The front living room is now gutted and skim-plastered over. I hadn’t expected that but removing picture rails and fireplaces leaves holes to be patched and then surface cracks in the existing plaster means filler and such; it was more efficient and more work effective in getting the pristine, clean and fresh beginning we wanted ready to start receiving beautiful designs in wood that will be our new furniture. Anyway, the walls are now white primed and so too the ceiling so everything is appearing as one at last.
I like the way the men work. It’s orderly and well planned. On the first day they seemed to blitz everything to see what could remain and what needed repair or replacement. Whenever you have a building crew in it’s natural for you lose that sense of ownership as they take on what needs to be done for you. These artisan builders were well briefed by both Joseph and the boss, Agnes. As soon as the punch list was created they were off like greyhounds after the rabbit. For me though I feel I was entitled to feel things a little differently. Throughout my 55 years of working I have been always been totally involved in the building process. With two of my former homes under my belt and then restoring half a dozen others.
I was married at 21 and bought my first four-bedroomed house. It took some doing but hard work and saving hard meant that with an additional gift for a deposit I could get on the ladder towards owning my own home. In that house I took the bold steps towards early DIY as I ripped out all of the window frames and made new ones which I then installed one by one. I then rewired with new wiring throughout followed by installing a complicated system of central heating using water-filled radiators to every room. My brother helped me with the plumbing for that. I replaced the whole bathroom and kitchen too, building the cabinets and counters and such. I also took the p[lunge at my first bricklaying and built two new fireplaces floor to ceiling. I say this because I am a hands-on guy that likes and advocates DIY. This time around, handing the work over to another, is not just the impinging of my home space but then too my desire indeed to do it myself. I cannot possibly do it this time around and nor should I. These men will keep me in the saddle making and designing my pieces for the house. It’s a no-brainer.
In the garage, my very personal creative workspace, I have a series of steps that I have taken to ramp up things for considering the first piece. I find myself not so much lacking confidence about how I build the first piece but more how. having all of you on this journey with me really helps. I know that perhaps the majority of you will not have nor could ever have a shop full of machines and so I am keeping my focus on my ever-important quest to work mainly with hand tools. The bandsaw has really helped me because sometimes I have to make even three of the same piece to iron out the bumps. Yes, I know, you like seeing me make mistakes, but I am not really talking about mistakes. We actually do leave most of them in. I really don’t make too many. Joseph has always been a behind the scenes support, mostly because he never really saw himself as camera material and he has given unwavering support because he believes what I do is important to me.
So now my woodworking has a special cause. A greater cause if you will. It’s about design and helping you to think through processes professionals may never have time for. I’m prototyping and filming snapshots as I consider the components, the sizing, the drawings and such. That way you too can access so much of what I may have taken for granted for years. Do cardboard coffee tables have any real validity in the grand scheme of things? Well, yes they absolutely do. They pave the way to stop you just jumping in on a design and having to live with perhaps a negative result.