Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Carpenter sees plenty of work to go around

?It?s a builder?s market?

Express Staff Writer

Reid Dowdle, of Hailey, is constructing a new home in Northridge. Express photo by Greg Stahl

When he’s not sawing boards and pounding nails, you might find Hailey carpenter Reid Dowdle climbing a lofty rock wall in the Sawtooth Mountains.

Dowdle, a lean and suntanned man, has been a local carpenter and builder for 24 years, including seven years at the helm of his own company called RD Construction.

“I do it all,” he said during a recent break at a Northridge home he is building. “In the winter, I do everything from fix squeaky doors to cabinets—kind of a service carpentry service.”

Dowdle said he finds carpentry rewarding because the work is immediately evident.

“It’s very direct. You build something and at the end of the day, you see what you’ve done,” he said. “It’s tangible.”

He also noted the seemingly constant upswing of available work in the Wood River Valley. In 24 years sowing the seeds of his trade here, there doesn’t seem to be a time when there is as much available work as now.

“It’s a builder’s market,” he said. “It’s just slowly going uphill and then plateaus. I don’t think it ever goes down. There are so many people here that need carpentry work. Just getting a hold of somebody (a tradesman) is tough. You could double the number of people coming in here, and there’d still be work for everybody.”

Because the work he does is predominately outdoors, the winter months are sometimes quite lean. But Dowdle said that if he is busy during summer months, January, February and March are a welcome break from the routine.

When it comes to landing jobs

, Dowdle said he lets his reputation and word-of-mouth advertise for him. So far, it has worked, and he has a number of repeat customers. He said he sometimes views himself as a “pet carpenter” for his repeat clients.

As he went back to work, Dowdle trotted up a flight of stairs and began climbing through the framed rafters of the as-yet unroofed home.

“Another great thing about this job is that it helps keep you in shape for climbing.”

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