable for all types of interiors and exteriors including flooring, structural use and cladding. 

Southern yellow pine

This striking timber is a dense wood that has a reddish brown huge and distinctive grain it is great for heavy structural use and and is perfect for window boards,stair stringers and decking. 

Southern yellow pine  
Hemlock 

Hemlock 

Hailing from N. America this fine textured timber is pale with a pinkish-brown colour. It’s malleable qualities makes it a good wood to work with and is therefore used for moldings, stair parts, kitchens, bedrooms and shopfitting.

Douglas Fir

From N. America is clear, this straw coloured and moderately durable softwood is best for both internal and external use including flooring and and structural use. 

Douglas Fir
Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar

This highly durable, N American timber can be used internally and externally without preservative treatment. It is widely used for cladding

HARDWOOD

American Ash

Is a light-coloured grey/brown hardwood with a course texture. Due to it’s lack of durability this timber is best used for internal for things such as handles.

Beech

Beech

This creamy timber has excellent blending properties and turns a reddish-brown colour when steamed. Do its qualities it’s most commonly used for making furniture. 

European Oak

 Is a course yellow/brown wood with good durability. It has medium movement and is susceptible to iron staining. Used for cladding, flooring and decking.

European Oak
American White Oak

American White Oak

This tight-grained hardwood comes in range of shade from a pale straw-to-pale red. Due to the strength  of the timber it is often used flooring, decking and heavy structural work. 

American Tulipwood

Slightly durable making it perfect for furniture and decorative joinery. It’s yellow/brown colouring and fine texture makes it perfect for interiors. 

American Tulipwood
Sapele-Tree

Sapele

This tropical hardwood from West Africa, has a pink to red colour, with medium texture and movement. It is however difficult to treat but is used both internally and externally.

Dark Red Meranti

A Malaysia, red, tropical hardwood, is often used for furniture making due to its attractive colouring and medium texture.

Iroko

Iroko

Is a West African, light-brown hardwood that is highly durable, making it suitable for external as well as internal use and sometimes used as a teak substitute.

SAFE HANDLING MACHINE REFRESHER TRAINING WITH THE JOINERY

When operating heavy duty machinery day to day it’s inevitable that over time you’ll become comfortable with your surroundings and equipment. Although this is a positive sign of growing in confidence, at some point or another, you might be tempted to take shortcuts, and overlook the potential dangers that the joinery machines could cause.

At Falkus Joinery, we are committed to reducing risk and protecting the welfare of our joiners. We have therefore instilled strict health and safety procedures to help prevent accidents from happening in the workplace.

Following a recent visit from the head of learning at Havering College, who were initially at the workshop to discuss the enrollment of two of their students on to our junior joinery apprenticeship scheme.

They were so impressed with our set up, that they were suddenly side tracked and felt that we could be a benefit to their tutors as well as their students. With out a moments hesitation they asked if it would be possible for a certified member of our team to deliver a safe handling machine refresher training joinery course for their tutors. We were delighted to have been asked and quickly rose to the occasion.

SAFE HANDLING MACHINE REFRESHER JOINERY COURSE 

After some careful planning, the joinery course was developed and delivered by our senior joiner Alistair Gaskell. He has been with the workshop for five years and has more than 10+ years worth of traditional joinery experience under his belt. During this time, Alistair has demonstrated an astute attention to detail, board skill set and an unrelenting passion for the trade. Making him our number one choice for the job.

Training day at Havering College

THE MACHINES

The purpose of the joinery course was to refresh and advance the tutors practical machine operational skill set as well as to educate the team of the importance of safe machine handling on the following machines.

  • Spindle moulder
  • mortice
  • drum sander
  • tenoner
  • dimension/sliding table saw
  • bandsaw
  • crosscut saw

THE RESULTS ARE IN

After a grueling day of practical joinery training, we were very impressed with the tutor’s efforts and willingness to learn, and we are pleased to announce that they all passed with flying colours. Well done team!

8 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING THE RIGHT JOINER FOR YOU

Choosing the right joiner for your next project can be a time consuming but necessary process that will put you in good stead for years to come, but finding the right company for the job can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.

