how/why do you choose a project - Router Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Default how/why do you choose a project

In another thread Jerry Brown made an interesting comment that got me thinking.

Jerry stated <http://www.routerforums.com/tools-woodworking/47024-how-long-does-project-take-you.html>:
"While it is important to finish a project, the time it takes to do is not important unless the work and the the finishing of the project is associated with one's lively hood, and it that's the case then it's not a hobby."

First, Thank you Jerry for the comment, I agree with you but had not looked it the hobby I do with woodworking like this!

So my thinking about Jerry's comment got me to wondering, those of you who do woodworking as a "hobby" and not for a "living", what is it that attracts you to a given project, or what is it that would cause you to reject a project?

If you do woodworking for a living I don't mean to slight you and by all means speak up if you do pick and choose your projects/customers, I think others might be interested in how/why you do!

And as a side question, what types of projects do you just love working on?

Thanks in advance for your comments and insights!
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 12:19 PM
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As far as finishing a project (non-livelyhood related), priorities change. I have a partially finished banjo in the shop that's been sitting for several years. It dropped in priority. I do not depend on my shop for my bread and butter.

For projects, it's whatever interests me. For now, in the main, it is canes, wooden figure banks, piggy banks, and now walking staffs. I like doing them, they are useful, and I can make a $ or so when I look around for a buyer. I also have a kids puzzle rocking chair sitting waiting for me to come up with an arm design I like - started making those around 1995-6. I made a pair of lawn reindeer for my then dau-in-law, and found out I absolutely hate making them, even as simple as they are, and supposedly sell well, so when I remember to do it, the masters will go on craigslist.

I've made furniture, got a piece or two in mind - one-time things tho; don't especially like making furniture tho. Bottom line I guess, I just want to make things that take my fancy - got a design for a custom toilet paper holder worked up, now just need to make some.

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.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 12:24 PM
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other, $$$$.....

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 02:46 PM
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I choose projects that either fulfill a need or are interesting and fun. Things like built-in bookcases or a sewing table fulfill a need and are rewarding in the end, but aren't necessarily interesting. My fun projects generally are challenging, entertaining to make, and maybe entertaining to others when finished.

I don't like repetitious projects where you keep making the same thing over and over, so projects like pen making have no appeal. I recently made a simple automaton of a cat with moving tail and eyes from a great-niece's drawing. Her mother said I should make more and sell them. My reply pretty much expresses my philosophy on projects: If I make many of the same thing, they are a commodity. If I make only one, it's ART.

With the exception of some shop accessories and jigs, I don't like to work from plans made by others. The ideal project for me is something original, unique, and creative. Fortunately I find ideas for new projects just about everywhere.


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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 09:19 PM
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I choose mine by what my wife wants next.

Making sawdust & scraps all at the same time
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaffboat View Post
My reply pretty much expresses my philosophy on projects: If I make many of the same thing, they are a commodity. If I make only one, it's ART.

With the exception of some shop accessories and jigs, I don't like to work from plans made by others.
You pretty much nailed it Oliver. Yet there are some things I don't mind making more than one of - my canes and banks, but that's pretty much it.

Plans? Plans? Don' need no steenkin' plans. And the few times I do work with someone else's plans, it is the norm for me to make changes as I go along.

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Fawkahwe tribal police SWAT Team
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 08:48 AM
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Mostly the project picks me, they keep queing up at the gate saying ," fix me " " restain me " " build a better me" the buggers never shut up
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 09:04 AM
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David,
I am in agreement with everyone above, and here's my situation: I love to work with wood. My wife of 40 years + was raised-up having anything she wanted made from wood being made exactly as she wanted it by her Dad, who owned and ran hands-on a furniture manufacturing business. He died 3 years ago (this week), so now I am "her go-to guy". I am also the "go-to guy" for my three daughters and their families. Furniture and odd items that simply are unavailable in stores is when they call Dear Old Dad.

I am also an inventor and even though I currently own 3- businesses, I try to get-in as much wood-working time as possible. Tendril Consulting is my design and engineering business and I spend much of my time with that. There is very little wood-working needed for this venture, except that I use this business to encompass my (small business) of making abaci. These are repetitive, but I make numerous varieties with numerous hardwoods in a couple of differing sizes - so they are very rarely "brainless". I also teach classes on using the abacus, math, chemistry, physics, biology and botany. I also have another business where we're manufacturing several of my inventions (none of them have "hit the market" yet) and currently we're in the construction process of our new building. I do the woodworking in my shop, but the bulk of the work is made of metal and is done in our machine shop. I also have another business - which is simply my business in which I do technical support of the concrete formwork system that I invented. I train sales reps and do placement plans, details and shop cards.

