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Derek Barret Design Ltd – Lamello: A Work Shop Essential 

Clare Hollister

With over 130,000 Instagram followers and an equally impressive following on YouTube, Facebook and TiKTok, Derek Barett, owner of Buckinghamshire-based Derek Barret Design Ltd, is a man that knows what it takes to get noticed. But, like all good furniture designs, it’s often what you can’t see that proves most impressive. For Derek, this is Lamello’s innovative fixings. 

“Lamello has was always been on my peripheral but it wasn’t until 2020 that I became the owner of my first Zeta P2,” admits Derek, Managing Director Derek Barret Design Ltd. “I’m a big fan of trying new things and I’m always on the hunt for innovative solutions that can not only help me create beautiful pieces of furniture for my clients but also standardise and simplify my manufacturing processes. For me, this is exactly what the Zeta P2 does.” 

Derek admits that the benefits were seen immediately. “From day one, I used it on every job and within a few months I’d purchased a second one. Teamed initially with the Clamex P-14, we not only saw an increased level of speed and accuracy in the workshop but we were also able to transport pre-fixed panels easily to site and erect them quickly with little more than an allen key. It was unbelievably quick and the whole team, which all have different  backgrounds and competencies, found it a straightforward, easy to follow process. Now, Lamello is engrained into our business and we use a range of fixings on everything we make.” 

Take draw boxes for example. In the past, I would Kregg my draw boxes together. The process worked well but it required a certain level of skill to guarantee the panels remained flush. An experienced furniture maker would know to expect some movement and how much torque to apply. This level of skill isn’t needed when using Lamello’s fixings. With the Clamex P-14, you simply create the grove using the Zeta P2, insert the fixing and click it in place. It’s child’s play. The cost of using Lamello is far cheaper than having to remake a draw box due to a mistake and it’s 50% quicker. Site work and assembly time has also reduced and they remain strong, even when disassembled and reassembled multiple times.”

Derek is also a fan of the Tenso P14. “They offer a seriously strong hold. In fact, they are so strong that we were able to use them on a hidden door that was designed to show no fixings when open. We didn’t want to clad over the fixings – this would have made the door really heavy and prone to dropping – so we used the Tenso P-14 self-clamping gluing aid instead to create the same effect with no visible holes. The results were beautiful.”  

Then there’s the K20 – which Derek admits is his favourite. “I’d be an ambassador for the K20 if I could,” laughs Derek. “We use them a lot on our fillers – the scribes around the wardrobes – as they’re stronger than a Bisco so you are guaranteed a really good bite. You don’t need to add any glue during the process because you just know it has the right amount of strength to do the job but if you do need to pull off a filler once fitted, you can without causing any damage. This makes it an extremely flexible option.” 

Two years on from the purchase of Derek’s first Zeta P2, he’s invested in the new Zeta Cordless. “As soon as we tested it on MDF, we wanted it,” says Derek. “We predominantly use it on Egger, Kronospan and Finsa MDF board and very occasionally on Xylocleaf textured board. We also use it on solid wood – although we prefer to use a TCT blade on solid wood which is actually cheaper than a diamond tip blade.

“The only problem is, we now fight to get to the Zeta Cordless first. Just like the original Zeta P2, it’s quickly become an essential part of our tool kit and using it onsite – without the restrictions that come with an extraction hose and cord – makes life so much easier, especially when working in confined spaces. The guys are already asking for a second one.” 

Derek is also keen to disperse any myths about the Zeta cordless. “People always question the battery life and extraction power on tools like this. With the Lamello Zeta Cordless, you don’t need to. We use two four-amp batteries because they’re lighter and easier to handle than the six, eight or 10amp options that are also available. They obviously don’t have the same battery life as the bigger ones but we can easily make 300 cuts – a whole box of fixings – without needing to recharge.” 

Derek continues, “The extraction is also effective. It has a good amount of air-draft blowing into the bag at all times. You just need to remember to turn the machine on before doing a downward cut as the sawdust will fall out. That’s gravity for you!”

Derek’s latest efforts to standardise his production processes and combat the skills shortage has seen him became the proud owner of his first CNC router – a Homag Drilteq V-200 – which features software designed to work with Lamello’s P-System. “It features pre-loaded settings for Lamello’s P-System within its WoodWop software package. It has a disc and two router cutters that clear the hole and machines the t-section. As it’s a four-axis machine, it will do all our Lamello cutting on the face, top and side of a panel. This was a huge selling point for us as we look to streamline our business, whilst maintaining our standards.” 

This purchase, whilst extremely new to us, will help us take our production to the next level. The core of the business won’t change and it will never take away our need for Lamello’s handheld machines because of the site work and bespoke pieces we do – but if this machine can alleviate some of the manual processes we’re currently having to do, it will have an extremely positive impact on the business and ultimately, how many projects we can complete every year.” 

Derek continues, “We are still learning how to use the machine but Homag’s partnership with Lamello sealed the deal for us. It’s just another example of how integrated Lamello has become in our business and the wealth of possibilities available to Lamello users. It’s now a way of life and is central to the company’s best practise. Come back next year and we’re confident the results of incorporating a Lamello-ready CNC into our workshop will speak for themselves.” 

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