Friday, July 15, 2005

The Gold Medal

Some of you may have noticed that Learn Plastering is #1 on my To Do List. Originally, Get a Job occupied this position, until I decided that the list should reflect more hopeful, whimsical or crafty plans, not just sheer necessities. I'm not about to announce to the World Wide Web that I need to Buy Doormats or Clean Toilet, now am I? Get a Job belongs on that other, more prosaic list. Thus, Learn Plastering found itself in the #1 spot.

In my usual fashion, my first stop was the local library. At dinner that night, I offered Isaac his choice between Plumbing Repairs Made Easy (Simple, Safe Instructions) or Plastering: A Craftsman's Encyclopaedia. He choose the former, citing it's slimness and comic book-like appearance. It was the safer choice as well, given that a professional plumber was scheduled for the next day.

A few minutes with Plastering: A Craftsman's Encyclopaedia revealed that I'm in way over my head. The Encyclopaedia covers Entablature, Entasis and Exotherm. Begins with a plasterer's definition of Abacus and ends with Zinc Profile. Want to float to walls containing piers? The Encyclopaedia tells you how. What the Encyclopaedia doesn't go into are the kind of make-do fixes I'm looking to master. Filling in the crumbly holes left behind when you thought you wanted to hang a picture here, but, no, it really should go there. Disguising fractures that scribble up and down the walls, supposedly unavoidable in our ex-flood plain neighbourhood. I'm looking for reassurance that the skills I bring to spreading icing with a slightly warm spatula can be transferred seamlessly to the repair of our only asset. The Encyclopaedia doesn't deign to this kind of thinking.

Instead, it's a lesson in humility. The authors: Brian F. Pegg, CRP and William D Stagg, CRP are both past Chairmen of the Plasterers' Craft Guild. Both have won gold medals: Brian, in 1960, for the Plasterering Final Craft Examination, and William, in 1972, from the National Federation of Building Trade Employees. Brian is an organiser of the National Plastering Competition at the Building Exhibition, Olympia, and William serves on the Craft Committee of the City and Guilds of London Institute. Both hold positions as Lecturers in Plastering.

This level of expertise makes me happy to open my chequebook. If you know a good plasterer, let me know. In the end, I'm a little like the Home Depot crowd in New York City, eschewing the DIY ethos for, no, let me pay YOU to do it. I'm guaranteed to ask annoying, ill-informed questions, but I provide baked goods and refreshments. I believe in rewarding Gold Medal achievement.


Post a Comment

<< Home