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      Carpentry: A Tough Job Getting Easier

      Carpenters have always worked hard and probably always will, but modern power tools and bulding materials have made the work a lot easier than when I was a kid. For example, back in the late 1950's when I worked on a framing crew one summer, there were none of the wonderful labor-saving cordless drills or screwdrivers with powerful batteries that we see today. Carrying, untangling, plugging in, unplugging and recovering extension cords for a power drill was a real pain in the neck, and driving wood screws with an old-fashioned screwdriver was usually a real wrist-breaker. Other labor savers have come about because of improved building materials such as the steel or aluminum studs which are often used nowadays instead of the heavy, twisted old pine two-by-fours that used to be the basic material for nearly all residential frameworks. Those metal studs are lighter to carry and faster to install. They don't have to be beaten into place or bent straight like wooden studs. However, probably the most exhausting task in my youth was driving nails with a hammer. Driving the tens of thousands of nails it takes to build a house used to take many long hours. In the old days, a really good carpenter using a hammer could drive only about four or five nails a minute, and average carpenters could only drive two or three per minute. Twenty-five or thirty thousand nails would usually take about 175 to 250 hours of work, or four to six work weeks. That was before the modern nail gun: "WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!" -- One nail per second! No bent nails! No mashed thumbs! That nail gun does far more than a month's work in far less than a week. Of course, it's true that today's carpenter still works hard, but the modern improvements in tools and equipment have made the job a whole lot easier than in the past.


      Outline

      Title: Carpentry: A Tough Job Getting Easier

      Topic Sentence: Modern tools and materials make carpentry easier than when I was a kid.

      Specific Support #1: battery-operated drills and screwdrivers
      Specific Support #2: light-weight aluminum or steel studs
      Specific Support #3: automatic nail guns

      Restated Topic Sentence: Modern improvements in tools and equipment have made carpentry easier.