R-Urban

Wick Curiosity Shop

The Collection

TIMBER SCAFFOLD BOARD MATERIAL PROFILE

What:

Research

When:

Ongoing

Where:

Hackney Wick

THE RE-USE OF SCAFFOLD BOARDS IN HACKNEY WICK

Reclaimed and re-used timber scaold boards have become a ubiquitous building material in Hackney Wick.

The material is being used in various contexts, including in the design of table and bench furniture in bars and cafes such as CRATE and COUNTER CAFE. They can be found being utilised in various warehouse conversions and loft spaces as structural members and they have been used in the creation of dierent types of work surfaces, shelving units and others pieces of household furniture too. Most impressively however, scaold boards are the primary material used in the construction of THE YARD's one hundred and ten person capacity theatre space, in Queens Yard.

Kyle Hickey, proponent of the reclaimed scaold board, is a bar worker and furniture designer at CRATE bar and eatery in Hackney Wick. "It used to be easy to get your hands on old scaold boards from the scaold supply companies located in the immediate area". Kyle explained. He and his friends used retired scaold boards found around the local area to convert a warehouse into a large communal, eating and living space with a number of bedrooms.

In hindsight, Kyle's story is distinctly ironic because as we talked we were half way up the M11 in a van to Bishop's Stortford, in Herefordshire county, where we had pre-arranged to purchase half a ton of reclaimed boards from Connect Scaolding Ltd, thirty miles from base.

This journey had come at the end of a largely unsuccessful scavenger hunt of the local area, where we had hoped to collect up enough retired boards to embark upon our very own building experiments. Incidentally, it turns out that today; scaold boards are a bit more diicult to pick up so readily and cheaply. Kyle explained, "people seem to have become a lot more resourceful, maybe out of necessity as a result of the harsher times brought around by the financial crisis" and have subsequently caught on to the possibilities of using such readily available reclaimed materials like scaold boards. So much so in fact that a material that used to be free has now become a rather sought after commodity, for which you could pay up to one pound per foot, but luckily if you look a bit harder, you should be able to get them for cheaper.

The drawing over-leaf shows in more detail the various projects in which reclaimed scaold boards have been utilised in Hackney Wick and it's surrounding area along withdetails of local outlets for their purchase, donation and/or reclamation. But remember... be prepared to look a bit further afield if you require a large amount of boards at short notice because in a world of dwindling resources and widespread economic hardship, reclaimed scaold boards are hot in demand.

MATERIAL FACTS

Timber scaffold boards provide a working surface for scaffold users. In the UK, scaffold boards are designed and tested to comply with BS 2482 [British Standards].

The wood used to produce scaffold boards in the UK is European Whitewood, which is imported from the continent as it is this particular wood that is stipulated in the by BS 2482. This wood is selected over wood grown in the UK such as Sitka Spruce and Scotts pine as it is the correct size and has superior structural integrity, which is inherent in the trees genetic make-up. Technically, this means the tree has greater fibre strength and a more desirable cell structure.

When the wood arrives from mainland Europe it arrives already cut to the correct dimensions. The wood is, what is termed as 'unseasoned wood' [seasoning reduces the moisture content of the wood], meaning it is not dried before use. This is so the timber maintains its equilibrium with the natural environment and ensures the wood does not begin to warp, bend or twist when exposed to the elements.

Wood cut to be used as scaffold boards is cut to three standard thicknesses (38 mm which is the most common, 50 mm and 63 mm) and a standard width of 225 mm and a maximum length of 3900 mm long. The ends of the boards are protected against impact damage either by metal plates called hoop irons or sometimes nail plates, which often have the company name stamped into them

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE SUPPLY CHAIN DRAWING HERE (PDF 22MB)