Last week the Homestead had an extra reason to celebrate besides Independence Day. After weeks of painstaking work in the woodshop, interns finished installing the new third and fifth deck railings, bringing the space to life by framing the surrounding landscape between delicate curves of richly oil redwood.

Last week the Homestead had an extra reason to celebrate besides Independence Day. After weeks of painstaking work in the woodshop, interns finished installing the new third and fifth deck railings, bringing the space to life by framing the surrounding landscape between delicate curves of richly oil redwood.

The process started with the removal of the original railings, which were carefully taken out, so that they could be reused. Nails were removed before the pieces were cut down using a table saw, and then glued together and sanded down to make new boards just over three inches wide and half an inch thick. These boards were cut roughly to shape with a jigsaw, and then perfected using a router. All edges were carefully rounded over. At last the finished pieces were oiled and neatly stacked to dry. This process was repeated every day, for about two weeks, until over eight hundred new railing pieces were ready to be fitted into place.

When working on such a detailed, repetitive project day after day, itís often easy to lose track of the bigger picture. Itís a true test of patience to focus intently on performing one simple task well, over and over, instead of wanting to continuously move from step to step. ìI now understand the importance of craftsmanship,î says intern Chelsea, ìbecause the steps for building the railings were cumulative, and you could watch the details develop in the process.

Meanwhile, up on the deck, the frames from the old railings were cleaned and freshly oiled in preparation for the new railings. With all of the woodwork done, and a temporary shop set up in the third floor gazebo, the new pieces were quickly fitted in. The transformation of the deck was completed within a week of setting in the first new railing.

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