Clearview National September 2017 - Issue 190 - Page 92

TIMBER Joinery as an art form The success of PVC-U is its ability to emulate timber frames. But the fundamental craftsmanship – that actually gives genuine timber frames soul – can never be mimicked, insists Mighton’s Mike Derham. He is determined to ensure timber products are appreciated, together with the people who produce them. » » JOINERS AND CARPENTERS ARE the last bastion of genuine craftsmanship in the mainstream building industry. Timber components, including windows, doors, staircases and other elements can only be produced using time and apprentice-learned skills; however, much machinery is involved in the process, while their installation on site again, requires skill and patience. The production of most other building components has been mechanised and de- skilled while every other trade on site has been ‘dumbed down’ in the pursuit of achieving high quality appearance at reduced cost and less reliance upon skilled tradespeople. In fact, I cannot think of another building-related task that requires such a continuing commitment to the craftsmanship that has been used in the production of timber components and works for centuries. There are, of course, specialist plasterers and bricklayers for example - but the skills that these impart are seldom, if ever, used in mainstream projects; their undoubted abilities are more usually confined to specialist applications and in particular, to restorations. Joiners and carpenters, by definition, will turn their hands to anything that can be produced using timber. That may include windows and doors but also, increasingly popular these days are timber façades and interior surface finishes; all of these, simply because they are being produced in timber, will require the skills of joiners to manufacture them and carpenters to ensure their correct installation. PROMOTING SKILLS The representative body for the joinery and carpentry industry, the British Woodworking Federation, is the leading promoter and organiser of related training courses and apprenticeships and is extraordinarily successful in what it does. Recent research has shown, however, that the timber trades require 92 » SE P 2017 » CL EARVI E W- UK . C O M more new trainees than are applying, such is the growth in the continued popularity of timber in construction. I have a passion for timber and especially timber windows. Back in the ‘70s I began a small joinery and carpentry business in the East End of London and much of our income came from refurbishing timber sash windows for local councils and producing new windows when refurbishment was no longer an option. But through my repeated exposure to the poor quality hardware that was available with which to refurbish these windows, I decided to design and produce my own - and very quickly my business switched to hardware manufacture and supply. But I have never lost my passion for things made of wood. This is more important than ever as the demand for timber products grows; building designers through to homeowners have an intuitive love for timber and especially when its grain and natural qualities are exposed. And as property prices have continued to soar with period homes becoming ever more desirable, then the cost of replacing windows and doors with high quality replacements becomes more justifiable. Yes, there is a market for PVC-U copies – we manufacture hardware for those too – but not for properties in many conservation areas or vF&FV7FVB7FGW2vVVRF&W"g&W07GVǒFFBfVRF&W'GFR&WBFBvR&6ǒ6W'fRvFW"&Gv&R&GV7G226&VF֖Fǐf"&W7RvFw2v6vF@VBFV6VfW2F72&GV7FFW&RFW&Vf&RW6VVB&6Ff"FR6FVFV6RW"B66W"6R&fVVB6W2FBvBFFB66RBffW"w&VB66W'f6RgFW ( 6fVF( R&fVV@6W2&R'V'W֦W'2FR&6W06WfVB&RVV&BbFRd2@V֖VvFr&WBB&v2&Pv