Product review: DeWalt DCS331M2 cordless jigsaw

Dewalt DCS331M2

There are two kinds of product tests that I carry out for Skill Builder, explains Roger Bisby. The first is to take a brand new tool out of the box and give my immediate impressions by taking it out on site and hopefully letting a few of my fellow workers give it a go to get their opinions. This has …

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Oxley Woods

blog oxley

My heart goes out to the people who bought homes in Oxley Woods. These modern style houses on the outskirt of Milton Keynes started life with such promise. For a start they were designed by a partnership that included Richard Rogers. They were bold, bright and beautiful, built from prefabricated panels with sleek lines and maintenance free exteriors. No more …

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How to Make a Fake Wall with Brick Effect Render

In this video Roger demonstrates how to use a fake brick effect render from Bostick. The system is applied in two easy steps, starting with a grey mortar undercoat. Once this is touch-dry it’s followed by a coloured face coat which is cut through with a specialised tool included in the pack to expose the grey mortar underneath, creating a …

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How to Solder Copper Pipework Without Leaks

How to Solder

In this ten minute video, Roger shows us how to solder copper pipework and achieve leak-free plumbing that will last. “The first thing is cleaning the pipe. If you got a bit of tarnished pipe like some of this which I have just taken out of the shed, it really is no good, even with self-cleaning fluxes. That won’t polish …

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Installation of Bifold Doors with Quickslide

Roger Bisby provides a detailed installation of bifold doors guide for Quickslide bi-folding doors making a complex installation easy to understand. Roger talks through some of the key considerations and challenges for the installation of bi-folding doors. Quickslide Quickslide is a well-established business specialising in the manufacture of sliding sash windows, casement windows and doors, bi-folding- and sliding patio doors …

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Printing 3D Concrete

3D visualisation

If I had a pound for every time I have seen an invention that promised to revolutionise house building I would have at least £32.50 by now. This latest one is a 3D printer for concrete, simply load up the shape and dimensions of what you want to build and watch it chug away building up layer upon layer of …

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Dealing with floods

Flooding house

Well we can’t say they didn’t warn us about climate change, more rain, rising seas, extreme weather. The television is full of images of flooded homes and the miserable aftermath. People being interviewed say that they have never known it this bad. Houses that were once considered above the flood plain are now being deluged and everyone is looking for …

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A curious incident

Gold masks

The recent incident of The Apollo Theatre ceiling collapsing on the audience thankfully resulted in no deaths, though it appears there are some very serious injuries. No doubt even many of those lucky enough to have escaped unscathed will have nightmares and may hesitate to enter old buildings for a while. At the very least they will become habitual ceiling …

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Holding your ground

holding your ground

It’s raining again and it looks set to carry on for days. My daughter phoned to say that the problem of damp around one of her windows has returned. She lives on top of a hill and the gable end of her house catches everything that nature can chuck at it. We have had all summer to fix the problem …

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The damp conundrum

Keep dry

I have always been a sucker for a challenge. If someone tells me that they have a problem that nobody has been able to fix, I am there. Rising damp is not usually baffling but rising damp in a third floor flat is. Yes I do mean rising damp and not penetrating damp, the proof being that some of it …

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Why Your Shower Tray Leaks

Leaking shower tray

I went to look at a shower tray leak today. It was the usual story, a leak around the tray. The water was pouring out. The householder had been trying to solve the problem for months. He had even renewed the grout and silicone on the bottom three courses of tiles and still the water poured out onto his lovely …

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Missing the point


I have been re-pointing some brickwork this week. Despite having a shed full of various pointing guns I was doing it the old fashioned way with a hawk and a Marshalltown tuck pointer. The reason for using hand tools as opposed to the compressed air gun was simply to reduce noise. The customer has a one week old baby and …

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Why help to buy?

Help to buy

It never ceases to amaze me how many politicians never seem to see beyond their next move. They certainly aren’t chess players. Yet again we see another politician blundering into a trap as obvious as any fools mate. His eye is firmly fixed on the immediate prize and he seems to be blind to the dangers. If only he could …

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The Not so Beautiful Game

Qatar World Cup

Qatar, host nation of the 2022 World Cup, (that is soccer for our American followers) is busy building the infrastructure for the games. An expected 500,000 migrant construction workers will make their way across the Indian Ocean to provide the labour and for many it will be a one-way ticket. Put bluntly the Health and Safety record on construction projects …

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Deal or no deal

Green Homes Grant Installer

The British government has been working on ‘The Green Deal’ for several years now. It was originally the brainchild of the previous Labour government but the coalition took the idea on and brought it to fruition. I say ‘fruition’ but that is hardly an accurate description because it has failed to even blossom let alone bear fruit. There are currently …

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Lost in Construction

Loft construction

It might seem like a busman’s holiday but whenever I’m out enjoying myself, I still can’t stop looking at buildings. Now comes the bit where I inflict my holiday snaps on you and if you are well brought up you say “nice” but anyway feel free to comment. The first is someone’s ingenious attempt to protect a gable end wall …

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