Skill with a Skill

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Framing crew on a current construction project is being run by two union carpenters from Washington state. Both of these guys are "old school", to say the least (it's been years since I've seen exclusively 77's on a jobsite here in Texas, and these guys pulled seven out of the trailer, five for the "hired help", and a "personal" 77 a piece).
This morning, watched while one of them ripped a 4x12x20' cedar beam to width, to match two butting LVL's ... took less time to "rip" than to "report". No guide, no line, just a pencil mark to start, and a 'finger on edge' to guide the cut. Result: perfect match to the LVL's, and the 9/16" off cut does not vary by 1/32 for the entire 20' length.
Try that with 20' 4x12 stock on your table saw!
Can't express how good it is to see that type of "skill" is still being wielded once again in these parts ... notable/rare enough for picture proof:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/A.jpg
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/B.jpg
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/C.jpg
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/D.jpg
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/E.jpg
Even rarer these days : sit in a the construction trailer and listen to measurement 'call outs' in English, and SRV on the jobsite radio.
Now, if only Paul Harvey would be around to signal lunch time ...
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Obviously the Sketchup plans that they were referencing was a big help in making those accurate cuts. ;~)
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...I've recently dragged my 77 out for a couple of jobs and it's been a *time* machine. I love that saw...it really is a part of my arm when I'm using it...Swingman, you probably wouldn't like the way mine looks, tho; there is *no* guard. I own three of them and all the guards are in a little nook in the shop. I know, I know...but that's how we learned out here on the "tracts" and anytime I use a circular saw *with* a guard I feel I'm gonna hurt myself! I suppose if I were on a "real" job (meaning one involving other workers and apt to get OSHA inspections) I'd have to conform, though. Funny aside, I was at a yard the other day at the counter. So I see this gizmo out of the corner of my eye...you know, an impulse-buy display, and it was a Skilsaw guard holder-upper. Well, I joked with the sales guy who's about my age that I wouldn't be needing *that* anytime soon. He came back with, "...yeah, there was a guy in here this morning who said '...now, what do they think I'm going to do with my pencil?'"

...the man's been at it for awhile! The real advantage of that saw to one who knows how to handle it is *speed*...gobs of power...I LOVE the sound of Skilsaws in the morning!

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"Charlie Groh" wrote

Yep, nary a guard in sight.
Funny thing, one of 77's was used to "chop" down an 8" diameter tree that was leaning over the framed area and in the way of installing TJI's. A relief cut on one side, the coup de grace cut on the opposite, tree down, five minutes, back to work.
I gotta admit that's the first time I've ever seen a "circular saw" used to remove a tree. :)
Keep in mind that around here it would take an application, complete with name, rank, serial number, genus and phylum of every tree on that, and adjacent, properties; an inspection prior to that; erection a "tree protection fence" around adjacent trees; another inspection of said fence installation; a week for the actual "tree removal permit"; a licensed professional "arborist" to do the deed for $250 minimum; a request to remove the "tree protection fence", apres mort; another inspection following that providing $100/diameter inch was paid to the city "tree fund"; AND, required replacement with an equal number of circumference inches of a tree on the "approved list", and within 2000 feet of the construction site, and that must live for at least five years.
No, I'm not kidding ... we actually had one builder here in WestU accused of "tree murder"! :(
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F8ck!!!! They had to travel half the country to find work?!!
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"MikeWhy" wrote

Yeah, Bubba ... and I'm damn glad of it.
Don't want to sound non-PC, but good gawd almighty the difference!
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Foundation contractor on this particular job, an old time Aggie acquaintance, is married to one of the guy's sister. The guy, who owned his own framing company in Washington for the last 25 years, was bit by hard times in the area and just moved to Bryan, and, as luck would have it, was looking for work. I had him bid the job, along with four others, and he came in in the middle (I liked that his was a fair bid, a tad on the high side for the times, but it showed an obvious knowledge of the work required, and, just importantly his worth in it ... no low balling just to get the work) Although I'd never met the guy before meeting with him on the RFQ, the entire family is known for their work ethic, the connections were there, and I had a good feeling about him. Soon as the contract was awarded, he flew in his old right hand man from Washington for the job, and hired some local hands to fill out the crew.
How lucky can you get ... :)
Bubba, I can tell you one thing for sure ... I wish like hell I had six more to build right this minute, with these two guys as bell cows, we'd be hell to stop!
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Ask any contractor... he'll tell you...
YOU SUCK!
Sorry.... ;^)
A find like those guys only comes along once or twice. You know that.

