This is our first blog post, an area of the website we will try to update on a regular basis to give prospective clients further insight into our work and the design process. In particular, we will try to use our blog highlight some of the more exciting, interesting and challenging joinery projects we have embarked on.
In this regard, perhaps a good place to start is a project Wood Works Bespoke Joinery recently undertook to install a small, safe pier over a deep spring fed pond in rural Suffolk. This project posed several challenges from a joiner’s perspective – all of which I am pleased to say we met and overcame.
The first challenge we had to overcome was to come up with a design that would not compromise the integrity of the pond and introduce a structure that would act as a viewing platform from a normally inaccessible area. Furthermore, we wanted to ensure that the final design would not be intrusive but rather fit in with and compliment its natural setting.
After necessary investigation of the site and close work with the client a design was developed.
An early obstacle was determining the gradient of the pond’s bed and ensuring the structure was level, meaning each post would need to be a different length.
Our solution was to use elm posts, which are naturally water durable, in the desired locations individually hammering them down through the silt covering of the pond’s bed and onto the hard clay sub base. In order to ensure the posts remained stable, they were initially cut substantially over length to allow deep penetration to the pond’s sub base.
Each post was then marked 100 millimeters above the water line, which conveniently acted as a natural level, and removed from the pond and replaced by a marker. In all, nine elm posts where used and, as ever with our projects, the wood was sourced from sustainable woodland.
The structure required three lines of three posts. Coming down equal distances from our previously marked level, we braced each set of posts using three cross beams and bolts. Diagonal posts were then added to offer additional support.
Having braced the 9 posts into sections of three, each containing additional diagonal supports, the next challenge was maneuvering the, now incredibly heavy, supports into the water and finding the original locations, currently marked with bamboo canes. Each section was then forced through the silt and into the clay sub base. While work on the overall structure continued, we fixed temporary supports bracing each section to the bank.
Due to our initial investigations and forward planning, the following stages were relatively simple. Posts were sunk into the bank at the water’s edge and permanent joists were fixed, creating the walkway between the bank and pier. Further joists were placed, fixing the three lines of posts together. Five of the posts were then cut flush with the joists, leaving the remaining four to integrate with the banisters.
The main surface of the pier was then fitted, constructed from a combination of recycled and new decking, sitting 70mm above the water’s surface, allowing for the previously recorded 30mm fluctuation in the pond’s water level.