Lead Times

Why the process of making your bespoke joinery is a creative yet lengthy one.

Often clients ask why lead times are lengthy; here is the process of a craftsman at work.

Here in Great Britain, the demand for bespoke joinery is in high demand, outstripping the number of skilled joiners able to make it.

Like most companies, we have a loyal team of Joiners; sometimes we have more demand for our joinery than we have Bench Joiners. It takes years of training and experience to become a competent bench joiner, and decades to master. We always support apprentices and value their hard work and training to become bench joiners, a commodity that is integral to the longevity of an established joinery company in today’s society.

The process of manufacture

Making bespoke joinery is labour intensive. Machines are utilised in today’s industry, the Joiners process each piece by hand, and hand finishing every piece of timber individually.

Our efficient way of setting out a bespoke job is still using traditional manual methods we do not just type the figures into a CNC machine. Timber sourced from sustainable stock is in the form of rough sawn planks, which are cut to size on a rip saw. The timber for making each component then need to be cut to the right depth and width using a planar, and cut to length on the cross saw. The details i.e. moulding and curves are made with a spindle moulder. The joints are done on the tenon and mortise machine. All of the components are dry assembled and sanded by hand to ensure exact fit, then glued and clamped by hand.

The joinery is moved to our specialist in-house spray finisher, and made to measure components such as glass and lead weights are ordered. The spray process takes just under a week but can be longer. The sprayed components are then reassembled in the workshop. Single glazing for listed buildings is putty pointed, which again is labour intensive. 

Even if everything goes to schedule the manufacturing process is usually a minimum of 6 weeks (for one or two items) increasing with the quantity and complexity of the windows/staircase/kitchen. Timber is a natural material with flaws that sometimes only come to light after several processes, requiring components to be re-made. Timber can twist or has patches of resin that are only visible once sprayed. Our list can go on.

Larger joinery companies generally have a set range of windows. More unusual, genuinely bespoke joinery only tends to be viable for smaller companies such as ourselves with highly skilled joiners. This means if jobs are behind schedule, despite our best efforts and extra hours assigned there is still a minimum amount of capacity for catching up.

It takes time to get the perfect bespoke joinery

The process at a glance:

The Process Enquiry Enquiry
Order Acknowledgement
Payment Schedule planned
Planning Schedule Manufacturing
Schedule fitting
Order Timber
Manufacturing Manufacture joinery
Spray Joinery
Reassemble and glaze
Installing Delivery

The key reasons for having to wait a long time for bespoke joinery are the shortage of skilled craftsmen and the labour intensive nature of making bespoke joinery and managing a bespoke joinery company.

What can we suggest? We hope that if our clients know that the lead time will be long, it will help them to plan accordingly. Being clear about your requirements and avoiding making changes, helps to avoid additional delays.