Learning new things

Me at Antique Pine furnature's superb facility in Mickel Trafford.

Times are getting tough. I’ve got a month or 2, and then my present arrangement with the Building Society comes to an end. The problem is, there seems to be no real movement in the IT Market in the North. Obviously, if your looking for a really good engineer, who will work for Peanuts, give me a shout.

Recently though, I have been looking at alternatives (The London contracting market is booming). Another alternative, is moving out of the IT field altogether (at present, a minimum wage job, could save my house.) I’ve been over to the Frog, where they have been showing me how to work the bar in case a job like that comes along. The problem is, there are loads of unemployed people with years of bar work experience, so I’m not hopeful.

I decided to look at other jobs and opportunities. Strictly speaking, I’m a technologist, but at heart I’m an engineer and I love building and making things. To the rescue, my friend Glenn, runs a Pine Furniture import business. Glenn is no stranger to coming to the rescue, you may remember he recently provided Football “technical support” to a local pub (you can read about it here).

The basic idea is that I would spend 2 days with them, and I would learn a bit about restoring furniture and help out with some of the beautiful pine cupboards and things that they have there (and like a proper apprentice, I would earn my keep by helping to unload wagons, emptying bins etc).

I was introduced to a lad called Matty, who I would be working with. He showed me how to polish the waxed door of a Wardrobe. Later, I spent some time sanding down a large dresser. It took me ages.

The Wardrobe on our left, in the picture above, is something that Matty restored (with a bit of help from me). It really was a beautiful piece of furniture. Its hard to see from the picture, but up close it was stunning.

I also met one of the co-founders of Antique Pine Imports, Rob. I was a little concerned at first, as Rob seemed to frown quite a lot. Had he taken a dislike to me ?. The reality, is these guys are master craftsmen. He was watching everything, checking every detail.

On reflection, if I’m in a server room, I act much the same, I’ve just never noticed it about myself.

I was fascinated to see Rob working on a Wardrobe. It had been sold, delivered, but for some reason couldn’t fit into the customers home. Rob completely re-engineered it, so it could be separated into 2 pieces and put back together.

While working I got to listen to Radio 1. Ive never really liked Radio anyway, but Ive decided that Radio 1 isnt for me.

Okay, so after my experiences, am I going to move into Cabinet Making ?.

Unfortunately, No.

It was very physically demanding compared to the sort of stuff I normally do (some of you will laugh and criticise, but I’m just being honest).

Its also a very specialist job. It must take years and even decades to become expert at the profession and although nobody said it, I think you must need a real love and understanding of wood to succeed.

Although its roots are in traditional craftsmanship, API makes extensive use of technology and modern methods in its working practices. As Glenn put it, its 2010 and were a progressive company.

I had a really good time, and I met some ace people. I’d like to Thank Matty, Rob and Glenn for sharing their time and knowledge with me, it was much appreciated and a lot of fun. The next time I’m in the Commercial and I see an old piece of furniture, I’ll look at it in a completely new light.

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