To help you cut through the noise and avoid you being dazzled by promises of the lowest market rates, in return for shoddy craftsmanship, we’ve put together a list of the essential things to consider when doing your research to help you find the most experienced, efficient and effective joiner who will meet the demands of the job and help your project flourish.

Construction worker drilling

Do they have relevant experience?

Joiners and carpenters are often grouped in the same category, and although there are lots of similarities, there are also vast differences in the roles, so it’s important not to confuse the two.

carpenter vs joiner

Smaller joiners will often employ one or the other, whereas larger joiners will often have both to promote a wider skill set. When doing your research don’t be afraid to ask about the skill set in-house to assess if this will be a good fit for your project.

Can they work to your scale?

When considering a new joiner it’s important that you do your research and look into both their previous/current projects to access who their clients are and the scale of their work. This will help determine their capacity for scale but will also help you compare and contrast your project. If there are similarities in projects then it’s likely that their workshop will be set up in a way that will be able to cater to your needs, allowing them to serve you quickly and efficiently, saving you both time and money.

Specialty joiner versus an all-rounder

Another thing to bear in mind when sub-contracting for any project is to have a clear idea of your specific requirements. If you only require a few simple things like having doors and windows made up, we would suggest that you look at a speciality joiner who do just that, as their workshop will be solely step up with mass production in mind and will be able to offer a quick turn around on goods.

If on the other hand, your project requires lots of different bespoke pieces you might want to consider an all-rounder, although comparatively, this will be slightly slower in terms of production time, it will mean being able to design and build all required articles under one roof and allows the one company to see the project through from start to finish.

Colored doors

See what their customers said about them

Client testimonials are the perfect way to get a true sense of the reliability of a company. Did the joinery deliver and did they do it on time, did they stick to the budget or did they exceed this? As a client, it’s natural to have a whole host of questions regarding the reliability and quality of the work. So when meeting with the company make sure you ask lots of questions about previous projects and find out if there were any issues and how these issues were resolved by the company.

Get to know your materials and ask for samples

No two pieces of timber are alike and can vary in colour, grain and weight, so get to know the materials you are working with and find out what your options are. Some companies might try to steer you toward low-quality timbers in an attempt to cut cost on the project, but if you’re looking for longevity on a project these are the ones to avoid. Choosing the cheapest materials is great in the short term but could end up proving to be costly in the long run.

If you are looking to use your own materials, be sure to mention this early on. Although you might have your heart set on a specific timber, it’s important that you understand it’s qualities and if it will be suitable for your requirements. Natural materials such as wood will react to its surroundings and can expand, shrink, change colour and even rot if exposed to the elements and not treated correctly. So choosing the right materials can play a big part in future proofing your project

Samples

Get a detailed quote

Before choosing your joiner make sure you shop around and get a detailed quote with a breakdown of all costs involved including, labour, materials and any additional cost such as waste disposal, skip/scaffolding hire, transport and delivery fees, etc. so that you are clear on fees.

Visit their workshop and check out the machinery

Although this isn’t always an option, due to time and location, visiting a joinery workshop can be a great way to get a sense of how they operate. It will also give you the opportunity to meet the team that will be working on your project and a chance for you to ask lots of questions.

Falkus Workshop

Ask if they offer aftercare

Sometimes things don’t always go to plan and there will be snagging to resolve. These issues aren’t always initially apparent and so it’s always good to ask if there is an aftercare policy or a user manual that clients can refer to for care instructions.

We hope that you found this article helpful but if you have any questions and want to speak to a qualified specialist just get in touch. Better yet if you would like a tour of our Shoreditch workshop, book your tour today.

A JOINERS GUIDE TO RESTORATION AT THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Looking back in time we’ve been able to paint a clear picture as to how past civilizations lived their lives, through the study of their buildings and artifacts that were left behind. With limited access to both funds and resources, our ancestors shared a common belief that things were made to last – and last they did.

Natural History Museum whale

A passion for preservation

Having both a passion and reputation for restoration and heritage joinery, Falkus Joinery was approached by the Natural History Museum in 2016 and was commissioned to assist in the construction of their new member’s lounge along with a handful of small additional restorations projects.

Over the past couple of years of working with the museum, there has been an abundance of challenges thrown our way, and it’s been impressive to see how the joiners take every challenge in their stride and never fail to deliver.

