A Father’s Helping Hand

Father and Son restoration

This past week my father flew out to help with the restoration of a 200-year-old cape my wife and I have undertaken. (More on that here.) Because we have to get the entire house off the property before July 31st, you could say that this disassembly stage of the process is time sensitive. Although things have gone incredibly smooth and we are actually a little ahead of schedule, I looked forward to having my Dad come out to help.

Father and Son restoration
It was an inimitable experience working side by side with him this week. It was a joy to marvel together at the craftsmanship of our heritage. As we removed the modern central chimney and porches (which was more akin to demolition than preservation) we spent hours talking about craft, business and life.

Father and Son restoration
It will be a few years before my wife and I begin to reassemble this house on our property. As we do and then continue to raise our children within its walls, I know this past week will stand out to me as a special chapter of the project. Working hard, sweating and bleeding next to my father to preserve a piece of our woodworking heritage is something I will cherish to my last days.

Father and Son restoration
I don’t know the best way for everyone to connect with their father but let me recommend picking up hammer, plane or chisel. Stand with him exercising diligence, patience and skill on a project of mutual interest. There nothing quite like the satisfaction of working with your father to strengthen your respect for the man who raised you. Your appreciation for his wisdom and example will deepen.

Father and Son restoration
Happy Father’s Day, readers.

— Joshua Klein

CATEGORIES
PWM Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

About Joshua Klein

Joshua is a furniture conservator/maker in Midcoast Maine. He is currently writing a book about the furniture making of Jonathan Fisher (1768-1847) of Blue Hill, Maine. He regularly blogs at The Workbench Diary (http://workbenchdiary.com) and is the founder of Mortise & Tenon Magazine (http://mortiseandtenonmag.com).

2 thoughts on “A Father’s Helping Hand

  1. mtwomey

    Many years ago before I became a hand tool woodworker I too was restoring an old home from top to bottom. My dad had recently retired and was looking for things to do – with me? I had risen to a medium level of competency and could build acceptable furniture but my dad had no skills whatsoever and barely knew which end of a hammer to use. He really wanted to help though and I had to find the most menial things for him to do which he undertook with energy and enthusiasm. What a great time it was. I will never forget the “breaks” taken sitting on the floor talking about life. We both taught each other a lot. My dad is gone now but your story brought memories of a similar time that I will never forget.

  2. gumpbelly

    A stronger bond cannot be made IMHO. Happy you were able to experience it. My life as a hammer swinger started in 1954, and by 1960, my Dad, and his Brother had me as a willing pupil for years. Some call it child slave labor, but my Cousin and I see it differently. First we learned carpentry and construction of homes, this slid very easily into furniture making. Sadly Dad and Uncle Gene are passed now, but I will forever remember and cherish the times we were together. Even if I was a slave laborer 🙂

    Best of luck with the house.

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