Thursday, January 10, 2019
The Old Carpenter
******** Automobile’s of Art:
1940 Chevy good carpenter truck
The here and now:
I have a soft spot for carpenters. I was touched by Rick’s blog entry about the loss of a carpenter friend down Alabama way. Old carpenters are some of the most helpful to a young man learning how to hold a hammer.
I ran across my 6’ folding rule. I smiled, about learning quickly that it was not a ‘6 foot ruler.’ ‘Son a 6 foot ruler is a tall king, we use a 6 foot rule.’ Looking back the carpenter could unfold that thing faster than a guy now does a recoiling metal tape. When I first started there were few ‘Skill saws’. With no power at the site it was hand saws. They had several hand saws for different jobs and kept them sharp as a razor.
Carpenters were tellers of tales. I enjoyed sitting around at lunch or break time and listening. I remember one saying, “I had a kid work for me and I asked him what had happened, the joist didn’t fit.”
He answered me as serious as could be, “Mr. Tom, I cut it three times and it is still too short.”
Everyone cracked up, they had probably heard that a hundred times.
Friend Bill told one tale was about a kid who could not hold the hammer correctly, he always choked up on the handle and pecked at a nail. I.e.:
Bill continued, So the lead carpenter took the hammer from the kid. It was a cheap new one. It had a wood handle. As quick as a wink the boss cut the handle in half and handed it back to the boy. “You didn’t need the rest of that handle anyway.” The kid almost cried. The boss let him work about a half hour, then apologized and handed him a real carpenter’s hammer. Bill paused telling the tale, then said, “After that ‘I’ got it right!” Again we all cracked up.
PS: Every occupation has its stories and tales.