A joiners guide

We were so impressed with the results that we wanted to catch up with our production manager Chris Stanley and get the inside scoop on the process involved in restoration joinery, the challenges that are presented along the way.

Chris Stanley, production manager 714x700

First things first...timber inspection

According to Chris, when taking on any restoration project there will be an initial inspection of the timber to access how much damage there is to the wood and whether or not it can be restored. Often with antique pieces, there will be signs of rot, dry rot and sometimes even woodworm; so it’s important to know if the timber needs treating, to increase its chances of seeing the next hundred years.

We will then need to identify the species of timber and the finish so that if necessary we can match the wood and splice in any new pieces. Ideally, we always try to keep as much of the original wood as possible to retain its authenticity.

Once we’ve finished the inspection and the piece is deemed repairable, we will then speak to the client and discuss what their expectations are and what they want the finished product to look like. Occasionally we’ll find that the client will want the pieces to look brand new and modern, this view is common when working with stately homes, but actually, more often than not they’ll want to keep the characteristics of the original piece.

Splicing and a whole lot of sanding

Two of the most commonly used techniques in restoration joinery are splicing and sanding. Splicing is a term that refers to patching up dents and damage to the timber. Well, aim to try and match the grain as closely as we can so that you can’t see the joint but if all else fails we’ll paint the grain on to give the illusion of an exact match.

Challenges with restoration joinery

Restoration joinery requires a lot of skill, patience and experience, so finding the right people for the job can be very tricky. Even if the damage is small this can be a very time taxing process as there needs to be a  lot of care and attention to detail when matching the wood and getting the splicing just right. It’s also important to know how much of the original timber that needs to be cut away and replaced.

Our aim in restoration is to create the illusion of an untouched piece but unfortunately, it is very easy to get this process wrong and when done badly it can be quite distracting and will detract from the character and history of the piece.

It’s a specialist process and some joiners just haven’t got the patience for carefully cutting and replacing timber, especially if you have to match the grain!

“It’s like assembling a very complex jigsaw puzzle but you’re not allowed to see the joints.”

Restoration at the Natural History Museum

For this particular project, we were asked to replicate an arch frame for a hundred-year-old door. We knew that we would have to be very selective with the materials that we were using and so we handpicked a veneer with a subtle grain and a light colouring so that our polisher could colour and match the existing frame.

Due to the age of the frame, there was a lot of sun damage to the existing frame, so when replicating the arch we had to take this into account and match its weathered look.

After a lot of patience and we were pretty pleased with the results.

Natural History Museum door restoration

Matching the old and the new

Matching the museum doors was a much harder task in terms of the colour, as we were attempting to match an ancient timber with a fresh new timber, and even though the new wood had been pieced in perfectly, the grain and the colour stood out like a sore thumb, meaning that we had to call upon a little French polishing magic.

French polishing - Matching at its best

We received this original door from the Natural History Museum with two cut out holes from where the lock used to be. After we sanded the holes we matched and patched up the empty space. As you can see in the image below and as described previously the colour and grain were completely off so we called in our best French Polisher Bradley to work his magic.

Patched unfinished door

Bradley has worked for the joinery for 10 years and is a master craftsman, upon seeing the door he mixed his paints and got to work.

French Polisher Bradley painting the grain

After the first layer was applied it was already looking pretty good and we were confident that after a few more layers it would be a perfect match.

Once the paint had dried we were thrilled with the results, and after the final coat had been applied and dried, we presented the door to the clients who were equally as satisfied.

We hope that you enjoyed this article as much as we enjoyed writing it, and if you are in need of any expert advice regarding a similar project just get in touch!

HAVERING COLLEGE: WORK EXPERIENCE AT THE JOINERY

This morning the joinery was joined by two of Havering College’s brightest students Joe Hill and Stanley Kappes, for work experience at the joinery. Both boys are currently in their first year of the carpentry and joinery course and are already making waves.

Joinery is often thought of as being old hat and so we were thrilled to hear that so many young people were still enrolling in their hundreds and were eager to learn the trade and make a career of it.

Work experience workshop challenge

Over the course of the day, we wanted to give the boys something that they could really sink their teeth in to, so we set them to work on one of our latest projects, but before we got them started we wanted to find out more about them and their views on joinery. Here’s what they said:

Sketch up tutorial

Why did you choose to do carpentry & joinery course?

