Like Father, Like Son – Skilled Craftsmanship Runs in the Brindusesc Family

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Danil Brindusesc is the Sash and Door Foreman for Versatile Wood Products.

With a ready smile and friendly demeanor, Danil tells his story. A charming accent gives away his Eastern European origins. Born in Romania, Danil arrived in the United States in April of 1989 after a brief seven-month stay in Yugoslavia. A husband and father of seven children from the ages of 15 to 32, Danil is certainly a busy man. When asked what he enjoys doing for fun, Danil says, “My hobbies are working all the time, doing work at home,” as he pages through the large stacks of architectural drawings.

Brindusesc“I don’t like vacation. My wife doesn’t like it,” Danil says with a laugh. The concept of leisure time seems a foreign concept to Danil; in addition to working full-time at Versatile Wood Products, Danil is constantly busy with work and education, helping with projects around home, and pursuing the training needed to become a licensed electrician here in the US,  which was his previous vocation in Romania.

As he talks about working for Versatile, Danil explains, “Well, you know, this job is my life. I like working with wood. I have much experience because I have worked many years here. The shop is nice, the owner is nice, the people are nice.” Having worked at Versatile Wood Products for 28 years, Danil has the longest tenure of any employee. “My favorite thing is work. I like making windows, making doors. I like working with wood,” Danil says with enthusiasm.  As foreman, Danil spends many hours training new employees the techniques and methods used in the fabrication of Versatile Wood Products’ windows and doors, something he says he enjoys.

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As foreman and father, Danil is quite skilled at giving instructions.

One employee Danil has trained and knows quite well also happens to be his third eldest child, Eusebiu.

He is following his father’s footprints both literally and metaphorically as he walks carefully across the sawdust-covered floor of the workshop. Eusebiu Brindusesc, Lead Glazier and Carpenter II, has worked at Versatile since 2011 and is engaging and personable, much like his father.

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Eusebiu in front of the hundred-year-old stained glass window from First Baptist Church, which he has been restoring.

Eusebiu says working with his dad has had its ups and downs, as it would for any parent and child. He explains, “When I started it was more difficult. He calls me ‘son’ instead of by my name, so now everyone in the shop calls me ‘son’!” Eusebiu laughs with affection and just a hint of annoyance.

Asked about the project that he’s most proud of, Eusebiu immediately mentions the dovetailed wine bar Versatile Wood Products created for Revelry Vintners in Walla Walla, Washington. Operations Manager Erica Witbeck explained the complexity of this piece: “That project took an enormous amount of courage. [Versatile] had done the oversized glue-up for the sixteen-foot-long countertop and had taken it to a mostly finished state. Then the complicated dovetails had to be cut in by hand. There were no second chances with that enormous oak slab; one wrong cut and the whole thing may have been in ruins. Eusebiu did it without breaking a sweat. He’s amazing!”

 

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Detail of the dovetailing for Revelry Vintners’ wine bar.

Discussing what he loves to work on the most, Eusebiu says, “I love doing custom, unique pieces, like this stained glass.

These old historical windows — I love restoring those. That’s a huge part . . . it’s just working with old stuff. Those [windows] are over 100 years old. That glass is so fragile; it has its own personality.”

When restoring historic windows, including stained and leaded glass windows, Versatile uses both older and modern techniques, depending on what’s best for each project, and Versatile’s craftspeople, like Eusebiu, have the expertise needed to handle these delicate artifacts. In the article “The Preservation and Repair of Historic Stained and Leaded Glass” by Neal A. Vogel and Rolf Achilles, the authors discuss the importance of careful restoration work:

Extreme care must therefore be exercised, even in the most minor work. For this reason, virtually all repair or restoration work undertaken on stained and leaded glass must be done by professionals, whether the feature is a magnificent stained glass window or a clear, leaded glass storefront transom. Before undertaking any repair work, building owners or project managers should screen studios carefully, check references, inspect other projects, and require duplicate documentation of any work so that full records can be maintained . . . . The greatest and the most common threat to leaded glass is deterioration of the skeletal structure that holds the glass . . . . When frames fail, leaded glass sags and cracks due to insufficient bracing; it may even fall out from wind pressure or vibration. Wood sash are nearly always used for residential windows and are common in many institutional windows as well . . . Wood and glazing compounds decay over time from moisture and exposure to sunlight—with or without protective storm glazing—allowing glass to fall out.

 

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Eusebiu holds glazing compound used in the restoration of old windows.

Versatile’s work on various historic projects illustrates the ability of their craftspeople to handle such careful restoration work.

In the case of the stained glass window repair for the First Baptist Church in downtown Portland, Versatile recreated a red oak sash to match the original decayed version and glazed the original glass into the frame, carefully preserving this fragile stained glass window that is around 100 years old. Versatile can be entrusted to work with delicate originals, from antique stained glass to museum-worthy Setziol door slabs.

 

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Eusebiu demonstrates the glazing process.

The Brindusescs are certainly a valuable part of Verstatile’s crew of fine craftspeople. In their highly skilled hands, every project is treated with the utmost care and expertise.

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Danil doing what he loves most – working!

 

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