Hammer Head

Hammer Head

The Making of A Carpenter

Book - 2015
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Nina MacLaughlin spent her twenties working at a Boston newspaper, sitting behind a desk and staring at a screen. Yearning for more tangible work, she applied for a job she saw on Craigslist--Carpenter's Assistant: Women strongly encouraged to apply--despite being a Classics major who couldn't tell a Phillips from a flathead screwdriver. She got the job, and in Hammer Head she tells the rich and entertaining story of becoming a carpenter.Writing with infectious curiosity, MacLaughlin describes the joys and frustrations of making things by hand, reveals the challenges of working as a woman in an occupation that is 99 percent male, and explains how manual labor changed the way she sees the world. We meet her unflappable mentor, Mary, a petite but tough carpenter-sage ("Be smarter than the tools!"), as well as wild demo dudes, foul-mouthed plumbers, grizzled hardware store clerks, and the colorful clients whose homes she and Mary work in.Whisking her readers from job to job--building a wall, remodeling a kitchen, gut-renovating a house--MacLaughlin examines the history of the tools she uses and the virtues and varieties of wood. Throughout, she draws on the wisdom of Ovid, Annie Dillard, Studs Terkel, and Mary Oliver to illuminate her experience of work. And, in a deeply moving climax, MacLaughlin strikes out on her own for the first time to build bookshelves for her own father.Hammer Head is a passionate book full of sweat, swearing, bashed thumbs, and a deep sense of finding real meaning in work and life.
Publisher: New York :, W.W. Norton & Company,, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780393239133
Branch Call Number: BIO MACLAUGH N. MacLaugh 03/2015
Characteristics: 224 pages :,illustrations ;,22 cm


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May 23, 2018

Simple, sweet book on trying something different. Loved the author's writing style and enjoyed her perspectives. As an older person rethinking career for the first time in 30+ years , I felt uplifted and energized by this story. Her blog about carpentry and life is also a lovely read.

Cynthia_N Jun 24, 2015

MacLaughlin does a great job writing the story of how she does when she changes careers and becomes a carpenter's assistant. It's not surprising that she does such a good job writing because she leaves her job as a writer to work with a carpenter. Fast moving story that is quite enjoyable and has some great life lessons for all of us.

Jun 03, 2015

For me, MacLaughlin did not spend enough time on the pleasures of her transformation into a carpenter, although the writing (and the description of the book) leads you to think that kind of contemplation is coming. For a better read on the magic of the everyday things coming together to create something and the people who do it, read Tracy Kidder's HOUSE.


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