Monday, October 27, 2008

Starting at the Bottom

When we think of carpenters, we think of hammers. Nails. Sawdust. But on a construction site, what surprises beginning carpenters is how little time they spend actually working with wood. Especially when you're the new guy, you get all the non-wood jobs, starting with some of the tools in this photo. You swing a pick. You dig. You move a pile of gravel or muck around in concrete. You might use the pry bar, the ax, the bolt-cutter. This is where most structures begin.

That pry bar, by the way, is one of Ken's favorite tools. He calls it a "pinch bar." I think he likes the way you can work it under something - like a wall, say - and jiggle something massive, with fingertip control (if you have strong fingers, carpenter's fingers), placing that wall or log or boulder precisely where you want it. Where it will stay. For centuries.

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