RG Construction

Train young people to learn carpentry

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While the styles desired for carpentry have evolved over the past 30 years, the demand for carpenters has risen.

This is from Joey Almeida, co-owner of Fine Woodworking. He has been doing carpentry since he was about 20 years old and chose this field “because I didn’t want to work in an office”.

Mr Almeida said: “It’s just that simple. When I started carpentry, it was something you could be proud of. It was a trade in which you came up through the ranks and created something. You had a tree, and now you had a cabinet. I was captured by fabricating and doing something with my hands.”

He added he paid attention to the “old-timers” and followed what they did, and “there is pride in what we do”.

Carpentry has been good to him, and he would love to see more young people enter the trade.

“One of our challenges now is getting good carpenters in Bermuda. Carpenters who can do finish work, not rough work.”

He said that comes from too much focus on certification and not enough hands-on training.

“If you’re looking for a job from me, I want to know that you’ve done it for ten years and you know what you’re doing without asking me.”

Mr Almeida advises students who may be struggling in school to let them apprentice at a carpentry firm and capture their interest.

“There’s nothing like hands-on. Straight up. We need to get them hands-on, starting at the bottom. We need them at 15 and 16 to get them into these trades. Give them to me or to other people who can teach them. Maybe they don’t like carpentry, but maybe they can be electricians or mechanics.”

Carpentry covers a broad spectrum and has evolved over the past 30 years.

One significant change, according to Mr Almeida, is that many owners are watching HDTV shows.

“We do the soft close, under-mount drawer slides,” he said. “We do the soft close European-type hinges. We spray the Shaker doors. We are up to par on any of the modern stuff that is out there.”

Mr Almeida added that designers know what the customers want and can design it, and carpenters can accommodate it.

“We can make sure that the corner is no longer a dead space.”

As a result, the lazy Susan has fallen out of favour.

Current design trends in the kitchen include updating drawers and updating the hardware.

“We’re changing to the soft close hinges, changing the front doors to Shaker-style, which is quite popular, but some people still use the flat panel.

“You can’t transform your whole kitchen by changing the drawers and the handles.”

He said other features to give kitchens a fresh update include painting the drawers and putting in a new tile backsplash.

“Small things like that can change the whole kitchen.”

Popular woods include hardwood like birch or maple for staining. He said there is little demand for dark woods because the birch and maple can be stained and varnished. His form used ¾-inch birch plywood.

Mr Almeida said Shaker doors use birch or popular, which are then sprayed.

Bermuda cedar is mainly used for front doors, which is an investment that requires maintenance.

“Every year you have to have that door stripped and refinished on the outside.”

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