Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 49 seconds

The remodeling industry has changed dramatically in my lifetime. I was born into a construction family.

Old time Carpenters

Old time Carpenters

When I was exposed to the remodeling industry there were no pneumatic tools, no computers, no laser tools, no battery operated tools and screws were rarely used. Sure there were Phillips screws but we used a cool tool that pushed in the screws.

We swung the hammer and we had nails that we hit home with style. Construction sights sound much different now with rattle guns, compressors, circular saws and backup beepers.

To put it all into perspective, my employees joke about how their boss is a Jewish carpenter. Honestly, I hadn’t given it much thought.

What about the tools of the trade

Brace and bit, planes, nails, all replaced with power tools then again by battery operated and pneumatic tools. Sanding used to be done by hand my friends. A good carpenter had an assortment of hand saws and a tool box that he made for himself. The smell of blue prints reminds me of my childhood.

Plans were drawn by hand and I learned how to write in an architectural font with a triangle. I used a transit to set grade, I even learned how to use a slide rule.

Carpenter ruler

Carpenter ruler

Tradesmen were born

Specialization started to enter the picture around end of World War II. Lath and plasterers lost their jobs and or had to become drywall installers and tape and texturers. Plumbers came on the scene and electricians. Soon to follow were roofers and concrete contractors.

The natural evolution continued with siding guys, then Painters, Framers, Masons, and Finish Carpenters. There has to be a logical end in sight. As a general contractor I appreciate momentum but someone needs to be the one in charge and orchestrate the symphony.



Is every carpenter a specialist?

Why does everyone want to be a finish carpenter? I had a carpenter tell a client as he was leaving the project before cleaning up. (Right before he was fired) I am a carpenter”, he said with his nose in the air, “Someone else will be along to clean up”. Like the three musketeers, we are all in this together.

Toss it out and get a new one

I realize that we are evolving into a “ME” nation but really folks, lets get serious. Real carpenters are a dying breed if we do not promote the profession. I am fortunate enough to employ several and have created a culture where being a carpenter is cool.

Skills America

Skills America

There will be no shortage in my company because I respect them and encourage them to teach the new guys the love of the profession. I am also nurturing a new generation through my participation with my NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) organization and the local schools.

We are supportive of a mentorship program the likes of which have not been seen in a half a century. The trades are suffering from a lack of talented labor force too. I’m not kidding folks, we have a crisis here. I recently read an article in a trade magazine where the editor echoed my concerns.

We need to make being a carpenter sexy again. Parents need to be proud of their kids going into the profession as a choice rather than a consequence of not thriving in school.

Stay tuned more on the subject to come

In a ray of sunshine I was able to witness an Idaho High school Skills America competition where participants are given a set of plans some basic tools and a stack of materials. The goal is to produce the project accurately. I have been invited to be on an advisory board and look forward to participating in some manor next year. I also learned that CWI (College of Western Idaho) is starting a carpentry program that I will be anxious to help with.

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261

If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor please contact me, you’ll be glad you did.

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