Monday, November 21, 2011

Greg with the Makita chain mortiser. You can buy one on

Greg and I were good team. He was the brains and I was the brawn (I’m sure both features were arguable!) It didn’t make sense to me to pay Greg to do things that I could do. The more boring the job, the more pleased I was to finish it myself. That’s where the cost savings is. I made it clear that I was the paying customer and the boss, but of course, I treated Greg with respect for his skill and experience. Since this was Greg’s first actual timber frame from start to finish, I laid out a few ground rules.
The first rule in any job should be safety. I briefed at the beginning of every day that no project was worth getting hurt over. You can’t get anything done after you get hurt.
We would work at a good pace but would take a time out when things weren’t going right. We wore protective clothing and would just plain stop and take a second look when we had that funny feeling. As a helicopter pilot, I prefer to prevent accidents instead of trying to react to them. When Greg and I used the backhoe to locate timbers, we contemplated what could go wrong before we set machinery and heavy timbers into motion. We’d place safety straps and temporary braces where we could in case parts began to fall. We communicated alternate plans and escape routes for each movement.


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