Category Archives: Shed assembly

Is DIY Dying?

The news this week that B and Q are closing sixty of their stores in the UK has been put down to a combination of factors:

  1. Young people are less skilled or less confident about DIY than their parents
  2. More people live in rented homes than in the recent past, making them less inclined to spend time and money on home improvements

From my own experience I think there’s a third factor at play, which is that more people who are in a position to spend money on home improvements are happier to pay someone else to do the work for them. Whether this is down to bigger disposable incomes or lower real-term costs, all the signs are that increasingly people on middle incomes and higher (and sometimes lower, too) are in a position to pay a professional.

Of course, it’s not just the affordability that matters, but the convenience, too. Busy lives make time saved more valuable than ever, so that paying for someone else’s time makes sense for more and more people. So perhaps we should add shortage of time to those reasons for DIY’s decline.

Certainly, in the flatpack assembly business, the most common reason I hear for booking my services is the time saved. While some customers might struggle with the physical aspect or making sense of the instructions, the net result is that the job would have taken them too long – or more time than they were prepared to devote to it. Far better to pay me or someone like me.

But whatever your reason for paying someone else to build your flat pack furniture, equipment or garden shed, it’s a perfectly valid one. Just make sure you book a professional who knows what he or she is doing. You can contact me using the form on this page or by email, phone or text.

Roy

Henley Log Cabin

This week’s big project was a Henley Log Cabin, a 12ft by 10ft construction that took the best part of two days to build.

The finished result, though, was a very solid building that’s much more substantial (and heavy) than a conventional wooden shed of the same size – the walls are more than twice the thickness of shiplap panels, at around 30mm.

Henley log cabin

Day One

The first job was to get the floor into position on the concrete platform. It comes in three pieces, each just about manageable. The floor boards are quite thick, 18mm, I think, and the joists are fairly substatial and pressure treated against rot.

Once these were in place and square I could begin piecing the logs together after unpacking them and placing them in piles around the four sides of the cabin. They sit on the ends of the floor joists, clear of the ground and then slot into place, layer by layer. Two of the first layer are half logs, including one with a cut out for the door frame, so it would be difficult to go wrong. I can say this quite safely now!

Handling the individual logs wasn’t too demanding, although I am now feeling the effects of two days of it! The logs fitted together very well, even the longest, at 12ft plus, and only a few needed any persuasion to slot into place – a large piece of 4×2 packing made a useful and non-damaging ‘mallet’.

Doors were very heavy, as exterior quality doors should be, but lifting two of them, in their frames, over the bottom five or six layers of logs and into position was impossible for one person (and would have been very difficult for two), so I took the doors off and fitted the empty frame instead. Even this was quite heavy, but manageable.

The opening window, in its frame, was more manageable and I lifted that into place without mishap. I left the doors off while I built up the rest of the walls log by log so I could easily work from the inside.

The gable ends were pre-assembled, so they were heavier than they might have been but not beyond my ability to lift them into place. On of these didn’t want to ‘sit’ properly but was eventually persuaded. The three roof purlings were very substantial but again, fitted easily enough, thanks to the pre-cut notches in the gable end logs and the purlings themselves.

Then all I had to add for the main structure was the roof, comprised of six-inch tongue and groove boards, so it took a while to nail each of those into place. The last two needed cutting to size, and I left those for day two.

I re-hung the doors at this stage, adjusted them so they closed properly without fouling the frame (actually physically shifted the frame, which has a fair bit of slack to play with) and that was day one – about eight hours’ solid work.

Day Two

A shorter day, although finishing off a big job always takes longer than you might expect – think how long it takes to finish a house after the walls and roof have been built – and it was almost six hours in total.

I started by cutting those last two roof boards and nailing them in place. Then came two strips of wood to add to the underside of the roof edges. There were no suitable nails or screws in the pack but I had some with me to do the job. Finally, two lengths of skirting were nailed to these, giving a smooth surface for the felt to be nailed to. Now it was time for the roofing felt – always a tricky and time consuming job. There were two rolls, each to be cut into two lengths, so four strips in all. Getting the felt straight and taught without tearing it takes a bit of patience and there are, of course, hundreds of nails to knock in as you go.

Then the facia boards for the gable ends were nailed into place and finally the felt had to be nailed to the underside of the roof edges – cue an avalanche of grit in the face of the person doing the nailing…

Being a cabin and not a shed, there was skirting to fit to the inside. It was pre-cut more or less to length but not chamfered at the ends, so each end had to be cut 45 degrees and the two end pieces had to be shortened by a few millimetres as well. Finally, two pieces had to be cut to length and chamfered for the door side.

The owner wanted a hatch cut into the floor to access an inspection cover. This was done using a jig saw, after a lot of careful measuring! The floor needed a bit of reinforcing around the hole, but all went well.

Finally, there were four storm braces to fit. These hold the cabin together in the event of a violent storm (as the logs could theoretically be lifted apart). Two coach bolts per brace took a few minutes to drill and screw in.

The owners were painting the cabin as I left.

Roy

 

What Price a Healthy Back?

Save the pain, in other words, by contacting Flatpack Jersey.

If you’ve built any flatpack furniture before, or built your own shed, you might remember the blistered hands, bashed thumbs, aching back and skinned knuckles – I certainly do!

But experience and skills acquired over many years mean I keep those things to a minimum. Even better, I keep them to myself!

So, apart from the skill and experience I bring to the job of assembling your flatpack furniture, garden buildings and fitness equipment – saving you time and frustration and giving you the finished result you hoped for – perhaps the biggest benefit of employing Flatpack Jersey is your personal health and safety.

What price would you pay to avoid stitches and a strained back, even assuming your time is free? I’d say a healthy back alone is priceless.

Currently, I charge £35 an hour.

If you’d rather build it yourself, read these tips on health and safety first.

Beds, Sheds and Butchers Blocks

It was good to see the eight-by-ten foot shed I built a few weeks ago survived the storm completely unscathed. Although there are trees and hedges surrounding much of the garden, the shed is on an exposed and raised patio area, particularly open to the southwest. Still, survive it did.

Groland Kitchen Island (Butcher's Block) by IKEA
Groland Kitchen Island (Butcher’s Block) by IKEA

Other items built recently include a butchers block and a double bed for one customer and a bookcase with doors for another. The bookcase was actually my first repeat customer since I started in Jersey in July. Repeat custom is always nice – it tells me I did a good job and makes it very clear that customers feel I give good value.

Not many businesses will last very long if their customers don’t feel that, of course. I’m confident you’ll feel the same, too. It’s a nice feeling and you can share it when you use the enquiry form or text or call me on 07797 827 862.

Sheds, Beds and Butchers Blocks

I hope you’re enjoying the late summer weather – today was a great one to be outside.

As luck would have it, today’s job was a ten by eight shed from Ransomes, and I have to admit it was a heavy one! I started early before the day became too hot to work and had the basic shed assembled in about an hour and a half. The finishing touches – roof felt and glass – will be done tomorrow afternoon, which promises to be a bit cooler.

But this afternoon was definitely one for the beach…

On Friday I’ll be back indoors – missing the expected rain – putting together a double bed and a “kitchen cabinet butcher’s block kind of thing”, which will make a change. That will still be at the old price, of course, which you can still take advantage of just by making your enquiry before the end of Friday.

After that, prices will increase.

I’ll post some pictures very soon, but I have to say that’s an impressive shed!