ourtownsthelena, shoveling gravelBrenkle Court homeowners kicked off a cool October morning with shovels and wheelbarrows, distributing gravel around sewer pipes and what will be their driveways.

ourtownsthelena larry vermeulen and carpenter skillsLarry reviewed basic skills and safety precautions

Project manager Larry Vermeulen planned the rest of the morning as a carpentry tutorial session to review basic skills and safety precautions. Last winter, the homeowners built sawhorses—an exercise designed to accomplish a few goals, including building the sawhorses that are essential tools for every construction project.

Learning to work together. These homeowners are a construction crew. They need to know that they can count on each other. For the next year and a half, they’re sharing the workload. They move in together once all of the townhomes are finished.

Getting comfortable with the tools they’ll be using to build their homes. Electric power tools can be a little intimidating, so everyone had a chance to use a skillsaw to cut 2x4s for the sawhorses.

Framing Brenkle Court’s first wall

The exercise was to frame a wall. Each homeowner took a turn measuring the 2×4 studs, cutting them with a skillsaw, then nailing them into place to create the frame for the first wall. If they stood this up and moved it onto the foundation, they would bolt this into place to form the wall.

Pounding nails into a 2×4 is a learned skill

For the more seasoned homeowners, pounding nails into a 2×4 took a few rhythmic strokes; for others it was a labored effort. In a few weeks, everyone will have mastered this. Despite all of our innovation and automation, a house is still built one nail at a time.

Starting next week, we’ll be working all weekend, every weekend, as our homeowners frame their homes at Brenkle Court.ourtownsthelena framing the homes at brenkle court