Handy woodwork O level


In the village of Pool near Otley, and just down the road from the original, and oldest garden centre in the UK there is a very attractive stone house, set in extensive gardens and grounds with outbuildings, paddock and stables.

The house is some four hundred meters back from the road and has its own private drive for access. I was sent to help James installing a new alarm system in the house, it was a nice drive into the Yorkshire countryside to reach the property and when I arrived it was a glorious spring day, daffodils lined the roads nearby and the private driveway, the garden was well kept and featured many different types of spring flowering bulbs, the snowdrops were almost done but the daffodils were spectacular, and in tubs, crocus and tulips were just getting started.

Inside the property the décor was what you would expect from a well-appointed stone property, with oak panelled hallway, oak staircase, and solid oak doors throughout. Parquet flooring in all the ground floor rooms and hallway set the tone and each room was decorated with great care and skill. The lounge had an Adams style fireplace, white plaster niches, dado rail and picture rail, featuring egg and dart cornices and the walls were powder blue.

The kitchen was traditional, with handmade oak rustic cabinets, Belfast sink, Aga cooker and large oak country style table.

The first day we installed all necessary cables for the system and then started the second fix, James told me to install one of the door contacts and showed me the type to be used, known as G contacts they were flush fitted in the hinge side of the door, comprising an oblong brass plate with a half inch hole towards one end, behind which was a microswitch, the second half was a round brass plate with a spring loaded plunger designed to press the microswitch when the door was closed. 

The solid oak door and frame were not easy to flush the contact in to, it took me the rest of the day to complete, I was glad now that I had studied O level woodwork, and the skills I had leaned with a drill and chisel came in to play. 

When completed, the contact with its brass plates looked good and clicked nicely when the door was closed.

I only spent one day on the premises before being reassigned, however several days later I heard that the customer had complained, a supervisor had been asked to visit to see and hear the complaint. 

It would seem that James had not studied woodwork, his attempts at installing the rest of the G contacts required had not been so successful and some were not straight, some had suffered from slipping chisel marks and one had split the door frame.

In an unusual turn of events, the supervisors spoke to me about the complaint, they realised I had only been responsible for one of the contacts, it would seem that the customer had pointed to the one I installed saying, why could they not have all been installed like that, so I was praised for my work, but at the same time it was made clear that the complaint may not have arisen, had my work matched that of the engineer. 

My work it would seem was too good and had shown up the remainder of the installation.