Process of making hand-woven mesh guards

Hand crafting woven mesh window guards

For St Andrew’s Bradfield, Aiano was commissioned to make hand-woven mesh window guards. There are two main types of window guard mesh in general use today woven mesh and weld mesh. Aiano is possibly the only firm in the country still weaving its own wire mesh in the time-honoured tradition of our ancestors.

The stainless-steel wire is passed through the crimping machine to produce the ‘crimp’ or ‘wavy’ line that allows the wire to be woven. The lengths of crimped wires are then threaded to the loom and the weaving process begins. A finished section of woven mesh is called a fluff.

This is highly skilled work that proceeds at a pace which is rather alien to our modern high speed world. It is a world where the craftsman has intelligences and experience in his hands and fingers to guide the weft and warp to produce a perfect result. The skills for weaving Aiano mesh have been handed down from generation to generation since 1860.

During the next stage, the templates are fixed to the work bench and the main frame that forms the outline of the guard is shaped. The hand-crafted mesh is turned over the frame by our expert wireworkers – no welding is involved at this stage. There is a continuous processing of measuring, checking, and aligning with the template to achieve perfect window guard.

Horizontal support bars are added to help the guard hold its shape. The woven mesh itself is rather ‘floppy’, but when fixed to the window it is firm, and as strong as strong can be. An Aiano mesh window guard should last for decades.

 

The process of weaving AIANO hand-woven mesh

A large section of Aiano hand-woven mesh being woven in the workshop.

Aiano hand-crafted guards

After being powder coated black the hand-crafted guards are checked again prior to installation.

For the project at St Andrew’s Aiano craftsmen hand-crafted more than a hundred lancet and tracery guards. In our next article we will look at the process of installing the guards.

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