Meme -- a carpenter extraordinaire

Refurbished sole on s/v Distant Drummer
Refurbished sole on s/v Distant Drummer
By Frank Minelli
s/v Distant Drummer

I first ran into  Manuel  (nickname is Meme) last year, he swung by the boat and asked me if I had any work for a carpenter.

I said, yes, for a very fine, super- skilled man, I do have some work to be done. "Are you really top-notch"?  

He looked me in the eye and said, "Why don’t you let me do a small job to begin with? If you like the work I do, let me have some more.  If you are not satisfied, I will go away with no pay for what I did.”

Manuel (Meme) - skilled carpentry
Manuel (Meme) - skilled carpentry

Well, that sounded like someone sure of himself.  I had him make me two new washboards for the companionway.  The job was swiftly done the following week, and the cost was very reasonable.  Not cheap, but way below what I would have spent stateside.

I next had him fabricate and install four new  interior hatch frames.  A much more intricate job.  He completed it just as swiftly, with extremely close tolerances, and again at reasonable cost.

Well, Manuel had passed the testing stage with flying colors.

The sole of our boat, almost 30 years old,  was in real need of  refurbishing.

That included stripping of the old epoxy coating,, filling of gouges, repairing of corners,  renewing a few boards completely, filling some gaps that had opened up   over the years, by adding a bit of wood to a board, here and a strip there, and combatting the "creakiness" that had become so  prevalent in our sole.


Hatch trim
Hatch trim
Then the entire sole  was to get three coats of high gloss epoxy.

I gave him the keys to the boat, explained the  electrical panel to him, showed him the fire extinguisher, and then we left for  Texas and Georgia to spend some time with the kids. 

The price was agreed at Q8000.00 as a minimum.  I further agreed to an extra Q1000 if  the new expoxy job was excellent. 


And I agreed to another Q1000.00 if he did a fine job with filling of gaps between boards and if he got rid of the creaking.

He  agreed to be done in 30 days.

Well, we got back the end of January and  I paid him 11 thousand., or maybe about $1500.

I was very happy with the results, and this is one  man I trust 100%. 

The same job in the states?  I reckon I would have been lucky to get it done for 5 grand!

Contact Meme at 5758 5954. (He's the husband of Sandra and brother of Tere, both of whom work at Bruno's).