Twenty-one years ago, from his native Barbados, expert craftsman Olwin Clarke responded to a Bermuda Stripping & Refinishing advertisement that his Bermuda-based brother had called to his attention.
“[It took] about a month,” Mr. Clarke said, “no problem because I had a clean character… It still is clean.”
The now long-term resident and lead carpenter supervises two other BS&R craftsmen. He oversees the time and manner in which they complete orders to the expected ‘finished perfection’ for which the company is known.
Mr. Clarke loves his work.
He said: “I just like making things. I like using machines, using my hands, building stuff, and when it’s finished, admire it.”
That ‘stuff’ includes doors, windows and frames, mantles, cabinets and shutters, the finished carpentry that differs from the formwork done by other types of carpenter.
Mr. Clarke starts his day just before 8am, when orders are brought from the office.
“You’ve got a worksheet saying specifically what’s got to be done,” he said.
The greatest part of the day is spent in the shop, but he and his colleagues might also go on the road to hang doors or shutters, add architrave moulding to doorframes or attach base- boards.
His workday ends at 4:30pm, but could lengthen by an hour or two in order to complete a job pending collection.
“I like to make my job as simple as possible, get everything right, so that it won’t be a problem when it’s finished. My goal is to get my work done in a specific time, in a certain amount of hours,” Mr. Clarke said.
This longest-serving staff member not only enjoys his work, but also the environment in which he operates. “The people are very helpful, the bosses, the staff,” he said. “Everybody cooperates. If you have a situation like somebody got a problem with some- thing, everybody joins to solve the problem.”
“I feel great about it… I’ve never been laid-off, never been home for not having work to do. When everything gets slow, the boss will always find work for me to do to keep me busy.”
Mr. Clarke is also grateful for the small pieces of wood his employer makes available when he asks to build something for himself.
Whether it’s setting up a machine called the spindle shaper to put profiles on joints, or assembling a door, Mr. Clarke continues to provide BS&R with the quality service his long- term employers promote as well as the customers they serve.