Friday, June 24, 2011

Tell Me 'Bout It

I thought I'd include a quick photo to show ya'll how the little craps are growing and starting to look like big chickens now. They are a lively bunch and never ending source of entertainment. Very few of them are actually the breeds or the number thereof we were told we were getting. I don't believe I'll be too quick to buy from that guy again. Well, live and learn...

Now, on the main subject of this post: I thought it was funny that yesterday's post title got way more hits than even the "Great Big Knockers"! But, Ron, you shouldn't have deleted your original comment on that last post! I was not put off by it and you have a right to express your opinion. I hope my reply comment did not come off as brusque or snippy. I was in a little bit of a hurry yesterday to get going and kinda rushed through a few comments that morning. I needed to go into Birmingham for a multitude of errands and meetings and it was about 10:00 last night before I got home. I intended to continue answering comments but during the last hour of my trip I developed one of my tri-annual migraines and made it home limping and dragging. I had trouble reading, much less typing something legible, so thought I'd just respond to comments here. I feel somewhat better today but am a bit fuzzy still from the meds. At any rate, I don't want my readers to feel they cannot dispute me or argue their point. Ed has disagreed with me a few times and I still let him come around! LOL!! Sometimes it's hard to remember to make absolutely every point you want to within one post. I certainly did not want to make it sound like regular Joe's (non-construction people) can't do a good job. Certainly they can. And I have seen, in person, some horrible examples of "professional" work. I actually meant to include such in my original post but my memory leaves me sometimes. I'll never forget once, Allen and I watched a crew of home builders pouring a footing for one of your typical McMansion type houses in a suburb. This was probably a 2,500 sq.ft. home or more, so a sizable footprint. Now, they were pouring directly out of the truck and we noticed that they only moved that truck once. You see, the concrete was SO wet, it RAN all the way around the footings. We call that pea soup at work. And that is one reason I would never want a licenced home builder, other than Allen, to build anything for me. Sure, the mud set up. But what it's going to do 10 years from now when the ground has heaved a little here and there.....
And what Jenn said in comments about a commercial block building that they didn't even grout or throw their rebar in...Dang! I wonder how that got past inspection? but stuff like that does occasionally happen. That was one reason I was so reluctant to ever work for another construction company than the one I did. We did our work right! We never cut corners on our concrete or reinforcing. We were proud of our work and rightly so.

But yall, please, if you don't agree with me on something, feel free to say so if you're inclined. I would love to get more comments than I do because I like discussion and I am not up here just to spout out what I think is so. I show what has worked, or not worked, for me and I show some building techniques I know to be correct because I know a lot of people want that information but I am not an authority and somebody can always come up with a better or easier way. We always said at work; a good carpenter is NOT one that never makes a mistake. A good carpenter is one that knows how to fix his mistakes. You can always learn from others too. I know I may have a terse manner sometimes and some of my comments may seem snippy but it's just years of construction work and that environment. I know that sounds like a lame excuse but, well, you work on those sites for 20 years and tell me what you think. lol! Either way, I welcome all comments. Unless, you tell me I'm a bitch; then I'll kick your ass!


The Chieftain of Seir said...

I almost commented on your last post, but got side tracked and never did.

My two cents would be that it is bad to talk about the distinction between professionals and non-professionals. The real difference is between those who understand the the theory behind what they do and those that do not. The bottom line is that it is not enough to do, you also have to understand.

Sadly, most so called "professionals" in my area of the country do not understand the theory behind what they do. And I have met some "non-professionals" who have a decent understanding of the theory behind what they do.

If you want to make generalizations-- Do it yourselfers and residential tradespeople mostly suck. Commercial tradespeople are better generally. Union commercial tradespeople are generally better than non-union. And the best of all are the artists, at least when it comes to carpentry.

There are exceptions to these generalizations of course. But the bottom line is that consumers don't want to pay for the people with real skills. They would rather have a job that last them 10 years and cost them $500 then a job that will last them 100 years and cost them $1500.

So the good people tend to go into commercial where the pay is better. And unions are one of the few places left in American that make sure trades people have a good grounding in the fundamentals. This generally puts them at an advantage to those who just pick it up as they go along the way that most tradespeople do.

