Lee Jones talks to experienced tradesman, Tony Trebicki, about the development of BeadFix
There’s an old saying that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and as far as a tradesman who’s still on the tools is concerned any product that’s quick and easy to use will be a welcome addition on the back of the van. That’s what Tony Trebicki along with co-inventor Julius Benjamin insists he’s devised with BeadFix, a new tape for plasterer’s beads, and it’s a solution that spreaders could well be sticking with.
“We were fixing a long bead above the head of some patio doors using dabs of plaster – which is pretty much the common practice. We also used a couple of strips of gaffer tape just as an extra precaution until the dabs dried. You can, of course, nail the beads as well, but it occurred to me then that a tape that would work as a plasterers’ bead fix in every eventuality would be of some use for tradespeople.”
Tony and Julius decided to experiment on their own jobs, and subsequently trialled various types of tape, but found that many of them would wrinkle and fold when applied, which creates an issue when trying to achieve a smooth finish with a skimcoat, for example. “We found that cutting some small holes in the tape with a Stanley knife actually helped, and that’s where the design of the finished Beadfix product comes from,” Tony reveals. “At the same time, they allow the plaster to adhere directly to the substrate behind the tape, maintaining a key in the process. Where you have a sand and cement or concrete background, and nails would be no good as a fixing, that’s when our tape really comes into its own, but it will equally work on almost any surface. In addition, unlike some of the makeshift methods, such as using tube adhesives, this is designed for the specific purpose. It’s quicker than any of them, provides a strong and reliable hold, and there’s absolutely no waste.”
So simple, in fact was the plastering pairs’ conception that they were convinced that there must be a similar solution already in existence but, following extensive research, they found that the BeadFix idea was without rivals, but the design would not prove straight-forward to mass-produce. “The holes in the tape are integral to how it functions, but it actually made it quite problematic to manufacture cost-effectively, especially in this country,” recalls the Birmingham-based tradesman. “In the end I sent a few drawings to a maker in China, and they were able to produce some samples economically. You might think that a tape is just a tape, but there are all kinds of choices you need to make in terms of adhesives and backing. I had various prototypes made and distributed them via a plasterer’s forum for feedback and, as a result, an improved version has emerged with more and smaller holes, both of which facilitate a better grip. We’ve also managed to source a Birmingham factory to make BeadFix now, which we are very pleased with.”
From initial idea to packaged and available product, it’s been some three years for the friends to make BeadFix a reality, but the response they have received from tradespeople who’ve used it has been universally popular. “Builders can be very set in their ways, and there’s always a certain amount of resistance to new things in the trade, but once they’ve given it a go, the people we’ve spoken to have immediately recognised the value of having something to hand which is completely fit for purpose. It’s been a lot of work to bring it to fruition, but it’s actually been hugely rewarding to now see it a reality,” concludes the 55-year-old.
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