We’ve been back in Romania a month.  It felt like we were gone a very long time but the language and daily routines quickly returned.  Sheri is doing much better with the language than I am but I’m surviving.  We are back in our apartment close to the center of town where we have easy access to most things we need.

Firewood boxes

Here is a glimpse of the work in the woodshop over the last month.  We have begun slowly working on a walnut coffee table.  The table will be an ongoing project for the year and I’m looking forward to how it will look when finished.  Nelutu has orders for five wood boxes for firewood used in the wood stoves in Tigmandru.  That has been his project along with Attila.   Gaby and I worked on fixing pieces for two clients.  The variety of work projects has been good.

Telling that is the easy part, but we also needed …

  • to get a new (for us) jointer/planer paid for and delivered
  • to get the shop wired for 3-phase electric for the jointer/planer
  • to buy and transport 150 board feet of oak for our two kitchen projects

All of the above are intertwined and difficult to explain so maybe you can put it together as I tell each story.

We purchased a used 41 cm jointer/planer to replace our 26 cm one that has been less than accurate for us.  After standing in many lines in two different banks the money was transferred to our account and the tool was delivered Monday, Nov. 7. It was supposed to come in the afternoon.  The driver came at 11.  This is a 356 kg machine, 784 lbs.  No one was there to help unload since we are only there in the afternoon.  The delivery person called me … which was a very bad idea.  No English on his part and I could tell by his Romanian he wasn’t happy.  Moving ahead … he got three men to come and help unload and not having been there I can’t really tell the entire story.  I’ll just say a fight almost broke out and for sure there was heightened speech with words I know I’ve not heard here.  He did unload it … between the road and sidewalk.  That means it was about six feet from the road with major traffic going past.  And he left.

Getting creative to move a heavy tool into the shop.

I got to Tigmandru at 1 p.m. that afternoon and saw the tool sitting alongside the road.  Remember – it’s 784 lbs.  How do we move it from there another six feet to get it in through the gate, and then 25 yards into the shop?   Four workers – I knew one of them – were walking down the sidewalk.  We asked for help and they obliged.  NO PROBLEM!  Sorta.  We enlisted one more man so there were now eight people working and we could barely move it.  This picture gives you an idea of how, an hour later, it made it into the shop.  Their help was well worth the $6 I paid them – total.

Rough-cutting the hardwood

On Thursday that week we went to Cris – 20 minutes from town – where I get our hardwoods.  I can’t begin to describe the amount of wood my friend Urban has.  He is Swiss and has been in Romania about 20 years.  He has two forest areas where he cuts lumber.  His shop is fantastic.  I took the guys out to help with the wood.  We rented a truck and driver from Tigmandru to transport it.  The boards are 4m (13’) long and average a foot in width.  They are big and heavy.  I usually transport the wood on top of my car but this time it was impossible.  I asked Urban for papers that verified that he had sold me the wood.  I won’t go into why he wouldn’t give them to me but that is another story.  My fear was that if the truck got stopped by the police and we didn’t have papers they could take the wood AND the truck.  It’s a Romanian law to discourage pirating of wood – which is a big problem.  We made it back to the shop without getting stopped and continued working on the kitchen.

After numerous calls to our electrician and no promise of him coming to run the wire for our new tool he showed up on Friday afternoon.  Upon his arrival and after much conversation, Romanian style, it was discovered we didn’t have either the correct wire or the receptical for the power.  He and I went to a store in Chendu (2 km away) to purchase them and they actually had what we needed – almost.  Monday we’ll find out if what he did works.  The fun part for me was that we had a good conversation to and from the store … in Romanian with only a few words in English.

I could talk about a crow’s nest in our chimney, mold on the walls, wood that is unavailable or a variety of other things … but I will spare you.

Thanks to those of you who have contributed to the work of the shop.  Our future projects are two more kitchens, boxes for Mark the spoon man, entertainment shelving and a computer table.  If you are reading this and haven’t helped financially and would like to, we could use the help.  Contributions can be sent to Community Mennonite Church, 70 S. High Street, Harrisonburg VA 22802 with Romanian Woodshop in the memo line.

Thanks for you prayers and thoughts as we continue working in a wonderful part of our world!