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Forum topic by DS posted 02-10-2021 02:12 AM 3552 views 0 times favorited 140 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DS

3727 posts in 3472 days


02-10-2021 02:12 AM

Topic tags/keywords: humor

Anyone who does woodworking for a living surely has lots of interesting stories to tell.

I will start with a few of my own. Feel free to add yours and we can all benefit from each other’s experiences.

First story:

“Captain Tacos”

Whenever I meet a new client for the first time, I try to make a point to learn their names.
It shows respect and personalizes the experience of designing custom cabinets and prevents embarrassment of a bad spelling or wrong name on dozens of pages of drawings and contracts.

So, this new client had a name that was Greek to me, which made perfect sense, because in fact, he was Greek.

All I remember of his last name was that it started with the letter K, had far too many vowels and strange letters in it and did not sound anything like it was spelled.
The client pronounced it the way you might say “Captain Tacos” if you removed all the letter T’s.
This is wrong, but it is something like “Kapenacos” (sp).

We designed a household of custom cabinets for this wonderfully Greek client and when the paperwork hit the shop, all kinds of interesting pronunciations came forth when attempting to talk about this job.

As I explained it to you, is how I explained it to the shop foreman — Captain Tacos without the T’s.
Before long though, everyone in the shop was working on and talking about the “Captain Tacos” job.

As is often customary on a large custom job, periodic shop tours to verify progress for bank draws, etc, are a common occurrence.

On this day, it was Mr. Kapenacos’ turn to tour the shop, see our progress on his build, and meet some of the craftsmen working on his project.

Even though the shop foreman knew how to pronounce “Kapenacos”(sp), they had been saying “Captain Tacos” so much in the shop, that he slipped and called the client Captain Tacos to his face!
I almost died!

Fortunately, Mr. Kapenacos has been dealing with the name problem most of his life and was entirely amused with this “Americanism” of his name.

What a relief, as I feared it might have gone entirely in a different direction.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251


140 replies so far

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SMP

3786 posts in 957 days


#1 posted 02-10-2021 02:59 AM

I think I remember him from Full House

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pottz

16138 posts in 2036 days


#2 posted 02-10-2021 03:32 AM

thats funny ds,ive had the same problem my whole life,ive only had a handful of people ever pronounce mine correct.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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DS

3727 posts in 3472 days


#3 posted 02-10-2021 03:51 AM

Next story:

“Refried beans”

Back in 1998, my boss asked me to evaluate a business plan proposal for a new custom cabinet shop.
At the time, we were designing, selling and installing semi-custom modular cabinetry and contracting custom cabinets from a local custom shop.

The boss wanted to bring the full custom work in house and had the budget to do it.

Opening a new custom wood shop from scratch is a daunting task.
Most shops start with a couple of guys working out of a small rental space with basic tools and they organically build the operation up over several years.

We started with nothing but a business plan and a budget.
We bought an empty building, outfitted it with electricity, compressed air and dust collection.
Then, we filled it with new state of the art CNC machinery, workstations and finishing equipment.
We hired analysts to evaluate our shop work flow for bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

Our help wanted ad hit the local papers the day we officially hung out the shingle.

Amazingly, there was a line of about 35 candidates lined up at our door within minutes of opening.

It didn’t take long for us to figure out why we had such a line at our front door that morning, as not one person in line had any real woodworking experience.

As it turns out, we opened our new shop in the post NAFTA trade agreement era when companies were moving south from Arizona in record numbers where there was a more favorable business regulatory environment.
(Insert loud sucking noise here)

Our new building shared a rear property line with the Rosarita refried bean factory, which, coincidentally had opened a new factory in Mexico and closed its USA factory doors just the day before.

The only “woodworking” experience that any of the barely English speaking candidates had was packing cans of refried beans into cardboard boxes and loading trucks with a forklift.

In the end, it took nearly two years before we comfortably filled all of our key positions in the shop,with adequately experienced people.

We actually hired several of the bean packers and a few of them took the challenge seriously to learn the woodworking business and they became some of our best and most loyal people.

