Gate Conservation

Gate Conservation

The brief: Prevent the gates from deteriorating further.

This project was managed by Guildford Borough Council on behalf of the Watts Gallery. The gates in question are on the grounds of the Watts Chapel behind the grave of G.F. Watts, they were designed around the turn of the last century by his wife Mary and made by a local blacksmith under her guidance.

Where restoration aims to restore an object back to its former glory and condition the aim of conservation is to prevent the object from deteriorating further but to show the wear and repairs it has accumulated during it’s journey through time. Where repairs are required for structural reasons they are done sympathetically but in such a way that they can clearly be identified as repairs to the original work.

The gates are constructed as wrought iron frames with copper backing plates, the scroll detailing is riveted to the copper backing plates by means of small copper rivets with a very large flat head.
The copper rivets were removed carefully after identifying and marking the individual components. The wrought iron components were gently blasted back to bare metal, repaired where required and re-finished. The copper was cleaned very gently to remove any dirt and paint overspill but preserve the patina that had built up over the years.
The hinges were refurbished so the gates hang square again and new copper rivets were produced especially to match the original rivets for the re-assembly.

The conservation of these lovely little gates won the restoration category of the Guildford Design Awards in 2005.


Garden Pergola

Garden Pergola

The brief: Design a garden pergola as part of a large garden  in Surrey.

We were approached by Jennifer Gayler Garden Design to design a garden pergola as part of a large garden she was working on in Surrey.

After a meeting with her at the garden to discuss her vision of the space and how the pergola would fit in with this we submitted estimates for a fairly basic structure and a more detailed forged structure to give the client an idea of what options were available.

This was followed by a meeting with the client and the designer to discuss the design options in more detail. We showed the difference in construction methods and detailing and the paint finishes available and the final design was built up with input from all parties under our guidance. The unusual centre detailing started as a digression over coffee about the customer’s favourite cigar until I mentioned it was entirely feasible to incorporate it in the design.

We submitted a detailed design drawing and on receipt of the order we conducted a full site survey to create the detailed specifications. Due to the texture of the old wall behind the pergola the width of the arches fixing into it was varied to ensure the legs into the patio lined up.

The main arches are tapered into the centre feature and the forged texture and punched rather than drilled holes add extra interest. The whole structure is assembled with small pins through the horizontal bars to keep the lines as clean as possible.

The completed work was blasted, zinc treated, painted and assembled on site. The detailing on the cigar is in paint and gold leaf.


Sculptural handrails & entrances

Park Improvements

The brief: We were approached by Mole Valley District Council to tender for sculptural handrails and entrances for the King George V Memorial Park in Leatherhead.

Funding was available though a section 106 agreement for a local supermarket development.
After winning the initial design competition detailed proposals, including maquettes, were developed and presented at a meeting of all local stakeholders, including the friends of the park and local residents.

Community involvement is a very important part of the development of any public art work and often a slightly awkward compromise. To enable the commissioner to make an informed choice of artist fairly detailed proposals are required, to maximise the relevance of the community involvement the artist needs to almost start with a blank slate. We have been involved in projects where we guided school children to a design and projects where the consultation was more of an information evening, it very much depends on the nature of the project and the priorities of the commissioner.

The final specifications for the project were agreed in consultation with the arts development officer, the planning department and the parks department and an additional run of work along a central section of the park was added to join the different sections of park together.

We took great pride in producing the work, every section of handrail was forged from round bar to create an organic, friendly feel. The floral and plant detailing wanted to look delicate while being resistant to vandalism which was achieved by forging them with great attention to detail in heavy gauge materials.

Once completed the work was sent off for zinc treatment and powder coating, the floral detailing was hand painted to complete the look. We then fitted the railings and entrances to the existing brick walls with epoxy resin and hand forged pins.


Staircase Balustrade Extension

Staircase Balustrade Extension

The brief: The staircase balustrade for the new sections of stairs and landings needed to match the existing balustrades below.

This project was commissioned by Laxcon Construction. They had extended the main staircase of a listed building in central London from the fourth to the fifth floor and the staircase balustrade for the new sections of stairs and landings needed to match the existing balustrades below. A short section of the original balustrade where it used to terminate on the fourth floor was provided for us to work from, to achieve a genuine match the list of special components required was quite impressive:

  • The main hoops and core rails were produced in the nearest metric equivalents to the originals as these were within acceptable tolerances. The scroll work and circles were forged in imperial sizes to ensure they retained the same visual weight as the originals
  • The features between the rings were cast in sg iron by a specialist foundry.
  • The flower detailing in the centre was cast in brass using the lost wax process by another specialist foundry.
  • The brackets were a mix of custom forge work and more specialist castings.
  • The brass banding and the hand rails were extruded especially for this project using tooling produced from technical drawings provided by us.

The balustrade included some challenging shapes including two sharp corners, of which one had a three step rise, and the main curve visible in the image and we are very pleased with the overall result.
All components are assembled into the final balustrade with the use of BSW setscrews and the handrails are butted up and pinned together as per the original work.

The final finish on the steel work is black paint, initially wet sprayed at our works and followed by a couple of hand painted coats on site to go some way towards the multitude of paint layers on the original work. The brass handrails had a patina applied before being polished and lacquered to achieve an old handled look.
Fixings into the Portland stone staircase itself are drilled and chiselled into the side of the stone and secured with epoxy resin.


Bespoke Staircase Balustrade

Bespoke Staircase Balustrade

The brief: Create a balustrade for the new Portland stone staircase in the central hallway.

The client spotted an old magazine picture showing a balustrade they felt was perfect for this staircase. Our design aimed to match this vision.
Every component was approved by the client throughout the process based on our drawings and samples.

  • Balusters. The balusters were made using laser cut and fabricated components, machined castings in SG iron and a brass centre section with an aged bronze patina.
  • Spindles. We created CAD (computer-assisted) drawings from a site survey to work out exact spindle lengths.
  • Core rail. Once the elements (transitions and volutes) were approved we created the smoothly flowing core rails to join the balusters together.

We pride ourselves on creating seamless core rails for the most difficult of transitions.

To bring the balustrade to its new home, we marked spindle locations so they could be drilled by the developer. Steel components were painted in an off-black and the bronze patina was waxed before the balusters and core rails were installed using epoxy resin.

The oak handrail was machined by a specialist company, who scanned the core rail to ensure the perfect shape. It was then installed by the contractor and French polished to complete this beautiful balustrade.


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