Joe:  I first got into joinery because of my brother; he’s a few years older than me and a qualified quantity surveyor and having heard all about his career and opportunities that were open to him, it really sparked my interest.

Stanley: Similarly to that, I also had a family member introduce me to the trade. My dad owns a plastering, window and doors company, and so for the past couple of years, I’ve been helping him out with the fitting. From working with him it became apparent that there are lots of challenges involving a lot of skill, and with that came a lot of opportunities. I realised then that this career path could open a lot of doors for me so when I saw the course I jumped at the chance.

Joinery tools

What excites you about joinery?

Joe: For me, I’ve always really enjoyed the design element and figuring out how everything fits together. I was really lucky at school and had a great teacher who was always encouraging me to do more and explore all aspects of joinery and everything that that entailed. It was through him that I started working and experimenting with CAD to develop my skills. I’ve also started working on sketch up in my spare time, which is great because it’s so simple to use.

Stanley: The thing I love is working with my hands and the sense of achievement you get once you’ve finished working on a project. I’m not much of a designer, but I can read the drawings to a high level and am really enjoy learning about the different processes, materials, veneers and finishes.

Sawing wood in the workshop

How do you approach new processes?

Joe: I’m always really interested in the research side of things, for example, today we’ve been tasked with recreating a mace stand, so for this, I’ll look at lots of other/similar stands to get a feel for them and try to figure out the most effective way to build them.

Stanley: I’m more of a visual guy and like to try and think about the structure and how it might all piece together. However, I’m happy to admit that I’m still very new to the industry and luckily I’m surrounded by so many people who have years and sometimes even decades worth of experience under their belts. I’ll always try to make a process my own, but I’m always willing to listen and learn new ways of working.

Power tool

Where do you see your careers going?

Joe: As I mentioned before, I really enjoy the design side of things so ideally, I’d like to work on the floor for a number of years and perfect my trade. Once I have a good grasp of things I’d like to work in the office as a designer and then who knows. The great thing about this industry is that you can constantly develop and grow into new fields. As long as you have a core understanding of how things work, I believe that it can really take you far.

Stanley: I’d really like to go into management. Once I finish my course I want to stay on and do the level 3 management course to help set me up for the future. It’s difficult to know where my career will take me, but I feel lucky knowing how many opportunities are out there and what could be.

Wood shed

What do you think the future of joinery is?

Joe: sometimes it’s daunting when you hear about joinery firms going out of business due to a lack of funding for new machinery and nowadays it seems that a lot of people are buying IKEA furniture as a short-term solution. But for me, I feel that joinery focuses more on the high-end more robust products and if you look around woodwork is everywhere. People are always going to want to handcrafted bespoke items, but there’s another element too in terms of restoration and heritage joinery too.

Like most industries, there will need to be a period of evolution in terms of trends and technology, but I firmly believe that there will always be demand for this specific skill set.

Stanley: To add to that, I also believe that consumers really love that products are handmade as there’s a real skill and charm that goes with it. It’s also way more personal and special. Yes, you can buy cheaply made IKEA furniture but those items are designed to be quick fixes that will only last you a couple of years. We’re building quality pieces that will stand the test of time, therefore we’re quietly confident that joinery is here to stay.

Students in the workshop

We hope you enjoyed this article as much as we enjoyed writing it. If you’re currently enrolled in a joinery or related course and would like apply for work experience in the joinery. Get in touch.

CANNOCK MILL ROOF TOPPING OUT CEREMONY

Recently Falkus Joinery and sister company Jerram Falkus Construction (JFC) celebrated the Cannock Mill Housing Association topping out ceremony. This age-old construction tradition is used to mark important milestones and to signify the nearing completion of the project. For this occasion, the team and the soon to be residents gathered to celebrate that the full height of the building had been reached, but also to mark the completion of the roof.

Roof topping ceremony

The day began with a full tour of the site followed by an uplifting speech by JFC’s Managing Director, Jon Jerram and a member of the housing committee Anne Thorn, as well as the traditional ceremony and celebrations.

