MAKING SPACE FOR TRADESWOMEN, AND INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION

Alana Madden joined the Falkus Family in 2018 as a bench hand. Having previously worked as an interior designer she later made the decision to retrain and pursue a career in joinery.  Outside of the workshop Alana possesses an unrelenting passion for social change and activism and spent five-month interviewing tradeswomen from around the world. Alana sits among the new wave generation of joiners and we were impressed with her yearning for change so caught up with her to discover what we could learn.

How did you first get into joinery?

I previously worked as an interior designer and it was through this that I developed a curiosity for woodworking. I started working on a few personal projects but lacked the skill set to build anything well. After a lot of soul searching, I made the decision to retrain and enrolled on to a bench joinery course. I learned a lot from the course and later took on an apprenticeship with a joinery firm.

Joinery-work-bench

Over the years you’ve devoted your time to connecting with trade’s women, what was the motivation for this?

During my time at that workshop, it became alarmingly apparent that there was a real lack of female woodworkers. I wanted to know what could be done to change this so I desperately began to seek them out. I didn’t know it then but this curiosity would later take me on a five-month journey to America and Japan to meet tradeswomen from a variety of backgrounds. It was an amazing opportunity and I was able to interview them, share their stories, and celebrate their work.

Describe the process and the inspiration for setting up the WMWOH website

When I began my mission I had it in mind that I wanted to set up a trade women’s group. I started doing a lot of research into funding for training and read lots of oral history books. These were all set in America and it made me want to interview them and get their view on things. This became a great way to connect with other women and I started hosting interviews about their lives and motivations. There’s a real lack of female trade workers worldwide and I wanted to discover what could be done to instigate change.

After a rigorous application process I was sponsored to go to America and later Japan and conducted another 60 interviews. Today these interviews exist as an archive that available online, Manual Work, Oral Histories (WMWOH). It’s very niche but I think they’re really important and interesting and will help us develop as a society.

Some inspirational interviews from trades women. Archived on the Women in Manual Work, Oral Histories website. 

What were the stories that inspired you?

During this journey, I met so many inspiring women so it’s hard to choose. One that comes to mind is the carpenter I met who set up a group called black women build Baltimore.

This group promotes social and economic freedom for black women through a home ownership initiative that provides trades-related training, comprehensive life-skills support, and a guided opportunity for home ownership. It facilitates the community in building and renovating properties. Once a project is completed the property is donated to one of the women. It was humbling see how these women had all come together to inspire community and social change. 

I became a committed listener and sharer of their stories to help inspire the next generation of women to take up tools and help build a better more sustainable and diverse future together. I found it inspiring to hear of their achievements and it subsequently helped guide my career.

From everything you’ve learned what could the industry do to encourage more women to get into joinery and construction?

We need to reshape social views and present this career path as an option to women at an earlier stage. Due to industry biases, there’s not enough access, which is reflected in the dramatically low entry numbers. 15-18 is such a crucial age when choosing your career so we need to make this a viable option. We need to get into schools and speak to the teachers and incentivise them to prioritise this. Specialist trades are suffering from a skills shortage, and it doesn’t help that 50% of the population feel excluded.

I hope we get to a point where more women are being recognised and celebrated for their work. However, you need to be mindful of how this is approached as you don’t want to make a martyr.

Do you think that some women might feel that physical capacity could hold them back?

I think that anyone can be a joiner and that as people we have more similarities than differences. There’s no denying that women aren’t as strong as men, however, one person’s strength could be overshadowed by another’s creativity.

Often there’s a view that if you’re physically strong than that automatically qualifies you as the right person for the job. However, everyone has their limits; it’s more the case that if you look the part then often your limits are viewed as being acceptable. If you stand out or don’t fit the mould then more often than not you’re met with scrutiny.   

