Perhaps your eye has once or twice been drawn to the incredibly thin and beautifully elegant pointing on a handsome Georgian building in London?

The technique which yields this appearance — bearing the wonderful name of tuckpointing — is an illusion…

 Tuckpointing is a way of using two contrasting colours of mortar in the mortar joints of brickwork, one colour matching the bricks themselves, to give an artificial impression that very fine joints have been made.

You can see the contrast between the more common weather struck pointing on the left, and tuckpointing on the right, here:


And here is an image which illustrates the care and skill involved in the deception…

Tuckpointing brickwork

Should you wish to add another brick to the foundations of your pub quiz knowledge, 10 Downing Street features tuckpointing…

John Neeman

If there is a more beautiful workshop setting than the one occupied by the team at John Neeman in Latvia, I would like to hear about it…

Smith & Rodger woodfinishes

Smith & Rodger is a venerable Glasgow company, established in 1877, which manufactures French polishes, lacquers, stains and varnishes.

When I sanded the floorboards in my tenement flat on the southside of Glasgow in 2001, my Dad strongly recommended a product from Smith & Rodger, Aquacoat Xtra. It was indeed a superb product: hardwearing, and yielding a beautiful finish.

A fine short film about the company was released recently, produced by Make Works — their site has details of many independent businesses, from leatherworkers in Shetland to a laser and CNC studio in Glasgow.

Smith and Rodger from Make Works on Vimeo.

Harry James Gardens and Landscapes

If you are making plans for your garden, we think Harry is your man: you can visit his website here.

He carries out brickwork, decking, fencing, maintenance, paving, planting, pruning, timberwork and turfing.


Repairing and painting Edwardian masonry detailing

We were delighted to watch John produce these wonderful results for us a few days ago during the exterior painting work we carried out on a large house in south London. Remarkably, he carried out all of this work freehand, completely without the use of formwork.

In the course of a day, he transformed a series of badly damaged masonry details, including a capital, a string course and coving — he even rebuilt a new decorative floral detail, which is visible at the bottom of the photos.

Photos showing the extensive restoration work carried out on the decorative masonry detailing on a house in south London