Sunday, June 07, 2009


Not fannying around

Work continues apace to the job at The Old Croft in Knutsford and the last week has seen the start of the fan pattern laying. All of the circle work is complete, the recess trays have been fitted and the joints prepared for final filling with the resin mortar any day now.

Cookie, proprietor and chief sett layer for The Original Stone Paving Company who are constructing the paving, prefers to use a steel frame to guide accurate laying and alignment of the fans, but due to the special nature of this job, and the fact that reclaimed setts are being used, the standard fan frame wasn't quite right, so we had to have a new frame assembly fabricated to order and that arrived on site last Monday.

You can just make out the frame in the photo above. The full assembly comprises a number of individual 'fans' that are bolted together to ensure accuracy, and then set to level to guide precise position and levelling of the setts as they are laid inside each 'frame'. There are almost as many methods for laying sett fans as there are tradesmen capable of doing the job properly, but this, for me, is the simplest, speediest and least problematical method.

As can be seen in this close-up shot of a single fan, the number of cut setts is kept to an absolute minimum - we reckon on 6-8 per fan, and these are predominantly simple trimming cuts rather than full dressing cuts, so speed of laying is maintained as far as is practicable. Also note how the outermost course of each fan has been laid using a lighter-coloured sett. These are new white-grey Egyptian Granite setts, with a basic cropped texture but as there is only the once course per fan, that won't impede traffickability for pedestrians too greatly. What it does do, however, is gently emphasise each fan as an individual.

And the effect is, just as you'd expect on this job, truly stunning. In this photo, the setts have just been dampened down. in the very hot weather that we were enjoying when this section was laid, the pre-mixed bedding mortar can dry out too rapidly, so every hour or so during the heat of the day, the whole area is hosed down to aid proper curing of the bedding mortar, and it helps bring out the natural beautiful colours of the reclaimed setts.

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