Woodworking as your job??? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Default Woodworking as your job???

I guess I have to much time. I was wondering who would like woodworking as a job and who would keep it as a hobby.

For me I want to keep it as a hobby. For one thing I am not good enough to make a job out of it. Another thing is making it work would take the enjoyment out of it for me.

What about you???
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 10:39 AM
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You pretty much summed it up Don. In a similar thread a couple of years ago most of us admitted that we don't often make the same thing twice, or want to for that matter and if you are in it for the money you should plan on making many copies of something because you can make speed on reproductions and you already have the jigs for it. A friend of mine built a pretty good reputation as a cabinet maker and he told me one day that he was getting to the point where he couldn't stand to look at another box, because that's basically all they are. I think he's doing custom interiors for high end motor homes now.
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Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 10:47 AM
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My brain works well enough to use it to make a living doing consulting. Much easier work than carpentry or woodworking. And I'm an old guy, so I couldn't keep up with the young guys. Woodworking for me is all about making something physical that I can see, touch and use. In consulting, you don't produce the outcome, the client does, so success is a little abstract. Put me down for hobby.

The more I do, the less I accomplish.
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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 10:50 AM
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I ran into the same question a long time ago...but with flyfishing...

I love flyfishing so much I thought it would be a hoot to open a flyfishing shop somewhere on the Delaware or close by...

Coincidentally, the Orvis shop owner in Roscoe, NY was retiring and was selling the shop...WOW, I thought, what timing...

...and then I found out most of the business came from gifts, clothes and mail order...THAT's NOT FLYFISHING, I decided...

I still fish, tie my own flies, enjoy the heck out of it, don't own a fly shop...

...won't go through that thinking again...


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TEACH HIM HOW TO FISH and you feed him for his life time.
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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by hawkeye10 View Post
. Another thing is making it work would take the enjoyment out of it for me.

What about you???
that was my job for decades...
burned me out...
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If only new layers hadn't been added....

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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by hawkeye10 View Post

For one thing I am not good enough to make a job out of it. Another thing is making it work would take the enjoyment out of it for me.

What about you???
trust me, you're good enough to make money on it!

Many moons ago I made items for craft fairs. The fun quickly went out of the hobby dealing with customers who had unreasonable expectations of what things cost to make, let alone what they are worth. A couple of bad shows later where I didn't even break even soured me on working for others. A while later I was asked if I could make a custom speaker cabinet for someone. The challenge of designing a cabinet to fit a certain spot, and meet the speaker driver's requirements for volume, sound tube, etc was fun, and led to a couple of years of speaker making. This paid for A LOT of tools in my shop, but got boring quickly. The biggest mistake I made was charging too little... and since the customers were friends of the friend that I did the first ones for, they all new my prices. Once the 'fun' went out of it, I stopped making speakers.

I think that sometimes I worry too much that my projects aren't perfect when I take money for them. I know that some of my customers are still happy 25 years later with my items, but what if they aren't? Should that bother me?

I have friends and family members who ask me to make things, some I would gladly do as gifts, but they often want to pay. I make an honest estimation of what it will cost me in materials, and let them make the decision on what it is worth to them. Some 'overpay' in my opinion, but they're happy with the price and it helps offset my hobby. I always ask that they don't tell everyone what they paid, since they usually have received a significant 'friends and family discount'.

My biggest joy these days is making things for Church, for the Scouts, or for school. No pressure, just fun in the shop.

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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 11:48 AM
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Default Definitely Hobby!

I think everyone has covered the bases already.

If you're going commercial be prepared for all of the headaches that go with it.

I enjoy doing woodworking for the "me time". I take my time and work at my own pace. Consequently, nobody could afford my products.
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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 12:25 PM
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I agree that all the bases have been covered, but I'll relate another experience.

When I was young (and dirt was, too) I was a banjo player. I just got together with friends and jammed a couple of nights a week, and loved it. But a couple of them, who were "between" real jobs, got dollar signs in their eyes and found a 6 month gig at a local bar, playing on Friday and Saturday nights. I didn't like the sound of it, but in the spirit of comraderie, agreed to participate. It sucked the fun right out of music, and I sold my banjo shortly thereafter. I never wanted to play seriously again.

Also, I have some relatives who, upon seeing any one of a kind project I have enjoyed designing and making, immediately say "Hey!! You can make a lot of money selling those! Just set up a booth at a crafts show, take a bunch of them in, and they'll sell like hotcakes!!" I have tried to explain to them that I, like most woodworkers, do this for enjoyment, not income potential. When you figure in your time and costs, you're usually at least as well off financially to just get a part time delivery job if you're just in it for income. But they don't understand doing anything that isn't about money. It's kind of sad that they can't just enjoy doing something only for the pleasure it brings.

It seems I never finish what I
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 01:51 PM
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Plus 1 on chestnut.

I'm almost 2 years into this retirement hobby.
I make boxes that are "different". I look at a design, decide i could change this and that, and then spend a month cursing myself for making it so complicated.
But thats what keeps my brain active, problem solving.
and when I finish a box, after anything from 2 to 6 weeks on, I show my friends and I get the "you could sell these at the market" comments.
Yeah, I can sell a box I have 60 hours in and produce 1 every two months, I'd get at least $20 for it, and how long to fill that stall?
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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 02:08 PM
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I self employed for most of my life and worked with the public all that time. Sometimes I owned three full time business at a time. When I retired I went back to work as a salesperson for a company. The money was good but the public was still the public. I did that for a period of time and decided I'd had enough and I retired again. Woodworking has always been an escape for me and I sure don't want to loose the fun and enjoyment of it. I been doing it for about 60 years and it is still fun and as someone earlier said it keeps me thinking and my brain engaged. My woodworking hobby will remain my hobby.

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits". Albert Einstein
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