Granted, some of the best tradesmen I know are non-union. And some really good ones are not even professional. But as general rule, the above generalizations hold in my experience.

(for the record, I am not in a trade union and I don't know if it would be really fair to call me a commercial tradesman although I do play one on internet).

The Chieftain of Seir said...

While I am being overly verbose and acting like a know it all, I should point out that lots of people get along just fine with sub-standard work.

The people who built the house I am living in now where not at the top of their craft even given the standards of their time. And the people who added on to it were even worse. But the house was built in the late 1800's and it is still standing.

More to the point, lots of people have built decks by nailing the ledger board to the house. Even though this horrible no good practice has killed lots of people, I would bet the majority of decks so built never experienced a problem before they were demoed for wood rot. (you can read a rant I wrote about this practice (a href="")here (/a).

Bottom line, you can get away with a lot of bad practices for a long time. It is just that when they catch up to you they are no fun.

Ron said...

Oh, yeah, I was just feeling cantankerous I guess. I went back and reread your post and wondered where my comment came from. That happens to me when I read blogs sometimes... the first thing that comes into my head to say is usually pretty screwy, and then I go off and think about it for a day and would have written something much different. Ahh, well...

I really do agree with you, actually. And I certainly appreciate the form-work advice you gave me on that root cellar roof slab a few years ago.

Ron said...

I think what triggered it is thinking about my old neighbor. He would always make it a point to degrade homeowners and talk like he knew it all (like the form guys you described). I spent the summer working with him and saw watered down paint applied to house exteriors without primer, windows installed in load-bearing walls without headers (after cutting the studs), tools borrowed from clients and damaged, horrible formwork that nearly burst, ... and the list goes on.

So, I was mostly reacting to that memory, not what you actually wrote.

edifice rex said...

Hey Chief! long time no heary from you! good to see you are still around. I would agree with your assessement there as far as tradespeople etc. and your last statement "you can get away with a lot of bad practices for a long time. It is just that when they catch up to you they are no fun." is sorta right on the lines of my original thoughts. A lot of these DIY bloggers get away with LOTS of bad practices and never show their readers when it all goes to hell. That was my point; view all you see online with these building blogs with a VERY wary eye.

Hey Ron! well, lord knows I get cantankerous too! who me?? lol! I know that's hard to beleive!
You did a real good job on your form for that slab. You didn't skimp on your shoring and that's GOOD!

edifice rex said...

Hey Ron! yeah, I remember those horror stories you wrote about him! Dang!! those was some shit. But see, I've seen a lot of DIY bloggers doing the same shit and claim, "oh, this is fine!" Like I said, I know most all my readers have plenty of good sense and would know to beware such people, whether online or in person. I just wanted to make the point of being wary of what you see and get your instruction from someone who really has the credentials to back it up.

Ron said...

Yep, amen to that. :)

Ed said...

For me the thing I most like about the blogging experience, i.e. reading other people's blogs and leaving comments, is the debate aspect. So many people I talk to in real life are either unable to talk about their beliefs. They either get offended or can't support them so they just nod and accept what you are saying right or wrong. With blogging, I like to find people who stand up for their ideas and support them with evidence. More than once, I've changed my beliefs because someone just had a better argument. Most of the time we end up agreeing to disagree but I see where they are coming from and why they believe what they do and that is valuable information.

I haven't disagreed with you often but I know where you were coming from when we did and I'm always glad to know someone that disagrees with me and doesn't tell me to get lost because of it. I've had that happen here in blogoland too.

edifice rex said...

Hey Ed! oh, I know what you mean! I enjoy that part too. I have come to believe that a lot of people can't really talk about their beliefs because they don't seem to have any! They just kinda flow along not thinking about much of anything!
I welcome your discussions! They are fun.

Aunty Belle said...

well, now....I ain't got nuthin' to say 'bout concrete.

No, I does too--a friend redid her kitchen an' had her countertops done in concrete which sounds ugly an' utilitarian, but it's real purty.

Jes' stopped by fer a howdy 'I'se admirin' the new header. readin' backwards--oh!! the daylilies! glorious.

Looks like youse doin' OK, Edi-rex.

edifice rex said...

Hey Aunty! yeah, I love concrete countertops! Put them in my pantry and intend to run them in the rest of the kitchen too.