Non-stop since 1961, I have maintained a private collection of reptiles. I've had two full-time positions working with reptiles and amphibians. I also worked as a volunteer to many law enforcement agencies as a "Dangerous Animal Specialist", which simply means I was called-in on animals which needed to be dealt with that are beyond the scope of what local animal control officers are allowed to work with (due to Worker's Compensation Regulations). I did this work for 15 years for no payment, except "first right of refusal" on any recovered "adoptable" animals. I also consult veterinarians on the subject of herpetological maintenance and medical care.
Having the collection of reptiles is, for me; an expensive endeavor. Where this gets-back to wood-working projects is such as what I am doing this week - building an exhibit cage for a lizard with the potential to grow to 7 feet in length. The lizard is a Sumatran Water Monitor - second largest lizard species in the world (Komodo Dragon gets larger).
There is a lot of wood-work involved in building such an exhibit cage! Many critical considerations must be considered and all must be met... Space and Ventilation. Temps and Servicability. Access to everything, yet very secure - a 70 pound lizard is super-strong and extremely intelligent! Waterproofing and Insulation. Ingress and Egress. Access to external controls that are hidden from public view. The interior will include an 11- foot tree (cut and positioned horizontally) because this lizard can climb as well as any squirrel. The will be a pond, with drainage, filtration and adjustable temperatures and lighting. The pond will be elevated, with a brick foundation - real brick - not that stick-on cheap stuff. The stucco on the interior walls will be painted by a mural artist whom I've used on numerous occasions. Lots of planning, lots of wood-working, lots of wood!

So, in summary; there are many reasons that I choose a project!

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Salty Dawg View Post
I choose mine by what my wife wants next.
That is exactly what I was going to say. :-)

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by OPG3 View Post
David,
I am in agreement with everyone above, and here's my situation: I love to work with wood. My wife of 40 years + was raised-up having anything she wanted made from wood being made exactly as she wanted it by her Dad, who owned and ran hands-on a furniture manufacturing business. He died 3 years ago (this week), so now I am "her go-to guy". I am also the "go-to guy" for my three daughters and their families. Furniture and odd items that simply are unavailable in stores is when they call Dear Old Dad.

I am also an inventor and even though I currently own 3- businesses, I try to get-in as much wood-working time as possible. Tendril Consulting is my design and engineering business and I spend much of my time with that. There is very little wood-working needed for this venture, except that I use this business to encompass my (small business) of making abaci. These are repetitive, but I make numerous varieties with numerous hardwoods in a couple of differing sizes - so they are very rarely "brainless". I also teach classes on using the abacus, math, chemistry, physics, biology and botany. I also have another business where we're manufacturing several of my inventions (none of them have "hit the market" yet) and currently we're in the construction process of our new building. I do the woodworking in my shop, but the bulk of the work is made of metal and is done in our machine shop. I also have another business - which is simply my business in which I do technical support of the concrete formwork system that I invented. I train sales reps and do placement plans, details and shop cards.

Non-stop since 1961, I have maintained a private collection of reptiles. I've had two full-time positions working with reptiles and amphibians. I also worked as a volunteer to many law enforcement agencies as a "Dangerous Animal Specialist", which simply means I was called-in on animals which needed to be dealt with that are beyond the scope of what local animal control officers are allowed to work with (due to Worker's Compensation Regulations). I did this work for 15 years for no payment, except "first right of refusal" on any recovered "adoptable" animals. I also consult veterinarians on the subject of herpetological maintenance and medical care.
Having the collection of reptiles is, for me; an expensive endeavor. Where this gets-back to wood-working projects is such as what I am doing this week - building an exhibit cage for a lizard with the potential to grow to 7 feet in length. The lizard is a Sumatran Water Monitor - second largest lizard species in the world (Komodo Dragon gets larger).
There is a lot of wood-work involved in building such an exhibit cage! Many critical considerations must be considered and all must be met... Space and Ventilation. Temps and Servicability. Access to everything, yet very secure - a 70 pound lizard is super-strong and extremely intelligent! Waterproofing and Insulation. Ingress and Egress. Access to external controls that are hidden from public view. The interior will include an 11- foot tree (cut and positioned horizontally) because this lizard can climb as well as any squirrel. The will be a pond, with drainage, filtration and adjustable temperatures and lighting. The pond will be elevated, with a brick foundation - real brick - not that stick-on cheap stuff. The stucco on the interior walls will be painted by a mural artist whom I've used on numerous occasions. Lots of planning, lots of wood-working, lots of wood!

So, in summary; there are many reasons that I choose a project!

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
Dang Otis, when do you find tine to go fishing? :-)

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
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