ERIC PETRY, CARPENTER

Started out: Building tree houses and go-carts. When I was a kid they were building houses, and after everyone was finished at the end of the day, I would go climbing up through the rafters.

College major: Music (voice & instrumental); after that, managed a 350-seat restaurant

First carpentry job: $5 an hour as carpenters’ helper

Basic philosophy: In order to get where you’re going, you have to know what the destination is.

Carpenter proverb #1: Relatively straight is more important than level and plumb.

Carpenter proverb #2: You can accept a certain amount of crooked.

On hammers & nails: When you’re 20 years old, your whole mission is to take a nail and drive it in in 3 hits. It’s a macho thing. You go out and buy the biggest hammer you can buy… Never mind the fact that when you miss, you destroy yourself.

Carpenter’s proverb #3: Accuracy is more important than force.

Possible Broadway show tune: I say ledger board, you say rim joist. I say it’s plumb, you say it’s level.

What keeps you intrigued: The science of carpentry. You have to tell me why I’m doing something, the science and theory behind it.

The future: I’ll quit being a carpenter when it’s not interesting anymore, when I’m not learning something.

On wood: I love it! Each piece of wood has its own character. I respect the wood for what it is.

The kitchen is the heart of the house: You always end up in the kitchen, chopping and talking, chopping and talking.

The downside: crawl spaces, nasty insulation, pigeon & bat crap in the eaves, lead, sanding drywall, tearing plaster off walls. And it’s amazing how much of that you get. I’m so glad when we start constructing.

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