Friday, 18 March 2016

First of the Season

The warm weather is upon us, so the calls for outdoor projects has begun.  A previous customer called me up wanting to make some improvements to the front of their home. I really enjoy working for repeat customers having that past working relation usually makes the process more comfortable for both parties.

Previous to my arrival the homeowners deck was surrounded by a poorly installed and frankly ugly plastic lattice. The homeowners understandably did not like this and asked me to make an improvement.  After some discussion it was decided to install new 1"x 6" vertical pressure treated fence boards.

After removing the lattice I installed a new sub rail to support the new deck skirting. This took a fair bit more work then anticipated as the front of the deck was out of level. After some shimming and shaving and adjusting the new vertical boards were nailed on level and in a straight line.

And this is the final result.  Able to report happy clients again.

The clients also asked for a gate on the side of the deck so that they can store items under the deck during the winter, so of course I obliged.

In the end a simple project that resulted in a dramatic improvement to the curb appeal of the home, and it was nice to be working outside again.

Hans Christopher

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Finding Focus

Jack of all trades master of non, a common enough expression.  Mastering a trade will take you very far in the construction industry, but to take yourself far in your own business you need focus as well.  Without focus you end up running all over the place and getting, ultimately, no where.  Admittedly this focus is something I lack; I just have way too many interests that are all slightly related.  Building furniture is not so different then building custom millwork, and trim carpentry is in the same ballpark home building.  Isn't it?

This lack of focus has plagued me for sometime now, and it is no where more apparent then when people ask me what I do.
"What do you do?" 

 "O know I build...stuff, O and I renovate...and make custom furniture...and do some traditional woodworking know other stuff...I yea make things"

 "Right" (silent slow head nods follow)

"you know I build...stuff" is not a great opener especially if it is a potential customer or business relation you are meeting for the first time.  Also not so great on a first date either.

Recently though I have been spending time trying to reconcile this problem and gain some much needed focus.  I know what I like to do, and I know what I don't like to do, I know what I want my business to accomplish and what I don't want it to venture into.  Knowing this is going to help me narrow down my focus, so now I am not running all over the map, more like ,maybe, two soccer fields and a baseball diamond instead.

I would love nothing more to work in my shop or in someones home building wonderful wooden "Things".  I would love to never have to answer phone calls, or read emails or deal with stupid people.

I do however want to own a successful business, and I want that business to renovate old homes and bring them up to modern standards.

So what is my focus.  Broadly speaking I want to run a renovation business that specializes in updating
older homes (preferably in the 100 year plus range).  The hope is this will combine my love of building with my love of traditional woodwork (old homes are full of traditional woodwork ,usually), and if I am lucky this will be successful so I can gain free time to spend on my other passions.

Hans Christopher

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Speaking about Woodworking

I had the privilege to speak to the Kingston Woodworkers Association today.  The KWA put together a great symposium to discuss woodworking joinery.  I was included in a great line up of talented Ontario based makers and felt honoured to be asked to join them to speak.  If I can make one complaint is that I had way too much to saw and way too little to speak.

This was my first time speaking to a group of people this size, nearly sixty faces staring at me, and they were a great group.  Everything went off without a hitch.  I even got a few laughs during both of my talks.

With this presentation finished and behind me now there is one last thing to think about and devote attention.  Now I can focus on paying jobs, and get some work on my house done (notably my shower plumbing).

Hans Christopher