A different kind of woodworking....

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Forum topic by AngieO posted 07-06-2013 03:43 PM 1415 views 0 times favorited 41 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1267 posts in 2112 days

07-06-2013 03:43 PM

The first week of June I went on a building trip in Brookville, OH. It’s about three hours away and was a week long adventure. We were helping build an addition to a church’s sanctuary. I was very curious to see how many women would be there. And to my surprise…. there were ALOT. THEN… I realized that all those women (although they were wearing nail belts) were there to fix our breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was only one other woman on the entire crew of almost 80 men. So… I was questioning just what kind of work I’d get to do and if they would let me run any of the power tools.

Do any of you know my intense fear of spiders??? When I first got on the job I was sweeping (see why below on day 1) and a guy came and gave me a box cutter and told me to score along the baseboard around the entire room so that the drywall would break off easier. I got about 3/4 done when I encountered the spider. I displayed an extreme amount of restraint here. I KNEW that I couldn’t get these guys to let me do much more than sweep and fetch things if I jumped up, screamed, and ran away from this spider. Which… is what every being in my body wanted to do I slowly stood up and backed away. Might have looked a little crazy as I was talking to myself the whole time (“It’s just a spider! It’s just a spider! It’s just a spider! Dont run! Don’t scream! Powertools!!!!!”)

No one seemed to notice. So here is how the trip worked out for me.

Day 1… Very big guy walks up to me and hands me a broom and says “shouldn’t you be doing the women’s work?”
He walked away. I had never met him. Didn’t know if he was serious or not. I don’t offend easily so I laughed and I swept ip stuff.

Day 2… I’m nailing in (by hand) the tyvek and the blue board on the outside. This was early in the morning. Same guy walks up and says… “Isn’t there some woman’s work that you could be doing?” Again I still hadn’t met him so I laughed and said “Im sure there is”.

Then the crane arrived for the trusses so we stopped putting on the insulation. Somehow… Cause I’m curious… I ended up with the project manager. He sent me up on the scissor lift to give the guys on the roof some tools. He asked if I had driven one and I said no. He hollered for someone… And guess who it was? Yep. The “woman’s work” guy. Somehow I ended up sticking with the guy and I helped out the trusses in. I learned real quick how to drive the scissor lift and be quick about it. And by lunch he was even letting me use the paslode (which intimidates me and is bigger than my These were huge trusses and we were two stories high. The middle section of the three different sections. Had a blast

Day 3… After spending almost all of day 2 putting in the trusses and working along side the “woman’s work” guy… On the third day I walk up to him and say “you got any woman’s work for me today?”
He hung his head a little and with a little from he said “nah… I think you are doing just fine with the men’s work.”

After that… None of the men hesitated to have me help on a project.

Day 4 & 5…. helped build interior walls. Was given massive piles of lumber to cut for the sound/media booth and lots of driving the scissor lift. I actually got pretty good.

Fun times. I had a blast.

A little overwhelmed though… By the massive piles of lumber. And had to keep myself from ever looking at the dumpster where they were throwing away perfectly usable wood.

41 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28919 posts in 2302 days

#1 posted 07-06-2013 03:49 PM

Construction sites waste a huge amount of lumber. Always watch them if they are building decks. Good lumber being tossed out.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View a1Jim's profile


117062 posts in 3541 days

#2 posted 07-06-2013 04:04 PM

Way to go Angie ,you showed those guys you have the right stuff.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3527 posts in 2216 days

#3 posted 07-06-2013 04:06 PM

Good on you, Angie. I bet that some of the women tending to the “women’s work” would have loved to be there doing construction work with you, but didn’t step up for some reason. I imagine some of them were jealous of you for stepping up!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View revieck's profile


262 posts in 3034 days

#4 posted 07-06-2013 04:07 PM

Good for you, Angie!

-- Don't be at the airport when your ship comes in!

View BertFlores58's profile


1694 posts in 2886 days

#5 posted 07-06-2013 04:12 PM

Just be careful working in the site. Other worker can be a risk contributor.
The timbers from these are normally treated chemically and it last long too. The hard part is sometimes the owners would not give the offcuts here in the Philippines. In your place, I expect a lot ends up as firewood. I hope you had gained experience on that different woodworking.
Have a nice day.

