Building PreFab’s

by kfrego

I worked with my Uncle Lerald building prefabricated garages during a high school summer. Lerald and a friend named Bob were both good carpenters. They needed a third person to help shaking out the building parts, keep them stocked with what they needed, and pass materials to them when working above the ground. They were fun to work with and I enjoyed learning how to form and place concrete, frame, and roof the garages. We would place the concrete slab, arrange delivery of the prefabricated garage, and come back several days after the concrete was placed to build the garage. The three of us could completely build a twenty four by twenty four foot garage in about 11 hours. All of the garages included entry doors, overhead doors, and shingled roof. It wasn’t an easy day, but saved making a return for a partial second day.

We had a few garages in Vermont around Winooski. We stayed at the Essex Hotel. The first night in town we hit the bar for a cold beer after dinner. Lerald and Bob sat on bar stools and ordered our drinks. I was standing behind and between them, hoping the bartender wouldn’t refuse to serve me. We were on our second beer and the bar had a good crowd. Out of nowhere a man walked up, took my arm, and directed me to a table. When we were seated he identified himself as the manager. He asked where I was from. I was waiting for him to tell me to get out of his bar. Instead, he explained you couldn’t stand at a bar in Vermont and drink beer. You must be seated. We talked for a few minutes, he bought me a beer, and Lerald and Bob didn’t even know I was gone from behind them.

We built a twenty four by twenty four in Champlain. We had about an hours work left when the owner came home. Lerald had just finished hanging the overhead door and was showing him his new garage. Bob and I were laying the last couple bundles of shingles to complete the roof. I hit a nail a glancing blow and it went flying. Stood another nail, tapped it easy to start it, and sent it flying with another off center hit. I set the third nail at the same spot, reared back with the hammer, and swung as hard as I could. The nail went this time. All the way through the plywood. Problem was, so did my hammer. I heard the clunk on the concrete floor as my hammer hit about ten feet behind Lerald and the new owner. There was a nice neat hole where the hammer went through. I crawled down and tried to look invisible when retrieving my hammer. Lerald never even flinched. Just continued his conversation with the owner like this happened all the time. The owner never did realize what had happened. We sure didn’t tell him.

Building garages was good experience for a teenager…………..and the lessons on Vermont laws helped too.