Blog introduction Carpenter’s Angle

Welcome to The Carpenter’s Angle.  My intent, through this blog, is to share some of the knowledge and ideas I have developed over many years working in the field of carpentry and construction.  I would like to begin with a little about my own philosophy.  I recently came across a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. that eloquently sums up my feeling about the trade.  In his words, “Labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”  I have dedicated my entire life to the perfection of my career, to the labor of building the structures in which people live their lives. From my humble beginnings as a carpenter,  I have grown and learned, reaching a point at which I have not only created a successful small business, but more importantly, have provided a positive community service.  It is my mission through hard work, dedication and research to continually make myself the best general contractor, carpenter, and man that I can be.  This is why I write.

Those looking for an exceptionally well-written construction blog might need to look somewhere else.  I will be honest with you, I am not a writer.  I am just a man who is trying to share my knowledge with the general public so that others can understand the caliper of professional that I am.  It is my great pleasure to share my thoughts, wisdom and knowledge with the world.  Hopefully I can educate and be a positive resource to the people that read this blog.  More importantly, hopefully by writing about my passion, I can reflect and  learn myself.  I too will use the wonderful power of writing to polish my thoughts in order to accomplish my goal–to strive to be the best in my field.

Within my blog entries I will be focusing on product review, construction methods, busness practices, descriptions of projects, tricks of the trade, and general information about home construction.  Some will be better than others, but overall, hopefully it will be a great resource for information.  Most importantly, I hope I can show the world that the building trade is more than 2×4’s and nails; it is a complex, multi-faceted, and rewarding trade.  It is my goal to inform, educate, and  inspire the public the best way I can about this wonderful trade and to honor each and every tradesman that came before me that contributed to the improvement of this business. Thank you for reading.

How to pick a contractor

This has been a topic of conversation that I have been wanting to write about for a while. Being a general contractor myself, I find picking the right contractor for the client to be one of the most crucial decisions in a remodeling project. Every project and every client is different, so it is important to find the right person for the job. Because of this, there are three important aspects to keep in mind when interviewing contractors.

The first important thing to think about is the type of project that you are trying to construct. For instance, if you are looking to remodel a bathroom or a kitchen, there are companies that just do kitchens and baths. On the other hand you probably would not want them to replace your window in your home. The easiest way to determine this is to look at the contractor’ biography on their website. Usually they will list the type of projects they can and are willing to do.

The second aspect to think of when choosing a contractor is the level of quality that one desires form the finished product. Are you really only looking for a fast, inexpensive job that is a temporary fix, or do you want a good quality product that will last for years? Are you more interested in a completely customized product catered to your needs and desires? Their are two ways to figure this out. First, do some research on the contractor’s website and see if their site depicts the quality level that you desire. The second is to get some recommendation from someone that you know. Look at the type of work that was constructed and see if it is what you desire.

The last question to consider when choosing a contractor is what I find is the most important. What type of experience do you want when the project is being constructed? As I say to my clients, a successful construction is based upon not only the final product, but also the customer’s positive experience during the project. This sometimes can be the hardest to figure out during the interviewing process. The best way to to figure this out is to talk to a few of the contractor’s former clients. Any reputable contractor should be able to supply you with a client contact list. Ask their opinion on how the job was executed and what they would have done differently. More importantly, pay attention to how you feel about the person during the interviewing process. Your first impression goes a long way and can be indicative of how your relationship with the contractor will be.

Toy Chest

Toy Chest project
Toy Chest project

One of the great things about my blog is that I will get to write about some of my projects. I feel that my photo gallery of jobs is limited because it is merely an image of a project without the story behind the scenes. With the majority of my projects a great amount of my time is spent problem solving so this will give me the opportunity to share my experiences. The first project I would like to talk about is a toy chest I build a few years ago for my children. It was a simple project as you can see from the photo but it has an interesting story which will show you a little of who I am as a tradesman, grandson and father.

My grandfather was an interesting man. A product of the Great Depression, he was a extremely resourceful man. About fifteen years ago he needed to to re sidewall his garage with new barn board. Most people would go down to the local lumber supplier and buy boards or hire someone to do it for them. Not my Papa, He started cutting down ninety foot pine trees from his yard. He spent a whole summer milling them with a chainsaw. Everyone thought he was crazy, mostly the neighbors, but he got his garage resided. Shortly after he passed away and we were cleaning out the garage we found the leftover boards that he did not use. In short they were the rejects. I looked at them and I thought that it would be a waist to throw them away. I got the bright idea to build something from them, but i wanted to be special. That is why I chose the toy box. I wanted for my children to have something that they could look at and learn a little about there great grand father.

I tried to accomplish this with the design of the box. Overall it is simple and utilitarian just like Papa. I made the proportions of the box large to give it a strong and solid feel which was a lot like him. The most interesting design element I used was the wooden hinge. This was a bit of a challenge for be but it works well with the piece. extremely simple in design it does its job and works well. Plus I did not have to buy a metal hing. Any one that knew my grandfather would agree that he would have been proud of me not buying something. To many this might seem like a waist but to me it was one of the best pieces I have ever constructed. Not only was it a challenge tooling native pine boards that were milled with a chain saw but to me it was completing a project with my grandfather in true fashion. He had started it and I finished it. Creating a piece that represents him for all to see. To me my grandfather will live on in this piece.