You all know me by now right, there’s nothing I love better than the smell of timber, a busy work bench and stuff being made. Everything summed up in the image above really, taken up at a fantastic manufacturer company called Dresser Mouldings which we visited this month in Lancashire. They’d been recommended to me by a small joinery firm in Manchester who didn’t have the machinery to replicate some original timber moulding from our Edwardian porch. We needed a specialist and sadly in the UK, such manufacturing has now become few and far between. There’s long been precious little support for manufacturing in the UK but it’s heartening to see a desire for quality and craftsmanship coming back in the recent years. When I first started a specialist building company back in the 90’s there were small joinery firms dotted around everywhere but most have been obliterated by apartment building, development, lack of apprenticeships and cheap purchasing alternatives.
So, I was delighted to be shown around the Dressers factory by Joe and hear of their growth since ’08 (no mean feat that), plus see some fabulous timber products and pieces being created. They’re commissioned by many large buildings companies, individual property developers and also retail businesses to create clever, innovative designs in timber as well as their stock range of mouldings, with curved organic pieces a bit of a speciality.This machine below, for example, is in a heated room and allows all types of timbers to be glued together and create hybrid finishes and effects, like the walnut and oak handrails above. They may not be to your particular taste, but the craftsmanship is undeniable and the ideas sparked off by manufacturers experimenting like this are food for a designer’s soul.Standard timbers lengths, slices and moulds can be cut, sprayed, finished and dried to order, meaning site work is faster and more efficient.There were toys everywhere! 😉https://vine.co/v/iHquAAHhwwY
Major investments like the beast below allow curved cutting and finishing to exact specifications. Carving curved handrails like the one you can see in the foreground used to be done by hand of course, times change and that’s inevitable, but how fantastic to see the developing skills first hand in the factory.Wandering round and seeing the wonderful mix of old and new technology makes your heart sing and I will never understand how we could have given short shrift to British skills over the years, placing such kudos on so-called skilled jobs (yep, that’s you ‘marketing’) whilst denigrating and belittling the making jobs as dirty and undesirable. There’s something so real about looking round a factory which is making stuff, touching great chunks of metal and hearing & smelling the process as it happens. It’s crazy that we’ve nearly lost all that, crazy.New tech is embraced at Dressers, with designs coming in from customers via both fag packets and high tech CAD drawings to be turned into moulds, then prototypes and finally the finished product.And everything, every single design and mould, is stored in the most fabulous ‘library’!I’m very much looking forward to being able to recommend Dressers to clients and contacts and in all likelihood specifying some specialist products for the renovation and restoration here at Moregeous Mansions. How exciting!
PS No payment made for this blog post, in case you were wondering. I just like supporting talented local businesses x