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The Last of the dinasours

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Project by reedwood posted 1241 days ago 1258 views 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
The Last of the dinasours
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The Moore Project
Architect: John Richert, owner of Crossroads Blue Sky

This was one of the last rear projection cabinets I reluctantly built.

The pocket doors stuck way out when open, and the lower drawers were huge like bunk beds.

Looked like a Buick leaning against the wall.

Just like they wanted. Not one of my favorites but a nice way to show a few pictures of the rest of the house.

This project included installing a new kitchen, 5 bathrooms, a custom walk in master closet and pantry, 2 mantles, a locker cabinet, a home theater cabinet, a TV cabinet, built in book cases, a wine room, arched door trim and columns, tall 3 pc. base and 2 pc. 4 1/4” poplar crown, picture mold and chair rail, stair rails and 8 ft tall, 1 3/4” 4 panel poplar doors with 6 7/8” jams. Man, they were heavy!

The painter, Jose was great. Extremely hardworking family man that made our work look fantastic.

What a blast! Everybody had a good time working on this one. Great clients too.

But, after this one, I think I’m going to pass on bidding framing houses. It’s my own job or trim and cabinetry only.
Not complaining, mind you. I just can’t compete anymore with European contractors that pay their 24 yr. old lead carpenter 18.00 an hour. That’s what I pay my laborer! I can spend 12-16 hours on a complicated framing estimate like this and not get the job because I’m 2000.00 higher than my polish friend.

Most of my crew specializes in trim and cabinetry and average between 25- 32.00 an hour. They know how important proper framing is so the doors, cabinets, hardware and trim go in smoothly and on time.

But, we all want to make 50 – 75 grand a year with a company truck, paid vacation, and benefits and this is what happens……........Building in America has changed.

Instead of pulling out what hair I have left, I have adapted a new concept.

”The world needs ditch diggers too.” _- Caddy Shack

Instead of cursing the European framers under my breath during the whole trim job, dealing with out of plumb door jams and out of square vanity walls, no blocking and warped studs in the kitchen cabinet walls, I go there before the drywall is installed and check every door cripple and header height. I have a big 3×4 ft folding framing square for the bathroom corners and I string line the middle of the kitchen walls.

Now I “own” the job. No one else to blame.

This takes about 1-2 hours and I offer it for free. (included in overhead).

With kindness and by example, our peers should lead our young apprentices to be finishers on the job and therefore, in life.

-- mark





2 comments so far

View LittlePaw's profile

LittlePaw

1571 posts in 1681 days


#1 posted 1241 days ago

Like I said before, you do some of the nicest work!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View reedwood's profile

reedwood

858 posts in 1279 days


#2 posted 1241 days ago

Hi Steve,
Good reply from a fellow Texan. I grew up in Austin.

Things sure have changed. 2 years ago I had 8 men and a secretary.
The boys were good and they knew it. I was constantly reminded that my competition was hiring and they were better or faster than my project manager, who is a finisher, a master carpenter and was with me from the beginning. I wanted to pay them as much as I could.

I don’t believe any carpenter is worth Union scale. well, maybe me. Ha! I pay very well for a non union shop. I like to give power tools as gifts for a job well done or an extra effort like working late. I give (my own) cash for side jobs. I take an interest in their families and step up when needed.

But, our investors pulled out, the next job was postponed, and then the next. I kept them busy working on my own house for 6 months while I was trying to find work. After going thru 90,000.00 of my savings, I finally had to pull my head out of the sand and realise I had to let them go.
I managed to get 4 of them work, I helped one go back to college, and my apprentice is still with me doing odd jobs and small projects around my house.

Now I sub out everything. Those that are left have all become sub contractors.
or as you said: “compartmentalised”.

Keep the faith. We’ll be OK.

-- mark

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