Timber – from sawmill to sash window

by Ross Perkin

This week the Scholars got to grips with timber. At Whitney Sawmill Will Bullough explained the process of managing a diverse woodland. The sawmill specialises in home-grown timber of all varieties of soft and hard wood. Will put the Scholars to the test on identifying timber species before explaining the variety of uses that are suited to each. This was followed by a step by step explanation of the cutting and drying process.


imageThis visit was complemented by time spent at Treasure and Sons building contractors in Ludlow. Steven Treasure has headed up the family-run business for many years and has overseen work on conservation projects for both private clients and English Heritage in and around Shropshire. Treasure and Sons have a large joinery workshop that specialises in traditional hand-crafted work.

Steven and Mike explained each step in the process of creating their precision crafted carpentry. Our session ended with a detailed workshop on the function and repair of vertical sash windows

Tuck pointing with Anthony Goode

The Scholars journeyed to Slawston near Leicester to meet up with Anthony and Jean Goode. Anthony is a member of the SPAB Technical Panel and has worked as a building contractor on conservation projects in the Midlands for many years. Anthony was excited to show the Scholars a draft of the upcoming SPAB technical pamphlet on gypsum floors. Gypsum flooring is often incorrectly referred to as lime-ash floors and was extensively laid throughout the Midlands until the mid-19th century.

Tuck-pointing was on the agenda for the latter part of the week. This technique was used extensively in the 19th century to imitate gauged brickwork. Rough brickwork is flush pointed with mortar that matches the brick colour. A v-shape groove is then cut into the coloured mortar and a white stripe of lime mortar is ‘tucked’ in to create the impression of very fine mortar joints.

tuck pointing

image3Although the Scholars did not altogether master the tuck pointing (left) they did leave with a solid appreciation of the craftsmanship involved in the technique.


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