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  • MacLehose Press
  • MacLehose Press
  • Maclehose Press

Making Things Right

Ole Thorstensen

3 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, Anthropology, Carpentry, DIY: carpentry & woodworking

A celebration of good craftsmanship by a Norwegian master carpenter - the anatomy of a job well done.

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 carpenter and builder 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 craftsmen 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.

Will interest readers of The Craftsman by Richard Sennett: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain; The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees by Robert Penn; Do No Harm by James Marsh and A Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks

Translated from the Norwegian by Sean Kinsella

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Praise for Making Things Right

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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Ole Thorstensen

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.