Newsletter of the Finger Lakes Chapter, ACBS

Volume 17, Issue 4 Newsletter of the Finger Lakes Chapter, ACBS December 2007

UPDATED December 25th 2007 page 9


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Spotlight on an FLC Family

In this issue of Brightwork we spotlight the Skeval family of Fabius, NY. Brian & Sandra have two daughters, Sarah & Elizabeth, two sons, Nicholas & Peter and a fifth (tie-breaker), a boy, arrived in October. Brian operates Skeval Bros. Woodworking while Sandra is a practicing pediatrician with offices in the Syracuse area.

Before Brian & Sandra were married, Brian traveled to different places along the east coast providing high-end custom cabinetry to various clients. Later, Brian and his brother Dave opened the Skeval Bros. Woodworking Shop in Lafayette, NY which allowed Brian to stay close to home and family. At first, the two brothers would take on just about any kind of work that came through the door; but as their reputation for quality craftsmanship grew, Brian was able to pick and choose which jobs made the most sense to take on. Today Brian deals exclusively with a handful of clients from out of town with whom he has developed a long term relationship over the years. Blueprints for new projects are sent directly to Brian's shop where they are turned into finished products that are shipped to the customer.

Brian says that his interest in old boats came about quite naturally as he has always had a fondness for antiques in general and woodworking in particular. The Skeval's "fleet" of boats includes a 1940 Chris-Craft 15 �-ft. Deluxe Runabout, a 1941 Comet sailboat, a 1951 Chris-Craft 22-ft. Sedan and a 1958 Wagemaker outboard. Presently, each of these boats is in need of some form of repair in order to be seaworthy, and just as soon as time will allow, Brian will get to them one at a time. His plan is to start with the 15 �-ft. Chris-Craft which will serve as the "practice boat" allowing him time to get acquainted with the techniques and materials that are unique to wood boats. He wants to be comfortable with the whole process before he gets started on the flagship of the fleet, the 22-ft. Sedan.

Brian is making plans to construct a new, larger pole barn that will accommodate his business and have room left over for working on boats. If the quality of his cabinet work is any indication, we can look forward to seeing the Skeval family out for rides in some fine-looking boats.

Thanks to Brian and Sandra Skeval for putting this article together, even with five little Skevals looking for their parents' attention. -Ed

In Praise of Objects That Need Care

Condensed from a New York Times article by August Heckscher

"Maintenance Free" - that is the advantage cited for many of today's products. Not to have to repair, refurbish, repaint or keep-up is considered a supreme virtue. But I am not so sure.

Last year I sold a treasured old wooden boat in order to buy a new one made of fiberglass. My friends congratulated me on doing a wise thing, but I began to wonder as spring came around.

When that earlier boat emerged from winter quarters, her brightwork gleaming and her old wooden sides aglow with fresh paint, I would be carried away with joy at the sight. The pleasure was not repeated when I took over my little fiberglass vixen, her face fixed in a rigid, unchanging smile.

The point is, I really enjoy the extravagance of upkeep. It is certainly more rewarding than buying something new, or possessing something theoretically impervious to wear and tear.

We, ourselves, change as the years pass. The objects around us should change also - gracefully, as we would like to do, the encrustation of age smoothed over and the weakness inconspicuously redressed. Things that don't, suddenly stop working and become useless.

Acknowledge the pleasure of maintenance and all sorts of secondary rewards open up. Not enough has been said about the kind of people in the trades of refurbishing and repair, for instance. They tend to be old and wonderfully articulate. As I go forth with a chipped platter or ailing clock, I am likely to find myself face to face with an understanding human being, who knows what the trouble is. And the job is accomplished - along with many salutary remarks on the state of the world.

It is all very well to create, and to recycle, but nothing excels being able to keep the original object, aging but not forsaken.

August Heckscher was a writer, arts consultant, social commentator, and journalist who lived from 1913 to 1997. From 1946 to 1948, he was editor of the Citizen Advertiser (now the Citizen), Auburn, New York's daily newspaper. The above appeared in the New York Times circa 2000. -Ed.