You know, the moon and stars haven't lined up that well for me over the last few years. I have the work, but no qualified subs. I have the subs, but not enough work to hold onto them for long.
And it has been years since I have seen a craftsman that is of the level of mastery that make me actually admire what he does. Not necessarily the work, but the way he goes about it; no lost motion, no unsure decisions, no extraneous activity, no loud talking, etc.
Just set up, and go to work. Stop for lunch. Honestly take only 30 minutes. Give an additional material list if needed, a progress report if asked, and a heads up on a possible problem. Stop work at the end of the day (not rolling up 30 minutes before quitting time) roll up, go home. At the job the next day with coffee in hand 20 minutes before starting time.
Where did all those guys go?
Robert
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> Stop work at

Why do you expect him there 20 minutes early, but are pissed that he might leave early?
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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-MIKE- wrote:

That shows he left home early in case there was a traffic delay on the way, it demonstrates a commitment to the job that is often lacking in those who allow just barely enough time to get there a minute before starting time. It ain't the single most important quality in a worker, but things like that tend to be part of a pattern.
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"DGDevin" wrote

Very will put!
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I've always showed up for work 20 minutes early, I started with the Bell System and was a union member from the first moment I was allowed to join until I retired 32 years later, then went to work the next 5 years working in a shop fabricating laminate for custom closets, Still got to work 20 minutes early and waited outside the shop till they opened it. It just never felt right to me to be showing up as they were opening the doors. I get to the doctors office early too. I hate being late, just ruins my day I see the younger guys drive up and park just as they were opening the doors to the shop and wonder how they could live with that. Guess new values, or is it lack of pride in self and work ethics CC CC
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CC wrote:

That's a great trait

I'm impressed, from what I've seen, union membership often sucks the initiative right out of motivated workers.
... snip I get to the doctors office early too. I hate being

I'll do that the first time or so. If the doctor or other professional keeps *me* waiting more than 10 or 15 minutes, I take that into account for future visits and am not quite so fussy about getting there on time. I'll allow for a bad day the first time this happens, but after the second time in a row, I take this as an attitude on the part of the office that clients' time is cheap while their time is valuable, so making the client wait is the way to keep the office humming properly. I am also a professional and my time is valuable as well -- if they don't value *my* time as much as they expect me to value theirs, I get a bit snippy about that and am likely to start factoring in the standard office delay when timing my future visits.

Working as a non-hourly employee, I can't directly relate to that. I've always put in more than a regular day, so start and stop times are a bit fuzzy. When one's regular shift is 9 hours and one normally works 10+ hours, I'm not sure how to count "showing up on time" except in the sense of making sure one makes scheduled meetings on time.

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If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

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Lord knows I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth or anything, so help me understand this. I get showing up early to do what you have to do in order to start "working" at clock-in.
But these guys can't even get in the shop doors, right? Are you saying they should show up and sit in the parking lot for 20 minutes?
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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at the work location so that you get there as they are opening the doors is cutting it too close for me, Too many times they have walked in late because of traffic, or what ever reason. When I was working, I liked to be able to be able to have time to collect my tools, get some coffee and have time to drink it, not have to drive like an idiot to make sure that I am not late, and to be ready to start my work day without all the stress of hoping the boss doesn't catch me walking in past start time, or anyone waiting on me because I was late. CC
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CC wrote:

For the sake of discussion, I don't think work ethic has anything to do with age. I've supervised 20 year olds with strong work ethics and the utmost responsibility. When given the opportunity to meet their parents, I would find out why. That's something that is most often taught and led by a parent or role model.
I think age can hone one's work ethic and experience (school of hard knocks) makes or breaks it in many people, but every generation has its slackers and its conscientious, responsible workers.
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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wrote:

I certainly agree that there are people of all ages with a strong work ethic and the same for slackers. However, I think you find that those who started their work life at a time when you could and did actually get fired if you did not do good work and you competed to get and keep a job to feed your family learned a better work ethic. Those who have worked in an environment where you cannot get fired and nobody forces high quality work for fear of a lawsuit or at least paying high unemplyment rates have not felt the need to learn the ethic.
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dhall987 wrote:

Like it or not, that is one of the benefits of a slump in the economy and/or higher unemployment rates. If you're a slacker, why would you worry about getting fired, when you can just walk across the street and get a job.
When jobs are scarce, the slackers get fired... or butch up and start pulling their weight.
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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On Mon, 09 Mar 2009 04:10:03 GMT, "CC"

...I had to learn that ethic. Never a problem once I got going...it was just getting going. You get taught things only when you pay attention...there were a couple of mentors along the way, and it was *always* like this, that just flat made me look bad...quietly. Call it what you want, pride or whatever, but one day I woke up and joined 'em. THAT was a cup of coffee I'll never forget. I teach high school kids something far from the trades; competition marching and movement. But know this...they get *that* lesson first and foremost...not as calmly nor quietly...but they most certainly *get* it!
cg
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My boss hired someone who was late to her interview despite the old adage not to.
She was late to work everyday after that.
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