My father really enjoyed working with tools and building things. He built things to last.
My first recollection of his handiwork was the construction of beds for myself and my brother when I was six and he was four. Later, those separate single beds were transformed into bunk beds.
They stayed pretty much in place throughout our life at home. When our cabin was built on Turtle Island, those bunk beds that we occupied for 15 years were torn apart and the springs and mattresses became two couch beds at the cabin.
Now more than 50 years old, today the springs have sprung and the mattresses were replaced well over a decade ago. They were well-used and worn out.
I was remembering that this past weekend as I began tearing apart the lumber that formed those two couch beds that sat in the living area of the cabin. We are remodeling and have installed new grand windows across the front of the cabin—and that installation required the removal of those two sitting beds and their frames.
The cabin was built without any power tools. Everything was cut and put together with hand tools like saws and hammers. My father was of the feeling that if two nails would work, three would be much better.
That was the case of those bed frames.
As I enlarged the window openings and was tearing the cut-off siding from the studs, I rediscovered that we had nailed the siding with box nails at four-inch spacing. It worked and the walls were sturdy.
On the plates on the bottom of the window, there were three nails instead of two in many pieces.
I was tearing the boards apart to make firewood for the wood stove and kept putting the nails in my pocket. I would start out and my pants would be buckled high up over my waist.
The weight of the nails would draw my pants down like the young boys wear today. It would be time to empty my pockets.
The action kept repeating itself almost every half-hour and eventually I filled a large coffee can with nails from those beds.
My dad’s plans for the original beds, and then the bunk beds, were painstakingly put together. He pre-cut many of the pieces on his bench saw at home and then brought them to the cabin.
The pieces were laid out. Then the sides were ailed. Once the sides were formed, they were nailed to the studs on the wall and finally all four sides were put together.
The springs rested on a large sheet of plywood that hid a compartment.
On many a lazy summer afternoon, those beds were occupied with someone dozing or reading a book. Often they provided the extra accommodations for guests.
The beds were well-used, and for 40 years they stood the test of time.
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