Many of our customers are surprised when they learn that it takes us a whole day to install a new front door. Often, their expectation is that we will show up in the morning, drink a cup of tea and screw the new door in. The reality is very different. We carefully shape the door to suit the existing door frame, make sensitive modifications and repairs to the frame itself, fit the hinges by hand, and then precisely install the locks and draughtproofing.

Our carpenter’s toolkit does not just consist of a box of power tools. We do use them for some aspects of the job, of course, but a well-sharpened chisel should be the true craftsman’s tool of choice for fitting a hinge to a new door. In the past, we have trialled new joiners who would only use a router (a power tool) to cut in a hinge. ‘It’s the fastest and neatest way to do it,’ they insisted. ‘Haven’t you got with the times?’

But what did these joiners do when asked to access a part of a door frame where their power tools just wouldn’t fit? When asked, ‘Where are your chisels?’ they presented items that more closely resembled dog-eared spoons than well-honed blades. They simply were not up to the task. Their power tools were nothing more than a smokescreen, hiding a lack of skill.

An accomplished carpenter should have a strong bond with their hand tools. Their care and craftsmanship should be at the heart of everything they do. This is the case with all our carpenters at Cotswood. Our longest-serving joiner started his apprenticeship at the Barbican Centre in London. His first job: sawing a straight line all day – and not just for the first day, either! He learned how to truly care about the quality of his work, not just how to earn some quick cash. This is why he receives comments such as, ‘Dave is a first class carpenter with a very good eye for what looks right subjectively – and he’s painstakingly precise.’