Monday, March 26, 2012

Sometimes bad is good

   On one of our recent projects we installed a rough timber mantle into a cultured stone fireplace. The mantle was a rough sawn 6" x 8" x 8' timber that was hewn down 1/4" on all surfaces. The homeowner had watched us deliver the mantle, prep the fireplace, install the mantle and then finish by troweling a mortar joint to surround the mantle.

     The timing of this install completed the project on the same day that the homeowner and his family flew out on a week long vacation. Upon their return, I recieved an urgent email from him explaining that there was a "pretty significant problem" with the mantle and that it would need to be replaced. The "problem" was that the raw timber had begun to check and crack (a normal part of the drying process). My problem was that I hadn't made sure the customer knew exactly what he was in for when he asked for a hewn beam.
     After assuring the customer that I would be out the following day to inspect, he took some time to gain some perspective on the mantle. It was only then that he realized that the checking and cracking were actually features he WANTED! I recieved a follow-up email apologizing for his sudden reaction and explaining that he liked how it all came together.
Here is the actual photo he sent me to show what he described as the mantle "...essentially splitting apart in a sever way".
 Renovations, Remodeling, Home Improvement 
     In the end, everything worked out as it should have. The mantle has the antiqued look he wanted and we have another satisfied customer.  The lesson I learned was to ensure future customers know exactly what to expect during a project even if they seem convinced that they already know. In this case, It was just a matter of it being hard to see the forest for the trees (or "piece of tree").

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