In the background the mason chips away on the next stone that he will use to build the foundation.
And, in the foreground, one of the carpenters also chips away, but he works on a log, refining it to fit just perfectly.
I had four carpenters working on this project, from the beginning with the barn salvage operation where we harvested the logs, to the installation of the last piece of trim on the final day.
It took us eight long, wonderful, months to complete this cabin.
In addition to the carpenters I also had a stone mason and his helper there most of that time building the foundation, the chimney, the fireplace, and, the stone exterior steps.
I’m not certain why, but masons make more money than carpenters… it’s the way it has always been. The men that “work the wood” are the lowest paid men on a construction site. The world is not fair.
And, let’s not forget that there was me and all my efforts… designing the home, supervising the jobsite, finding and acquiring all the materials needed, etc. The crew would always give me a hard time… they viewed me as the most expendable member of the team… but without me, none of this would have happened… I’m the guy with “the vision” and “the herder of cats”. And, they knew that… at least… I think they did.
So, in total there were seven men, each working very hard for eight months… that’s better than four-and-a-half man years for someone thinking of attempting something like this on their own. And that’s not counting the roofers, the electricians, the plumbers, the excavators, the well drillers, the painters, and the heating/air technicians.
Clearly a lot goes into building one of these cabins.
All the men who have ever worked for me have wanted to be paid more. All the subcontractors also have wanted to make as much as they could. And, of course, all the government agencies and insurance companies have demanded their cut as well.
On the other end of the equation was the client, the home owner, you know, the person who pays everyone. They want things as low cost as possible. Who can blame them?
It’s a constant balancing act trying to please everyone… in the end it is a rare event when anyone has been happy about the amount of money that was exchanged… those working feel somewhat slighted… and those paying the bills wonder if they paid too much… and the builder, who just wants to build, is stressed out, from hearing from all sides of their displeasure.
But in the end, and there always is an end, what really matters is the home that was built. Over time the money issues are forgotten and what stands for all to see is the work.
My friends, build as well as you can, and in the end there will be nothing but praise and thankfulness for what was created, for decades to come, perhaps centuries to come, by those who admire our work long after we are gone.
Originally posted 2015-05-25 16:01:12.