The school summer holidays are our busiest time of year. It’s the time of year where we have a six to eight week period to produce and install the majority of the years educational furniture. The phone usually rings off the hook during the first week of the holidays and Danny the Workshop Manager and Myself, are busier than a one legged man in a kicking contest visiting the different schools to discuss their requirements.
This year was no different. We have a fantastic working relationship with Robothams Architects and Danny had been working closely with them throughout the year on a project to refit an area to a Kindergarten at Winterfold House School which is part of the world famous Bromsgrove School, who we have produced many items of furniture and joinery for over the years.
The scope of the works included:
Danny quoted for all these works and they were submitted before lockdown.
The order arrived during the first week of the summer holidays, giving us just six weeks to complete it all, with some of the items required within 4 weeks…… Not ideal when we already had four large jobs going through the workshop which should have already been finished earlier in the year, but we were all doing what the Government told us to do……. (binging Netflix, cutting our own hair and staying at home)
It was all available hands on deck! With the qualified Cabinetmakers all making counters, kitchens and bookcases for other jobs Danny took our two apprentices Josh and Charlie into his office and explained the situation……. Luckily they are young and naive and afraid of nothing. This was the challenge for them, a chance to prove themselves, and boy did they!! Under Danny’s expert supervision they were making up sections for the bespoke play area frame. Laminating Oak veneered MDF either side a Birch ply panel and running them through our Homag edgebander to apply a solid Oak lipping giving the effect of a solid oak plank. They were producing these as fast as Danny could fix them to the sub base frame he had spun using hand routers and setting out rods.
Whilst the play area was in full swing item’s such as steel table frames and fittings were ordered so we could complete the other aspects of the job. Using the architects drawings we were able to import them into our CAD program and convert them into a file format that can then be sent to a company we use with a CNC machine (Computer Numerical Control). They were then able to cut out the shape of the play tables for us to the exact millimetre , we could have done this ourselves but unfortunately time did not allow.
By sheer hard work and determination we managed to install the first phase of furniture which included the kitchen and the vanity unit. The building was missing windows and doors but they needed to be installed in order to be first fixed by the plumbers.
The other items soon followed once windows and doors were fitted and the rooms were water tight. We don’t usually like installing our furniture into area’s which aren’t ready, but the nature of the time scale made it necessary for the builder to push for the dates which we pulled out all the stops to meet.
Once the carpets and floor coverings were down we could then bring in the rest of the furniture. Everything went in smoothly and we breathed a sigh of relief that we delivered everything on such a tight timescale. We were then able to take a step back and admire what had been accomplished. Sometimes when you’re really up against it you don’t get chance to see and appreciate just how much you are achieving. So in the final stages it hits home just how far you have come and what you have produced in that small amount of time.
Credit goes to Danny for this one. Doing what he does best and driving it right the way through from an idea to a reality!
We have been working with schools and producing education furniture for many years now. Along with the health care sector it is one of our favourite sectors to be working in. To be able to work with designers and architects to manufacture furniture that will help individuals achieve an education means a great deal to us and we don’t ever want to stop doing this.
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