“Many hands make work light.”
NOVEMBER 12 UPDATE: TWO FHB READERS WIN COPIES OF RENOVATION 4!
In the course of writing twelve books on building and having the privilege of launching Fine Homebuilding magazine, I’ve visited hundreds and hundreds of job sites around North America. And on every site I’ve learned something interesting or met people who, though busy, were willing to take time to explain what they were doing, answer my questions and allow me to photograph them at work.
Granted, I waited till the saws stopping whining or the torches were shut off. And I bought lunch a few times. But good timing and turkey sandwiches don’t begin to explain my good luck. A more likely explanation is that good builders are generous souls who take pride in what they do. I’ve found that to be true since renovating my first house, more than 40 years ago, when a local builder and master of all trades took me under his wing.
John de Keaney could build or repair anything, which was a useful skill in rural Concord Corners, Vermont, where it got 30 degrees below zero with some regularity, nobody had much money and both John and I had old post-and-beam houses that needed a lot of work. The son of Boston tradespeople, John showed me how splice wire, slope outdoor spigots so they didn’t freeze, jack an errant wall back into plumb and, more than once, lent his back when something particularly heavy needed muscling into place.
The publication this month of my opus magnus, Renovation 4th Edition, has got me thinking of my mentor John, the hundreds of builders who’ve helped me, and the many thousands more who read Fine Homebuilding or its blogs.
So here’s my chance to thank a few of you.
Tell me about your first building mentor–write as little or as much as you like–and I will throw your name into a hat. In two or three weeks I will draw two names and send each a copy of Renovation 4th Edition (autographed, if you don’t mind someone writing in your new book). If you do send a note about your mentor, please check back to this blog now and then to see if you’ve won–because I will need to get the winners’ mailing addresses.
(If you don’t win a copy of R4, you might want to buy one. Seventy pages longer than the third edition (614 pages in all). Extensively revised, with beefed up chapters on planning; doors, windows and skylights; electrical wiring; and energy conservation. Roughly 1,000 photos, 250 illustrations, and lifetimes of useful information.)
Thanks in advance for sending a story about your mentor; all of us will enjoy it and be thankful for the help we’ve gotten along the way. As the old saw goes, “Many hands make work light.”
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS!
All the best, Mike
© Michael Litchfield 2012
Chip Harlely, a veteran contractor in Berkeley, California, is R4's technical editor
Michael McAlister, a master electrician in San Francisco, helped extensively revise R4's electrical chapter--along with FHB mainstay, Clifford Popejoy.
Renovation 4th Edition includes extensively reworked chapters on planning; doors, windows and skylights; electrical wiring; and energy conservation. Here, skylight specialist Gary Schroeder frames out a sklight with four tapering sides.
A home renovator strikes a "Rosie the Riveter" pose. More than half of all renovation projects are intiated by the woman of a household.
Newly released by Taunton Press, Renovation 4th Edition contains the collective wisdom of builders across North America.
Mike Litchfield has been haunting job sites for more than four decades and hasn't worn out his welcome yet.