Week 29

This week was all about kit.

On Sunday we scooted down to Plumpton to visit a marble shop and look at basins for the ground floor WC.

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downstairs sink?

We got all distracted by some awesome marble for the floors as well. I tend to veer off into silvery-grey and Clinton tends to like the beige colours.

On Monday we said goodbye temporarily to the brick team. They’ll be back to fill the gap under the roof between the current course and the roof itself when the roof gets built up. They’ve probably been onsite longer than anyone: maybe Nic was here as long but its close.

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thanks Johnny, Tom, Paul and Mick (and Dave and Glen offsite today and missed their photo-op)!

We took a couple of days to pay a visit to our windows. They’re made in The North.

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are we in Scotland yet?

Grantham is nowhere near Scotland, neither is it part of The North at all if you speak to anyone in Harrogate, but it’s still a long way from Kansas, and it felt quite North to me (cue GoT reference here).

The windows are cut, welded and polished before being blasted, treated, waxed and polished.

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masses of extruded bronze gets replenished every couple of weeks
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bronze extrusions are cut to size
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rough welds
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one of the expert welders, either Jimmy or Jimmy
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the other expert, Jimmy
what these guys don’t know about welding isn’t worth worrying about

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polished welds
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Now for a good dunking.

patina bath

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There are four tanks of different chemicals, and each stage is timed down to the minute of how long the frames sit in each tank of goo. They use an alarm system and headphones so the operator knows which windows come out when.

timing chart
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wax off


It was great to meet Ken who showed us around the factory, and he introduced us to Martin the shop floor manager. The two of them introduced us to our windows! Ta-da! How amazing to finally see the windows actually existing. My first correspondence with Ken was around May 2014, so this project has been a long time coming, we’ve had much hemming and hawing over whether to go expensive bronze or not, and Ken must be jolly relieved to see the project come to fruition and get us out of there!

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our job!

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every opening is numbered to match the drawings


everything gets treated–even the hinges
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more of our job with bound glazing beads standing all ready to go

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Ken and Martin showing us #62



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doors are made in another (larger) area

That was the frames in a nutshell, and I haven’t even got to the glass yet! They buy the glass in, and then it’s inspected, hand cut to size, toughened, glazing bars installed and then vacuum sealed and cleaned. It’s quite a precision process and uses some of the best machinery in the country to do the job.

Andy runs the glass area, and Ken and he showed us around.

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curves are cut with this machine
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the lead glazing bars are cut from rolls and soldered on to one side of the glass
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each join is soldered
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offcuts are recycled, same with the glass
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we’ve gone for this kind of oblong bead that looks more hand-welded
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satin glass for the obscured bathroom windows

We knew the window package was just about the most expensive bonkers thing on the menu for the house. Everyone we spoke to, when we tried to value engineer the build early on, quite rightly suggested that we bin the bronze and go for a most cost effective (and normal) aluminum or wood window. I’m very grateful to Ken for showing us around and letting us see first hand that the job they do is not just about the materials, but more about the craftsmanship and the dedication to doing an excellent job. We were blown away.

Delivery date onsite is 09 Jan 2017.

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and we got a night away as well–what’s not to like?

Before venturing back down South, we paid a visit to an artisan metalwork shop with the idea of making some balusters for the stairs out of some sort of metal. Little did we know that we’d hit hip-and-trendy metalwork central. They cast all sorts of door handles and things out of all sorts of metals from their little showroom hidden upstairs in an old-fashioned industrial estate just outside Nottingham. I have my eye on a door push for the front door which is cast from an actual twig. Watch this space.

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We even got to go to Belton House for a coffee before the sun set.



All good things must end, so back home we went.

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And back onsite… James, Terry and Josh are working to get the dormers exactly right.

2 thoughts on “Week 29

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