I slept with a Skill saw …


Bedroom Door (Built June 2015)

My father was a contractor. A skilled carpenter. Growing up he would buy, renovate, and flip houses. Every 2-3 years we moved until I was 10. My early, formative years were spent in the midst of construction. Banging and sawing all day. All night.

There is a persistent story that I could not settle down and get to sleep unless I had my father’s Skill saw in bed with me. No a teddy bear. Or, cuddly pillow. No. A circular saw. I don’t remember this, but no one has ever told me otherwise. I don’t know if I did it to stop the noise, slow my Dad down, or whether I had a real affinity for these screaming saws. I do know that I do love working with wood to this day, particularly pine, my father’s wood of choice.

My father built the cottage single handedly. Well, he had my help, if you can call it help. I was young but loved watching him work, and picking up after him.

Dad: “Can you pass the hammer?”

Dad: “I need the level?”

Dad: “What do you think? Is it plumb?”

By osmosis, I became a carpenter. A wood worker. I even considered working with my Dad after I graduated from college. That didn’t happen. I took a different direction. But to this day, I enjoy working with wood. The smell. The feel. The satisfaction of building something.

I am adding a 3rd bedroom in the cottage. I have reclaimed an unused addition at the back of the building, raised the floor to the level of the cottage floor, and added a couple of windows. This week, I framed it, and a laundry room ready for the plumber and electrician.

Yesterday, I built a bedroom door. Not any door. A door exactly like the ones my father built 50 years ago for each of the 2 existing bedrooms. The same wood. The same dimensions. Even the same hardware.

Chas and Lou didn’t bother me. It was a cold, wet day. They were content to rest and watch. Watched the way I watched my Dad.

Some things never change. Hard as we may try, we are our parents. We can’t escape it. I like to think I embody the best of both my mother and father. My mother was hard working, conscientious, committed, and astute with money. She was a saver, and knew how to make it grow. The result of living through the Great Depression. My father was a skilled craftsman. He had a wonderful sense of scale, and proportion. He was a simple, well liked, generous man.

The new door is a tribute to my father. And, my mother. She would have been close by. I didn’t have to build it this way. I didn’t need to build a door at all. I could have bought a pre-hung door from the building supply store. But no. I wanted to relive what my father experienced 50 years ago.

After a long ride with Chas all afternoon, I have poured a beer, and am sitting here admiring my handy work. Just like my father would have done 🙂


Bedroom Door (built June 1967)

7 thoughts on “I slept with a Skill saw …

  1. That’s a nice door right there! I too love to build things which is the downside to living in a condo – no workshop! All my poor tools are in storage.

      • Not that I’m aware of, haven’t really looked either. Hopefully in a couple of years I’ll be in a house so I’ll have a proper workshop – and cycling studio!

  2. Oh, I wish I could see the photos of the door, for some reason WP (I think) is messing with me and I can only see some photos. Weird. Anyway, this is a wonderful tribute to your father to build it just like he would have.

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