|Forum topic by cabinetman||posted 2714 days ago||1106 views||0 times favorited||15 replies|
2714 days ago
That’s what he would say right in the middle of something. I would refer to him as a master craftsman. My first shop was in an industrial district with several cabinet and woodworking shops within walking distance. Working late into the night I would hear tools running and it was coming from Werner’s shop. His shop was a few doors down and across the street. At times I would go over there and bring an extra coffee just to say hello. Then there were times he would need help lifting something or moving something around, and I would help.
After many visits I would just hang out there. He was German and had a strong accent, and spoke broken English. He came from a long line of woodworkers and cabinetmakers. From what I remember from his lineage, the men in his family were in the trade as far back as his great, great grandfather.
His shop looked like it was transposed right out of a history book, except for some really old huge power equipment, mostly all cast iron stuff. As a newbie to woodworking, I would always think that his equipment should be upgraded. I wasn’t one to talk, because at the time my table saw was a sheet of plywood with a circular saw underneath.
Anyway, Werner didn’t need to advertise. His clientele was completely referral and there was a backlog. People paid his price or they walked. He did no negotiation.
I would go over to his shop whenever I could and help him for free, just to watch. In my mind he was my mentor. Even his appearance was overwhelming. He had very thick fingers that didn’t look like they could even bend.
He remained in that shop for a long time and we became very good friends. I considered my time there an education I could get nowhere else for any price. It was his habit of signing and dating every piece made that I adopted. I still remember him working on something and I’d be yaking, and he would say “Stop asking all the questions”. He was used to concentrating.
He move out of state to be in business with one of his sons, and it was the last I saw of him. I was talking with one of my suppliers yesterday who heard he worked up to his 80’s, and died. I felt something in me die. I felt a genuine loss. I would have liked to say to him “Thank you”.