Sunday, February 21, 2016

Glorious Day

Another great old standing waste arrived today. I restrained my urges enough to get a photo of the large box before I took it to my basement shop to open it and lay out its elements on one of my benches. Inside the box were four packages. Two were the hot and cold supply valves on their risers, the drain tower and yoke were in another. The fourth package held the strainer assembly with its drain boot and the tub spout. It is a "fuller ball" style tub filler with accompanying tower drain. The set was made by the American Standard company and is marked with their trademark, "Stanard". 

I had been emailed images of the parts before me and knew what the complaints were. I found, of course, the usual toothed tool scars that I find so cavalierly brutal considering that there are  hexagonal wrench flats on all the parts that need them. Lifting the sections out of their packaging I set the packing material aside separately until I confirmed that it held no further small parts. While I did that I examined the emerging assemblies, seeing them as both what they were and what they could be. The problem solving, the making of the mental list, and first insights and strategies had already begun.

I had to stop myself at that point. I needed to get my before photos. Stopping my process to photo journal does not come naturally to me but I am always disappointed in myself when I don't have a set of before photos. I couldn't just snap some quick pix either. The result of that would not likely render anything worthy of publishing and there are more than enough disappointing photos on my website already. Photographing my work, before and after, has become a separate project in itself. Since we are all busy being creative around here it is not a project I can delegate regularly. Even if it were though I would want to embrace learning new skills.

Previously I would open and view new projects as they came in but not begin actual work on them until I had cleared the benches of already begun projects. I was trying to be extra careful of keeping the parts separated and turning out work in a timely manner. Now, with the amount of work that is arriving, I have begun a job box system so that various projects are kept separate and proceed as parts and materials arrive. I begin to process each project as it comes in and am no longer idle while awaiting deliveries. I was never really idle because there is plenty of work to do locally but my goal is to eventually move all operations into the realm of vintage repair and restoration.

I am pleased to say that I have turned the corner at this point. Last year the shop generated more income than the van did. I am steadily refusing more and more types of non-vintage work, though it is difficult to refuse the clients that have supported me over the years. As I write this, I am preparing copy for my new "vintage-only" ad campaign.