Big year for care homes this year and I don’t mind a bit, nice items of furniture, in different parts of the country and a good customer who trusts us to do our thing. The one in question this week was for a new build in Ashford, Kent. A care home built by Ashford Council, we were employed to manufacture and install a large TV bookcase unit.
I actually surveyed this one way back at the start of May when all that was available to me was bare brick walls and ceiling height. Arriving onsite it was pretty obvious to me that it wasn’t going to be as straight forward as originally hoped, not to worry though, we blummin’ love a challenge. The underfloor heating manifold was right in the corner where our cabinet would sit, not a problem, we agreed to do a front frame to take the doors, so when the doors were shut it looked like it was a cupboard to match the rest.
With everyone happy and in agreement I raced back to draw it up. Not really, it was bank holiday and we spent the day in Canterbury. After that I raced back and drew it. All was agreed and the drawings went into the workshop for manufacture.
This one was to be standard MDF and spray painted, we’ve become very experienced in this over the years and have learnt that it is quite a time consuming method. Because the MDF isn’t a pre-finished product it (at the time of manufacture) was relatively low cost option, however all those savings are wiped away with the labour intensive element of producing a piece of furniture that is spray painted.
In a nutshell, Wood products move, they shrink and expand depending on the environment. A fresh cut panelof MDF can expand by 2% overnight if it is a damp night, that doesn’t sound like much….. Only 0.3 mm. Nothing the human eye would see, until you put a coat of paint over it which is smooth and seamless and non flexible……. The expantion will show as a crack in the joint. So we have to seal all ends that get painted. This is after the laborious task of working our way through the various grits of sandpaper to end up with a glass like finish. Once we have done that we will apply a primer and undercoat, allow to dry, sand down with a fine sandpaper to remove any roughness the paint draws out from the material, then apply another coat. Once that coat is dry, we clean the workshop so there isn’t a spec of dust in the air, close down Unit 5, restrict all access and then apply the top coat.
As you can see a very labour intensive job, and this was no exception, we achieved a top quality finish and put it into storage in our new unit until the day came to install.
We had a decent 3 hour run down and were greeted by a very large and helpful plant operator who directed us to the site manager who had a very aggressive limp and dirty sense of humour. He pointed out the facilities, told us he didn’t want to hear from us until we had finished the job, said a ‘that’s what she said’ joke, pivoted and hobbled off down the corridor.
Owen, Lee and I got cracking, I’m happy to report that there was nothing too disastrous to report, apart from some electrician “flappage” (I was told he’s always like that). We were all wrapped up, cleaned up and signed off at 14.45. We left and sat in traffic all the way home, the joy of the UK highways!
We are very please with this, so is the client, we are currently progressing nicely on another for Ashford Council, just around the corner. This will be fitted in November. Where is this year going??
Have a great weekend.