Happy 4th of July

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays; no school, grilling out, summer time fun. I want to thank you, on this special weekend, for reading and following my posts. It means a great deal to me that the support and following of this post is growing. I look forward to the encouraging stories coming in the next few months. We are headed in the right direction: craft and beauty are coming back.

Have a great holiday.

God Bless America.


another lesson in cheap tools

Last week I found myself in Montana for a client. I was there to cull (select) the wood flooring and organize it so that the first floor was more rustic and character filled than the second floor. The 2000 square feet of flooring was grouped in 5 large stacks and filled 2 bays of a 3-car garage. Each stack was made up of smaller bundles of 6 boards each. Each of these bundles was tied together with 6-8 plastic wraps.

On the way to the job, I stopped in the local hardware store to check out local products and to pick up marking sticks for the flooring. At the counter, I remembered the strapping and ran back down the aisle to grab a utility knife. This is when I blundered. Realizing I was only going to be on site for 2 days, and knowing I couldn’t fly back with a good knife, I decided to go cheap and get an inexpensive plastic knife, something disposable that I wouldn’t feel bad leaving behind. There were 2, one was priced at $2.99 and one was $1.00. Yep, I chose the cheap one and even congratulated myself on the way back to counter for my frugal wisdom.

Arriving at the job, we got to work. First we cut the plastic wraps and then inspected the flooring before designating it to the proper place.  I hadn’t cut 3 or 4 of the plastic wraps before a feeling of dread crept over me. I had done it, I had fallen into the classic mistake of winning on the store aisle and losing in the field.  The plastic knife was literally breaking in my hand and falling apart. First the stop switch broke, then the plastic cap snapped. I was not even 2% into the job and already I was dreaming of a sturdy Stanley 99 utility knife. There were so many good knives on the isle that I had passed over as being “too expensive” and yet now it was laughable. The most expensive one in the store was $20 dollars but now I would have paid twice that amount.

The great irony of my folly has not escaped me. Here I have written a book on the art of building and yet I feel into the Wal-Mart, price-before-beauty thinking that plagues new American homes. The moral is that the: price-is-more-important-than-quality mindset is ingrained in our behavior and our every fiber. We must battle against this pull as we build and remodel our homes. Snap decisions are where it happens first; careful planning is best.

I wish now I had bought the best knife and then given it as a gift to one of the men on the job when I was done. There is nothing like the gift of a quality tool. A good tool can last a life time. Hmm, which is better? A tool for a lifetime or one that falls apart after 10 minutes of cutting plastic straps. I think I’ll choose a lifetime.