January 3, 2011

Craftsman Logic

Deuth,-Dave-colorBy David W. Deuth, CFSP
President, Weerts Funeral Home

My dad is a craftsman. The fine furniture and cabinetry pieces he’s built over several decades are truly remarkable pieces of art. I was the kid who always told my friends with the utmost confidence, “My dad can build anything.” And I believed it.

We built my first stereo shelf together when I was in the 5th grade. I drew a simple sketch on a piece of paper to show him what I envisioned; and it turned out exactly that way I wanted it. Since then, we’ve enjoyed working together on all kinds of projects…some simple, others quite complex. We’ve remodeled kitchens, basements and even remodeled entire homes with custom cabinetry. I’ve learned so much from him.

Over the years, my project requests – big or small – all seem to begin the same way: I draw out my concept in a simple two-dimensional sketch, and then he starts to build it in three dimensions in his mind. Before a recent project, I drew out my simple pencil sketch on a napkin and handed it to dad. He studied it for a few minutes and soon began adding the three dimensional lines to the drawing. Then he said something I’d heard him say countless times before: “Give me a little time to think about this. I’m going to build it and take it apart in my mind a few times before we make a material list. Measure twice…cut once.”

After nearly forty years of projecting together, I have come to really appreciate his craftsman logic. By taking the time to think all the way through the project mentally FIRST, two important things happen. First, we develop an accurate material list, which assures that we have enough material to complete the project, while mindfully minimizing waste. And second, we can better anticipate challenges and potential stumbling points in the project before we even begin – and think of ways to address those challenges before they even arise.

Measure twice…and cut once.

Dad’s craftsman logic and insight has taught me a lot over the years, and I continue to learn every time we settle in on a project. Perhaps the greatest lesson, though, is that it’s great to just spend time together. The finished project, in the end, is a bonus. Even when it’s exactly what I wanted.

I still tell my friends with the utmost confidence, “My dad can build anything.” And I still believe it.

Measure twice. Cut once.

And Remember Well.