Hey wassup its Alex again (aprentice carpenter from montreal) Thanks so much for the response its really cool of you, apreciated :) . right now i'm in toronto doing house framing and the job is very physically hard : sun heat, fast pace, heavy lumber. I'm starting to get used to it and really getting to appreciate the work, its dope. Did you ever frame a house? Would you consider it a less physical job than comercial formwork? any keeping cool (summer) or warm (winter) tips ?
Hello again Alex,
It’s been quite a while, but I started out framing. I actually found residential construction to be much tougher than formwork. If you can cope with the pace on a framing crew, you’ll be good to go in the commercial world.
As for beating the heat, lots of water, and on the hottest days a bottle of gatorade for every two litres of water you drink ( helps you avoid getting cramps from losing too much salt). A lot of people think I’m strange, but I am a firm believer in covering up in the summer. I wear loose long sleeves, full length pants, and a handkerchief to cover my neck. I tuck it under my helmet, and it hangs down it the back. I find that part of what makes summer seem so hot is the sun actually shinning on your skin, dressed as I suggest it feels like you are bringing your own shade with you.
For the winter the two biggest factor are warm feet and dry hands. Treat yourself to a pair of winter construction boots. The kind with a rubber lower and removable felt liners. These boots don’t come cheap, but they keep your feet dry and are much warmer because of the composite toe and plate. No steel to conduct the cold. For your hands, you can try your luck with some thinly insulated deerskin gloves, sometimes you can make them work. The problem is they really cut your dexterity, so it becomes one nail at a time. It really depends on what you are doing. For better dexterity you go with cotton mason’s gloves. Wear two pairs, be sure they are not too tight. My trick with these is to play the numbers game. They get soaking wet at the mere sight of snow, so I plan to change them often. I can easily go through 9-12 pairs of double gloves in a 8 hour winter day. Dry them out at home and you are good to go again. Don’t leave them on the heater in the shack, or you will become the official glove supplier to your company!
If you are enjoying framing, you really should check out the book and videos made by Larry Haun. His framing skill blew my mind. Google him, watch the videos on youtube, laugh at how he says 2x4, learn a lot! Buy the book and read it, it will put you a big step ahead of your DEP class.
I finally worked up the courage to make the move. Turned my 5080 DB into a 5087. That’s a fancy way of saying I moved the tape holder to the left side by removing the small upper pouch. It was much more difficult to remove the holder and pouch than it was to sew it back on.
I’m really excited about this, I am a tape left sort of guy. I knew this even before I bought my bags, but local availability got the better of me so I compromised on the model I purchased. No more! This is exactly what I would have bought had it been in local supply.
Smiling with delight at actually holding a Makita 16” beam saw. I thought they were only in books and magazines, not in the real world.
It’s nice to see your work come to fruition, or in this case vegetableition.
The difference between May and August is impressive…passersby are always stopping, looking, and taking a few leaves of kale, or some herbs or beans, or some camomile for tea. The tomatoes are still not ripe.
Hi. I'm a future apprentice carpenter, i live in Montreal. I'm really curious about formwork, it looks so fun. What is the reality of the job, what are the hard parts (physical, hierarchy etc.. ) Details if possible i'm so hungry for knowledge haha :) Thanks - Alex
Formwork is an aspect of carpentry that I really love. It is not necesarily the most precise or beautiful work, (though at times, if you are lucky it can be) but there is little that I find more satisfying.
That said the job is a tough one. Concrete is very heavy, so all the materials and equipment are accordingly heavy too. Bonus, you will save on a gym membership.
Time is always of the essence, so you have to be on your game if you plan to keep working. As an early apprentice you will most likely be doing repetitive tasks, like putting up scaffolding, over and over. This can get boring, but once it becomes easy, you can take the time to observe how the other jobs get done. This way you will be able to show your skills when an opportunity is presented.
There is a heirarchy, foreman, team leaders (both white helmet guys), long time employees, and everyone who is further along in their apprenticeship. Being assertive and energetic will take you far, if you get the work right. Get it wrong too often and you will become the site joke.
The last tough part is that you are always in the elements. The concrete structure is going up beneath your feet, so be ready for the hotest summer sun, as well as the coldest winter wind and snow.
My final advice is to try and find a good partner. This isn’t often your choice, but working with the right person will get you good work and will teach you the trade. Be willing to be the guy who stays late and comes in early, never refuse extra hours, because they won’t ask you twice.
Good luck, and feel free to ask more questions.
A mirror that I cobbled together.
The mirror was found in the garbage, the wood for the frame is made from dividers in the lumber section—cost of a carpenter…priceless! Love the rough look of it!
My belt, suspended, during a break from installing one of many suspended ceilings. I like how my snips fit well in the leather hammer loop.
Well here is a long awaited new one! Been doing some renovating and handyman type jobs of late. Interesting to see how well the belt can keep up with the switch of tools involved.
Sam built this storage cabinet too.
Sam built a nice trellis for my neighbour. When she puts the vines up, it will look even better. The extra supports are needed because the wind can be quite strong on her terrace.
Incredible Edibles approached our condo association to see if they could plant vegetables in the plots at the front of the building that were not landscaped by the developer—of course we said yes!! Sam volunteered to build the frames for the beds, and the children’s garden will be going in June 7th. Thanks for the work Sam!!
Up close & personal
Sorry, but I hate the piled high presentation of food. That's the way a dog would eat. Potato, bacon and egg should be separated on the plate. Anyway I hope you had a nice trip out West.
Thanks for taking a look. I’ve always focused more on flavour than presentation, but you have a point in that we eat first with our eyes.
Take it easy.
Have you ever used ObenaufsLP? If not, you should. I think you would be amazed!
Hi, I actually haven’t done anything to my bags but give them a bit of a cleaning with a damp cloth. The Obernaufs sounds like a good product, I’ll have to check it out. Maybe for my boots.