Recreating the joinery of W. Smith’s

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Shaun working on the corbels for W. Smith’s

The construction of W. Smith’s is continuing out on site, but back at our workshops Shaun and Dan are hard at work making the shop’s joinery.

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The finished shop front windows

They have now finished the shop front windows. These windows are made from 5th grade red wood with sapele sills. Sapele is a hard wood that is native to Africa, which is more durable to damp meaning that the sills will last much longer.

Shaun and Dan are now moving on to making the very decorative corbels for the façade. These will near copies of those on the original building on Elvet Road in Durham. The only difference will be that our corbels will be 60mm wider to accommodate the width of the concealed structural steel that we have needed to use in order to safely re-create the curve on the building’s gable end.

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Shaun and Dan are working to recreate the corbels on the building at Elvet Bridge, Durham

They have begun by laminating timber sections together to roughly form the profile of the corbel. The corbels are constructed in sections, rather than from a single block of wood, because this prevents shakes in the wood splitting the timber. A shake is basically a defect in the wood, where a crack forms across the growth rings. Using smaller blocks of ‘heart’ timber  or blocks cut close to the centre of the growth rings, minimises the chase of these small cracks splitting open the section.

Dan gluing together or laminating the blocks of timber that will form the corbels.

Dan gluing together or laminating the blocks of timber that will form the corbels.

Once the basic form of the corbel has been made, they will be roughly cut to shape on a bandsaw,  before being moulded on a spindle moulded. To create the unusual chevron moulding on the arch of the corbel, we have commissioned a bespoke cutter. After this, the crowns on the top of the corbels will be hand carved and finished.

The laminated blocks are clamped together while the glue dries.

The laminated blocks are clamped together while the glue dries.

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