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.


Can you remember what colour I had?

Most of us decorate regularly.

Trouble is, for some, regularly means every five or six years!

Trends and fashions change and if you’re like me, memory often fails too!

But, if you’re trying to remember what paint you used as you’re not trying to keep up with fashion, just keep your house looking nice and want the same again, I suspect you’ll find the answer in that massive pile of old paint cans in the shed.

The rusty ones. Covered in spider webs. That got damp. With the faded labels. Hmm…

Ok. So. I’ll ask them in the paint shop. They know me. I’m always in there!

Well, a year ago, we finally entered the 21st century. We now have a system that can indeed, remember you! If you give us your details at the point of purchase we can store them and help out when needed.

But, I still use the most fail safe method I can think of!

When I finish painting, the very last thing I do is loosen the two screws holding the light switch to the wall, pull it away and underneath, on the wall, with an old fashioned pencil write: 

Ceiling: Benjamin Moore Aura Matte Neon Green 2031/10

Walls: Farrow And Ball, Estate Emulsion, Charlottes Locks, 

Trim: Little Green, Intelligent Eggshell, Purpleheart. 

(Go on, I dare you to Google my colour scheme!)

And the date I painted it. 

You can even repeat the process for wallpaper!

Problem solved.

It’s always there and when you decide on a colour or finish change, simply rub it out or paint over it and repeat!

The older I get, the harder it is to remember things, if I need to put something new in, I have to let something old out!

Little things like this make the difference!

Happy decorating folks.


I thought you was called Dave, Dave.

Triggers broom. Surely the greatest story ever told?

Now, not many of us will have have had just the one brush for 20 years? Even if we could fit 17 new heads and 14 new handles, would the brush we used then be of any use to us with today’s paints?

Pure black bristle was still the order of the day but the nylon bristle revolution alongside the demise of oil based paints was getting a grip.

20 years ago I was still regularly selling badger softeners, squirrel mops, camel cutters and sable liners. I’m not sure that many people these days even know what they are!

When was the last time you bought a purely totally black pure bristle brush? Did you ask or did you simply take a Purdy, a Premier or another good quality brush and get on with it?

When I first joined the company in 1987, Mr Johnson had a room simply called The Brush Room. It was where Ryan and Mat’s office is now, in the Buckhurst Hill shop basement. It was kept under lock and key as it was the most valuable place in the building! 

(Ryan and Mat would argue that it still is!😂)

And I can still remember the smell of the bristles from the Hamilton, Acorn, Moseley Stone, Britton Chadwick, Sax Omega and HT Corby brushes we kept there. Most now lost in the mists of time! Twin knots, copper bound wall brushes, box stipplers, Namel Var…names and descriptions that now seem totally alien!

These days half the doors we paint are rolled and laid off with nylon brushes as the paint dries so fast you no longer have a proper wet edge! Unless you use Floetrol, of course!

Still, progress is progress and as I celebrate my 35th anniversary in the business on 7th July I’m happy to say that the paint brush, even in the age of spray machines, is still king!

And as for the title of my piece, I remember a few of the names I’ve been called by over the last 35 years.

I’ve had: Paul, Pete, Perry, Steve, Michael and perhaps most inexplicably: Tim.

Plus a few Industrial language based terms of endearment.

And I thought my name was Pat.

Be well folks!