- Posted by hinged
- On April 18, 2017
Up until I was about 12, I grew up in a strictly do it yourself home. Weekends were spent following my father around trying to help but mostly getting under foot with whatever project was underway. One ambitious Spring project changed the routine and started me on a path that resulted in a successful career in homebuilding.
The idea was to build a pantry off of our kitchen. The 6 x 6 foot addition was built into a corner and only needed two outside walls. The idea was to build it from the outside and then cut an access door to the kitchen. The first weekend we managed to dig a hole and pour a footing. Cement 101. The next weekend was installing the post, framing the floor. By the end of the month we had the walls framed and the shed roof built. I had two skinned knees and my Dad had a bandage on his left thumb where, as he put it, “he hit the wrong nail”. The last Sunday ended with putting up the last piece of plywood on the outside.
That morning came, we made our run to the lumber yard, including the usual donut stop, unloaded the shingles and couldn’t get to work because we couldn’t find the tools. We searched everywhere and finally realized that they were sealed into the new pantry. Everything except the hammer. We spent the rest of the day at the beach and the pantry project sat idle for a few weeks.
By now school was out and one memorable Monday my Dad went off to work and Vernon and Bob showed up with their helper. Of course, they were willing to let me help too. By the time the opening into the kitchen was complete and my Dad’s tools were accessible, he was over the urge to do it all himself and I had my first job. I wasn’t allowed to touch the saw that summer but by the following one I was the official junior helper and by the next I was a paid apprentice. I learned a lot and moved through a string of summer construction jobs that got me through college. A side business of building bars in dorm rooms helped too.
Some of the lessons from those Summers were basic and mostly common sense.
There were Vernon’s four rules of being an apprentice:
Keep your work area clean, a sloppy jobsite, makes for a sloppy job.
Keep your tools and supplies as close to the work area as possible.
Never ever, ever put your hands in the path of the saw.
Just because I made it look easy doesn’t mean it is.
Those I learned the hard way like: If you try to locate where to cut a hole for a skylight by driving a nail through the roof from the attic, you will find it with your foot.
They morphed over the years and resonate today.
For taking care of your house focus on what you enjoy and what you’re good at. If you like gardening, garden. Woodworking, build stuff. Don’t try high voltage wiring because the electrician made it look easy. Use Hinged.com to find the right professionals who will make it look easy and free up your time to go to the beach or do the projects you like.
Never ever, ever get in the path of the saw.