Once again I find myself saying sorry for the delay in the posting of these blogs. To say we have been very busy is an understatement! Anyone who has ventured to Mount Stewart will see what I mean. There seems to be an endless stream of differing tradesmen coming from all over the country. I mention this as the painters all come from Castlederg and the surrounding area, a drive which takes them 2½ hours each way! I thought I was bad coming from Lurgan but I don’t complain anymore.
So for the update, I can tell you now, this will be a long blog, there is so much to tell you all.
The New Look Gallery
As you may or may not know we had huge structural problems with the gallery which I mentioned in previous blogs. The fixing of which fell to the structural engineers who quite frankly did an outstanding job!
Not only did they stabilise the gallery from getting any worse but they increased its load bearing capacity by 44%, an outstanding achievement!
Well, as you may recall Callum our senior apprentice (the face of Mount Stewart) was tasked with turning a sample spindle, from which 100 other spindles would be copied. Callum turned up trumps and in due course after handing the samples to H&J Martin the new handrail accompanied with the spindles arrived on site to be fitted.
H&J Martin organised for a subcontractor to come and fit the said items and it looks amazing!
Below are a few snaps of the items being installed and the finished article.
While work was being carried out on the gallery a section of wood was discovered with some writing on it. You should be able to read it on the picture. These things are nice to find and give me the sense of what we are doing is carrying on where someone left off 93 years earlier.
Wild life management! We get a chance to get close to nature!
While we are first and foremost joiners, we do have other duties to see to, and this job detail definitely falls into that part of my contract which says, ‘and any other duties deemed necessary’, that part is invoked quite often!
Enough wildlife we’re not the David Attenborough appreciation society!
Wall Paper Protection
In the Versailles bedroom the hand painted wall paper is very precious and is irreplaceable. The reason it’s precious is because it was one of the items which the family brought back while on their travels, thus historically interesting and part of the fabric which gives us the feel for the person that was Lady Londonderry.
We had to protect it as remedial work needed to be carried out to the room’s floors, walls and ceiling. We carried out the protection by hanging tyvek, a protective sheet which is breathable just over the face of the wall paper but not touching it. Tension was put into the sheet by the means of a brace thus not allowing the tyvek to rub against the wall. It’s also a great advertisement for the company who’s name is plastered all over it!
A Tasty Piece Of Work, Well Done Stephen!
As part of the works which we carried out to Lady Rose’s private quarters we were tasked to add new timber mouldings to a lovely big cabinet. This cabinet had previously been up against a wall so the mouldings at the top were not carried around its corner. This meant we had to add new mouldings and various other timber sections to blend it all in.
Stephen was tasked with this and as you can see did a superb job!
Bob The Builder Doesn’t Have A Look In
Is there any end to this joinery team’s talent? We don’t think so!
This job to extend the painters work shop was one I enjoyed no end, it was one of those jobs which needs a bit of thinking before it starts but when building, it all clicks together.
When building a structure I always get a sense of achievement that is above other things we do just because one can see the fruit of ones labour on a larger scale.
I designed this workshop space to fit around the commercially available timber sizes so to cut out waste. It is a timber framed insulated structure cladded externally and internally with OSB3. This sheet material is the cheapest I could find.
While it is not the prettiest building in the world and won’t receive any architectural awards I am chuffed to bits with it, as it only took 3½ days to build!
I was also tasked to bring this project in as cheap as I could and was given a budget of £2000 which included the wiring.
When all was said and then done the total cost of the materials needed came to £1369.20. The electricians need to do their bit and to save them working it out they have £630.80 and I want change!
The Saloon and it’s not the Wild West
Although it does look like there has been a brawl I can assure you peace and harmony abound in this place.
I have included these photos to show how well H&J Martin’s joiners are getting on with re-laying the floor. You can see in the photos below it is almost complete, and you can just see the under floor insulation peaking out.
The old floor had over the years shrunk and one could see large gaps between the boards, so when the floor was being relayed the joiners tightened every board as tight as they dare, the result was a superbly well laid floor.
We knew that as they would get to the wall a gap would form because of the floor boards being tightened by approx 2 mm each, so over 45 boards the gap would be around 90mm. And as expected this is what happened.
I have included a few photos of the new oak boards being machined. The oak that is being used is native Irish oak. This particular oak was from trees that had been planted in 1762 in Shanes Castle, County Antrim and cut down sometime in the mid 1990s. It is quite simply a beautiful timber, hard and dense but a pleasure to use.
Mr Patrick Kinney is our new start, a very welcome addition to the team and I am sure he will do very well. He has settled in well and just slotted in like he had always been here.
The only problem is he speaks with a funny accent being from North Antrim! So we wull jist hady get used to it!
So looking forward, we are just about to start the much awaited and feared works to the windows! Its not that the work is difficult, it is the shear amount of windows this property has, being 152 windows at my last count! As for the time scale we will need, that depends on how quick the painters can get the old paint removed so we can patch and repair the wood, only after that can the painters repaint all the bare wood.
It is hard to estimate at this stage how long it will take, however further down the line we will find out the turn around times and be able to figure it all out.
But what I do know is that it’s going to take 4 painters and 4-6 joiners at different stages to complete this task.
Bye for now,