Another amazing nine days of full-throttle historic parquet handcrafted restoration and original panels remaking is over. The Workcamp Parquet project is an original idea by wood floor master René Caran from the Czech Republic. It consists of a gathering of some of the best parquet masters in the world who come together as one and restore an amazing piece of parquet. Each year a different country is chosen to host one of the most incredible wood/parquet floor meetings in the industry.
So far Workcamp Parquet has been in the Czech Republic, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, Domotex trade fair, Belgium and, this year, in Hungary. And that’s the reason for this piece, the Hungary project that we just finished and I’m sure created memories for everyone involved.
From Sept. 1–9, 2023, once again, some of the best parquet craftsmen/craftswomen from all the four corners of the world came together to bring back to life a piece of history. This one was probably one of the most difficult ones yet since, although we actually had more time then in previous years, the project itself was really intricate. Not only did we have to deal with a historic restoration of approximately 1,300 square feet of detailed handcrafted restoration followed by the total hand-scraping of the entire area, we also had to remake approximately 450 square feet of panels for one of the chambers. This was difficult since each one of us had been given panels to execute and therefore, as you all know, with so many different hands doing the same work, it tends to be tricky when the actual laying occurs. Nevertheless, in the end, we were all super happy with the end result, and the bishop himself was delighted with the end result. I can honestly say that the bishop's words will probably be engraved in my mind for as long as I live. To be able to participate in a historical reconstruction/restoration of something that was destroyed during World War II, quite frankly, is probably one of the coolest and honorable things both me and Susy ever have done in our careers. Just imagine turning something with such a negative imprinted memory into something that was reborn, beautiful and that we all know will last for generations to come.
We will also have something to remember for years to come and, hopefully, many many years from now, laying on our deathbeds, we shall face the end of our personal history knowing that sometime in the years to come, there will be someone lifting up that floor and finding the time capsule we all left behind. God knows when, but someone will talk about us, all of us, who participated in this project. Our personal history will then come full circle with another human being's personal history and, somehow, we shall all be one with the already amazingly long history of this parquet floor, its history and its beauty.
This is what this industry can give us: the ability to leave behind some kind of legacy. After all, 200 years from now or more, nobody will know what car we were driving in 2023, what kind of house we were living in, what kind of struggles we were facing and, more important than everything else, nobody will know if we were rich men or women, and, I guess, nobody will care, either. But they will care for history, they will care for the craftsmanship, they will care for the hands that made something beautiful, all hands, from an entire range of individual people, that come from the most various countries in the world, together, AS ONE, with no egos, no bad feelings, no bad thoughts, no bad karma. We all, as always, just come together to share our true passion about wood floors. And boy do we share.
As I have said since my first Workcamp in Arcen, Netherlands, back in 2018, I learn more in seven days with all my fellow floor brothers than working by myself for an entire year. And the great thing about it is that you always have the feeling that, as small as your contribution may seem, they are also learning with you. Sometimes, the best feeling on earth is not knowing that your brothers have your back, but instead to know that you have your brother’s back and that the bond is strong and just getting stronger as the years pass by.
With this article, I’m trying to transmit the human side of Workcamp as well as the environment we have been blessed to live in the past five years of our careers. I could go on and on about the work itself, but nothing I could write would come as a surprise since many of you reading these lines already followed our day by day on social media. However, I feel that this most personal and intimate side of Workcamp is something that you can’t follow on social media. It’s something you have to feel, and I hope I was able to transmit the feeling and joy that we have when participating in such an amazing event.
René Caran and Michaela really pulled a rabbit out of the hat with this one, and we just hope that this event, this gathering of unbelievable talent, may occur for many many years to come.
For all of you reading this, please follow the Workcamp Parquet on Facebook and Instagram or at www.workcamp-parquet.cz. The entry forms for next year's Project in Spain will be surely available in the upcoming months. Both me and Susy will surely continue to be a part of this amazing family that just keeps on giving year by year.
I wish you all farewell and from my heart, I hope we can have a few more American brothers in this event. I have no doubt that some of you would fit like a glove. You certainly would feel at home with all the other wood floor “geeks.”