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Old 04-10-2011, 13:03   #1
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What Country for Carpentry ?

I would like to rebuild my cabinets. I am not a woodworker, and doubt I will ever acquire the skills to do quality woodwork, so I will have to hire someone. I can't afford the 100 dollar per hour rates around here and since I plan to travel soon, was wondering if skilled carpenters at reasonable rates could be found in other countries. Maybe central/south America? Mexico?

I've seen beautiful woodwork coming out of Thailand but doubt that I'll be there anytime soon.

Anyone have experience with hiring cabinet makers in the US? How are rates/quality in North Carolina?

I'm not cheap, nor am I broke. It's just that being a blue collar tradesman myself, I balk at the ridiculous amount of money the marine trades demand. There's gotta be people out there willing to work for less than 4000 friggin dollars per 40 hours. I understand that some of you professionals out there make pretty good money, but never in my entire career in construction have I seen a tradesman make that kind of money. That's my diatribe and I'm sticking to it. Eric
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Old 04-10-2011, 13:09   #2
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Re: what country for carpentry?

Did you ever meet a plumber?
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Old 04-10-2011, 13:23   #3
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Re: what country for carpentry?

pick up this book and just try it yourself:

Amazon.com: Boat Joinery and Cabinet Making Simplified (9780070053076): Fred Bingham: Books
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Old 04-10-2011, 13:24   #4
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Re: what country for carpentry?

Maybe you should learn boat wood working and do that for a living. Although I doubt any of them make $100 an hour.
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Old 04-10-2011, 13:24   #5
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Re: what country for carpentry?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer View Post
Did you ever meet a plumber?
Why, yes I have met quite a few plumbers. Here is what they really make.

http://http://www.bls.gov/oes/curren...at.htm#37-0000


Percentile 10% 25% 50%
(Median) 75% 90%
Hourly Wage $13.26 $16.88 $22.43 $30.22 $38.42
Annual Wage (2) $27,580 $35,110 $46,660 $62,860 $79,920
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Old 04-10-2011, 13:34   #6
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Re: what country for carpentry?

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Maybe you should learn boat wood working and do that for a living. Although I doubt any of them make $100 an hour.
Actually, I prefer to spend my retirement "not" working to make a living. I would, however, love to learn to work with wood but don't want to wait years until I acquire the skill level needed to rebuild my galley etc. I just want to hire someone at a reasonable rate, that's all.

So...will it be North Carolina or Honduras?
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Old 04-10-2011, 13:39   #7
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Re: what country for carpentry?

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Nice blog, I bookmarked it and added to my fav's.
I plan to do much of the basic carpentry myself but not the finish work. That I'll sub out.
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Old 04-10-2011, 14:00   #8
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Re: what country for carpentry?

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Originally Posted by virginia boy View Post
Nice blog, I bookmarked it and added to my fav's.
I plan to do much of the basic carpentry myself but not the finish work. That I'll sub out.
thanks for checking it out

I'm enjoying learning how to work with wood during this project. I can't wait to get the major repairs and modifications done so I can get back to refinishing the teak. I will be building basic cabinets and keeping the old trim, so no real finish work other than varnishing for me.
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Old 04-10-2011, 14:20   #9
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Re: what country for carpentry?

Craftsmen here in Guatemala make $10 a day and do lovely work, and you can live comfortably on $1000/month while they work. Often they bid the job, as they do work at a slower speed than we're used to. You can pay twice the going rate and make everybody really happy.
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Old 04-10-2011, 14:28   #10
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Re: what country for carpentry?

A bit of a stray, if I may.

Fred Bingham, referred to above, is Bruce Bingham's father. He also wrote the "bible" on how to make woodworking jigs.
The fruit does not fall far from the tree.
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Old 04-10-2011, 14:44   #11
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Re: what country for carpentry?

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Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
Craftsmen here in Guatemala make $10 a day and do lovely work, and you can live comfortably on $1000/month while they work. Often they bid the job, as they do work at a slower speed than we're used to. You can pay twice the going rate and make everybody really happy.
Now that's some encouraging news, Thanks!
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Old 04-10-2011, 14:45   #12
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Re: what country for carpentry?

If you plan on doing much cabinetry then you might want to buy one of these. Kreg makes a complete line of pocket hole tools. It makes joinery very easy.
Kreg Jigs
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Old 04-10-2011, 14:48   #13
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Re: what country for carpentry?

I had great furniture quality wood working done in Panama, in a shop on the road to El Valle. Very reasonable. Has lasted for years.
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Old 04-10-2011, 15:17   #14
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Re: what country for carpentry?

how 'perfect' do you want the finished product?

a GREAT option for these types of projects (wood, plastics, glass, mechanics) is your local vocational high school. there are typically 2 options; design or build.

if you know what you want and have the blueprints, many shop teachers will set it as a class project (usually for the older students).

the other option is to provide dimensions and guidelines and each student will produce a plan and you select the best plan, then the class builds against the plan and you select the best finished product.

there is a 3rd option which is typically a senior project. if you have a lot of work,the student will spend the semester working with / for you and you will give feedback to the faculty member.

generally the work is really good because the kids are excited about what they are doing and dont have to worry about invoice for their time etc.

i would suggest a few things.

on 1 project, i presented to 9 students my idea and we discussed what was important to me etc. 7 of the 9 were interested and we took a field trip to insect and measure and further discuss options. 5 of the 7 presented a blueprint and offered the top 3 with a cash prize ($150, $100, $50). the 5 students were then given the chance to build to design with shop materials and the best of the rough build was given finished materials (maple) to build the final product.

another occasion i offerend my services as a builder / project manager and 'taught the class' about how what they were learning applied to a real life opportunity in exchange for the work.

good for u, good for the students.

-steve
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Old 04-10-2011, 16:04   #15
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Not cabinet work...

I found a "carpenter" who works for next to nothing. Problem is, he complains all the time, eats me out of house and home, spends all his time on my internet and does dreadful work. And he's currently on strike for better working conditions.

Seriously, though. You have a 28' Westsail and you want to install a galley, right?

I understand you not wanting to pay $4,000+ so someone can rebuild your galley, so I'd suggest:-
1) Don't let any tradesperson set foot on your boat.
2) Measure up where you want the galley to go and make detailed sketches of what you want. Put as many measurements as possible on the sketch.
3) There must be something there already, so see if you can very carefully remove the existing woodwork. If there is nothing, or it does not dismantle you will need to make templates out of thin ply or thick cardboard. If you can leave "tabs" so that you can drill through then to hold the new galley in place so much the better.
4) Buy all your fittings (hinges, screw, catches etc.) from a chandler. Try to match what's already on the boat.
5) Take the sketches, the remains of your galley and any templates to a kitchen cabinet maker. Most are bored out of their minds doing the same work every day, and may jump at the chance to do something a little more creative. Get a quote. If it seems too high get a few more. Keep in mind that modern cabinetmakers use big machines that cut through wood like butter in seconds, but can only do straight cuts and right angles. The can also do veneering, and laminating and apply custom edges. Think "kitchen" and waterproof particle board. They can also edge join planks if you must have solid wood, but this will be more expensive. They can also finish it for you if you don't want to do that, but I'd go with a spray can of marine vanish myself.
6) We're not talking "Lego" here. Once you work it all out there's probably only half a dozen bits of wood altogether. You may need a jigsaw to get some bits to fit to the hull, and you'll probably need to "glass" some bits to the hull. Voila - galley!

It may seem overwhelming at first, but your alternatives are to pay a professional four times what you think is reasonable, sail across most of the known world, or to put three months of your time into something that is important to you.
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