Charles Lantz grew up in Blockhouse, down the road from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. His earliest building memories were as a young boy helping Beecher Spidle raise a roof over the family's back doorstep.
"Charles," said Beecher, himself a fine builder with an excellent reputation, "you're pretty good for a young boy."
"Beecher taught me," says Charles, "every time you turn around, do something."
Learn from the best
Several years later, the young man felt he wanted to learn something. He correctly believed Nova Pine, which employed Beecher, was the place to start. "It was a good atmosphere to learn from craftsmen," he says. And learn is precisely what Charles Lantz did, "the easiest, the fastest and the best way."
Today, Beecher says Charles "does excellent work, lovely work. I can't say anything but good about him."
What Charles Lantz may lack in a formal education, he more than makes up in experience. He credits several skilled tradesmen for his invaluable on-the-job mastering of his chosen trade: Beecher and his brother Duncan, as well as Garnet Oickle, Harry Robar and Knud Carlsen.
Charles stayed at Nova Pine three or four years, learning much about plastic lamination while building office desks and bank counters. Doing so from the "bottom up" was the way to go. "It was no problem," he says, "no big deal."
At H.W. Brady's, he learned the principles of laying out. "How important it is to do it properly. Being able to visualize the project before we started to build it." Without a proper layout, the builder - and homeowner - are heading for trouble. "Nothing fits," he counts down some possible disasters. "The sinks don't line up ... you could end up with cabinets that can't get through the doorway."
Laying down people skills
As Brady's manager, Charles Lantz honed his people skills too. The-then 27 year old managed a team of 19 builders.
He stayed with Knud Carlsen Manufacturing for several years, as manager during the last couple.
Next, he joined John Ross, where he remained a good 10-plus years. "I did all his custom, cabinetry work. At the start of the project, we'd talk a few minutes and then I wouldn't see him."
Sharing the credit
Charles Lantz Cabinetry was in the national magazine House and Home twice in four months. He is quick to share the credit. "I'm as good as the people I have working with me. They're a good crew of people, team players." He has four builders, two assistants and an expert in finishing.
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