Pat’s old desk

My old desk.

When I first joined the company in 1987, Mr Johnson had a traditional style “back office” in which sales, accounts and any other staff were hidden away.

We used to listen for the door and jump up like a Jack in the box when a customer arrived.

It seems odd now, we’re mostly out on the shop floor, the ladies in the interior design shop face you when you walk in their shop and the lads and ladies in the paint shops in both Buckhurst Hill and Harlow likewise!

I am now mostly stationed at our Harlow branch, it’s where I can pretend to work and get away with it the most.

And I’m lucky to have an office!

When we changed the shop around a couple of years ago, we moved our accounts office into that back office.

And the old desks that we still had since Mr Johnson’s days were moved into storage in our Harlow warehouse.

Well, this week we’ve established Jason (just before his 20th anniversary with the company) in the upstairs office in Harlow.

And his new desk is my old desk.

I know, I’m just too kind…

He discovered that the desk was made by Cookes of Finsbury, a Victorian furniture maker who were established in 1885, 102 years before I first sat at that old desk!

And with that discovery, it got me thinking about the things that would have been used to finish and protect such a piece of furniture so that it might last 139 years…

The obvious choice would be French polish…but what else might it have been?

Polyurethane varnish? Maybe, but that wasn’t invented until 1914.

Wax? Possible, but it wears out quickly when used on surfaces such as desk tops.

 Traditional varnish? In my opinion, the most likely answer.

So, I started to think about what we have now that would be the go to for such a job?

Well, we still have varnishes, lacquers, polishes, waxes and all manner of wood finishing products on the shelves, but if I were to renovate that desk (yes, I probably will!) I think I’d turn to Osmo Polyx oil.

It’s the ultimate blend of old and new, it’s eco friendly, it can be applied clear or tinted on our new Osmo tinting machine to one of loads of colours (the only company that offers this), it’s properly hardwearing, (it’s  suitable for floors and worktops) so the old desk is a walk in the park!

It’s microporous so it’ll allow the old desk to breathe and if we need to recoat it, just wipe it down and re-apply! Doddle.

But…the main reason I would choose it for Jason’s new (old) desk is in the product description:

“Highly resistant to common liquid spillages…including TEA.”

Well, it is Jason’s desk..there will be a lot of opportunities for that.

Be well.

Seen a ghost?

Once upon a time, the decorating world was dominated by ghostly looking apparitions…decorators covered in white filler dust!

Every home would need a proper vacuum cleaning session once the decorators had finished, the cloud of dust would travel to every room, not just the one being decorated!

Easyfill, Tetrion, Polyfilla, Toupret…it didn’t matter what filler was used, the fallout remained the same.

What about wet & dry? Well, that’s good on a nice door or piece of furniture but on a ceiling? Not a chance. What about zip up door covers? Excellent! But as soon as you step through the door into another room, the dust on you is coming with!

The wonderful (but now quite old fashioned) pole sander seemed like the tool of the year but the ability to cover us all in dust to breathe in was increased massively.

And that’s something we never really talked about at the time.

What were we breathing in?

Not just filler dust but in most cases old paint, maybe mould from the surface, dirt, atmospheric pollution…

Health scare anyone?

So, what to do…?

Enter the dustless sanding revolution!

Once upon a time, many of us had the great idea of hooking our electric sander extractor hose up to faithful old Henry! That reduced the dust cloud enormously and also, as an added bonus it reduced the time taken later on hoovering and dusting down.

But, it wasn’t totally dust proof.

So the stage was set for the big boys to come and play.

Sanders and extractors such as Mirka’s DEROS (direct electric random orbital sander) coupled to the extractors 1230L (domestic approved) or 1230M (Industrial Site Approved) 

Auto filter cleaning (AFC) for the 225mm sander Leros 

(Long Electric Random Orbital Sander) adds the convenience of a pole sander and a filter that cleans itself saving valuable time.

So, not only are your customers delighted with a clean and dust free environment while having the place decorated, you save hours a week in cleaning up time and the most important benefit, that to your health, add up to the ultimate industry no brainier!

The investment you make now will pay you back until you retire…and long after too!

So you’ll be much further away from being that ghost!

That’s Sandy!

Pop in to see our range of options and deals at both our Buckhurst Hill and Harlow shops!

And literally, be well!


Papering over the cracks.

Lining paper…
What a boring subject for this blog!
Well, when I first joined the company, lining paper was as much in demand, it seemed, as white Matt!
We stocked thousands of rolls… all the grades too!
480, 600, 800 and 1000!
And that was it!
There was no 1200, 1400, 1700 or 2000.
Fibreliner? What? No, we had cotton backed lining to paper over the cracks.
Yes, paper with a criss cross scrim of cotton thread on the back!
Cross lining! That was hard work!
And Rex paste was the order of the day for the stickers.
And size: hot water size ( what an unbelievable stink! ) or cold water size.
And only 2 tub pastes: green top or red top.
Or Solvite.
Strong enough to hang a man over a shark infested pool with…?
Anyway, 480, 600, 800 cotton backed…all now gone…
Pastes? We have literally dozens of makes always in stock.
Size? BSE got rid of hot size in the 1990’s and it never came back!
So here we are all those years later and lining paper is still providing us with the proverbial silk purse to paint or paper on to.
I recently had a customer point out that a wallpaper he had to hang had see through parts in its design, the trick was to line the wall and then paint in the colour you wanted visible through this part…
And that got me thinking.
When I was young, (dark ages) one of the biggest reasons for the use of lining paper was as a base for specialist effects such as rag rolling or sponging.
When we were stripping out our Buckhurst Hill showroom to refurbish it, pulling down the wallpaper revealed a lovely rag rolled wall…all done on 800 lining by my old mate Gary Knight.
He worked here 30 years ago and taught me a lot about the trade.
We lost Gary a few weeks ago but it’s nice to know what what he did had lasted so long.
So I think my next project is going to be a recreation of that wall.
1000 lining, eggshell, scumble glaze, some colorant and a rag.
And certainty that no one else will ever have exactly what I make of it, only me.
I’ll post the finished job here later!

Happy decorating folks!

Be well.