I have to say that when we started out with a handful of pages of a business plan, we had little idea that our biggest challenge would be to hire and train a qualified staff of reliable workers.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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DS

3727 posts in 3472 days


#4 posted 02-10-2021 04:27 AM

More to come… goodnight for now.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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DS

3727 posts in 3472 days


#5 posted 02-10-2021 01:40 PM



I think I remember him from Full House

- SMP

Was there a Mr. Kapenacos on full house? I didn’t really watch that show.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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DS

3727 posts in 3472 days


#6 posted 02-11-2021 12:39 AM

“Murphy wins again”

I had just finished all the paperwork to put a job into production. Seven complete copies were made so that each department could have their own set to work with.

I had just gotten back from distributing those copies when my phone rang. It was the client.
“I think we are going to change our minds again about the color, is it too late?”

No, it was not too late. I just had to retrieve all of the paperwork I just distributed and change the color.

I was very meticulous that the old color didn’t even appear on a page crossed out. I made all new paperwork and redistributed it.

A couple of weeks go by and the job is done, sitting on the loading dock, when the QA guy, (every shop should have one) comes into my office and pronounces, “It’s the wrong color!”

I go back to the dock and sure enough, it’s the old color selection from just before that phone call.

So I track down the lead finisher who prepares the colors and ask him, “Where did you get this color? It’s not anywhere on your paperwork.”

He walks me back to my office and points to a white board where I was keeping track of the jobs in progress as they go through the shop. Sure enough, written in dry erase marker is the old color.

Unbeknownst to me, the finisher was ignoring his paperwork and was coming into my office to see the colors on my whiteboard because it was “easier”.
Never mind that there are seven copies with who knows how many notations of the correct color, no one looked at it until it was ready to ship out the door.

Bad information is like a virus.

Unfortunately, the old color was very dark and the new color was fairly light, so we couldn’t’ even salvage the job.
We offered to discount the darker cabinets, but the client wouldn’t have it.

We ended up eating the entire job and ended up remaking the whole thing.

Freakin’ Murphy’s law wins again.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3757 posts in 2850 days


#7 posted 02-11-2021 01:25 AM

I once found a mouse nest with short pencils. Apparently the mouse thief was taking them off my bench at night.
I do remember feeling uneasy about never having short pencils. Relieved to find the nest

I once turned around to find some guy standing in my shop that was fleeing the police. I quickly let him out the gate before my dog figured out we have a intruder. The police took him down in the street in front of the shop.

-- Aj

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

1145 posts in 438 days


#8 posted 02-11-2021 01:32 AM



“Murphy wins again”

I had just finished all the paperwork to put a job into production. Seven complete copies were made so that each department could have their own set to work with.

I had just gotten back from distributing those copies when my phone rang. It was the client.
“I think we are going to change our minds again about the color, is it too late?”

No, it was not too late. I just had to retrieve all of the paperwork I just distributed and change the color.

I was very meticulous that the old color didn’t even appear on a page crossed out. I made all new paperwork and redistributed it.

A couple of weeks go by and the job is done, sitting on the loading dock, when the QA guy, (every shop should have one) comes into my office and pronounces, “It’s the wrong color!”

I go back to the dock and sure enough, it’s the old color selection from just before that phone call.

So I track down the lead finisher who prepares the colors and ask him, “Where did you get this color? It’s not anywhere on your paperwork.”

He walks me back to my office and points to a white board where I was keeping track of the jobs in progress as they go through the shop. Sure enough, written in dry erase marker is the old color.

Unbeknownst to me, the finisher was ignoring his paperwork and was coming into my office to see the colors on my whiteboard because it was “easier”.
Never mind that there are seven copies with who knows how many notations of the correct color, no one looked at it until it was ready to ship out the door.

Bad information is like a virus.

Unfortunately, the old color was very dark and the new color was fairly light, so we couldn’t’ even salvage the job.
We offered to discount the darker cabinets, but the client wouldn’t have it.

We ended up eating the entire job and ended up remaking the whole thing.

Freakin’ Murphy’s law wins again.

- DS


One of those spec jobs. Did you end up selling the original run?

