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Dovetail Joints

Joints are tested for strength, durability and aesthetics for the bespoke pieces we make.  Quality of craftsmanship is key.

Noted for its resistance to being pulled apart (tensile strength), the dovetail joint is commonly used to join the sides of a drawer to the front.  A series of pins cut to extend from the end of one board interlock with a series of tails cut into the end of another board.  The pins and tails have a trapezoidal shape.

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Shou Sugi Ban

Shou Sugi Ban (or Yakisugi) is an ancient Japanese exterior siding technique that preserves wood by charring it with fire.

Traditionally Sugi wood is cedar, but you are able to use other timbers.  We have recently made a bar top in oak using the Shou Sugi Ban method.  This finish popular for use in exterior cladding because of its natural prevention against wood boring insects can just as easily be used to create the most amazing pieces of furniture.

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Chipped Glass

We have been playing around in our glass & finishing studio with chipped glass. Glue is applied to glass and a specific application of the right temperature causes the glue to contract and chip off pieces of the glass.

This creates a wonderful effect of an etched type glass in a feathered effect. It is lovely to use on its own for a finish application, but becomes something quite special once back-painted and/or gilded. The finished product is quite random in the way the glass in chipped, thus not one the same. However just certain areas can be chipped by applying the glue to those areas, to create a more controlled effect.

We are in the process of using this method as application to a dressing table and we cannot wait to see the result.

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Antiqued Mirror Glass

Rupert Bevan has an established reputation as supplier of the finest antiqued mirror glass in the industry.  All our mirrors are hand-antiqued and we can give detail to the level of patina required by the client.

We would usually class antique mirror in three main levels of patina, light, medium and dark. Foxed edges, refers to the level of distressing on the edges (the usually very dark areas surrounding the mirror edges), and this can vary from none to extreme. Here are a few questions we get asked:

Mirror finishes -what is in trend?
High impact, dramatic, moody, heavily antiqued mirror. It utterly transforms a room and brings real drama to any space.

What kind of different mirror finishes are available?
Antiqued mirror, mottled mirror, etched and sandblasted designs, hand-blown glass, glue chipped, beveled and hand beveled, brilliant cut, gilded glass, hand-decorated glass, and eglomise.

How do you create a whole wall of mirror?
In terms of process, we template the space, draw it up and then present a design to the client for approval. We’ll make a number of proposals that make the most of the space and fit the interior, light levels, and other features in the room. We’ll use backboards to provide a flat surface to fix the mirror tiles to, and incorporate any wall lights, sockets and other fittings.

Does this include skirting board?
We would normally sit the mirrors on the skirting. The skirting helps to prevent damage to the mirror panels. However, it is of course possible to have a skirting cut-out for an installation.

Does this add to value of home or is it something new owner could easily change?
It would certainly make any room more attractive and appealing. We can make the mirrors removable so that they can be taken with you when you move, or a new owner can remove them if they want to.

How is the mirror fixed to the wall?
The backboards are screwed to the wall and then the mirror panels are glued to the backboards with special adhesive. If the panels are very large we would also use mechanical fixings in the corners that we’d cap with brass dome studs.

Is it safe?
We would normally toughen our glass before applying the mirror finish, making it very safe.

Can you hang art on an entire wall mirror?
Yes, we would agree on a location for the hooks or rail in advance and then make the holes in the mirror during production.

Do you have any pointers in using lighting in combination with these large expanses of mirror?
Wall sconces look beautiful on antiqued mirror walls. Our own installation in our showroom provides a lovely example!

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Understanding Materials Part II: Metalwork and Patination

Metals are a wonderfully versatile material to work with. They can be cast, wrought, sculpted, welded, turned into elegant hardware, inset as marquetry, used as trim/beading, or as cladding for walls, joinery or furniture.

Here at Rupert Bevan we love incorporating patinated metalwork into our designs. By changing the surface appearance of the metal one can dramatically alter the effect and atmosphere it evokes, and the extent to which it can be coordinated with the colour scheme of the piece or the interior setting.

