Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Boxing Clever

     The Better Thing is, in my opinion, just to box it in. The final effect will look the same, after all. It will be cheaper, and I'm a better carpenter than I am a bricklayer. Let's play to our strengths. Step One is to build a frame onto which the timber cladding can be mounted. I bought a pack of eight lengths of sawn, treated timber (240 cm lengths of 4 x 1.8 cms) for £11.90 from the B & Q DIY store. This is cheap wood for gardening/outdoor work, but it comes in cheaper than the better finished PSE (planed square edged) timber. It's going to be covered up, so it doesn't really matter and it saves a few pennies.

Measure twice and cut once. Remember this. It's a good rule for life, let alone carpentry. Measure the correct length for your job, mark your wood, return to the job and check it. Every time. This is the sort of thing that separates the men from the boys. If a job's worth doing ... 

I'll not add in the cost of the screws and rawlplugs here. These are things I'd bought already and had sitting around in my toolbox. Like screwdrivers, saws, hammers etc. If you are a young person, buy tools. Regularly - at least once a week. If you go into a PoundShop, buy something for a quid. When you are doing your grocery shopping in a supermarket, stick something from the DIY aisle in your trolley. Anything - a screwdriver, a roll of masking tape, a box of nails. If you go to a fleamarket or a car boot sale, buy tools. Over the years you will build up a collection of bits and pieces that will, one day, be the right tool for the job. Imagine the satisfaction when you think, "... if only I had a ...", and then remember that you already have one at the bottom of your tool box.

Saw the wood to the correct length. Then measure and mark for the screws. Use screws and not nails - you may need to take this apart in the future. Space them roughly nine inches apart. (Get used to the idea that I'm going to jump around between imperial and metric measurements in this blog. I was brought up using feet and inches. Then they started selling stuff in metric measurements. They even changed to money to decimal. I still work in pounds, shillings and pence - "They want thirteen bob for a Mars bar! Jesus!". Use a spirit level and a plumb line to keep it all square. Drill your holes. Remember to use the right drill for the size of your screws. Drill your holes because you don't want to split the wood, and it's easier to put a screw through a hole than through solid wood. It's not a Try Your Strength stand. Then, put your cut, drilled piece in place. Tap a nail through each drilled hole into the brick/plaster/wood behind it. This gives you a mark for where to drill the brick/wood/plaster. Move the piece away, make the mark more visible (with a pencil), check it again and drill your wall. Remember to use a masonry drill if you need to - you should find one in the bottom of your tool box! Tap the right sized rawlplug into the hole. Screw the piece into position. Repeat until your frame is up. You will need to work out in advance where the cross-pieces will go. The cross-pieces are what you will nail the cladding onto, so get them in the right places. You will need to know what length your cladding is going to be, so check it first. You can't nail cladding onto fresh air.

The Timber Framing in place.

As with the timber, I bought tongue and groove wooden cladding from B & Q. A pack of five lengths was £5.84. Each pack covers 0.92 square cms, so I needed six packs. Measure and cut the cladding as required. Start at the outside edge and work towards in internal angle - that way, if you have to cut the final board to width, the cut will be in the corner and not out in the open. Drill holes for your panel pins in the cladding with a very fine drill - it will split if you don't drill it. Use panel pins to mount the cladding to the frame. Then go over each pin and tap it below the surface with a nail punch (...there's one in the bottom of your tool box, remember, and if not then use a bigger nail as a makeshift punch), take some wood filler and fill each hole with it. Use an artist's palette knife (in your tool box...) and take your time. Make sure you get them all. Leave the filler to dry properly - overnight should do it. 

One pack of cladding in place.

The Second Pack follows...
... as does the Third.
Guess which this pack is ?
All Done.

I also added a small door at the bottom - it will make a handy hole to shove stuff away in. I just knocked up a square frame and pinned the cladding to it. The whole job took about four hours (including a couple of brews).

Costs : -
Sawn, treated timber £11.90
Tongue and groove cladding
6 packs @ £5.84 each £35.04
Total £46.94
Running total £46.94

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