First they drew the windows, then they bought the wood, today they built it.
Most of the fathers are currently employed on the construction site, so befor the workshops we have to arrange with the contractor for them to be given leave that day. The benefit of this is that there is less time wasted waiting around as people arrive in drib. and drabs. When we arrived on site we gathered under the mahogany trees to start the workshop. As soon as we had agreed on a scale for the window frames (“jago size” as the fathers put it) we all went to pick up the materials from the bodega. One of the fathers arrived with two carabaw (buffalo) dragging the bamboo that we’d cut with them the day before, still flecked with Jago’s blood. Given that most of the fathers are already working on site, bringing out the martillos (hammers), metros (tape measure), saws etc took no time. The fathers automatically organised themselves into groups of two (skilled with unskilled) and started making the frames. The groups would mix and match freely from their designs, changing them according to the materials available and their ability to handle and craft the window. Two groups went for a mix between wood and bamboo windows, while the other two went for a slat configuration of lauan timber. It was a very efficient workshop and it was clear that the fathers enjoyed it as they have been itching to get to the “making” for a long time.
After the windows, the doors. As with the window workshop the fathers straight away split into four groups of two, skilled with unskilled. We had asked them to build the tall concertina doors that also form the walls of the timber volumes. It seemed at first that we didn’t have enough lauan left over from the window workshop but once they had cut the pieces to size we found that the off-cuts were just big enough to make the horizontal members. Each pair of fathers made one 2’x9′ door panel so all in all we made enough for two full doors.
When we bought the wood the fathers persuaded us not to buy pre-planed pieces (“smooth four sides”). We had assumed then that the first task today would be to plane the wood but actually they went straight into making the frames with the rough finish before planing the final frame, nails and all. Which was odd.
The first thing we noticed when we saw the finished door frames is that they are bloody tall. We knew this (they’re meant to be that tall) but still. They’re also heavy, so we’re going to have to be careful detailing the hinges and hanging mechanism. By the end of the workshop all of the frames were finished but the infill panels were only half done so we asked the fathers to complete the job without us the following morning.