-- Darrel

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pottz

16138 posts in 2036 days


#9 posted 02-11-2021 01:47 AM



I once found a mouse nest with short pencils. Apparently the mouse thief was taking them off my bench at night.
I do remember feeling uneasy about never having short pencils. Relieved to find the nest

I once turned around to find some guy standing in my shop that was fleeing the police. I quickly let him out the gate before my dog figured out we have a intruder. The police took him down in the street in front of the shop.

- Aj2


i hear ya,once i was in the shop,garage,.and the roll up was up and this young guy came barging in the door,asking what time it was? i had my hand on my hammer on my belt ready for whatever his intentions were and i said it’s .. then i said dont ever do that to someone again because the result may not be as easy as you just recieved!

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View DS's profile

DS

3727 posts in 3472 days


#10 posted 02-11-2021 04:01 AM


One of those spec jobs. Did you end up selling the original run?

- Foghorn

I am fairly certain they were sold for salvage to a dealer who regularly bought our screw-ups.
We didn’t have the space to store much else outside our normal production runs.

We were able to reuse drawer boxes, guides and hinges as well as any specialty hardware like pullouts and lazy susans.

Still, that was about $25k down the hole…

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

1675 posts in 779 days


#11 posted 02-11-2021 04:36 AM

A little bit different kind of story, but one I always remember.
This is about the bravery of 1st Responders

I first started working in a production cabinet shop (1977)
As to the size, they did about 5 full kitchens a day. Assembly dept, Door dept, sanding dept, finish dept, etc etc…

I worked the nail bench, building boxes which was next to the finish department. The finish department had a rotating line, you put the cabinet on the line, it would go through several stations and come off the line ready to hang doors and drawers.

I always heard the stories that if the finish department caught fire there would be an explosion and the percussion would pretty much blow you right through a brick wall. Well, one day smoke started coming out of the finish area. Everyone evacuated the shop.

By the time the fire department got there, black smoke was billowing out the big roll up door like the whole building was fully engulfed. I just kept waiting for the explosion any second.

Those firemen marched right into the building like it was just another day. After about 5 minutes they came out dragging a 55 gallon can full of dirty stain rags smoking like a chimney.

So no explosion, but a testament to the bravery of those guys and what they do everyday.
Hats off to 1st responders.

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DS

3727 posts in 3472 days


#12 posted 02-11-2021 03:08 PM

It can sure be scary when it seems everything is going up in flames.

It takes a special breed to be a fire fighter.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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DS

3727 posts in 3472 days


#13 posted 02-11-2021 04:59 PM

“Cat trap”

One day we got a call from a customer saying she needed us to go out and repair her cabinets.

She had an L shaped kitchen and, against my advice, placed a double oven in the corner on an angle.
This design wasted a lot of space behind the oven and made the ovens dominate the room aesthetically.

When we got there to see what needed repairing, there was a huge hole “chopped” out of the finished end panel at the side of the oven cabinet.

It seems the cat had climbed up on top of the oven cabinet and either fell, or jumped into one of the triangular voids behind the oven.
When the cat couldn’t get out it complained loudly.

It took the homeowner some time to figure out where the cat was, but, once located, they quickly determined there was no easy way to get it out.

So, they called the fire department, who as you know, likes to extract things with axes.

We ended repairing the end panel and covering all the voided corners at the top of the oven cabinet .

Now we have a policy: Don’t design cat traps.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5349 posts in 5012 days


#14 posted 02-11-2021 08:01 PM

And there’s the plumber who put the drain in the slab in the wrong place. SOOOOO the island sink would not work. Job super said “Don’t worry. We’ll fix it.” Guess that he jack hammered the slab to move the drain.
Just glad I hadn’t measured wrong. (I’ve never done that…...hmmmm).

-- [email protected]

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DS

3727 posts in 3472 days


#15 posted 02-11-2021 09:56 PM

It seems anymore that builders get it somewhere close to the island and just plan on moving the island plumbing each time.
Or, are least it seems that way.

Sometimes they get lucky and it lands where it shows on the plans.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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