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Discussion Starter #1
I've had the CNC almost 2 months, so it's time to show what I've been up to. To date I've done 4 main projects:

1. Juice grooves for my cutting boards (OF COURSE)
2. Word Blocks, my first formal foray into home decor
3. A new meat carving board. It's 2 sided, with a large juice groove & work surface for beef & pork carving on one side. On the other, there's a huge, ribbed depression to hold your fowl while carving, plus a giant juice groove to hold 2 cups of liquid.
4. Cutting out my shaped boards (pigs & bears so far!)

Haven't touched my v-carve bits yet. Haven't done the bowls that *I thought* would be the first thing I would do for holiday boutiques. I'm yet to do the 3D carving I want to do ... but I just haven't had time. And that means the needed shop renovation & cabinetry to hold everything is a distant goal on the worklist.

I did rent a storage space. Haven't had a wood cascade in weeks, thank goodness.

So many projects in my head ... and so little time in the shop. Well, that's not exactly true. But time that I have to create in the shop, versus time to feed the beast that my little business wants to become, that's the rub.
 

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But are you having fun, Henry? Sure looks like it!!
 
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Nothing wrong with simple projects to keep the shop busy. Higher satisfaction/time ratio usually. Thanks for the photos. All your work looks great to me.

4D
 

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Is this your 1st machine? You appear to have some experience or are you just a talented new user? How about some pictures of your machine and your shop. Inquiring minds want to know.......
 

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Very nice work, Henry! I like the block letter signs; is that your design? If so, is it ok if I borrow that for a small family project? I like them all, matter of fact.

David
Yes, my design. Please have fun with it! I'm using 6/4 cherry stock (and a later batch to be painted was 2x6 Redwood). Perpetua font. 1/2" depth of cut. 3/8" EM to remove waste, and a 1/4" BN to finish the edges of the letters. I've gotten a bit of breakage on the serifs during carving, but not too bad - worse with the Redwood, of course. Pieces are 4" high and 10" long to 20" long, and usually take about 30 minutes to cut.

Adjusting the kerning in the fonts made the signs more workable, and helped minimize machine time. I made 32 words, and offer to make your words with an order form in the booth. After playing with pricing in my head (by the letter? by the inch?), I settled on $35 for 1 word, $60/2 and $75/3. First sale was a custom order for a granddaughter's name; I sold about a half dozen in my first week.

Top seller = WINE. Just saying.
 

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Is this your 1st machine? You appear to have some experience or are you just a talented new user? How about some pictures of your machine and your shop. Inquiring minds want to know.......
First CNC. Talent? HA. I just like making sawdust.

Now, I can push the button & have the CNC making sawdust while I'm at the bench or TS doing the same thing. Now, prodigious amounts of sawdust are possible.

I will do another photo array of the shop; I had hoped to get new cabinetry built as I "digest" the CNC placement, but at this point I can only hope I get to that in the first quarter. For a look at the "before" chaos in my shop, here's my blog post of shame: That's No Garage, That's My Shop.
 

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That's a pretty jam packed shop. You must be really skinny since there's not much room in there to move around. You have a lot of parallel clamps, and with all the glue ups, I can see why. Quite organized.
 

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David
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Yes, my design. Please have fun with it! I'm using 6/4 cherry stock (and a later batch to be painted was 2x6 Redwood). Perpetua font. 1/2" depth of cut. 3/8" EM to remove waste, and a 1/4" BN to finish the edges of the letters. I've gotten a bit of breakage on the serifs during carving, but not too bad - worse with the Redwood, of course. Pieces are 4" high and 10" long to 20" long, and usually take about 30 minutes to cut.

Adjusting the kerning in the fonts made the signs more workable, and helped minimize machine time. I made 32 words, and offer to make your words with an order form in the booth. After playing with pricing in my head (by the letter? by the inch?), I settled on $35 for 1 word, $60/2 and $75/3. First sale was a custom order for a granddaughter's name; I sold about a half dozen in my first week.

Top seller = WINE. Just saying.
Thanks, Henry! I may just play with this over the Thanksgiving week. How many shows do you work each year? Are they all local to you? Are you doing Etsy? Sorry for all the questions but we're trying to decide if local shows would benefit us for the things we make. I hope to have our Etsy shop open soon, though.

