The roof for an historic greenhouse is taking shape thanks to the skills of expert craftsman Jason Wright.
Jason, a self-employed joiner for almost 30 years, is renovating the teak frame of the 1930s structure in Alexandra Park, Hastings, before reinforced glass is installed.
He has started work on the 12-week project at his Westfield workshop to cut and then plane planks of sapele, a sustainably sourced African hard wood which is approved by the Forest Stewardship Council.
The project comes after years of fund-raising by the Alexandra Park Greenhouse Group, the charity formed to renovate and put a permanent roof on the structure. The work will enable the greenhouse to be used in all weathers for community events and for growing and selling plants.
Last year’s fund-raising campaign called Let’s Raise the Roof and a generous gift from an anonymous supporter helped to raise the necessary cash for the work.
Greenhouse chairman Linda Pearson said: “The trustees and volunteers are thrilled that at long last the restoration has begun. Community support gives us the encouragement to carry on.
“We are now established as a plant charity shop, making donated plants flourish, the sale of which covers our increasing running costs. Please continue to spread the word so we can open more frequently, improve our offer, and plan interesting events and workshops so we can really grow together.”
Jason is preparing glazing bars for supporting the glass panes, using devices called cutter profiles which mould the wood into the correct shapes. He said: “The main rafters are in good condition but the greenhouse needs new glazing bars; there are 144 altogether.”
He will spend about two weeks preparing the bars and then the rest of his time at the greenhouse.
He says: “It’s all about preparation. I will put a finishing oil on the wood, then once I am at the greenhouse, I have to slot the bars into place. I will put tenon joints on the ends to fit into the mortises.
“I’ll do the work in stages and I can put a tarpaulin over the top of the greenhouse as I am working.”
Croft Glass of Hastings will supply the toughened glass with Ironworks UK, of Westfield, renovating the cast iron guttering and downpipes on the greenhouse.
Meanwhile, the greenhouse volunteers’ stall at Great Dixter Plant Fair on July 10 and 11 raised £500 for funds. Follow progress on the greenhouse renovation via www.our-greenhouse.org