The Discovery Of Slowness


Working with Cumaru, a Brazilian hardwood, has be one of the more satisfying challenges for 2018.

The client elected to go with a herringbone pattern, an arrangment of diagonal decking boards that will meet in the center of the deck.

In the time it took us to build the subframing and to apply the fascia and the picture frame, we could have built two coventional presure treated pine decks.






Pollinators need not be excluded


During my visit to the zoo, I veered towards the butterfly gardens and enter upon an area roofed with a clear fabric mesh. I noticed that swaths of butterflies were stationed in winged clusters flapping against the fabric. And I thought, monarchs are migratory, but here their travels have ended. Then I noticed the absence of bees. In my garden they are a constant.

Should the zoo be petitioned to open its butterfly garden to all and sundry, make it an open air market for pollinators and free ranging butterflies?

Floating Deck



This deck design came about through the desire of the client wanting something unique.

We went back and forth until they decided on this design which changed as we built it; we added the double headers on both side of the post and made the path 4′.

And we used yellow wood to offer contrast.

I call it the floating deck because the deck goes outside the post and gives the idea that the deck is floating.











The Secret Life of A Gardener


A life apart, separated into segmented moments.

Plants literally scream at me: I’m dying of thirst; the sun is too hot.

I respond with the garden hose in hand walking among my December-Planted collards. I was fooled into thinking they could survive without me, that they could subsist off the land.

But seeing them drooped, sulking, sullenly aloof- tore at me. If I did nothing, they would die.

We take rain for granted, when it comes we complain; not me, I cherish the rain. It makes my job as a gardener easier.




The things that own us


We are some 15 years into our present home, you would have to ask my wife the exact date, and shortly after moving in, I set about making general repairs; the first of which was the shower faucets, which dripped, would not lend itself to being shut off.

After several failed attempts to locate the parts from such places as Lowes/Home Depot, I set down and started calling plumbing supply stores from the phone directory.

By chance, I made contact with A-1 plumbing supplies.

I had removed the part and took it inside the store. The place was a room fronted by a counter where two men stood whom didn’t strike me as plumbers; they had more of an academic flair than someone whom worked on pipes and such things that flush.

About every three years or so now, it has become my task to drive to their store and to pay for replacement parts.

Invariably, I forget the name of the part.

This time, I showed him  a picture and he kind of scoffed and said that could be one of hundred parts.

I asked him to start naming them; he listed off about six when I stopped him: that’s it- Eljer. He then went behind him into a door-less opening that gave way to a series of tall steel framed shelves.

As he stood before me, I watched him take apart each piece and from a canister he removed from a drawer beneath his waistline, opened it and from the same drawer produced a small brush that he used to apply grease from the canister in a way you would think that he was painting his master piece.

It was the hallmark of my day: to witness such devout attention to a obsolescent object. In a seemingly mindless fashion, I watched as he would put the parts back together with me wanting to say, there you left that piece off, but then of its own volition his hand would self correct the part into place.








A New Level of Care


When I was a framer, framing houses with other carpenters, there was a constant refrain: you can’t see if from your house; it was stated every-time I was sweating an 8th of inch; they would say it’s gonna get covered, let it go.

The beauty of this new project, it’s down to 32 of an inch.

The client has made a choice above trex composite decking; they chose cumaru hardwood, sometimes referred to as Brazilian Teak; also, known as Tonka Bean, and the tree is commonly cultivated for its vanilla-cinnamon scented seed.

Never have I been drawn to my work as much as this wood requires a new level of care.

Often, while working with pressure treated lumber, I will make excuses as I go owing to the variable nature of the wood, but with this hardwood, you can’t make excuses; it wont stand for it; it requires the upmost care and attention.