Sunday, 22 July 2012

Extracting the extractor

The final piece of commercial kitchen equipment exited stage left yesterday from the shop. What was revealed when the last stainless steel panel and exhaust canopy were removed was a complete mess.

Holes smashed through the original laden plaster, ceiling joists, rafters and clap boards cut away and a general bastardisation of a historic building, with no consideration whatsoever for the fabric of the old place. In a way, it was really quite distressing to see.

I had a short space of time to get the exhaust canopy, flue and motor out, the frame repaired and the roof re-clad with a new sheet of iron before the forecasted rain arrived in the afternoon. As soon as I got the old sheet off I took the opportunity to crawl inside the ceiling space and have a look around.

What I was pleased to see was that when the roof was replaced about 15 years ago, the owner at the time had obviously exercised a little more discretion and had retained a very important part of the building.

The original split timber shingles or shakes. The great thing was that they were in remarkable condition too. Dry and free from rot. What a bonus! Whilst crawling around up there I saw something that I had not seen before nor could work out what they were.

On the North face were a couple of leather strips which were nailed into the clap boards. They were consistent in age with the rest of the building, looked like they had been roughly cut off a side of green hide and nailed in place. If someone out there knows why they were there and what they were used for I appreciate a heads up? They certainly weren't everywhere but I could see about 6 or so.

Anyway back to the repairs. Ceiling joist and rafter repaired, insulation returned and I replaced the lath over the hole in the ceiling.

Last but not least a new sheet of iron to seal it all up. Just have to wait a while for it to dull off and match the rest of the roof. Note the great scroll detail on the ridge, which thankfully was replaced when the new roof was put on. It's made of sheet metal and soldered together, from a day when every trade took pride in their workmanship. It's workmanship of that kind that has played a big part in this building standing the test of time.

As it's custodian for the foreseeable future, I hope I can help to maintain it in a manner commensurate with it's importance to the town and for the next person who will become a part of it's history in years to come.

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