The Remedial Hinge could well open the door to a faster and more secure installation for chippies. Professional Builder’s Lee Jones talks to its inventor, Harry Radford.
Whilst builders might work with their hands they make their money with what’s in their head, and it can be the very bespoke on site solutions that are the most lucrative. That’s certainly the case with Harry Radford, a Gloucestershire-tradesman who has experienced what so many in the industry have before him – come up against an obstacle, and been convinced that there must be a better way.
“I was replacing some fire doors at a school that had been kicked off their hinges by some teenagers, and the caretaker there gave me some pencils to insert into the holes in the frame. Of course, my reaction was to politely decline and point out that we needed to dowel them back in and fix them properly or install an entirely new lining. In truth, trying to fix timber doors into previously used and abused linings will be a problem many chippies have encountered, and replacing the frame just for the sake of broken hinges is both expensive and time consuming. I’ve actually uncovered all kinds of makeshift solutions – even golf tees – the likes of which are clearly going to undermine the performance of a fire door.”
Harry decided that the issue could be resolved with a new design, and took to his drawing board to prove it – and the result is the Remedial Hinge. “The principle benefit of my product is the eccentric inserts that rotate the fixing position, not to find the old holes, but to make new ones, and provide a better fixing. Not only that, both sizes – the 3in., and 4in. – have been designed and manufactured oversize, so the 3in. is actually 80mm rather than 75mm, for example. It’s the same principle as when you have a rebore in the pistons on your car, which means you can put it on your hinge jig and be confident you are cutting into completely fresh material. As a result, the fixings are deeper, and more secure, and you’re finished with the whole job much quicker. If you’re working in a commercial or public sector environment, or for a private landlord, where, to be frank, the client just wants you off site as quickly as possible, using our product rather than replacing door linings is always going to be the better option.”
In fact, so complete was Harry’s initial conception that his original drawings were the foundation for the finished product, as well as forming the basis of the documents supplied to the patent office, as Harry recalls: “Once we had our patent pending, we found a manufacturer locally to produce them for us and, when we subsequently tested them on our own jobs, we found that they worked first time and every time.”
Whilst Harry moved quickly from that first brainwave to physical product he would soon realise that this was only the first steps on a much longer journey. “The idea is definitely the easy part but there are many more hurdles that need to be overcome,” explains the Gloucester-based tradesman. “The product is still patent pending, and we’re in the process of organising the British Standard approval, but when you come from a site-based building background it’s the distribution, marketing and corporate side of things that is most alien to me.”
Undeterred, however, and buoyed by the positive feedback from his fellow builders, the Remedial Hinge is now available to the trades. The 37-year-old’s company, Harry Radford Bespoke Construction, has worked primarily on self-build projects, a market which is inherently high end, and where shortcuts are not option. It is that ethos which permeates through his approach to building, and his latest venture, as Harry explains: “Of course, you want to get a job done as quickly as possible, and get onto the next one, but you want it done properly and that’s really the principle behind the Remedial Hinge. It’s often the case with repair jobs that you don’t really know what you’re going to uncover, even when you’ve priced it, so if you are in the business of hanging doors, the Remedial Hinge could well come to the rescue.”
For further information on the Remedial Hinge from Sixpence Industries visit www.sixpenceindustries.com/products