Master of none

He must know what he’s doing, he has tools and a hard hat, no? Postmedia Network.

When you stop to consider how many Jacks there are in this world, it’s overwhelming.

You’ve got your quick and nimble Jack, whose co-ordination and speed were arguably never really challenged by simply jumping over a candlestick. Regardless, the task demonstrated some courage.

You’ve got the Jack who befriended Jill, Jack Sprat, Jack and the beanstalk, and the always ready for a party, Jack in the box.

A lot of Jacks for sure. So, if you’re a homeowner looking to have a number of renovations performed on your home, renovations that will include a variety of electrical, plumbing, and drywall repair, as well as some finished carpentry and detailed ceramic tile work, which Jack are you going to call?

A simple question, which fortunately has just as simple an answer. If you need plumbing performed on your home, you call Jack the plumber. If there’s a switch to be moved, or you require a few recessed lights in your kitchen, you call Jack the electrician. Drywall? Jack the drywaller. Ceramic tile needed in the bathroom? Jack the ceramic tile guy is the person for the job.

Essentially, there’s far less chance of disappointment when the task of connecting the pipe from bathtub A, to the air stack located in the adjoining wall of bedrooms X and Y, is performed by a Jack, or Jill (because there are a lot of very qualified ladies out there as well) whose profession and expertise involves doing only that.

The most dangerous Jack you can hire to renovate your home is the ‘Jack of all trades’. Jacks of all trades are enticing because they know how to do most things pretty well. As a result, they offer one-stop shopping to the person paying for the renovation. They also carry an air of confidence, due to their ingenuity, which gives the homeowner further peace of mind. Plus, the Jack of all trades will save you time and money, he or she figures, by liberating you from having to pay the going rate of registered tradespersons, while avoiding you the hassle of needing to co-ordinate the various timetables of these trades. And, for the grand finale, deal sealing piece de resistance, the Jack of all trades will comfort you with the fact all of his services will be provided without permits, quashing certain property tax increases, and eliminating any potential delays caused by those pain in the butt inspectors who have nothing better to do than scrutinize his or her work, causing further delays should something not be done to their satisfaction.

So, with one cheque to sign at the end of every week, why wouldn’t you hire such a Jack or Jill? Because, if there’s one ideal that holds true, whether it be in the world of business, sports, the trades, and/or any profession, it is that practice makes for perfect. Essentially, Jacks of all trades are unpracticed. An unpracticed Jack is a dangerous sort of animal because once out of their element, they’ll improvise. When the fan belt on your car breaks and it’s 2 a.m. on some dark, country road, you remove your tie, socks, or use whatever string or rope matter is available, and you improvise. When the copper water line leading into your home cracks just below the shut-off valve, and with a plumber hours away, you grab the roll of hockey tape out of your equipment bag, and you improvise. Otherwise, improvising isn’t a good thing.

The problem with Jacks of all trades is that improvising is their specialty, and the only thing they’re really practiced at. So, your improvised hot water tank, or shower door, or floor joist system, will likely function, but for how long? If you happen to stop by a new home under construction, you’ll notice two things. The first will be the permit on the wall, along with an anthill of co-ordinated, licensed tradesperson activity. That’s how to build, and that’s how to renovate.

As published by the Standard-Freeholder
Handyman's Hints Standard-Freeholder Cornwall Ontario by Chris Emard

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