-- Bert

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2935 days

#6 posted 07-06-2013 04:18 PM

Way to go.

View boxcarmarty's profile


16013 posts in 2324 days

#7 posted 07-06-2013 04:35 PM

I need to build a mini barn. Wanna help? The trusses are smaller and you can keep the scraps…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View JoeinGa's profile


7735 posts in 1971 days

#8 posted 07-06-2013 04:38 PM

Good for you…


-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View ellen35's profile


2734 posts in 3397 days

#9 posted 07-06-2013 04:41 PM

Angie, I wish I had your patience! What a way to handle an awkward situation… kill ‘em with kindness!
I’m glad you were recognized for all your talents and willingness to do “people’s” work.
One of the nice things about LJ is that folks here recognize talent not gender!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2112 days

#10 posted 07-06-2013 04:42 PM

I definitely learned a lot. It was a lot of fun.

Actually… I did get my first injury while working on the site. I had been given this great little hammer after someone saw me struggling with one that was too heavy and too long for me. (Hurricane straps… I never want to install about her hurricane step again. All with hammer and nails… Sucked!!!!)

Anyways… I was working with another guy up in the scissor lift. I wanted to go down and get my hammer. But they were Ina hurry (always) and he just gave me mine. We were putting in supports in between the studs of the wall we just built. It was built with 2×10s. Not sure why. So I wedged the board in and was trying to get a good angle to shoot a nail in. There was 14” between each stuff. All the nail did was push the board out. So I was trying to use the hammer to get the boards to come together. Long handle… I was using hammer left handed….Too heavy…. Bad angle… Guy rushing me… I somehow managed to smash my pointer finger between the corner on the stud and the hammer. Didn’t scream or cry. Just gently dropped the hammer to the bottom of the scissor lift and said “I’m done!”
This was on Friday and I was done for the rest of the project. It hurt!!!!!!’ It’s actually still healing. I think I actually must have cracked something because even yesterday I went to use it and it hurt.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2112 days

#11 posted 07-06-2013 04:43 PM

Absolutely boxcarmarty!!!! Lol. I want to build one in my yard for a riding mower and other stuff I don’t want in my shop. Lol. I need some experience.

And Ellen… You are right about LJ’s. it’s great.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28919 posts in 2302 days

#12 posted 07-06-2013 04:49 PM

I don’t think about a woman on the construction site as being different. My mother helped build the barn, house, corrals, all cabinets and shelves in the house and made all of the living room furniture. She just turned 84. Still more capable than many guys I know. I just assume if you are there, you’re capable of doing the job.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2112 days

#13 posted 07-06-2013 05:19 PM

There were several guys that didn’t question my ability. A couple that just assumed what I could so and would tell me what they needed with the expectation that I could do it. I think my favorite thing though was walking around in the trusses. Too fun!!!

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2250 days

#14 posted 07-06-2013 06:02 PM

My wife is good at DEMO! hehehehe
When we gutted the kitchen, the floors were the worst. FOUR LAYERS and each with its own underlayment. And NOBODY was skimpy on the staples which, of course, went through all the layers. In some places where several pieces came together several times over the course of 4 layers, it was like trying to pry up a forest of staples with some wood in it. AND it was about 95 degrees outside. Even with the air cranked it was a horrible, brutal job. But man, could that girl work a railroad bar and square shovel rippin’ up floor.

She has her own cordless drill and hammer though. And I could say, “Find any loose pieces of subfloor and screw them down with inch and a half square drives.”, and she was on it like nobody’s business. She’s afraid of heights though, so no trusses for her.

Angie, congrats on taking an active role in the “mens’ work” and on your test of courage with the spider. And on your willingness to get involved in community work.

I knew a guy that was afraid of…. OWLS! He even said to me once, “It’s not even a rational fear. I’ve never had a bad experience with an owl. They just freak me out.” so what lands in the trusses not 30 feet away from him one morning? You guessed it. He was down a ladder like changing decks in a ship and into his truck in seconds.

View a1Jim's profile


117062 posts in 3541 days

#15 posted 07-06-2013 06:02 PM

I was thinking that it’s time to for you start your own contracting business, but then I remembered your a single mom with a good job .Perhaps you could offer to help other non profit organisations or get a group of carpentry inclined gals together to do special projects,that would be very cool for all concerned .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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