Greg Treleaven Carpenters can not only beautify the space you live in, but solve problems with the place you live. We can duplicate excising kitchen cabinets, bath cabinets, and build custom built in woodworking projects of every description: Window Seats, Bookcases, Home Office cabinets, entertainment and TV cabinets, fireplace mantels and custom radiator covers. We can build custom furniture to fit your home. Suppose you need a guest bed that folds up, or need a closet design to optimize your clothing storage. We can design something for almost every problem you may have, and our design service is free.
Are you thinking about a more extensive remodeling project? We have acted as General Contractor on many complicated endeavors, from gut renovations to historic restorations to make homes look like they did when originally built over an hundred years ago.
If you live in a historic district such as the Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill, Charlestown or the West End, you’ll need our free advice about replacing windows, entry doors, or building roof decks.
The Federal Government is currently offering a tax rebate of up to 1500 dollars if you are replacing windows, doors, or insulating your home. Many kinds of wood and vinyl products qualify for this rebate; we can help you decide which one is right for you.
Many homes in Boston have sagging staircases, we are specialists in stair restoration and repair, and we have designed many beautiful new stairs.
Over the past 35 years that we have been in business, we have worked with many subcontractors, and we are happy to refer them to you directly as part of our service. If you need plastering, painting, demolition, roofing, tile installation, electrical, plumbing, custom granite and marble or masonry, we have someone whose work we know well who can help you.
Looking below them,
We find they have a structure of fire
Of the ghosts
Of the gobbets
That remain after the spent flesh of battle
On the one side:
Priam, Antiphus, Troilus, Dolites
Apollo, Aphrodite, Ares
Artemis, Xanthus, Leto
Say the names
On the other:
Agamemnon, Hera, Ajax, Achilles
Hermes, Hephaestus, Thetis, Poseidon,
Say the names
Vengeance is a great stone quickly bent down
to pick up and uncoiling
Whipped into bloody space
No accident that the swords look phallic-
Each tribe had sex at heart-
The sex of Helen, of Achilles
Spread out in blood:
A book opened to the section on exotic surgical procedures.
A dog run over on the highway, flayed alive
by the undercarriage of a semi.
To fight the battle this way, on canvas, is to
Die every death.
What is Cassandra doing in the House of Priam?
In the end, what we have are the shades
After all is burnt,
Achilles, Patroclus, and Hector, who was hard to draw
He had to be wiped out a hundred times.
What happened to Paris?
Well, we’ll always have Paris, won’t we, kid?
Here’s looking at you Mr. Cy Twombly,
Here, is looking, at you.
There is a formula formulated by the time and motion gang:
For every added helper on a job, efficiency drops by some percent.
I’d add thirty for every guy I hire;
One man will work his ass off
But two will scheme to get as much free time
as they can grab in one eight hour day.
And who can blame them?
Two guys with wives, or chicks with partners, children on their minds,
Can only think and talk about when this day will never end.
At evensong, they’ve done their work,
Orange globed Apollo skinny dips in wine dark sea
Do they really give a shit, when the boss is such a jerk?
And what a sap he is, for he leaves them time and time again, with rotten tools
And rotten stock, expecting the impossible since he bid this job too low
Too cheap to fit them up with even basic stuff they need to get it done.
Everything’s inferior, he’s a penny pinching churl
He wants it all put right before he shows or he’ll piss and
Moan their work’s too slow.
He’s “losing money by the minute” in a minute he’ll be bankrupt,
A New York minute and his boils will all erupt.
He won’t buy lunch or coffee, they have to eat and smoke in half an hour,
No wonder their digestion’s bad,
They’re burping up their subs,
The asshole says “hurry up you finish up hey clean it up”
“Like that,” says Bill, and farted.
They know he’s got a 90 inch tv, a gorgeous wife and boat somewhere they’ll never see.
Fifty acres in the suburbs, kids in private schools, how about
That Cape Cod summer place and that Wagoneer he flouts around, the fool.
Who’s he think he’s kidding? Who’s the fool?
He won’t take a check, he pockets all the cash,
They’re just waiting gleefully to watch him burn and crash
Just give them a little stake, just a little bread, and they could
Do this better, twice as good standing on their heads.
They can’t quite get the tools they need together, and they
hate collecting money from the customers. but one day, baby…
Let it go. Fuhgged about it,
Watch the Lakers beat the Knicks, or
Take the wife and kids for burgers.
Business is a risky thing, besides
My brother tried it
Half the night he’s up
The people always calling up complaining
He tells his kids like: “Hey, shut up.”
“You wanna hit the Red Sox
Game tonite, they’re playin Cincinnatti?
I can’t, I gotta take my daughter into town to look at schools,
Maybe Tuesday, there’s a doubleheader.