In joinery, I think you need to need to use every tool in your belt. If you’re lacking in physical strength, you might find that you’re quicker in other areas so use what you have. I appreciate that that’s very general and it’s a complex topic, but overall I think any obstacles can be overcome.

Bench-joiner-at-work

What do you think the future holds for joinery?

Ultimately I think bespoke joinery will be phased out as we become more of an IKEA nation. The throwaway culture is as prominent as ever and building things to last seem less important. I think that the demand for bespoke will decrease and as a result of consumerism and manual labour will push prices up.  Objectively machines are more accurate and faster so man can’t compete. However, the industry is slow moving and the technology that exists will take longer to develop. This lack of innovation in joinery technology could be our saving grace.

It takes decades to develop new joinery machinery, with the CNC being a prime example. New machinery still requires a level of skill to operate so we’re possibly a long way off from automation. When that happens we’ll probably have all evolved or up skilled and moved on to the next thing. A lot of joiners struggle to afford new machinery so the process of buying and up-skilling could be problematic.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

In the future I hope to find a way to combine my two passions, the first being joinery, the second, working and helping to train vulnerable people in woodworking. I’d love to have my own workshop or COOP aimed at enriching communities.

I want to help people who are on the edge of society and who are fighting for an alternative society. There’s always room for growth so I’m looking to develop outreach in those areas and hoping for positive change. I have experienced success when working with 18-24-year-olds; these can often be the most defining years of a person’s life, so I want to help guide and support.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Continue for more joinery news. 

A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO THE CARPENTERS

On Monday 25 March, the joiners made their singing debut on the BBC’s popular current affairs programme, The One Show.

The shows production team approached the workshop and asked the team to feature in a short film sequence. The clip shows the joiners, singing one of The Carpenters best-loved songs ‘Top of the world’.

The purpose of the song was to pay homage to the American music icon, singer songwriter, Richard Carpenter. Richard recently released a new album featuring The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which has already gone silver.

The film features a medley of The Carpenter songs, performed by various companies across London, including: the London Zoo keepers, Wandsworth Town Library librarians, New Broadcasting House postal workers, and lastly, the Falkus Joinery joiners.

When scouting for locations, the production team were searching for unique locations that captured the essence of London. The shows producers stated they ‘when they came across the joinery workshops brightly coloured graffiti wall, they felt that a group of joiners/carpenter, performing to Richard Carpenter, would be an ideal way to end the clip.   

Although our joinery talents, are predominantly in woodworking, and should probably remain that way, we were thrilled to be a part of the fun. You can catch our performance, along with the full interview with Richard here.

If you would like to discuss bookings for future musical performances, we’re now available for birthdays, weddings, and bar mitzvahs. Only joking, we’ll stick to the woodworking for now.

BEST COMPUTER ASSISTED DRAWING (CAD) PROGRAMS FOR JOINERY

Advancements in computer-aided drawings have come a long way in recent years and have increasingly rendered hand-drawn design obsolete. Being able to create 3D visualisations of a product before manufacture allows the designer to analyse every aspect and component of the design. This offers both an accurate and holistic view of the product/design and helps identify its relationship to its surroundings.

CAD-design-at-work

As drawings go digital, this overview and increased accuracy have helped reduce potential errors, saving companies both time and money.

For much larger commercial joinery, investing in software and an experienced design team has become a necessity. This can raise the company’s profile and credibility, as well as increase their chances of winning larger jobs.

With so many new software options with varying functionality on the market, choosing the right software might seem daunting. To help create more clarity around the matter, we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular software options and reviewed some of their pros and cons.

Is an advanced engineering software allows teams to quickly create 3D product visualisations ready for manufacture. It offers a powerful toolset that can support multiple design and manufacturing tools by implementing one seamlessly integrated solution. As well as having an estimation feature that can monitor project cost, helping you keep within budget.

For those operating in the construction industry, another benefit is that it can export IFC files. This makes it compliant with new Building Information Modelling (BIM) regulations, making it a sound investment for the joinery.  

