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  • Refurbish/Develop

    Romancing over refurb

    I'm still plodding away on the refurb of a Victorian maisonette, the top floor is complete and I've started on the lower floor.

    Part of the work required the removal of a stud partition wall and I find myself imagining a different era in construction.

    The walls are lathe and plaster, the studs are oversized 3" by 2", the skirtings and architraves are rough sawn on the rear, fixings into brick use hardwood wedges in the mortar joints. Everything is fitted with cut nails which are still holding well. There is vulcanised rubber red and black wiring embedded in the plaster. Under the floor there is what I believe to be an aluminium in copper tube wiring circuit - I've not seen this before but its a beautiful system.

    All these systems are redundant, the functioning electric, water and gas have all been installed in the last decade. As I place another order with Screwfix, to collect at my convenience later, I can't help imagine a time when these relatively simple modern tasks were the domain of skilled individuals requiring a significant amount of time.

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    A good teacher must know the rules; a good pupil, the exceptions.

    Martin H. Fischer

    Stop romancing and get some pictures up Gary so we can see what you've seen!

    I do agree though. I think with the invention of push-fit a level of skill (eg. soldering/brazing) gets lost.

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    push fit is great.  

    de-skilling opens up opportunities for everyone.  

    hard enough as it is to get decent trades people even with all this de-skilling.

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    But once enticed in to a bit of basic plumbing with eg push fit you can easily advance to more skilled things.

    Soldering copper pipe joints for permanency is pretty straightforward - or of course an amateur can replumb a whole house with push fit either plastic or copper as desired.

    It is mostly basic labour eg lifting floorboards for access etc - or maybe chasing walls for new electrics for neatness - failing which plastic trunking.

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    I've been hands on building / developing for the last 20+ years and have a huge respect for old school trades.

    I am exhausted by my antics with all the modern power tools at my disposal.

    Think pre electricity of the sheer effort required to just drill a hole with a brace n bit or dig out a cellar!

    There was a trade for everything many since defunct like graining or gas light fitting and a real pride in craftmanship.

    Of course labour and life was cheap in them days!

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