By ARRON THOMAS, Canadian Brand Ambassador Sailor Jerry
What are you doing paying someone else for something that you can do yourself!? And don't say its convenience, 'cause it's not. It's from a lack of trying.
For centuries, if someone wanted something they bartered for it, which meant you had to have a skill set, or you made do with what was available, or simply made it with your own two hands. Most people possessed skills (or had a neighbour that did) to build and repair their home and the stuff in it. If you ordered something from a catalogue, it read in bold "assembly required" – and NO, there was not a service available to pay for assembly. Granted, some things need a skilled trade person like an electrician, HVAC technician or a plumber. Whatever happened to generations of handy, do-it-yourself people? You can't say they had more time, ‘cause that's not true! We live in a time with paid vacations, stat holidays and 40 hour work weeks (on average, I know many work more). On top of that we have “Google University”, YouTube and goddamn CABLE TV!
Last year my wife and I bought a house in Parkdale, in Toronto. We had a smaller place before and a lot less furniture, so we started shopping. The more we looked, the more irritated I got. We are not hard up but the price of some things out there are outrageous, and the affordable stuff isn't made to last.
Now I know you’re probably saying “quality costs more” and you are right, but the price of a factory-built harvest table from wood older than my parents (or even worse, from new lumber made to look older than CANADA) is outrageous. I mean, come on, who's kidding who!? Unless it was made by a blind Amish man, completely out of wood and took him 3 weeks to make, then fine, I'll fork over five grand.
Anyway, back to my harvest table. I asked around and went to a few shops and got a truckload of barn board from a hermit for about $90. I visited a furniture store and looked at how tables were made, called a family member to get some help. I am not a fan of navigating the web when I can talk to someone. I have a wack of tools, and what I didn't have I got from the tool library... that's right!!!! A goddamn tool library!!!!! Now there is no excuse not to try TORONTO (and other cities with tool libraries). And so... I went to work. In two afternoons in some of my proudest moments peppered with foul language, I had a table that not only my wife loved, but one that a few people wanted to place an order for. Take that RH!
Shortly after, with the rest of the wood, I built a few other things and realized that if I was capable, than pretty much anyone is. It's amazing what you can accomplish with some tools, some raw materials, and a whole ton of patience (and a bit of Sailor Jerry). If you need proof, our house was featured in Apartment Therapy
I didn't do a Homer Simpson job, I took my time and made something I'm proud of. Our generation has lost some of this, but some are picking it up again and retuning to a more honest and authentic time. Stop buying things that you can make yourself. You will be happier for it... and hey, you might even make a living out of it.