David
 

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David and Henry,

Just my experiences -- worth the paper that's used here.

Etsy takes some time. You have to get a few positive reviews and be there for a while. This second year is better than the first. The orders won't come flooding in since there are literally thousands, if not millions, of vendors on it. You have to have something stand out. I do more of these carved Polish Eagles than anything, followed by the Camping and Shop signs. Most all are custom (same carving - different name). Aspire lets me vary the sizes with a mouse movement. Putting a two week or so lead time for custom orders lets you have a little breathing room, and customers are ecstatic when their order ships early. A few orders a week keeps me busy but not overwhelmed.

Custommade.com and Ebay have been a complete waste of time.

We do two to four craft shows a year. There are those who do them basically every week end, but have a lot of losers after expenses. We select only the high traffic and specific themed ones, like the Polish and Italian festivals (we have a lot of those nationalities here). The biker themes are good too. There's a couple huge holiday craft shows at the bigger high schools that can be quite lucrative if you have the right product line, that happens to be popular that year. Also helps when they serve alcohol at these events - people will loosen up and have a drink in one hand and their credit card in another. Being able to take credit cards is a must! We space them out so as to not be too busy all in one time frame. We also have business cards and a double sided printed handout. Residual business comes from that. Traffic, booth rental, and distance traveled are important.

But you also have to remember that this is basically a retirement thing for me. I don't want to be backed up with orders and have deadlines. Darn shame the holiday season is the same time as hunting season. Wonder who I have to talk to to change the holiday season. During Xmas, I'll run my machine up to 20+ hours a day for 2-3 weeks, but then it dies right after the first of the year, and I can start making things for the summer craft shows and festivals and take it a little easy thru the winter.

We also have a booth at the local Craft and Antique Mall. There's more Antiques (junk) there than crafts so when our lease is up, we'll pull out.

You just got to try different things and run with what works for you. It usually takes a little time. I never thought carved Polish Eagles would be in my future, but they took off, so I make them. Doesn't conform to Dr T's business plan, but I don't want to start another company, and have employees, rent, vehicles, and all the other stuff involved. Did that once. No more. But I could handle another machine if things keep going as they have been, AND the accounting dept. approves. She's tough!!

Just my thoughts.

You can have your thread back now Henry -- didn't mean to barge in like that.
 

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Nice work Henry... I also like the word blocks, very cool.
 

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Thanks, Henry! I may just play with this over the Thanksgiving week. How many shows do you work each year? Are they all local to you? Are you doing Etsy? Sorry for all the questions but we're trying to decide if local shows would benefit us for the things we make. I hope to have our Etsy shop open soon, though.

David
I don't do Etsy; I don't do any online "click to buy" sales. For me, the wood is more important than anything. The woodworkers I see selling stuff online are almost always using descriptions like "made of hardwood." I simply can't do that. I think every piece of wood is different, and even when the same design is used, wood grain always ensures that different boards are ... different.

What that means is, for me, if I offer a board for sale online, then I have to put it on a shelf until it sells (or control my inventory tightly, so if it sells at an event, I can take it offline almost immediately.). I don't want to do either option, so I don't do online direct sales. People do email me with what they want, and we *discuss* it, and then agree on what they'll buy. Pictures are involved at that point. Lots of custom orders happen, and I'm usually pretty good at making deadlines (this year, during the 4th quarter, not so much. But, that's a story for another day).

My wife makes handmade soaps & lotions ... together, we do about 25 events each year. I may do 5 solo each year. In 2016, our average event had sales of $1,991. We are serious about our totally out of control hobby.

HonestJohn, I agree with your thoughts as well. We have found that we can be profitable with our events, and further that we can have a bit of "fun" working our butts off doing these craft fairs on the weekends. 5am alarm clocks. Meeting the great unwashed public. Yup, it's fun. That's why we do it.
 

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I'm with you on each piece of wood being different, distinctive, has its own unique character. Most of my descriptions say unsteamed Black Walnut, Hard Rock Maple, Black Cherry, Curly Maple, etc. I'll even include 'highly figured' if a piece is truly unique and has more figure than a straight grained piece of wood. I don't think I have the generic word 'hardwood' in any of our descriptions but I probably need to include it in the tags so our things will show in a search. But since our Etsy shop isn't open yet we'll just have to see how it all goes. Thanks, Henry!

David
 
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