My name is Dave Osborne. I started working, with my father, during the summer holidays in 1960 at 15 years of age. The job was a bridge over the Fraser River, west of Williams Lake in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. This was my introduction to construction. My wage was 50 cents an hour—half the minimum wage of the time.
My next summer was spent in Richmond, BC, working with Dad laying out the Delta Airport Inn. It was just the two of us for a while. That's where I learned transit and level work. My wage that year was 75 cents per hour.
In the summers of '62 and '63, in Tungsten, Northwest Territories, I worked as a millwright's helper installing concentrator machinery and equipment for the mine. Dad installed all this equipment using a two-drum winch.
In '65, after spending two years at Hardin-Simmons University in Texas, I returned to Vancouver and construction where I worked as a framer on residential housing.
From September 28 to December 14, 1966, I worked at BC Molybdenum Mine outside the town of Alice Arm, BC. We were building concentrator and primary crusher buildings at the mine site.
From January 17 to March 23 in 1967, I worked on another bridge over the Fraser River at McBride, BC. That's where I became a journeyman carpenter.
From May 23 to October 16 of 1967, I worked at Granduc Mines at Stewart, BC building concentrator and power plant buildings. At the end of October, I drove to Texas and married Frances Simmons, who I met and fell in love with while attending HSU in Abilene.
In January '69, I worked again with the Bendixon brothers, framing houses. That's the year I got my first union job-away from Dad-with Dominion Construction. We were building the Bentall center in Vancouver.
Back to Granduc Mine at Stewart, BC working for Commonwealth Construction from May 18 to when the miners went on strike and shut us down on March 5. I stayed in Stewart, as my mobile home was there. The locals said I was the first guy to come to Stewart, a Northern town of about 300, to retire.
We started up again on July 15 and worked until November 10 when I took the rest of the year off.
Went back to work at Granduc, January 7 to April 10. This is the first time I worked underground. We were constructing bases for the primary crusher. A construction strike shut us down, so I went to work for the mine installing air doors and pouring water dams underground from May 19 to September 3, 1970.
September 11, I started work at Giant Mascot Mine outside of Hope, BC and finished on April 17, 1971. Then, started with Commercial Construction at a hospital in Hope-wood frame, which I quit to go to work at Gibraltar Mine outside of Williams Lake, BC, June 23 to March 29, 1972. While in Williams Lake, I worked with various companies building schools, a shopping mall (where I was foreman for inside finishing), commercial buildings, BC Hydro sub-stations and a base for the Loran C tower west of Williams Lake. Between union jobs, I framed houses including forming and pouring concrete foundations and installing shingles on roofs. I became interested in flying, so I took lessons and bought a 1960 single engine, four passenger Cessna 172 airplane.
May 2 in 1976, I worked up in Fort McMurray, Alberta, at the Canadian Syncrude site. I commuted every other week in my plane and explored interesting sites during the weekend I stayed in camp. I became foreman and moved the family there, before the winter weather set in. I worked on such jobs as forming a sewage treatment plant building and formwork at the hospital, which had suspended slabs from structural steel.
In 1978, I flew my family to Texas in our Cessna for a memorable holiday from July 3 to 28. Returning to Fort McMurray, I started up KDS Construction with my two partners, Kelly and Sebastion. We worked together until May 31, 1979.
On August 1 of 1979, I bought Cordova Bay Hardware Store, in Victoria, BC which I sold 10 years later on January 31, 1990. During that time, I became a locksmith and incorporated that skill with my hardware store.
After selling the store, I went back into contracting work-mainly renovations. I built my own house in Shawnigan Lake, BC, doing most of the work myself, including the electrical and plumbing. I had the carpets and linoleum laid, drywall installed and HRV installed. It took me 10 months to complete. We moved in before the kitchen cabinets were built, so that was my first priority. Frances washed the dishes in the upstairs bathtub. That was in 1992.
In 1997, in Duncan, BC I built a duplex, which we still own and rent out.
I retired in 2004 to devote more of my time to our website.
In 2010, Frances and I decided to spend more time on our retirement and sell our duplex in Duncan, BC, which we had built in 1997. The Real Estate mood in British Columbia was just coming down off a peak, so the time was right. We were happy to sell our Duplex, which we rented out and maintained, since we built it. We knew when building the duplex that this time would come, eventually. We knew we would never pay it off in our lifetime, or until we reached our eighties. The value in 2010 had appreciated enough to give us a comfortable retirement income, which was our plan from the beginning.
Dan and I still continue to own and operate this website.
I'm one of Dave's three younger brothers.
Our Dad was a genius in construction. He could practically do anything in wood, metal, concrete and plastic. He worked his way up from carpenter, to foreman, to superintendent, to project manager of gigantic projects, all with a grade 8 education. One of the many things he passed on to my brothers and me is a love of building.
As a computer programmer, webmaster and technical writer, I build websites and web applications. When Dave told me his idea of this site in 1999 I jumped at the chance of building it with him and we got to work immediately. Dave's the construction expert. He writes the articles and creates the plans. I'm the webmaster who builds the site, makes the calculators and convertors, maintains the site and gives tech support.
I can swing a hammer, but that's about it. Dave writes his articles so I can understand them, which means his articles and plans are understandable to pretty much anyone.
I'm enjoying building this website. I hope it is useful to you. If you can think of anything we can add to the site that might help you, please let us know!
Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.
Membership gives you full access to our hundreds of how-to articles, woodworking plans, converters, calculators and tables. Our Stair Calculator is one of the most popular on the internet. We have projects you can build for (and with) your kids, furniture for your wife, and sheds and gazebos. If you run into a problem or need advice your Membership includes unlimited email questions to me through our Ask Dave quick response button.