Don't Drink the Well Water

A lot of lessons were learned over the last six months, some easier than others.  Such as, help is really hard to find no matter what industry you are in, beware of simple jobs, and never drink the well water when on vacation.  The last one we kind of already knew but oddly tend to forget.

With help being hard to find I am now learning more about wood and construction than I could ever have imagined.  It now makes sense when my husband use to help me decorate cakes he would say “why can’t I use my drywall tools? It would work a lot better.”  I find myself comparing custom woodworking with baking and cooking.  The best way to describe how a planer works is by comparing it to a pasta machine.  Exact same concept except one is a little bit more dangerous to operate.  I don’t think anyone has ever been injured by rolling out pasta dough, then again people can surprise you. 

Originally when we started our business I thought I would be doing work in the office, but, it turns out it’s not for me.  Not that I don’t understand how, I just prefer to be working in the shop. I love how our business has pushed me way outside of my comfort zone.  Anywhere from operating large tools and machinery, working with materials other than flour and sugar, to budgets and projections. 

Surprise, Surprise! Not much of a shocker, I have entered a world of men.  I now wear men’s pants to work, listen to talk radio :P (not by choice) and FEEL like I should start swearing every other word and tell dirty jokes.  I have come to realize men laugh at really stupid things and look at me like "what it's funny".   I am also now the proud owner of steel toed boots, I was told by my husband it was my birthday present :S  Boot companies out there - why only men sizes??  Then after picking boots I had a scary thought at Fleet Farm "ooooo flannel is on sale!" Something is drastically changing in me, lets blame the saw dust in my blood now.

I also have learned, ladies quite paying for gym memberships just go work for a construction company.  All the squats and heavy lifting, you’ll be buff in no time!  And as wimpy as this sounds my arms do hurt after using a drill for a six-hour shift.   Or hold your arms straight up in the air supporting two 8 foot 4x4’s.  Just the tools alone with give you a workout.  However I will admit the only saw I have not used is the table saw….call me crazy I kind of enjoy having ten fingers. 

A part of our business that brings out the history lover in me is furniture restoration.  The history that each piece carries fascinates me, each one tells its own story.

Now, when your best friend finds a desk that has been caked in stain, paint and then gold spray paint you might want to say thanks but no thanks.  Still, I am very excited to see how this desk turns out in the end.  I only wish the historical society would answer back to my email.  The tricky part with furniture history is that if the company went out of business a hundred years ago, chances of finding any information online is low. 

We have found many plus and minuses with refinishing furniture.  Did you know that some pieces are impossible to re-stain due to the oils and waxes that have soaked into the wood over time from cleaning?  Now painting a piece, no problem.  I also love when a person wants something "refinished" and my response is yeah sorry thats not even made out of solid wood.  If you aren't a wood snob yet don't worry come down to our shop and we will turn you into one. 

After returning a piece of furniture to someone I probably give them far more information then they care for, but I can’t help….. I feel odd saying it but I've formed a relationship with the piece.  It’s like making a friend; you want to know how they got to where they are today.   When I see pieces painted or stained poorly I can’t help but think “what were you thinking!?” Kind of like a bad hair-cut, you would never say it to a friend but you would definitely think it. 

Natalie Kohlhagen