It does however, come with a hefty price tag that could far exceed the budgets of small or specialist sub-contractors. Justifying the cost could be tricky; however, help is at hand, as recently discussed in our BIM for sub-contractors article.

Another challenge you could be faced with is that this software requires a lot of learning. If you don’t have a designer that’s familiar with the product, you could find yourself shelling out more for training.

Overall, cost and learning curve aside, this heavyweight program has a seemingly endless scope for possibility and is suitable for any industry or trade.  

Falkus Joinery SolidWorks 3D animation of the Cannock Mill staircase, produced by the in house design team.

Developed by Autodesk, this easy to use, computer-aided software drafting program has an intuitive interface. This allows the user to type search for commands, enabling them to seamlessly create 2D or 3D designs.

Despise being user-friendly, this product requires each element of the design to be drawn and placed specifically. A lack of automation means that any changes that impact the whole drawing, could make editing a timely affair.

With the software’s regular updates, the user can expect to see continued improvements. Although this is certainly a positive, it can lead to the odd bug and glitch here and there.     

Overall this product is a popular tool that can be used across industries and is compliant with industry standards. There are slight limitations with its compatibility with other software, but for small to medium projects it proves to be a heavy hitter.

This free and easy-to-use program is an extremely popular tool for students, hobbyist, and freelancers looking to keep costs down. It’s a simple lightweight tool that allows the user to quickly create 3D renders of products.

Although it doesn’t come with all the fancy bells and whistles, it packs a punch and has a huge community and an endless stream of online resources.

We won’t go into too much detail on this, as its accessibility makes it easy to test it out yourself. Overall it’s a great product for simple quick jobs, and an ideal choice if you’re just starting out.

Dubbed as the all-rounder, and much like AutoCAD, has the functionality to type your command, making it user-friendly. Rhino cleverly offers students a free subscription, making it a prime contender in the market after graduation.

This lightweight program comes fully stocked with a wide range of plugins and can be used for automation. It also offers great programming and scripting features and comes with the support of a large community and free online tutorials.

Overall there are a lot of benefits, however, much like AutoCAD there are a handful of issues that can arise. This is mainly to do with editing and placing items one-by-one, making it a slow process for making changes. Another issue is that the software is only updated every 3-5 years, meaning that you could be missing out on the latest developments.

The learning curve for Rhino is moderate and sits in between SketchUp, being easier and SolidWorks, which is more advanced. Like all programs each product has its individual quirks that will be best suited to varying people and practices.

Summary

We hope this helped shed some light on some of the major players in the computer-aided drawings space. Overall we believe that with all features and cost considered, personal preference will have its part to play.

If you have the time we recommend that you take advantage of as many free trials as you can, to offer you a comparison between products. These products are hefty investments and could prove to be a key factor in the growth of your business, so research is vital.
If you have any joinery or design related questions and would like to speak to a member of our design team, just get in touch.

CAN CUTTING DOWN TREES HELP PREVENT CLIMATE CHANGE?

Climate change prevention has become a global priority as leading scientist warn we only have 12-years to limit the catastrophe.

With increased efforts to turn things around and a cry to plant more trees and crack down on illegal logging. It got us thinking about what the woodworking industry could do to help combat climate change.

Although this sounds contradictory, if managed correctly, cutting down trees could prove to be a key-solution in tackling carbon emissions.

Cutting down trees might seem antithetical, but this theory has been back up by the Forrest Commission who sate. ‘If harvested during optimum growth-cycle and new trees are planted or allowed to regenerate, this could keep the forest as a net “sink” of carbon.

Carbon absorption from trees

Studies found that when new trees are growing they absorb more carbon dioxide at a faster rate, to aid growth. As the tree matures, this rapid rate of absorption will dramatically start to slow and level out. This indicates that if the carbon cycle of a tree is monitored carefully, and trees are cut down and replanted at the right time, we could actually increase the absorption of carbon dioxide.

