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(9 Posts)
Rhubarbgarden Sat 06-Oct-12 21:54:32

The Georgian house we've just bought has a number of dark-stained, shiny beams on the ground and first floor. Up in the attic, the beams are in their original beautiful soft greyish-brown state. Does anyone know how one would go about returning the shiny dark beams to this state? Or if it is indeed possible?

FishfingersAreOK Sat 06-Oct-12 22:04:27

Your thread title made me smile (beam) ad so I opened it. Did a quick google as you got me intrigues and
No idea if these guys are any good or approach the right way - but just to show it is possible....
So yes it is possible. What I would do is speak to your local conservations/listed building person to see if they have a restoration/conservation carpenter/woody person they could recommend.
My carpenter is listed building/restoration approved/qualified. Would you like me to ask him? Not sure when he is next on site but will try and remember.

nocake Sat 06-Oct-12 22:41:29

A Georgian house shouldn't have exposed beams so you should really be covering them up, as they would have been originally wink

Rhubarbgarden Sun 07-Oct-12 08:37:15

Fishfingers that link excites me - thanks! Any words of wisdom from your carpenter would be great, thanks.

Nocake - oh. Bugger. Even in country farmhouses? [hopeful]

Sausagedog27 Sun 07-Oct-12 08:40:24

Speak to your conservation officer. And it might be correct to have beams showing- depends if the house is actually older but was modified in Georgian times. Farmhouses are more likely to have beams etc than Georgian townhouses etc. But on the other hand the beams could have been put there much later on as a design feature or would have been hidden. Your conservation officer should be able to help.

FishfingersAreOK Tue 16-Oct-12 19:23:39

Spoke to carpenter who is back this week to fit oak flooring (woooohooo)....Anyhoo. He said there are really 2 ways to do it:
1) Chemically - namely as mild a paint stripper as you can get. However it can bleach the wood so you may not like the effect. Try a test patch in a hidden place first in case you don't like it or need to try a different stripper (he mention Nitroooo umm something...).
2) Very, very, very gentle sandblasting. Aparantly some wood/restoration experts this this is a shocking thing to do - he has seen the results and they can be amazing - and so gentle that they actualy reveal hand drawn art on pannelling etc that chemicals would remove. Clearly a need to empty the room, seal it off and a clear up job at the end of it.

Which ever you did he said you would need to treat the wood afterwards with a matt oil to replenish them.

He also said that very often 18th century wooden beams do not look great/are not great quality appearance wise - so this may have been why they were "covered" in the first place. Just a warning.

He also suggested to speak to your local conservation officer to get recommendatiosn if you want someone to have a look. He also said he did his MSc (In timber restoration I think it is) in East Sussex so knows quite a few people down that way if you would like a couple of names.

Hope this makes you "beam"

tedglenn Tue 16-Oct-12 21:27:54

Hi Rhubarb, we were going to buy a 15th century timber framed house so looked into this extensively, but in the end are buying a victorian house without a beam in sight so I am really happy to pass on my research to you!

These people:

the process sounds too far-fetched to have a good finish (DH was rather sceptical) but we went to their 'showroom' (actually their house) in Rye, Sussex (which if I recall rightly won't be too far from you?) to see the work in situ and it is fantastic - you honestly can't tell with your nose pressed up against the beam that they aren't totally original. It was quite astonishing. It seemed reasonably priced too.

With regards to sandblasting, SPAB do not recommend any mechanical means of stripping beams (damage to original fabric of building) so many conservation officers will not allow on listed buildings.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 16-Oct-12 21:30:43

We sandblasted our beams before we realised we really shouldn't have done this blush but it was something of a relief due to the fast nature of sandblasting and the length of time alternatives would take

Is your new house listed?

Rhubarbgarden Wed 17-Oct-12 23:05:12

Ooh loads of useful info. Thanks v much Fishfingers and Tedglenn. I really do need to speak to the conservation officer; I'd rather like to knock out a couple of walls and change a window into French doors too, so there's plenty of stuff I need to discuss with them. I fear it'll be 'no' all the way though - it is indeed a listed building in a conservation area (think chocolate box village) where we are even having to await a site visit from a council officer for permission to remove an out of control Leylandii hedge...

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