Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 31 seconds
In a make to order world, having an inventory of rarely used materials makes no sense. We are used to being told 4 to 6 weeks on many of the items we order. The problem is that most of our projects don’t last that long.
In a recent search for an interior half-light pocket door, we hit the wall again. To my astonishment, this is a rarely ordered door. After getting the runaround from several suppliers, most of whom buy from each other in a ridiculous circular way. I realized that what I wanted was not realistically available any longer.
What would an old timer do?
My dad used to employ Finnish Carpenters for years. They were from Finland and they really were amazing. Aaro was a big man, strong as an ox. Atta and his son Harry Hanski were the father and son team I remember the best. Hanski (as we used to call him) used to say, “Hey Yo! Nailum up dat 2 by 4. Bring me a sheet of lyvood” I always thought finish carpenters spoke broken English, drank spiked coffee, and came from Finland.
Not so, it turns out, although they were amazing carpenters and Finnish Carpenters at that, the term was describing an artisan that was second to none.
It dawned on me that the door I was asking for was something Hanski would have made himself. He taught my brothers, Mike, Jeff, Maurice, and many others to be patient, swear in Finnish, let things roll off our backs, tricks of the trade, and how to look for cleaver solutions to remodeling problems.
This is when I approached Steve Wadsworth, our Project Manager, and a fine finish carpenter, about solving the door problem. I laid out the situation and he said, “No biggie, we can just buy a solid core door slab and make it ourselves.” “David Vann makes wooden musical instruments for cryin’ out loud”
Remodeling is an art
Where have all the craftsmen gone? Carpentry and construction trades are not just for those that can’t succeed at anything else.
Some great carpenters still exist; several of them work for Levco. I would classify it as a dying art in need of resuscitation. What was once a noble craft handed down from generation to generation has slowly become less relevant. Fortunately, Levco still sees the value and refuses to farm out our carpentry skills. Framers are not carpenters, although framing is a part of carpentry, there are miles between a finish carpenter and a framer.
A 21st century finish carpenter thinks finish carpentry is trimming out a cookie cutter home with MDF in 4 hours. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Bring back the finish carpenter
I like to think of a good carpenter as a “Wood Surgeon”. I cherish those memories of summers spent remodeling.
In an effort to keep carpentry and finish carpentry alive, Levco is teaming up with Mr. James Cupps and The Boise School District Vocational Education program to institute a paid summer internship program in Atta Hanski’s memory. If we don’t involve our youth, and hand down our knowledge, the carpentry and finish carpentry art will die.
On a sad note, I just learned that Atta’s Son Harry Hanski passed away Feb 2019 may he rest in peace. I just mentioned them in an apprenticeship program I was teaching to a new batch of carpenters.
When your wants and needs exceed the abilities of the market to provide, that is when you need a team like Levco to provide the necessary talent and creativity to get the job done right.
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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Glad to see Hanski is being remembered and getting his due! The school team-up is genius!! Love it.
Thank you for validating my memory of a wonderful man, Hanski was a part of our growing up. I did have a cool connection with him. In talking with my brothers, each one had a unique relationship and fond memories of him too. It was a natural to honor him in this way. I am sure this relationship with the schools will bear fruit. My dream is to inspire some young minds.