This summer I’ve been asked to build various pieces of furniture from an increasing range of suppliers, including several orders from Next and John Lewis, but the sofa bed I assembled for a customer at Portelet was the first one from Heals of London.
The customer had to persuade Heals to send it to Jersey, but it arrived safely and wasn’t particularly hard to build – although it was heavy!
An increasing number of customers also order from Amazon and other online-only stores and so far I’ve never been confronted with anything I couldn’t build.
Anyway, one way and another, with flatpack assembly, Hillarys shutters and blinds, and some big family events, it’s been a bit full-on this year.
That’s why we were happy to be invited to France for a week or so, in mid-October. So, if you have something that needs building and you haven’t made contact with me by 3rd October I probably won’t be able to help until the last week in October at the earliest.
Things got pretty busy for the business in the run up to Christmas, with my last job being to help Santa build a fantastic Jungle Gym for two lucky boys in St John. I was grateful for the light winds and reasonable temperatures as I worked outside over two days, although the rain and drizzle was less welcome!
Now we seem to be stuck in a cycle of gales and rain, so outside work isn’t on the cards for this week but it’s a great time to be working indoors. So, if you have any assembly work pending, anything you’ve bought or ordered in the sales but haven’t got around to assembling yet, this is the perfect time to get in touch.
Prices are likely to rise in the spring, so now would also be a good time to consider ordering anything you will need for the house or garden and booking my time at the current rates. Just use the form on this page or contact me by phone or text.
You’ll be pleased to know that our cycling trip in France, from St Malo, via Paris, to Lourdes and the Pyrenees, was a great success. No injuries or mishaps, no punctures and lots of money raised for our chosen causes.
But, I’m back now, and ready to get back to work, so if you’ve been waiting for me to get back to Jersey, go ahead and contact me, using the contact form on this page, or any of the methods listed here.
I look forward to hearing from you!
… while I’m gone?
I’ll be away (cycling in France) from 24 August until 11 September, so if you have any flatpack-type jobs you need doing, before next Thursday, now is the time to contact me.
You can use the form on this site, phone or text, or contact me via my Facebook or Twitter accounts. While I’m away I won’t be answering my phone, but I’ll catch up with any messages as soon as I can when I get back (and get my breath back!).
My French trip is a marathon cycle tour, taking me from St Malo to Paris and on to Lourdes for a couple of days in the Pyrenees, before we catch the train back. I’ll be cycling 1700 km and climbing about 18000 metres, raising funds for After Breast Cancer Jersey, charity of the year for Hot Bananas, the singing group I belong to.
All donations gratefully received!
Although things have quietened a little lately, I’ve been no less busy. Between building flatpack furniture and measuring and fitting shutters and blinds, I have started training for our big bike ride in less than three months.
You might already know about ABC (After Breast Cancer) Jersey and you might even have heard (or heard about) Hot Bananas. The Hot Bananas are a group of over 100 singers, of which I am one of the three male participants. Bananas’ charity of the year for 2017 is ABC Jersey, so when I mentioned at a recent Bananas performance that I would be cycling from St Malo to the Pyrenees later this year it was suggested I should try to raise some sponsorship for them.
So, I have created a Just Giving page HERE, where anyone can easily make a donation. Alternatively, you can speak to me directly or message me via this page if you prefer.
I won’t be asking customers to sponsor me but I might just mention that I’ll be doing the ride!
As of today, I have raised over 40 percent of my target of £500. The actual ride might be somewhat harder work than the fundraising has been so far!
Given a relatively small area to install a cupboard I turned to the IKEA catalogue. The floor area available was approximately 1 metre wide by 28 cm deep. It so happens that standard Billy bookcases are 28cm deep but they only come in widths of 80 or 40 cm, so I ordered an 80 cm one and added a 20cm Gnedby shelf unit. Both units are 202 cm high.
Although the shelf unit is much shallower than the Billy, this meant I didn’t have to worry about the inside (RHS) corner.
I also ordered two Bergsbo doors, each 50 cm wide.
Having built the Billy I turned it onto its side and attached the Gnedby as I built it, hiding the joining bolts and screws below the base and behind the fixed shelf and top. This didn’t add much to the total weight so it was still quite easy to handle the whole assembly.
