Restoring the stable yard gate at Hardwick

The stable yard gate at Hardwick Hall following restoration. ©National Trust

The stable yard gate at Hardwick Hall following restoration. ©National Trust

One of our building surveyors, Richard Lambert, was recently involved in restoring a historic stable yard gate at Hardwick Hall.

Part of the Hardwick stable yard gate affected by rot, with the markings delineating the sound and unsound sections. ©National Trust

Part of the Hardwick stable yard gate affected by rot, with the markings delineating the sound and unsound sections. ©National Trust

The colleagues at Hardwick had noticed some rot in part of the gate. When Richard inspected the gate the rot turned out to be worse than expected. As this entrance is used by all of the visitors to Hardwick there was added pressure to get it sorted out quickly.

A rotted section being chiseled out. ©National Trust

A rotted section being chiseled out. ©National Trust

Richard commissioned the local joiners and builders L.B. & J. Mather to repair the gate. He worked closely with them to achieve a historically appropriate result.

New and old sections of wood being connected with a scarf joint. ©National Trust

New and old sections of wood being connected with a scarf joint. ©National Trust

Richard marked up the extent of the required repairs, so that as much as possible of the old wood could be preserved. The wood used was Douglas fir, matching the original material.

The gate coming together again in the yard of L.B. & J. Mather. ©National Trust

The gate coming together again in the yard of L.B. & J. Mather. ©National Trust

All the joints were hand-cut. Mathers were asked to match the new joints to the existing mortise-and-tenon joints (i.e. a piece of wood fitted into a hole in another piece) and to use scarf joints (or overlapping joints) to fit the larger structural members into the existing framework.

Part of the ironmongery being reforged. ©National Trust

Part of the ironmongery being reforged. ©National Trust

Some of the gate’s ironmongery also needed refurbishing, but fortunately Mathers could turn their hands to that as well, having a forge and blacksmith expertise available.

Part of the gate's refurbished locking mechanism. ©National Trust

Part of the gate’s refurbished locking mechanism. ©National Trust

All the stages of the work were recorded in photographs, some of which are shown here.

6 Responses to “Restoring the stable yard gate at Hardwick”

  1. CherryPie Says:

    Very interesting to see the restoration techniques. Thank you 🙂

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    You’re welcome – until yesterday I had no idea what a ‘scarf joint’ is 🙂

  3. The Devoted Classicist Says:

    It is a very good-looking service gate. Too often, a ‘restoration’ really means a complete replacement with some of the details inevitably lost. By only replacing the actual rot with the same original material in the same profile, it is a much better result. Thank you for showing this as an example that I hope others will follow.

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Classicist, I am glad you appreciate good conservation practice – conservation wabi, as it were 🙂

  5. Maggie Carr Says:

    Marvellous – great to see Traditional Joinery Skills producing a high standard of wokrmanshp. Congratulations to the joiner who carried out the work.

  6. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Glad you like it, Maggie.

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