Generally each year gives us a ‘long job’, this is the job that goes on for most of the year, usually in phases and is the job that always takes up all of the space in our workshop. The order generally comes in February, drawings are produced in March and April, Approval is granted in May, site measurements are obtained in June/July, its all made in one mad rush in August because we need to be on site with it all in September, it then either gets fitted in phases or sits in our workshop until November where it is one mad rush to install because something happened to put the building contractor behind on the build. Final items like mobile units or extras are delivered or fitted in December. We get one of these ‘long jobs’ every year.
This particular one was for Deeley Construction, who were contracted by Kingsley Healthcare Group to build a new care home in Brackley, Northamptonshire. I was asked to quote for this in December 2019 and I received drawings in January 2020, A great job to price as the info was all there and the drawings were excellent. Not over complicated and with all details of finishes and fittings clearly laid out.
The job comprised of:
A fair amount to go at especially when the majority of it had to be spray painted so in essence it has to be made twice. (I’ll explain later)
The order came in the spring and I took a trip down for a socially distanced pre-contracts meeting. I got chance to survey the site which was a long way off needing finished furniture, So I put it on the back burner for now and focused on more pressing projects. I kept an eye on it by frequently checking in with site and once I could measure up for the reception counters I was there armed with my budget Amazon basics laser measure and my regular tape measure.
Because there were 4 Nurse base counters that were all the same and curved, I decided to draw out the shapes on my CAD program and send them off to be CNC cut, This would save us lots of time as spinning jigs and ribs can be a very time consuming activity. Once the components were completed we collected them and Owen and Lee set about building the four counters. Starting with the formers, which are constructed using Birch ply, they had to construct a total of 20 because of the make up of the counter. Once these were fixed it was time to skin them, for this we use a bendy ply which is glued and fixed to the formers followed by a 4 mm MDF which is glued and pinned to the first layer, this provides a harder outer skin. Once this is finished they boys could laminate.
Once they were laminated up and tops were finished we stored them in our new unit and in true ‘long job’ style they sat there for a couple of months until we got the call for the ground floor counters to be installed.
Both counters fit as intended and we were back in the workshop to start work on the next phase, the bookcase.
With a total of 6 throughout the building, Ian, Dexter, Owen and Lee started work on the 3 different types. All were going to receive a spray painted finish so they were manufactured using MR MDF. This material takes the paint better than other board products.
Spray painted cabinets are quite a specialty, because you have to be so careful when making, moving and installing them as the paint shows up everything, from a fleck of dust to a gentle scuff. I learnt my trade making windows doors and conservatories where I would be given the painted jobs as you could rectify mistakes and still have them covered up by a thick coat of high gloss paint. However, this really isn’t the case when producing spray painted cabinets, everything has to be PERFECT! The process is the same as a normal cabinet, you machine your wood, board and components, fix them together, clean them up and you are good to go, however, with painted cabinets you have to do all but the machining part twice as each individual component must be spray painted all round before it is reassembled in our workshop prior to installation. Sometimes, the location of the cabinet may have poor access so we would have to re build it a third time in situ, all this to ensure it is perfect!
We prefer to install our own stuff, which isn’t normal for a ‘joinery’ company as we can be described as, most companies will manufacture and deliver to site so the site chippies can fit it. Not us though, we like to see it from start to finish, ensuring the installation is as high quality as the manufacture.
We received the call to say that the first floor was ready for the counters and the library bookcase, so, on a baking hot September day, we loaded up all our vans and hit the road for Brackley. A full team effort saw everything carried up 2 flights of stairs, down 2 long hot dusty corridors to the install location. We installed everything in one day after putting in a long shift, it was definitely worth it as we didn’t have to be back until they were ready for the next batch of bookcases.