Friday, May 18, 2012

The Work of a Craftsman

I stopped at the service station to inquire: "I hear there's a man here who makes some really nice lawn chairs." The young man behind the counter looked up, grinned and said, "Yep! He lives just down that way by the lake." Armed with the name and phone number of the chairmaker, I headed "that way" until I got to the right general area, then phoned for more specific directions. "I heard a rumour that you make the nicest lawn chairs in Nova Scotia," I said. I could hear the smile in his voice as he replied, "You must be
looking for a big discount!" A couple of false starts later, I was in Herman's driveway, looking at some of the most beautiful lawn furniture I'd seen in some time. There were two benches in the garage where he was waiting, and they were works of art. Every corner was rounded smoothly, every screw was countersunk and filled -- there wasn't a rough edge or awkward line in sight. "They're made from hackmatack" he stated. They're made from hackmatack, the local name for larch, all right, and they have a rich,
attractive grain. This is the hardest of the softwoods, a conifer that drops its needles in the fall and puts out a new crop in the spring, a deciduous softwood that has as much in common with hardwood as it has with its softwood cousins.

The workshop was neat and tidy, with every tool in its place -- including the all-important cribbage board on the table. A quest for lawn chairs had turned into a voyage of discovery and an encounter with a delightful character. Just imagine how good those chairs are going to look on the shore in Shag Harbour!

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