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A good place for a G&T!

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I’ve just finished refurbishing two benches and a low table for a lady in Llangynidr.  The metal work was badly flaking and some of the timbers were bent into boomerangs!

After cleaning down the metal and repainting with Hammerite, I put new oak timbers on all three and joined them with new cross dowels to make a super strong finish.

Al though I do say so myself they looked wonderful.

G&T needed!

G&T needed!

Putting them back in place in the Llangynidr garden, we both decided that the only thing lacking was a couple of glasses of Gin and Tonic!

If you’ve got a bench or two needing a bit of TLC, drop me a line.

 

An all-metal challenge

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I’ve now refurbished quite a few wood and metal benches, but a few weeks ago I got asked to do one which turned out to be all metal.  A different challenge.

The poor bench, at a local care home, had definitely seen better days and was not at all suitable for such a venue.

Interesting angle to the back!

Interesting angle to the back!

Whether by design or years of use, the back was more like a laid-back deckchair than a garden bench and would have been really difficult for older people to get out of.  So that was task No 1.  As you can see from the photo above the back leg was bent under and …..

unsafe

unsafe

the opposite front one broken.

There were so many layers of paint on it that I arranged for a sandblaster to clean it off, which then revealed a makers name: J.E.Nott, Brecon on both arms.  This dated it apparently at around 80 -100 years old.

After sandblasting repairing and re-aligning the back it looked a bit like this.

Repaired and ready to paint

Repaired and ready to paint

Priscilla then decided that an extra arm would be useful, so it was off to the forge again to make a new scroll that matched the originals.

Some years ago I invested in a compressor, but hadn’t really used it much.  With so much metal to paint I decided that spraying was the best option, so with the manual in one hand and the sprayer in the other, I set about covering everything in sight   making a lovely job, three coats, and barely a run.

Now it’s back in it’s place waiting for some warm weather so the residents can enjoy the views towards the Sugarloaf.

all finished and tidy!

all finished and tidy!

 

 

Big bench repair

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I’ve only just remembered to post this – well actually talking to someone earlier today reminded me that I hadn’t done it when I should have!

I had a call from someone who’d visited the garden in July asking if I’d like to repair a couple of benches.  “send me a photo and I’ll have a look” I said.

Well here they are; in a very sorry state.

The six footer

The six footer

The five footer

The five footer

I drew a deep breath and agreed to get some costs together.  To cut a long story short David agreed to refurbishing the timbers in oak and the metal work in white.  So off I went to collect them.  The larger one only just fitted in the trailer, but soon they were home and the work began.

Getting the timbers off was easy as they had started to rot, but there’s a lot of bolts to grind off:  66 on the bigger one and 45 on the other.

I then wire brushed the numerous layers of paint and rust on each of the five support legs and arms getting back as far as possible to bare metal.  For this job I had to fire up the forge to make a couple of feet, which had rotted away.

Fortunately we had a nice dry spell and I was able to paint the metalwork outside and leave it to dry in the sun – quite what the neighbours thought I can’t guess!

painted metalwork on the clothes rail!

painted metalwork on the clothes rail!

Timber again came from Witney Sawmills, which I then planed to width and thickness for each bench.

Putting it all back together was a bit of a jigsaw, and again a lot of nuts and bolts some of which were really difficult to get at,  but eventually here’s the result.

The smaller one

The smaller one

and..

the big one.

the big one.

Altogether a highly satisfying job and one which drew the following from the client “I was absolutely delighted with the outcome.  They look so elegant.  Thank you!”

A miscellanea of garden accessories

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I don’t always get round to taking photos of what I’ve made, and even when I do they don’t always get published in the blog.  So here’s a short round up of some things I’ve made earlier in the year.

bespoke rose arch

bespoke rose arch

fancy back garden chair

fancy back garden chair

solid iron bird feeder

solid iron bird feeder

Gate catch (and gate but not robin!)

Gate catch (and gate, but not robin!)

 

Latest manufacturings

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Since the garden Open Day in May, I’ve had a couple of bench “commissions” and though I say it myself they look pretty good.

