Saturday 29 August 2020

Another guest surprise.

 We have just left the cottage after cleaning ready for the next guest. We happened to move the folding dining table in the kitchen. One of the leg gates fell off when we moved the table. It had been broken and not reported by previous guests. Fortunately we have a couple of days to effect a repair to the table and I possess the appropriate tools, materials, and skills, but the situation would have been worse if we'd left  the cleaning process until just before the arrival of the next guests.

This is quite a robust table, but the breakage had been deliberately hidden. It would have required quite a lot of force to break the joints and cause the damage we discovered. These guests had the front to say in a review that our cottage  on-line photo's needed to be updated.

One further reason to increase rental prices to cover the cost of repairs. 

Repairing kitchen table in cottage
The repair in progress.

The repair entailed drilling out broken wooden dowels, to an accuracy of better than 0.5 mm, and replacing them. One of the wooden stretchers was badly cracked and needed gluing and clamping. We took the opportunity to disassemble the gate leg of the table, and reglue the entire assembly. We clamped it with a jury-rigged tape Spanish windlass.

Table upside down on kitchen floor, glued and clamped.

Edit: 01/09/2020
After repairing the kitchen table yesterday, we noticed that one of the kitchen chairs was also damaged. It was pulling apart at the top and bottom of the chair frame. We couldn't get back to the cottage until today with the tools to fix it, so I went back to the cottage again this morning with some tools and glue for a swift repair. The next guests are due at 3pm today.

Whoever caused the damage they've been abusive to the furniture. The chair have served well for six years without previous damage. I inspected all of the chairs and only one was showing damage.

Thursday 13 August 2020

Finally boxing in the Central Heating.

Two winters ago, the gas central heating failed suddenly during a guest stay. We were able to provide temporary electric heaters for the two remaining nights of their stay. We found a plumber who'd fit a replacement boiler at short notice, but unfortunately he had to rip away the plywood box covering it during the re-install process.  This left ugly pipework exposed. Our plumber had arranged for a carpenter to visit and re-build the boxing. He even had the OSB board ready for the carpenter's arrival.  Unfortunately on the due day it snowed heavily and the carpenter couldn't make it to the cottage. Subsequently we have a series of bookings and the carpenter was not able to arrange a fitting. In the end we told the plumber not to bother, as I decided to fabricate the box work myself.

I'd designed and carefully manufactured replacement box work. It was designed to easy removal from the interior if the plumber need to gain access, unlike the old box work which had been a permanent fixture.  Unfortunately during the planned spell of maintenance work, our own house was flooded by the River Derwent destroying my tools and also the replacement box work. So the pipes had been left bare to greet our guests. Then Covid-19 kept us locked down unable to visit the cottage. 

Ugly pipework at the boiler
Ugly pipework before boxing

Finally last month I was able to visit the cottage to restart maintenance work. I totally redesigned the boxing, allowing it to be demountable in sections and commenced rebuilding. The walls in that part of the cottage are not even and square, so the construction process took many visits to the cottage to test fit and measure items. Each time is a 16 mile round trip.

Plywood boxing under construction in my cellar workshop

Boxing mounted on the wall covering pipework

The work is now almost complete. We need to do some plaster work and painting, but soon it should be ready for our guests.

Edit 24/08/20:
We had a visit from our gas engineer to service the boiler and to provide a gas safety certificate. The demountable boxing worked well. He was particularly impressed that I'd provided an allen key to fit the box retention sleeve nuts. The key is attached by magnet to the central heating boiler.