Making Things Right: A Master Carpenter at Work

Author(s): Ole Thorstensen


This is, quite simply, the story of a loft conversion. It is also a book about work and identity, about collaboration and pride in skilled craftsmanship, and about what it means to make things with your hands in a consumerism-driven world. A master builder and carpenter with thirty years' experience, Thorstensen gives a matter-of-fact, reflective voice to the workers who construct our living spaces and our urban environment. He looks upon his tools as an important part of himself and as a reflection of his respect for his trade, and he addresses the gulf in understanding and communication between skilled craftsman and "academic" workers. From the moment of a client's phone call to their occupation of a newly constructed living space, Making Things Right tracks the project as it takes shape: the delicate negotiation to establish an optimum plan; the collaboration with a trusted team of specialist painters, plasterers, plumbers, electricians; the handling of materials; the blood, sweat and frustration involved in doing a job well. Why is it that manual skills are underestimated? After all, working with your hands gives you time to think. With all its practical detail, Making Things Right is the simple philosophy of a working life.Translated from the Norwegian by Sean Kinsella


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Thorstensen writes convincingly about heavy work as something honourable, without ever stumbling into romantic notions of physical work as a way to fill the emptiness . . . For Thorstensen the meaning already exists in the work itself and within him * Bokmagasinet * An important voice against knowledge deficiency . . . By documenting an entire course of a construction project in diary form, he offers insight into processes that very few people know anything about . . . The book is just as solid as the craft that he describes * Dagbladet * It is so rich in descriptions of all pleasures related to mastering a craft: the portrayal of the working community, the joy of seeing something take shape, and the knowledge that one has left a piece of oneself behind. The pleasure of drinking coffee from a thermos, listening to good radio, observe the city from new angles, and feel the weight of history when you continue building on something that the craftsmen before you started . . . A nice mix of sociology, philosophy - not to mention ethics * Klassekampen *

Ole Thorstensen was born in Arendal, Norway, and makes his debut as an author with a story about work and identity and a tribute to manual labour. Thorstensen was raised on Tromoy, an island with five thousand inhabitants. He is a trained carpenter, and has worked for twenty-five years in the construction industry. He now lives in Eidsvoll, six miles north of Oslo.

General Fields

  • : 9780857056696
  • : Quercus Publishing
  • : MacLehose Press
  • : 0.258
  • : September 2017
  • : 216mm X 135mm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 544
  • : 16 b/w illustrations