I am trying to become a better carpenter. It is not easy. They are out to sabotage me. The bastards!
Years ago when I first tried to build something properly, I designed an extension to our house. It was not quite 200 sft. Lots of windows. I didn’t want to have to order ‘custom’ windows so I ordered the standard 3×5’s. And I framed the openings accordingly. When the windows arrived, they were 2’10” by 4’10”. My framing was out. So, I called to complain…”Hey, what the hell!?”
“Everyone knows 3 x 5’s are not 3×5’s, doofus!”
Which reminded me of the conversation had by the Chinese when they decided to buy Canadian lumber. They went nuts when the first shipment was ‘short-shipped’. The 2 x 4 ‘s weren’t two by fours! And it took months and dollops of international diplomacy to get them ‘hip’ to the language of the lumber industry.
Mind you, a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood is 4 x 8. And 3-inch screws are 3 inches long. Guess how much a 55 pound bag of Reddi-Mix weighs? So, you can understand the confusion.
I ordered 3/4″ plywood sheets for the floor of the studio. Tongue and groove. I built the frame (joists) precisely to 12 feet. When I laid 3 sheets of plywood across, you can imagine my shock and dismay to see that I was 1.5″ out!!!
There then ensued much and great gnashing of teeth, oaths and curses, arm flailing and futile kicking and punching gestures. Which proved small consolation to me or Sally (who joined me in the primitive dance-expression) Seems ‘everyone knows’ that plywood – when T&G’d – is only 47.5 inches wide.
‘Well, Sal – for one – didn’t know!’
And so it goes in the Canadian business world. “Oh, you wanted tires with that car?”
“I am sorry. There is nothing in the brochure guaranteeing our boats will float!”
“Sorry, we reserve the right to over-book the airplane’s capacity and we did so. You cannot board the plane sir, it is full!”
The list goes on from cell phone cancellation fees to service charges and CRTC licenses, from shipping and handling to ‘prep’ fees. I have even been charged ‘transaction’ fees as if the act of transacting was some kind of surprise option or add-on?
And don’t get me started on taxes! Sales tax on a used car that has changed hands several times?
OK, I am beginning to rant. Sorry. The diatribe today was about the misleading language of the construction trades. How measurements and descriptions are not consistent. WITH ANYTHING! And that ‘one can never assume’ that you know even a simple sheet of plywood, Butterfly. They may look the same. But they are not the same. Each one is a little soul, a separate entity all unto itself. And the sooner we treat them as individuals the better off we will all be.
Ommmmmmmmmmm…………..1………………2………………….3……………..(kick violently!)………….4………5…………..6……....(scream epithets!)
Now you know the secret of becoming a better !#$%$#% carpenter, Butterfly.