Techniques of patination can also be used to create innovative new finishes with decorative qualities. This is something we have been exploring at Rupert Bevan Ltd for several years now, and we have produced many exceptional and original interior finishes.

These are our favourites…

Blackened Steel

Steel is an excellent structural material, and has been used in construction for centuries to provide the most solid and durable support in architecture and infrastructure. In furniture it works very well for the frames of tables, desks, bedsides and more. Giving steel a blackened finish endows it with an antique chic and a similar look to wrought iron, softening the finish so it also works well for contemporary pieces as an alternative to the more utilitarian/industrial feel of raw, polished or brushed steel. It can even be a decorative finish for panelling in its own right.

Patinated Brass

Brass is a metal alloy made from copper and zinc in varying proportions. It is durable and relatively malleable, so is a great material for hardware and for decorative metalwork with its gold-like appearance. The copper content gives it antimicrobial properties, so it is hygienic for kitchen surfaces and fittings like taps as the material itself destroys germs. Over time the surface of brass develops a darker surface patina. This natural antiquing can be imitated using techniques of patination to achieve a vast range of different surface effects. We think it is the perfect material to complement our antiqued mirror glass, and frequently recommend it for framing our mirrors. Often brass is confused with bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin, and is similar in appearance to brass which has a darker surface patina. Often when people refer to bronze they actually mean dark patinated brass, which is usually a more suitable material to work with.

Patinated Copper

Copper is an element in the periodic table which shares similar attributes with silver and gold. It was the first metal put to use by humans at around 8,000 BC. Its durability and resistance to atmospheric corrosion, which it protects itself from by forming a verdigris layer of surface patina, has made it an excellent architectural material for hundreds and thousands of years, giving it a rich heritage and history of use. Its antimicrobial properties make it a hygienic surface, and it was commonly used for water pipes for this reason. Due to its efficiency as an electrical conductor it is invaluable in electrical devices and wiring, and can offer protection to electronic equipment and digital records.  With a naturally beautiful surface finish it can also be patinated in different tones to great effect for use as a decorative interior finish.

Patinated Zinc

Zinc is another element with historical use, though this does not date back quite as far as that of copper. It was used in the Middle East from the 10th century BC, but was unknown to Europe until the end of the 16th century. Like brass and copper the surface tarnishes naturally under normal atmospheric conditions, which creates a protective layer over the metal beneath. Similar in appearance to pewter, it is a better material to work with due to greater strength and durability. We created this unusual Zinc panelled wall finish, offset with studded trim in patinated brass, and inspired by the ‘Nautilus’ submarine in Jules Verne’s famous novel, which we are delighted has been nominated for the wall coverings category in the 2016 International Product Design Awards.

Care and Maintenance of Patinated Metal Surfaces

There are two different options for the final finish on our patinated metal surfaces. One is to leave them ‘live’ which involves lightly waxing the surface to give it a soft sheen and a degree of protection, but otherwise allowing it to continue to interact with the atmospheric conditions it is exposed to. This means it will very gradually continue to antique naturally over time, and also allows the patination to be altered/adjusted and restored more effectively. However it also means that the metal surface will react with other substances it is exposed to, including water or oils (even those naturally occurring in the skin) and cleaning products, which are often corrosive and can remove the patination from the surface. Often the best solution is wiping gently with a dry non-abrasive cloth – because brass is naturally antimicrobial there is no need to use harsh antibacterial products.

The other option is to completely seal the finish, in a lacquer or a nano-coating. At Rupert Bevan we prefer to avoid lacquer coatings as these detract from the beauty of the surface finish and can give a plastic-like sheen instead of the lovely iridescent hues of the metal. The nano-coatings are a new technology, designed to protect the appearance of metals from atmospheric or substance corrosion. These preserve the surface finish as it is, but also prevent it from continuing to naturally antique over time. Once it has been applied the surface patination can no longer be altered.

The Rupert Bevan team are always willing to work with our clients to help find the most suitable materials and finishes for their projects, and we are very happy to advise on the most appropriate finishes to meet requirements. We also provide advice and support for maintaining and caring for the bespoke furniture and finishes we create. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your ideas please do get in touch.

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