"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Handy craftsman

You recall last year that we had flyscreen doors made for our back kitchen and front patio doors.
The new screen doors at our Happy Door opening
They worked wonderfully well - once we had fitted a spring to the doors to keep them closed every time Scallywag went in or out.
The screen door in the kitchen
But - the best feature of my design was actually an inherent flaw - although the "appearance" of wide open doors was wonderful, having mesh all the way down to the floor was wrong.  You see, when Scallywag, our old dog, initially got panicky about being "locked" inside he took a paw to the mesh.  It couldn't handle the abuse and naturally ripped.

Ruddy gaping holes in the mesh served neither as a deterrent for flies - nor mice.   Grrrrrrrrrrr!

But, I wasn't about to go back to the original manufacturer - because he should've known this problem would arise and cautioned me against it.  Plus, his actual installation of the doors had to be modified fixed by RMan, as they started falling out.

So, I had spend 6 months searching for someone capable to modify the screen doors.  I finally found someone in February this year, was shown examples of his workmanship, and I then requested / offered him the work.  He accepted - being nagged also probably helped sway him ;)

George, being the craftsman that he is, had other bookings - one of which included building a house.

Then, when the house was finished, due to his landlord being greedy, he decided to purchase a piece of land on the western outskirts of town, in order to build himself a workshop so that he could ditch the landlord.  Clever man  :)

But, that put back my small repair job even further...

Sigh.  The wait was interminable.  And I feared that this summer would be a rodent and fly-infested one...

George, the craftsman, came through.  His new workshop is complete.  And what a piece of art!
The Wood Shop - just the cutest thing I have seen
in a long time.
I have not seen business premises like these before.  A wooden internal frame is clad in external IBR sheets.
Airy and bright - and tidy :)
 Inside the premises are light and airy - with plenty of storage / working space.
The concealed ventilation windows
are operated by cords from below
George thought of everything.  Being an IBR clad structure it is likely to get pretty hot in summer, so he has installed windows high up in the roof.  To open and close them he has installed a pulley system, with the operational cord within reach.
One of the storage units inside the
He has even built storage for his smaller equipment - cutting discs, etc.
R&R area for the staff
He thought of his workers too - for those hot summer days there is a shady east facing patio where they can chill out during tea breaks / lunchtime.
I just love this sign - perfect advertising
for the tasks performed within
"The Wood Shop" as it is to be named, has the cutest signage too :)  If you need to find it - it is at the far western end of Swellendam (over the R60 to Ashton) on Voortrek Street - about 500mtrs from the intersection.

My screens are now at his new premises - waiting for him to attend to them.  He is also going to be making me sliding screens - for our windows :)  And, in order to do away with the tea tray under my draining rack, he is going to be making me a new kitchen counter - with angled drainage for the dish rack.  The old recycled kitchen counter - that will become very necessary shelving for RMan in the garage.

It certainly is wonderful to see someone who is so committed to his trade / craft that he can make himself as self-sufficient as this.  He has purchased the empty plot next door to his workshop - and has big plans for that area too... :)


  1. Oh how I wish I could turn my hand to carpentry, it would be wonderful to be able to make my own kitchen units.

    1. Chickpea - I agree - being able to work with wood must be extremely satisfying :) It looks so easy, until I try and make something really simple lol

  2. I have started another blog (hopefully better) and am in the process of rejoining my favorite blogs. I am looking forward to catching up with what you have been doing.

    1. Mohave Rat - Good luck with your new blog

  3. Wow Dani, craftsmen like this are like hen's teeth in our neck of the woods. Everyone claims to be the best, they do the first job really well and it all goes downhill from there. I believe there is a sawmill in Swellendam as well, so George is sure to be very busy in the future and best of luck to him.

    1. PQSA - Yeah, I know. George is a treasure :) He's been going for years in Swellies and is very well known there. Yes, there is a sawmill - that's where we got the wood for the fences round our paddocks, and the mulch for the trees / veggies. But, they only process pine - mainly for the building trade.

  4. Hey Dani, what a good find of a Tradesman who looks like he really means business. We can not find reliable trades for love nor money. I am thinking of advertising in the papers in Devon and Cornwall for tradesmen to quote for our work. no one seems to want the work around here and lie to you as they have taken on too much work so they say they are at the Drs. then when they get to you they say it went ok at the dentists. and then think they can come 3 weeks later when you have visitors in the room that he should have finished. Very much time wasters here. if they don't want the work they should say. or the best one. "Mrs, I wont be there today it is sunny so I am going to play golf...". Oh yes. Really. Hold on to this man like he is your own heart!

    I would like some fly screens but or doors open outwards. so would have to think about how to add them.

    1. Sol - Yeah, I've searched for tradesmen too. They want the work, but don't necessarily want to commit to the time it's going to take to finish the project... Seems to be the same the world over??!

      Sol, our doors open outwards, so we have the screens opening inwards. Bit of a hassle, but better than no fly screens ;)


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