As you are probably aware by now, we will turn our hand to anything, so when Deeley construction asked us if we could make some park benches, I of course said yes. The benches were to go outside the Cafe of The Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry.
The enquiry included a few photos but they were from a distance so I took a ride over to take a good look and get my head around them. I could see straight away why they needed replacing.
As you can see they have seen better days. The slats are shaped Oak pieces, fixed together with a threaded bar and spaced out using aluminium spacers. The client was happy to go for a straight bench to save on the cost but were open to the option of having them shaped again, I offered them two prices and they opted for the straight option.
With forty European Oak bench slats to machine we jumped on it straight away while I sourced some spacers and end nuts in a durable material which would hopefully stand the weather better than the existing did. I scoured the internet for fittings that would suit an M10 stainless steel threaded bar keeping the spacing required and tighten onto the slats as required. Unfortunately there was nothing available, so that meant specially made, so Danny popped around the corner to specialist engineer who was confident he could carry out the job. He priced up the spacers in aluminium and the end nuts in stainless steel, the price was right so I issued a drawing and he turned them around in record time.
Meanwhile Dexter was machining the timber, drilling holes and rounding the edges using the spindle moulder, once he had finished this he locked himself away in one of the vacant office spaces in Unit 4 (which is almost finished) and varnished them all, twice.
With all the components in his possession Dexter made space and assembled the benches. We agreed that it would be best to cut the stainless steel threaded bar so that their would be room to tighten the nuts should the Oak shrink a bit when subjected to the August heatwave we were going to have………….. Maybe I missed it………
The process was fairly simple, Dexter would lay out 10 slats and take 4 threaded bars with a stainless steel nut on the end and thread it through an Oak slat and then an aluminium spacer, he repeated this until he had used all 10 and then would screw on the stainless steel end nut, then, using sash clamps he would clamp them together tight and check the bench to make sure it was square. To do this you measure diagonally from corner to corner, if the size is the same, then the piece is square, if they are different you have to adjust the clamps slightly until the figures are the same. Once the sash clamps were nipped up Dexter could tighten the nuts further and then release the clamps leaving the bench tight and square.
With our little Doblo stacked to the rafters Dexter and Charlie took a drive to the centre of Coventry to dismantle the existing and fit the shiny and new benches. Armed with a special screwdriver bit they carefully removed the screws being careful not to break them and then lined up the new benches, drilled a pilot hole and screwed them down. We drill a pilot hole because if we don’t, the screw will split the timber or the timber will snap the screw!
Another one bites the dust, the client is happy and so are we.
Have a great weekend!!