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Building a big 'ol bin store! | from Matthew

On the face of it this blog post is about hiding unsightly skips full of scrap metal at HQ. Not very interesting! Stick with it though as its actually about our skills, approaches to problems and our fabulous team!

We're very lucky to be based at Hartley Farm near Bath. We share the farm with an amazing farm shop and cafe (yes its very tempting at lunchtime!). Its a VERY beautiful spot and we want to keep it so! 

What then to do with our two enormous skips full of various metals for recycling?!  

As you may know by now one of our mantras is that we 'work clean'. It's about leaving your home clean and tidy when we leave (really!) but it's mainly about attitude. We are highly skilled professionals but you have to feel like one to do your best work. Leaving the skips out front then, looking ugly and making us feel unprofessional was really not an option!

This chap is the solution! Marcus is an unsung (until now!) hero at Blake & Bull. He runs our fabrication department. You may wonder how we restore such old cookers, some installed as long ago as 1941, when surely parts have not been available for many years? The answer lies in our fabrication workshop. Over the years we've expanded the workshop. Marcus now runs the department in its own building with an enormous array of equipment and a small, but very skilled, team.

We use machinery often contemporary with the cookers we restore, our lathe for example is a restored model from 1911 that can create perfect replicas of long since discontinued vintage parts. There is almost nothing the team cannot fabricate! From super strong, custom plinths to cope with uneven kitchen floors to tiny 'blanking' discs of iron that we then enamel for 'Standard' model Aga range cookers. The team are currently producing our own cold shelves, a 'library racking' system strong enough to store all our cast iron, a custom box section to hold a worktop behind an Aga range cooker we are moving forward and much more! This then was the natural team to solve our skip problem!

The skips sit on a large concrete pad and NOTHING at Blake & Bull gets done by halves so the plan we settled on was to fabricate some enormously strong steel posts (bash them at your peril skip lorry!) with relatively flexible cladding wood between them. The posts were fabricated in large box section with base plates to be bolted into the concrete and neat little caps. They were galvanised for rust protection and then powder coated (painted) in the same colour as the steel structure of our main building (yes, even our vans match this colour 🤣). The boards we used also match that which clad the building! 

The finished 'store' hides the skips from view (mostly!), keeps everything safely contained and fits with our carefully maintained image. Installed by Marcus and the fabrication team it will last essentially forever and can be recycled when it has lived a useful life. Very Blake & Bull!

You'll be hearing a LOT more about our fabrication department as its something we've decided to invest in as we grow. We have particular products in mind but in the meantime if you need something made, anything!, out of metal then give us a call. We may be able to help!

 

Matthew Bates

Matthew Bates

Matthew is from a farming family near Bath and a graduate of King's College London who decided not to follow the 'standard' path into banking or the law. He has been working with these fabulous cookers in some form or another since 2003. Matthew runs Blake and Bull from beautiful Bradford on Avon, near Bath. Alf the golden retriever makes sure the working day finishes at 6pm sharp - dog walk time!

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