What I Learned From Carpenters in the 1970s

When I started working in construction, the year was 1978 and carpenters usually brought their dogs to the job, had their radios blasting out loud music and there was Southern Highlands Carpenter plenty of alcohol that was consumed on a regular basis. These carpenters that I’m talking about, weren’t really interested in safety or doing exceptionally good work.

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It didn’t take me long to figure out that most of the people that worked in the construction business, back then drank a lot and some of them were even what I would consider to be alcoholics. This never seemed to bother most of the people that they worked with, as long as they did their job.

When I say that their work was okay, these people were usually more concerned about the activities after work than they were concerned about activities during work. Their biggest problem was running out of alcohol and whose turn it was to go down to the local liquor store to resupply the troops.

Quite a few of the carpenters that I worked with, didn’t really seem to care about anything, including the work that they were doing. If something was wrong or they messed something up, they really never gave it a second thought. If the construction foreman ever came up and challenge them about some of the work that they had done, they would simply promised to buy them some more alcohol and the problem was solved.

This was a rough and rugged bunch of carpenters and I really couldn’t ever imagine what they were like 20 years before this, but I did learn a valuable lesson from these carpenters. It’s important to take pride in what you do and do the job the best that you can.

I wasn’t ever interested in being like these guys. Their carefree attitudes towards other people and their work, seemed to be a reflection of who they became later on. I learned a lot from these old-timers, even if it was only that I never wanted to live a life like they did.

It’s always going to be better to do the best job that you can or that you are capable of doing and the rewards will come in the future as a result of the choices you make in the present.

If you’re a framing contractor or a carpenter who works in the construction business, there’s a good chance that you know someone who has had a nail gun accident. I would like to share a couple of things that I have learned over the years, using pneumatic air powered nail guns, while framing homes.

1. Safety Glasses – The last few years that I worked as a framing carpenter, building tract houses, we were required to wear safety glasses. Even though I didn’t like it, I obeyed the rules and I think that every carpenter should do the same. Make sure that you have safety glasses, whenever you’re working with power tools and especially framing nail guns.

2. Every nail gun used for house framing should have a skyhook on it. Sky hooks fastened to the side of the nail gun and can be used to grip on to framing lumber. This is extremely useful, when you’re working in high areas, framing roofs or floors.

3. You should never be in a hurry, while you’re using power tools, including high-powered nail guns. I was shot in the leg, by another worker who was in a hurry and I even shot myself in the hand one time, because I didn’t have the lumber positioned correctly. There are plenty of construction accidents that happen each year, simply because someone was in a hurry. You don’t need to be one of them.

4. Don’t point or shoot your nail gun at anybody. This was something that happened on the job often as carpenters would take on a Rambo war hero mentality and start shooting at things, including other people. Nail guns are dangerous and you shouldn’t forget that it’s your responsibility to maintain a safe work environment.

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