Home News When passion lights up the stubs: “If you like a job, sooner or later you break it down”

When passion lights up the stubs: “If you like a job, sooner or later you break it down”

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CENCENIGHE. The heat released by the stubi is a heat that spreads evenly in the environment, which lasts and does not need a lot of wood to be produced. If men were able to find the stube within themselves they would also have found the secret to living well. For information on both real and metaphorical artifacts, you can contact Roberto Dai Prà, 40, a native of Listolade, but resident in Cencenighe with his wife and two six and four year old daughters. «In the valley», he begins, «I am the youngest builder of storage stoves, what we generally call stubi. I am one of the few craftsmen left to do a niche job that nevertheless has many requests ».

Warming up in the mountains has always been one of the necessities to cope with long winters. And there are many old houses that still allow you to see a structure (the fornél) that has marked the history of many generations. Giving continuity to this culture and the knowledge that underlies it is a task that Roberto feels in some way his own even if a little concern for the future can be glimpsed in his eyes and in his words. «I am 40 years old», he says, «at this age we are in full cognitive and physical power and we can do another ten years at the most. There are many people who know how to work, the problem is that behind us there are twenty years of emptiness in the field of craftsmanship. There are no guys who come to ask you to work with you during the summer ».

Twenty years ago he had finished the technical institute with a mechanical address in Belluno. In the previous summers he had worked at the Parissenti factory in Agordo and at the Ben furniture factory in Taibon. «Based on my studies», he says, «after graduation I had two possibilities: either I stayed here or I always went to the factory in Valbelluna as an operator on the machines. I went to Parissenti’s for five months: I was on a machine and, after setting the controls, I waited twenty minutes for the operation to finish ». Puffs and then continues. “In the meantime, the furniture factory Ben called me and I accepted their proposal: I had the feeling that I could learn a trade”.

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A somewhat outdated phrase, the one used by Roberto. “Learning the trade” is often heard by the elderly who tell about their life, focusing on the important phase in which they filled the toolbox that they then carried with them forever. It’s a little different today. Not that you don’t acquire professional skills, but perhaps you learn a job rather than a trade. “I liked making custom-made furniture, from the design to the realization of the artifacts”, he explains referring to the six and a half years spent in Taibon, “to see the finished stuff that was a unique piece for that one customer and to think that that piece would have been a durable good “.

That job allowed him to “phase fòra” (that is to make livable) the attic and also the tavern in Campo di Cencenighe where, now, he is telling his story, but it has not become his. “While I was walking around the clients’ houses,” he says, “it happened to meto come across the “fornéi” and the stubi and I was fascinated by them: I was intrigued by the fact that those who built them were half artists who kept secrets. I was wondering if it was so difficult to learn how to do them. I was also tickled by the idea of ​​being autonomous and needing little equipment ».

The fact is that Roberto meets a manufacturer of stubes and asks him to be able to follow him. He hesitates: he fears that the young man will leave his place and pay fixed. After the insistence, however, he accepts. «I resigned from a place where I was fine», says Roberto, «but that I couldn’t see as the one in which I would arrive at the pension. At 28 it seemed to me that my future was already mapped out. It wasn’t a money problem. ‘

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After a year and a half of apprenticeship, in 2010 Roberto opened the VAT number. Today his Alpin Stufe (which he runs with the collaboration of his wife), in addition to building storage stoves and fireplaces, sells small stoves and economic kitchens and restores fireplaces. «The craftsman who brought me with him», he says, «explained everything to me, he had no interest in keeping secrets for himself. He was happy to pass on his wealth of knowledge gained over many years of work to me. I went into construction sites and stole with the eye. I wanted to arrive. And I am convinced that if we like something, it may even have a thousand secrets, but sooner or later we can get it ».

Today Roberto remembers his first creation (a custom-made economic kitchen with fornél and oven in a second home), “but don’t ask me for the second one because I’ve forgotten it”. From 2010 onwards the work has never failed and ended up one down with another. «Here», he acknowledges, «the luck of having met people who have trusted me comes into play. Of course, then you must also earn it by being correct in terms of timing, prices, respecting the environments in which you enter ».

He acknowledges that his website isn’t that great, but word of mouth is obviously more effective. When he arrives at a house, the stubi builder reads the situation. «You need to know how to size the artifact by seeing how big the space is and where it can be placed. You listen to the customers and then you design. Until the 1990s, builders made a mark on the ground with their heels. Today there are computer programs in which you enter all the measurements and they make the necessary calculations for you. It is also necessary to know how to draw in 3D to complete the project that will then be submitted to customers. If there is the approval, we start by creating a base and then climbing the walls a little at a time, paying attention to where to position the doors and in the meantime proceeding with the snake where the hot air will pass ».

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Roberto likes this job because, in addition to stimulating him every day to find the right solutions for the clients’ wishes, it gives him the freedom to be master in the organization of his time. From his observatory he hopes that the young Agordini can, like him, light up and warm themselves with the warmth of passions. “The limit of this territory “, he says,” is well-being. There is great economic wealth, but also intellectual poverty. There are learned minds, but they are often dull. I believe that not having everything immediately stimulates the will to do. And instead I see that our children do dance, football, skiing and more from the age of five and up and when they reach 15 they have already seen and experienced everything. Unfortunately, we are losing a lot in terms of past knowledge and practices: we don’t cut wood and buy wood that comes from Slovenia, we admire the mown meadows of South Tyrol or Austria, but we don’t saw the weeds close to home, let’s go to the shopping centers of the plain and then we complain if the grocery store close to home closes ».

«We live in a splendid place», he concludes, «we have the sea at just an hour and a half, Belluno at forty minutes and the forest at five. We lack a little awareness of our resources and a spirit of collaboration “


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