The Țigmandru Woodshop is open for business – sort of! Every afternoon from 1-5 p.m. the sounds of voices, sawing and planing come from the building that houses the shop on the main street of Tigmandru. It’s an exciting time especially because it’s been such a long journey to get to this point. Since we arrived back in Sighisoara in June, it seemed like every week for the first month Jay made a contact with other woodworkers, with people who suggested items that could be made in the shop, or with potential sources of wood. We felt God’s leading in these connections, and we recognize that the woodshop is a reality because of the prayers of God’s people. We are grateful.
A brief history:
August, 2013 – we arrive in Sighisoara. The idea for beginning a woodshop in Tigmandru is greeted as an answer to prayer.
Sept – identify a location for the woodshop – renovating two “rooms” at the back of a property owned by the Tigmandru Nazarene Church. See our Facebook post HERE for more pictures of the space and beginning work.
Oct./Nov. – renovating/making the building for the woodshop begins. With horse and wagon, materials are brought to the site, cement is poured, bricks laid, windows and doors are put in, insulation is added. A wood stove is put in but it’s too cold to apply the stucco. We wait.
March, 2014 – stucco applied, but need even warmer weather to paint walls. (The paint slid off the wall.) Floors are laid while we wait.
May – purchase table saw and router/jointer, only to discover that the three-phase electric needed is not available and will cost approx. $3,000 and take three months to do the paperwork required and get the transformer installed and wires run.
August, 2014 – The building is completed and we return to the U.S. for another year of Jay teaching at Eastern Mennonite, hoping that by summer of 2015 the electric work will be completed.
June, 2015 – we arrive back in Romania – no three-phase electric. Plus now there is an eight square foot spot of mold in the ceiling from where water came in through the roof tiles.
July – repair the roof, put in new drywall for the ceiling, re-paint. And finally the three-phase electric gets installed.
Jay goes out to the shop to check things out and the plug that was installed for the three phase is the same plug on the saw. Another call to the electrician, another week of waiting to get it changed.
July 31 – work in the shop begins with four apprentices, ages 37, 17, 35 and 55 – Nilutu, Gabi, Mihai, and Atilla.
It’s been two months shy of two years since we began the process to get a shop going. A grant from the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Europe has been gratefully received and additional tools have been purchased.
August – The first product – a small box – has been made. A cabinet to store the tools is in process.
Gabi shows off the first box made in the Tigmandru Woodshop
The shelves fit into the recessed area of the wall. Everyone is pleased.
Gabi puts the screwdrivers on the shelf.
Many of the hand tools are now safely stored in the cupboard. There will eventually be a frame and doors put on this cabinet.
Of course the electric saga continues. The outlets that were installed weren’t industrial strength. At present there are no lights in the ceiling. And so it goes.
At this point, a man in Sighisoara who runs two tourist shops has ordered 40 small boxes. He wants to carve them and then sell them in his store. Jay has also had requests for kitchen cabinets and some small furniture items.
I (Sheri) am enjoying seeing Jay in teaching mode, even though it’s in a shop instead of a music classroom.
Here’s what Jay has to say about his experience:
The apprentices are eager to learn how to work with wood and are fun to be with. Many times as we use the saw and planer I think of Dennis Brubaker and the former shop at EMS. I feel like I can barely stay ahead of the four as they run the tools. I’m more impressed with Dennis and his patience and ability to keep his sanity as he taught a classroom of students.
After all the delays, the sound of the saw running was music to my ears. Listen and watch here: The Tigmandru Woodshop YouTube post.
The first week (August 10-14) was a good one learning how to saw boards and plane them. The tools are very above average for here and I’m thankful for the financial help many of you have given to purchase them. As we got to the third day of work the jointer didn’t turn on. After an hour we discovered someone had pulled the plug from the wall by holding onto the chord – which disconnected the wire. Nothing is easy.
As for the projects, the boxes are a good start. Beyond the boxes we really don’t have anything specific except to make some kitchen cabinets for the Nazarene Church in Tigmandru. The problem is that I can’t find plywood. The three Home Depot type stores here in Romania only carry 1/4” ply. There is no ¾ – or 2 cm anywhere that I know of. I’ll keep looking. Wood is an issue here. If I have a supply of wood that I’m working with I need to have “stamped” documentation of where it came from … for every board. I’m working with English walnut, cherry, beech, and pine … all of which I picked up from a friend and have no papers. We’ll see how that works out.
In another six weeks we’ll be returning to the U.S. More training needs to happen before the woodshop can operate without Jay’s supervision. So what does that mean for our future? We continue to feel as though God has something for us to do with the people of Tigmandru. Please pray with us that we will know how to follow God’s leading as we finish this four-month stay and consider the future.