I screwed a batten to the right hand wall to match the thickness of the skirting with some packing behind to compensate for the wavy plaster and used decorator’s caulk to seal the gaps. Pre-cut cut outs in the Billy meant it could be pushed tight to the back wall without a batten, with the shallower Gnedby unit also giving plenty of clearance behind.
The only issue was with the doors, which are routed to take three hinges – the middle one of which clashes with the fixed Billy shelf. The doors are not heavy and two hinges are adequate but other doors are available with the middle hinge offset to avoid this potential problem. I drilled the Billy bookcase to fit the hinges, and used one self-closing and one cushioned hinge on each door.
The floor has a distinct slope from right to left and I used a 1.5cm batten (painted white to match) under the left hand end to compensate and keep the whole assembly vertical and aligned with the right-hand wall. Being on a carpeted floor means the gap at the bottom isn’t obvious.
I had some small door knobs that suit the confined location, so I drilled 5mm holes and used those. The end result is very neat and the customer (my mother-in-law!) is delighted.
December was a predictably busy month, with lots of people having taken advantage of the Hillarys Blinds promise to fit before Christmas, so I fitted a lot of shutters in the three weeks available. There were also a few surveys for customers looking to get their new shutters fitted in time for spring.
Some people, though, preferred to wait until after the festivities, so January has been almost as busy so far.
In between the shutter fits there has been time for a few flatpack assembly jobs and other DIY-type work, including some very heavy bedroom furniture to be assembled just down the road at Portelet (after dismantling the old beds), a nice tv unit (wall-mounted) near Five Oaks and several IKEA desks for another customer in the same area.
Now the pre- (and post-) Christmas rush has almost passed, it will be a little easier to book me in at short notice for your flatpack assembly jobs. It’s still nice to get some notice, though, so don’t hesitate to contact me as soon as you feel the need!
When I was a child, family staying over for Christmas would have to make do with a shared bed, a settee or the floor but if you’re planning a more comfortable welcome for your visitors you might be thinking of offering them a real bed of their own.
Or you could just be thinking of sprucing up your home with some new furniture or adding a bit more storage or hanging space.
Either way, time is running out. It might have felt like summer for the past few days but we are now into the last month of autumn.
You don’t have long, in other words.
But worry not. There’s still time to order flatpack furniture from IKEA or elsewhere and to book my time to build it for you. I will be busy, though, so please don’t leave it too much longer!
Beware the tradesman who has time to write a blog.
As it happens, I usually do find the odd few minutes every now and again to update you on what I’ve been doing and about some of the more interesting things I’ve been up to. But there are only so many ways to describe assembling a Pax wardrobe or building a garden shed, and I don’t like to repeat myself.
However, it’s probably a good idea to remind customers – old, new and prospective – that I’m still in business and still able to help with just about any assembly jobs that might come up. Recently, that’s means some stylish wardrobes from B & Q (yes), a few new IKEA items and a pretty big shed that was just about on my physical limit, as well as more humble (and lighter) bedside cabinets, tables, chairs and window boxes. Oh, and loo seats and bathroom mirrors.
All done with the minimum of fuss and bother. As it says somewhere else on this site, if it comes flatpacked or in a box and needs assembling, I’m your man.
I’ve been pretty busy with Hillarys shutters and blinds, too, but more of them another time.
Yesterday’s IKEA assembly included a new one for me: a Tyssedal five-drawer chest for the customer’s bedroom. There was also a familiar Hemnes bedside cabinet (but for the office) and a Hemnes sideboard/cabinet for the kitchen, identical the ones I built a few weeks ago.
The small Hemnes unit was quickly done. Two drawers (plus a small internal drawer and a sturdy little cabinet makes it an ideal piece for the office. It’s the perfect size to stand a printer on, for instance.
The Tyssedal chest is both tall and surprisingly heavy, being made mainly of what seems like denser than normal MDF. The surface certainly looks durable and all the parts are very precisely moulded and machined so they fit together perfectly. Assembly (like most IKEA) is mainly by metal pegs and plastic cams, plus some allen (hexagon) bolts to make the base and legs very sturdy indeed. It took a little while to build but the end result was really quite classy.
Finally, to the kitchen, where a Hemnes sideboard also went together very well. It’s a fairly complicated one to build, but I have done a few now, and the finished item looked very smart in its new setting. It squeezed into the allocated space with about a centimetre to spare, too. The drawers on these fit perfectly and only one of the doors needed a tiny amount of adjustment. Again, it’s pretty heavy but I managed on my own.