“Our company is about keeping traditional skills alive and embracing new technology,” begins John Hampton, production manager at Artichoke. “We specialise in the design and build of super high-end furniture for large period homes. It’s our job to add value to architecture and create bespoke pieces that not only stand the test of time but are seen as part of the property’s heritage. To achieve this, we have to work with the very best consumables on the market and continue to push the boundaries of design.”
This clear vision has led the Somerset-based business to invest heavily in its production facilities, whilst its pursuit of products designed to enhance quality and improve efficiency has led it to the door of Swiss fixings specialist, Lamello. Following a detailed demonstration of Lamello’s Zeta P2 profile biscuit jointer by one of Lamello’s UK distributor’s, Axminster Tools, John and his team were given six weeks to put the jointer and a selection of connectors though their paces.
Zeta P2 demonstration
“It was an opportunity we couldn’t refuse,” admits John, who looked thrilled with the idea of his team putting the Zeta P2 to work. “When you’re faced with an experienced team of cabinet makers, having a tool that can be put to the test and still come out winning is no mean feat. We initially used it on a couple of smaller projects to get an understanding of its capabilities and to see if it was a good fit for our company. It got the green light within hours of the team getting their hands on it.
“Our industry is very traditional and many of the techniques we use today have remained unchanged for centuries. My team take great pride in these mastered skills and are sticklers for detail and quality. This has made them shy away from modern methods more than once, and rightly so, but the Zeta P2 had a very different response. They saw the potential straight away and it’s been in constant use ever since.”
Before the introduction of the Zeta P2, Artichoke’s cabinet makers would join frames onto carcasses using traditional cams and pins. “To avoid disruption on-site and to be certain of the quality of each piece of furniture, we like to transport our furniture as complete as possible and put a small parts kit together in order for the installation team to complete the job.
“The downside to using cams and pins in this is way is that you can’t insert the pins into the back of face frames before they leave the assembly area in case they damage the item. They are also notorious for coming out of the frames during the build. Lamello’s Clamex P offered us the perfect alternative for this application.
“As well as being designed as a strong, temporary fixing, which has helped us reduce assembly time, they also have a low profile that reduces the risk of damage when being transported to their new home. Its clamping system also gives us the option to temporarily or permanently fix the face frames to work around the different stages of each build.
“Plus, we have the added flexibility of being able to swap Lamello’s consumables to best suit the application we’re working on. These decisions can be made during the installation process which, when working only on bespoke projects, helps us solve unforeseen complications that may arise on site.”
The team has gained valuable experience working with Lamello’s complete range of fixings, including the Clamex P, Divario P, Bisco P and Tenso P.
“Each connector brings its own unique benefits to the table,” explains John, as he shows me an example of a large kitchen his team is assembling in the workshop with Lamello connectors.
“Take the Tenso P for example. The glue-assist connector has simplified the way we glue our mitres on our more contemporary-styled kitchens. We apply thick profile edges onto internal shelves which, in the past, would require a lot of time setting-up and removing sash claps.
“Then there was the long gluing process. Now, thanks to the Tenso P and its self-clamping design, we simply apply the glue at any angle and leave it to dry.
“We also use the Divario P on carcasses that have a central divide. It’s completely invisible when fitted and it offers the strength needed in applications like this. In the last few weeks, we’ve also heard about the new Tenso P-10 which we’re keen to try on applications where we’re limited on the panel thickness on a mitre. The entire range is now part of our core kit in the workshop and using the Zeta P2 is second nature to us.”
Clamex P used on a curved door design
Lamello’s Zeta P2 has opened up new production possibilities for Artichoke and has already helped the team with several intricate applications, including the recent installation of a leather-clad gun carcass with internal gun supports.
“The Zeta P2 played a crucial part in this project and helped our team apply invisible fixings quickly and efficiently to internal supports on site. It would have been considerably more challenging and timely if we hadn’t used Lamello. Its portable design has also made us consider the possibility of a third Zeta P2 for use exclusively on site. We wouldn’t invest in another one without good reason.”
John concludes: “I firmly believe that if there is a better way of doing something, you shouldn’t be afraid to try it. Buying into the Lamello product range is a clear example of this. It’s important to build relationships with companies that share your company’s values and if you build relationships with the right companies, it makes you stronger. Lamello and Axminster Tools do this. They have a fantastic reputation and that gives us confidence to invest in them.
“There is an upfront cost involved when purchasing the kit but we’ve seen a return on this through the speed of application and the ease in which it’s been integrated into our methods and processes. It’s giving value to our customers and adding value to our business through enhanced quality and efficiency. What more could you ask for?
“We’ve recommend Lamello to a number of cabinet makers in a bid to build industry knowledge and if you’re reading this and wondering if this could be the product for you, why not ask for your own demonstration and see the results for yourself?”
For more information, contact Lamello’s UK representative, Shaye Chatfield.