Hey, pack it in, it’s Miller time,
You sweep up and and I’ll hit these holes with filler.”
“Fine with me”, says Bill, “see you Monday,
Don’t forget to bring the hammer drill, we gotta tapcon down that sill…”
If you have some gluing up to do
Let it rain on some late summer day.
If you have a window near,
With an air conditioner,
Please turn it off
So you can fully hear the blooping
falling on its case outside
(but an awning would be better still),
The light is soft and full, a kind of greenish gray,
Like cement or limestone
Or the changing sea.
The rain falls steady,
straight down from above,
a gift from Jupiter Pluvius,
Roman Rain Giver.
If you’re lucky there’s a skylight in your shop,
Then the soft staccato
Tappings will be all about in stereo.
Turn the music off to listen while
You spread the creamy yellow glue across the endgrain of the wood,
The strong straight grain of staunch oak boards,
Whose edges have been squared and planed.
It’s pleasant to assemble objects on your bench.
If you fabricate a plywood box, locate the top
Between two sides
And bring the sides together with your bar clamps gently.
You must flush the surface with the edges
Along each section’s length.
Don’t screw the clamps too tight,
Or you will squeeze the glue out from the joint
And weaken it.
Now, your choice:
Nail the top or screw it in with drywall screws?
If you nail it with the gun
The compressor breaks your concentration,
A motorcycle will approach your nose at breakneck speed
With you tied helpless to a chair.
If you fasten it with two inch drywall screws
The smooth unbroken birch is marred
Which you must sand and putty smooth.
What will you do?
Must you hurry?
Check the sky.
Rain tomorrow too?
Put the bottom in your box and clamp it up.
Fasten it somehow, anyhow. Get it done.
Eat, sleep and die.
Turn it over.
Now the back.
Spread the yogurt glue around the edge,
Lay the back down carefully.
Euclid said on any given rectangle
The diagonals between two corners opposite
Will be equal, ever.
Check your corners.
If they’re unequal, Whoops a Daisy.
You need to rack your box, your brain,
You picked this way to make a buck, you must be crazy.
Sometimes you can nail one edge
Then pull or push the neighbor piece
Until it lines up perpendicular.
If not, your doors are crooked,
No adjustment will square them up,
Your work will lack its necessary honor.
Auden wrote we should honor the vertical man
Not the horizontal,
I propose homage to the perpendicular as well.
If your work lacks its own esteem
You will mutter bitterly beneath your breath
Taste black bile,
But that’s another poem in which Achilles is the victor.
Let’s assume your diagonals are equal,
Let them all be equal,
For a man who has achieved diagonals will possess
A disposition that enjoys digestion.
Now your box is square and true, you may want to rest.
If you have a dog, or better, two, take them out to walk.
Wear no raincoat, but let the warm, primeval pluvium
Slowly soak you to your skin.
Since dogs hate rain and baths and garden hoses in that order,
Yours may give you sullen looks the first half mile or so.
But soon they will forget, as dogs will always do,
And smell the fog of steaming grassy odors the magician Jupiter
Has conjured up while wearing his limestone tuxedo.
If today your diagonals were unequal
Even if you know they never were
Nor never will be so,
You will now forget to be annoyed
And let the rain wash all that wood dust from your brow.
The table saw is your wife and child
You eat its dust and in so doing make more
Leaving others in a cloud behind
From sawdust you will knead your bread to nourish
Those you love with your days, your dust.
A good saw wll race through sheet plywood like a world cup Schooner
Slice oaken planks like an Icebreaker,
Mitre poplar like a Steamer for Morocco.
Shave cherry like a Clipper Ship,
Dado maple with a fair wind bladed Spinnaker
Heeled over she saws elegant raised panels for the Captain’s cabin.
Trims her sheets to make a jig for dovetailed drawers
In short, she’ll make a fine Cutter, putting through the chop without chipping,
Always eager when you want to sail again or saw
In your Wanigan.
You’ll be her Master:
Admiral Hornblower of the arbor, the arboretum, and the harbor
Odysseus of the wine dark mahogany plywood seas.
A saw that’s weak,
Pulled by only one horse will be dangerous
The blade will tend to pick up wood instead of dicing through it,
Especially if the blade is dull.
Unless you step aside,
A board may play the dinner guest you have insulted and rising from the table,
Slap you on the nose.
The sheetrock wall behind my saw is full of holes where wood
Has jammed itself between fence and blade to be slung by catapult
Crashing through the Bastion to sack the Inner Keep.
Best to buy the strongest saw you can afford, three horses mininum,
Half a horse can’t pull anyway,
With no back legs,
Its only suitable for carnivals and carousels.
However much you may suspect your vocation is indeed a trapeze act
Such a hackneyed nag will only serve to prove
Your saw is acting like the horse’s latter half,
And give you nothing back but trapezoids.