Although this is not a fool proof plan as there are understandably concerns as to how this will affect wildlife and habitats, but it’s certainly food for thought, and presents a feasible solution for change

The-growth-cycle-of-trees

We hope you enjoyed reading this article, and why not let us know your thoughts on that matter.

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A JOINERY APPRENTICE

Steve Plumb joined Falkus Joinery in early 2017 as a joinery apprentice. In that time, as well as juggling his studies at The Building Crafts College (level 2 in bench joinery) and his work commitments, he has proved to be a vital member of the team and has already begun to climb the ranks, and was recently promoted to Junior Joiner.

Having previously worked as a display artist, he made the decision to up skill and change career. Keen to understand his draw to the industry, we caught up with Steve to pick his brain.   

How did you first get into joinery?

My first joinery experience was in my early 20’s whilst working as a Display Artist for Urban Outfitters, building POS fixtures and window displays. The actual joinery was very basic compared to what I do now, but it definitely helped develop my work ethic and appreciation for working with wood.

Describe an average day in the workshop

Each day is different. As an apprentice, I’m often working/assisting on several jobs at once so the main focus of each day is working out how best to divide my time so that I can work as efficiently as possible. That being said, sometimes big projects can mean that you spend the whole day in the shed ripping large quantities of timber down to size, but luckily most days are far more varied than that! I love the pace of working in the City and it’s great to have a big jobs list all ticked off at the end of the day.

What the best part of your job?

Working with my hands (and brain!). With joinery, I find it easy to become completely absorbed in whatever I’m doing. It’s such a satisfying and creative way to spend time.

What’s the worst part of your job?

Early mornings and the constant noise of the workshop.

What could the industry do to encourage more women to get into joinery and construction?

I think the actual industry is far more diverse than many people realise, it just has a bit of an image problem. There are plenty of women already working in construction, admittedly there could be more, but the industry needs to celebrate them more and perhaps make more of an effort to reach out women and girls in education who are looking for career inspiration.

What do you think the future holds for joinery – do you think this will be 100% machine based in the future?

I don’t think fine joinery can ever be completely machine based. A big part of job is learning to understand the natural properties of wood and using this knowledge to influence how you work with it. A machine would struggle to match grains, choose the most ascetically pleasing face on a board or even select the best timber for the job.

It’s hard to say what the future holds, but with the high demand for construction and development in the City, I think it’s safe to say that joinery’s here to stay.     

What advice would you give to individuals who are trying to break into the industry?

Do all that you can just to get your foot in the door, even if that means starting out from the very bottom. If you are willing to listen, work hard and learn then you can progress very quickly. Even if you have no experience, companies always value people who are reliable and willing to work.

We hope you enjoyed reading Steve’s story, and if you’re keen to find out more about our joinery apprenticeship scheme just get in touch.  

Although his career has only just begun with us, we predict a bright future for this ambitious joiner.

THE JOINERY MAKES MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT OUR PRINCIPLE CHARITY

Macmillan logo

This September our amazing staff baked up a storm in order to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. This incredible charity remains close to our hearts and we were thrilled to be part of World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

Sadly, each year almost 120,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer. 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. Going forward, the Group has made a pledge to host future fundraising events to support of the charity’s cause.

Coffee-morning

The day was a success, and we were proud to present a cheque to Macmillan and help the cause. 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.

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.

American Ash
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.

Dark Red Meranti  
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.

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.

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.

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.

Door-joinery

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.

Mixing-paints

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.

Natural History Museum Door completed
Natural History Museum Door finished

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:

Work-experience-on-sketch-up

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-on-a-working-bench

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.

Hand-tool-cutting-timber

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.

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.

teaching-woodworking-in-the-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

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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.

Topping-out-ceremony-celebrations

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. 

Jerram-Falkus-employees-flying-the-Cannock-Mill-flag

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!

Cannock-Mill-construction-site

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