So How Was It In The "old" Days? - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

So How Was It In The "old" Days?

 
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Old 12-24-2018, 01:25 PM   #1
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So How Was It In The "old" Days?


Let me start...I am 57, will be 58 next month. I started framing in 1976 as a helper and became a member of the crew (summers) in 77.

I told my wife I may "slow down" and pick up a helper and frame specs again.....just like we used to do it.

Back in the day, we dug the footings, poured and then formed the floors, and poured and finished. We did not have concrete subs. We did it. The only sub we saw was the plumber.

Then we snapped lines, and built walls, and framed, hand cut the roofs, never had trusses.....and then we sheeted with asphalt board....plywood corners. We installed the windows, doors, did the trim, and even shingled the roofs.....there were no dedicated roofing crews and decking crews. We did gable siding, or siding details...rough ceder siding...built the porches...

While we were doing this, the electrician would show up and pull wire. Plumber would stack out. Heat and air guys would show up...

Then we batted it all and hung the rock....and I listened to the old guys talk about how "easy" us kids have it today They had to nail lathe and plaster walls....and so on....

We taped and bedded, and sanded until we had the walls flat....no texture finish back then...and then we painted.....all the while the only other contractor came along and bricked the house.

A carpenter would show up with a table saw and saw horses, and build cabinets in the garage. We hung interior doors, ran base and case...and built installed whatever the trim guy built. Point is, there were no dedicated trim guys....just an old man who built cabinets and shelves. We even installed the formica and tiled the shower surrounds and bath floors.

Finally...we would pour the driveways...sidewalks...and move on.

Never had to paint the interior of a new home. But the builder's wife did...she painted and stained the cabinets after they were in. Subs came back and trimmed out....and that was it...a typical 1500 sq/ft spec in Oklahoma...


Now, we have concrete guys, framers, deck crews, roofers, cornice guys....siding and exterior trim guys...insulators....drywall crews....tape and texture subs...paint subs....time guys....granite guys...low voltage guys....and on and on.....

And I used a 20oz framing hammer....there was one Senco gun in our crew, and it wasn't for the kids to use. It was broken more then it worked anyway. most of the old men used a 14 oz hammer and could hit a nail and set it in 2 blows better then us muscled up kids.

What the hell happened?

How many guys remember it being like I learned it?
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Last edited by Joasis; 12-24-2018 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 12-24-2018, 02:26 PM   #2
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


That the job was changing every few days from framing to drywall to trim to concrete - makes the job more interesting, and I got to think there would be less total wear and tear on the body from doing the same damned thing day after day.

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Old 12-24-2018, 02:40 PM   #3
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


As recently as 2002, I worked for a builder where we did a wide range of tasks. Framing, roofing, siding and exterior trim. All interior trim, cabinets, flooring, stairs etc. Occasionally insulation, drywall and painting. Usually a crew of four.
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Old 12-24-2018, 02:53 PM   #4
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


...
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So how was it in the "old" days?-e83bc5e6-0fd3-4ab7-9e2b-4e714d8311cc.jpeg  
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Old 12-24-2018, 03:03 PM   #5
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Johnson View Post
...
Loved prepping the gable trusses with that on a Friday, then setting them Monday after it rained all weekend.

I also remember, no Tyvek and window tape. Seems like we find more leaks now on newer stuff than we do on older stuff.
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Old 12-24-2018, 03:14 PM   #6
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


Quote:
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...

All it took was to see a picture...and my skin was itching...

And I can still smell the board.

These kids today....
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Old 12-24-2018, 05:07 PM   #7
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


A lot of my young colleagues started out this way. I'm talking in the 2000s and 2010s. We did almost everything too. Still do on some jobs just for fun.
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Old 12-24-2018, 05:10 PM   #8
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


When God said, 'Let there be light,', He turned on a switch I wired up. Fact is, I wired the factory God used to create everything with.
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Old 12-24-2018, 05:30 PM   #9
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Johnson View Post
...
Hate that stuff along with exterior sheetrock. Pain to work with when residing.
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Old 12-24-2018, 05:34 PM   #10
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren View Post
Loved prepping the gable trusses with that on a Friday, then setting them Monday after it rained all weekend.

I also remember, no Tyvek and window tape. Seems like we find more leaks now on newer stuff than we do on older stuff.
Didn't have some of the junk siding then like do now that allows water in.
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Old 12-24-2018, 05:51 PM   #11
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


This is how I grew up and on many projects we still do most everything in house.

One nice thing about being able to do many things really well is I donít have to put up with a lot of chit from subs, I absolutely will finish it for you if you canít get it done. I wonít be happy about it, but it will get done.
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Old 12-24-2018, 05:58 PM   #12
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...
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Old 12-24-2018, 06:04 PM   #13
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


It's called comparative advantage...People got smarter.
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Old 12-24-2018, 10:21 PM   #14
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


Concrete crews were the norm here. Full basement, so get the guys with the forms to bang it out.
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Old 12-24-2018, 10:28 PM   #15
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It generally has been seperate concrete, carpentry, roofing, drywall, paint, flooring, etc for decades here. There are still some that can do it all.
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Old 12-24-2018, 11:10 PM   #16
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


I'm subbing right now for a guy who can do it all. He basically called me in just to hustle the job along for a couple who had their house burn down and are living in an insurance-funded townhouse they hate until it's done.

He figures a crew of three is about optimum for most jobs of this scale, and I agree. Bigger, it makes sense to sub out a lot of the work.
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Old 12-25-2018, 01:14 AM   #17
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


Back in the "old" days, everything was new.


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Old 12-26-2018, 01:07 AM   #18
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


my old days started circa 1972.

old gentleman that taught me most of this trade did everything.

we would clear the lot on a new build. Excavation was hired out.

we poured footings and 50/50 laid block foundations.

did all concrete work in house.

framed the jobs, sided, trimmed, cut the roofs, shingled them, did the electric & plumbing, insulation, sheetrock, tape, texture & paint.

then we did the finish work & cabinets.

flooring & tile were subbed out. tile guy was an absolute master from germany. other thing that was cool to watch was a mason build a real fireplace. yea i been a hoddy too....

one hell of an experience...
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Old 12-26-2018, 07:17 AM   #19
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


I remember starting out and having to be the "go-fer".
There was another guy same age and we had to get material, clean up, for the older guys. Occasionally they would let us nail some, usually sheet rock.

We were doing one job where we had to put up a bunch of partition walls in this big open building.

The two of us kept bugging the old guys to let us nail the framing. After they got all the walls framed on the floor and we started standing them up, they said "OK" and told us to nail the top plates in to the ceiling joists.
We were all full of our selves and started banging away and after about 20 mins of pounding 16d's over our heads were about dying from our arm muscles cramping up. This was with my Stanley 20 oz. rip claw that I thought was so bad.

The old guys were making fun of us "What's the matter? You guys said you wanted to do some nailing, so we're letting you nail".
They knew exactly what they were doing
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Old 12-26-2018, 10:06 AM   #20
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Re: So How Was It In The "old" Days?


When I started in the trade in '77 being able to do almost anything was what made you a well rounded carpenter. Today everyone wants to specialize. I see "kids" that claim to be carpenters but have no clue how to layout and cut a rafter, or even make a decent sawhorse for petes sake.
It's very frustrating in this day and age to not be able to find anyone that wants to hone their skill or expand on what they do.
Anybody seen batter boards used lately?

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