While you look for three brave steeds, don’t forget to count their teeth.
In your horse’s mouth sixty carbide molars
Should rise from its dark slit faster than bats at dusk
Any less will leave kerf marks on the edges and set your own back teeth on edge.
Your blade must stand vertical to the table,
A line parallel to blade will reach Alpha Centauri
If it’s not, when you make doors, the stiles you ripped will
Interact with top and bottom rails drunkenly,
And when you tighten up your clamps, the door will warp and not lay flat.
Then you must throw away the work done so far that day.
Square the blade, or kick the cat.
Your fence too must be parallel to the blade, or
You can’t set a course to starboard or to port.
Out of true alignment she will wander in the kerf, yawing back and forth,
If wending to the left, she will wedge your rectangle,
Binding wood between blade and fence, burning, burning.
The weaker saw will overheat and seize up smoking as she comes to grief aground.
You must wait for high tide while the motor cools enough
Tto press the reset button and refloat,
Meanwhile, rub your filly down, lest she catch colic and kick back.
Days when your gut feels funny, just don’t even saw.
The blade so keen and quick, she’ll buck you all the way back to the barn.
You could lose a finger fast.
At least don’t overreach her whirling blade.
Use a scrap to push your lumber through, hold it down, press it flat,
More so if the piece is narrow or the stallion isn’t broken yet.
Wear no scarves or neckties, they might wrap
Around the arbor and before the blade can cut them loose
Jerk your face right down to spurting gore,
Turning stallion into Isadora Duncan’s nightmare demise.
If you have an hundred same size pieces to be cut,
Count each ten and look around.
People are not robots
In the space between each repetition
The saw will raise a claw.
If some one speaks to you don’t look at him- even
Playboy models frolicking in your shop.
If you need all ten fingers for your guitar, sculpture, girl or boyfriend,
Focus on the blade, the blade, the blade, the blade.
If you’re changing it, unplug the saw.
I once loosed an arbor nut that holds the sixty spinning
Great White teeth,
And turned to hang the old blade up.
My bowels turned over-beads of sweat
The saw turned on all by itself
Because the switch had shorted.
My friend Andy balanced his portable on a plastic garbage can,
At day’s end, November, cold and tired,
The light was going fast,
Just one last cut and home,
He turned to grasp a piece of pine he needed ripped,
Felt the saw begin to slip,
Reached back instinctively to steady it
Only to embed the blade
Halfway up his palm.
Doctors saved two fingers,
Now he makes left handed subs,
“Did you say, sir, ‘Everything but the hots?’ “
Take care my gentle sawyer, sailor, cowboy, carpenter,
For every man someday has an appointment with the blade.
She will pull you down through the dark blood slit from which you came and
You’ll whirl about for centuries like Saint Catherine on her wheel,
Oscillating giddy on the bushing of your navel,
Your keel caught up in her spinning spiral pool.
Take care, my friend, lest your wife and child decide to raise a fang,
And you the fool.
Several years ago I wrote some poems about carpentry. Here’s the first. You can expect another one every week or so.
I build boxes for my daily bread.
Some contain the ashes of the dead.
Plato claimed the sphere is perfect geometrically,
Of all the shapes it contains most volume for its surface.
Archetypal consciousness, propounded Jung
Is just as deep as as this, for it too preserves the most
psychic volume beneath its surface.
Every day turns upon these endless spheres
Of suffering millennia as
All of us are bound together spherically.
We cannot populate the world, in Plato’s sense, yet do so.
Einstein has us inhabiting the folded realms of convoluted space-
Relativity is spherical, and not.
Since all atomic junk
Burst all at once in all directions,
Even those to which our mind’s eye is blinded by an illusion: Gravity.
Mathematics must be employed to show us how space curves upon itself,
Not out but in, not left nor right but up and down at once,
For when the Bang was Big,
There was no place one could say was
Centered, circle, sphere, line, or point.
Nonetheless, if we disregarded gravity on earth,
All boxes would be spheres
And all flat things we prevent from rolling round would
Float like butterflies around us, smiling.
We dwell between desire and dissatisfaction.
And rolling round, we never rest.
Yet gravity is at once our friend and enemy,
A gentle force that keeps us breathing atmosphere,
Forever bound by mass and weight, ionosphere and troposphere:
The air, the fog, the leaves, the blowing snow,
The clouds we see, the words we speak,
Bind us, as Prufrock said, “each to each.”
In building cabinets we succumb by choice to boxes,
In boxes we shelter safely under gravity’s thumb,
Every cabinet installed is square and perpendicular,
Fee, Fi and Fo and Fum,
By the square I smell blood of Englishman.
Each box I build is nested in another.
In the past, the boxes in my head
Were nested in the boxes of my ancestors
Who, of course, are dead.