The history

Although there are no concrete sources, it is believed that no two topping out ceremonies are the same, and the tradition is said to date back to the Scandinavian dark ages and is thought to bring good luck. Being a sucker for tradition, we tried to honour ceremony as closely as we could and so marked the occasion by placing a yew tree at the highest point of the new building in a bid to appease the tree-dwelling spirits of their displaced ancestors, and by flying a flag. 

Flying the flag and placing the tree

The Cannock Millers surprise

Since the first drawings were sketched back in late October 2017, the work has progressed at a rapid rate and the soon to be residents, or fondly self-titled ‘Cannock Millers’, were so thrilled with the results that they surprised the team and everyone involved with homemade cakes and a very special and humorous self-written song.

News of the event traveled and we were thrilled to be featured in an article published in the Gazette. You can read the full story here.

The joinery

Falkus Joinery was thrilled to be a part of the Cannock Mill project and are working hard to complete the stairs, windows, external doors, glazed screen and kitchens.

Although there is still a lot of work to be done we’re looking forward to Summer 2018 so that we can return and view the completed work and catch up with the residents to find out how they are settling in. Let’s just hope that we’ve done enough to appease the spirits!

We hope you enjoyed this blog and if you wish to discuss any current or upcoming joinery requirements just let us know.

THE GROTTY PEOPLE TAKE OVER THE WORKSHOP

Famed for its trendy pop-ups, street art, and food markets, Shoreditch has an undeniable appeal, which draws the crowds.

Falkus Joinery took up residence in this trendy part of town in the late 70’s and after four decades, we’re still proud to call 14 Anning Street, home.

In order to pay homage to this unique part of London, we set out to try and capture the essence of the neighborhood, by opening our doors and inviting in two very infamous graffiti crews, The Rolling People (TRP) & Team Grot Bags (TGB), to spray paint our workshop in an attempt to bottle some of that Shoreditch magic.

graffiti wall in progress

A local touch

Our aim was to try and bring some of the outside in, but also to establish a creative space for local street artists to use as they wish to create an on-going piece of art that evolves with the times.

We hoped that by bringing the vibrancy of Shoreditch into our workshop that it would serve as a daily source of inspiration and a reminder to inject a sense of fun and personality into everything we do.

The artists

Deus @whatthedeus [TGB]
Kev [TRP]
Krooks – @jamiekrooks [TGB]
Brk – @brk192 [TRP]
Stevn @vents137 [TGB]
Snoe – @snoeone [TRP]
Hero image by Steven Mosk via Template Monster (copyright-free)

Graffiti wall

CELEBRATING 60 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE

Falkus Joinery is proudly celebrating 60 years of joinery excellence and services as industry leaders. Established in 1957, as a family run business, Falkus Joinery lay down their roots in Shoreditch and never looked back.

Falkus Joinery has stood the test of time and we believe that this success is a result of our unwavering passion for joinery, our fierce investment in people, and our dedication to responsible purchasing at all costs. This careful consideration leaves us feeling confident that we’ll continue to uphold this long-standing trade and thrive.

A brief history

Founded by the Falkus brothers as an independent joinery, we later joined forces with the Jerram family to create a global superpower… well maybe not quite. But our successful partnership has certainly been a benefit to both companies and allowed us to cover a broad range of sectors and prosper over the years.

Take a journey through the decades and discover our combined history with the Jerram Group. We hope that you find this just as interesting as we did.

COmpany timeline

The future

Looking back it’s clear to see that we’ve come a long way and we’re thrilled to see that traditional joinery is a trade that continues to flourish in this increasingly digital age.

It’s difficult to see what the future has in store for us but we look forward to what may come and to celebrating the next 60!

INVESTING IN MACHINERY

To keep us at the top of our game, Falkus Joinery is committed to investing in the latest state of the art joinery machinery. This allows us to work smart, remain agile and stay updated with modern joinery trends.

Unfortunately, a lot of the smaller joineries have closed as a result of being unable to purchase new machinery and therefore having to produce products by hand which increases labour costs, meaning that client is forced to seek out a more cost-effective solution.

At Falkus Joinery we have been very fortunate to be in a position to continue to invest in machinery, but that isn’t just where it stops. We’re fanatical about our trade and are committed to our continued development and improving our standards. From the screws to the glues we’ve done our homework!

Graffiti joinery machinery

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