The bench is a repair and the seat a new build using a couple of ends from the auction.

DSCF3898

DSCF3897

I now have a good supply of nice oak that I can fashion to most usual sizes and a collection of ends and backs for people to choose from.

In addition to the benches I’ve been making plant supports and also these interesting little items…..

DSCF3901

 

…first seen at an NGS garden in Somerset, a pair of these will allow you to carry two trays of seedlings at a time – think of the time and effort saved!!

DSCF3900

Come on you gardeners, get ordering!

A couple of other garden accessories are the cats, Emily and Smudge, who are seen here (on the same day) putting their respective talents to use!

Emily guarding the plants

Emily guarding the plants

Smudge on pest control

Smudge on pest control

…and yes he really did catch it.

one turkey = one bench

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Yes, it was barter time when I was asked if I could repair an old garden bench.  It just happened that the person asking is also the person from whom we get our Christmas turkey, so it seemed a sensible way of doing business.

The bench, when I first saw a picture of it, looked like it had seen many better days and I thought that it was going to need a completely new set of seat timbers.

Oh dear, what a state!

Oh dear, what a state!

However when I got it back here and removed the broken lath, I realised that in fact the timber was in really good condition and just needed a lot of TLC (and quite a few sanding belts!).  Once I’d ground off the rusted up nuts and bolts, I set to with the sander and they all came up really clean, despite various coats of paint.  The only problem then was how to find a suitable replacement for the broken one.

The paintwork on the metal frame disappeared under the tender machinations of a flap wheel on the angle grinder and the first part of the job was over.

Bare metal

Bare metal

The frame was really well made, in two pieces at each end joined with rivets rather than welded.

Cold January is not the best time for painting, but a couple of almost mild days allowed a couple of coats of dark green Hammerite and all of a sudden we had real progress.

British Racing Green?

British Racing Green?

Whilst sanding the laths and grinding off the bolts I noticed that some of them were secured by countersunk screws, so a trawl on the ‘net turned up something similar and I was ready to put it all together, once I’d found a replacement for the broken one.

A trip to the timber merchants eventually came up with a piece of oak which wasn’t far off the colour, but then I found, lurking in my shed, a length of hardwood which I’d rescued after the electricity company had replaced a pole down by the river.  Sanded down it looked OK, but was a bit too big, so off to Ian the neighbour and a few passes through his planer-thicknesser and I was in business.  Quick run through with the router to radius the edge and, as they say, a blind man would be glad to see the difference!

No phone at the moment due to a BIG tree taking out the cable and BT not in a hurry to replace it, so an e-mail to Caroline and she was on her way to collect.

Finished!

Finished!

That’s not a turkey, that’s a really nice bench which hopefully will last a long time into the future.

Bridges over the Nant y Bedd

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This is a tale of Three Bridges.  Not the railway station near Gatwick, but the three bridges over our stream.

The first, in the main garden I made up out of two large tree trunks, that just happened to be lying about after we decided to do a bit of tidying up, and a ‘bridge kit’ superstructure.  It made it’s media debut when Carol Klein walked across it in the BBC2 Open Gardens programme.  It’s been in service now for probably more than ten years, and hopefully will last a lot more.

Bridge number 1 hidden in the foliage

Bridge number 1 hidden in the foliage

The second is the most famous.  The Indiana Jones style rope bridge that has featured most recently in Saga Magazine and in the NGS Book.  Built, to Sue’s design, by Daryl Rogers a local fencing contractor, it is the one which even gets passing traffic to stop and take photos.

Mind your step and don't look down!

Mind your step and don’t look down!

The latest, number 3, below the turbine house was completed this morning with the addition of some metal uprights and rope handrail, and also features a couple of long tree trunks as it’s base.  The decking is our own timber from the trees taken down to build the pond walls.  For the metal stakes, I twisted some loops on the forge for the rope handrail.  So this one is more mine that the others and it’s also the quirkiest in terms of it’s lack of level.  This one is probably the highest of the three above the stream.

Rustic is a good description!

Rustic is a good description!

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