- This Business About Woodworking
This Business About Woodworking
Faking it, in a good way
In my decades as a woodworking writer, I’ve never knowingly said anything false or misleading. But a bit of photographic trickery is sometimes OK.
Why did I sell it?
At one time I had some spectacular genuine Honduras rosewood that a friend had imported. I also had a small amount of highly figured blistered maple.
How do we deal with this?
The coronavirus is causing things to go off the rails. We're being told stay home and avoid other people. But we have to make a living. It’s not like we can just stop going to work.
A nice surprise
About ten years ago, I began to do lathe work in earnest. I had several pieces sitting around the house, including one that what was the first of a series of pieces that became something of a signature style, the holy grail of every woodturner.
The joys of moving?
I don’t know anyone who enjoys moving. And moving a shop can be especially difficult. But there are a few upsides.
Lacking the basics
I came across an interesting question the other day. The poster said he had no woodworking experience but wanted suggestions about what tools were needed to build a project he had in mind.
I spent the entire month of December moving my shop. It’s not the first time I have done this (but I do hope it’s the last!) so I was not completely blindsided by how much work it involved. But, somehow, this move was much more stressful than the last few.
Is it really better?
We are hearing a lot about how well the economy is doing these days. Unemployment figures are looking good. And that’s supposed to be one of the indicators of a healthy economy. But at the same time there is an undeniably widening discrepancy in the ratio of people making billions and people barely scraping by.
Sooner the better
A response to a recent post contained a link to an article on dealing with “toxic” employees.
The title of this post seems to be the attitude of most people when it comes to anything involving the spending of money. There is an uncertain quality to how people feel about buying anything, especially if it involves a substantial investment.
Are you positive?
In business, it is imperative that we maintain a positive energy. This is essential for good customer relations as well as a strong, positive work environment.
With all of the concern about our changing climate, we are finding ourselves needing to consider our own impact on our environment. Let’s forget, for the moment, the argument about the cause of climate change. The fact is that the climate is changing and it’s doing so at a much greater rate than was previously believed.
That’s for me to know …
There have been numerous times throughout my woodworking career when people have asked me how I do this or that. Sometimes it’s just curiosity. Sometimes it’s some who wants to do it themselves and is in need of guidance. And, sometimes it’s a competitor who has underbid a job he doesn’t really know how to do.
The working interview
We are always on the lookout for talented, experienced employees. Yes, they are getting harder to find. And if we are looking for a strong work ethic, it gets even more difficult.
It can’t be done
In our business we are often asked to do things a bit differently than we’re used to. People want to individualize their projects. They don’t want to pay premium prices for something that looks just like what they could have bought at the local furniture store.
Exceptions and expectations
I have always maintained that exceptions are a myth, much like scrap inventory. We all have policies regarding how we deal with things like customers wanting changes made or employees wanting some form of special consideration.
Everyone in business has an image in their mind of what their dream employee would be. There is a tendency, when interviewing potential employees to look indications that fit that image. This can lead to a distorted, idealized view of the person being considered, leading us to see things that might not really be there.
Some years ago, I had the opportunity to hire a guy who had literally grown up in the furniture industry. He was from South Carolina and started working in a furniture plant when he was 14. He had moved to our area to take care of an ailing parent.
Over and over
In our business, we are often called upon to work outside of our comfort zone. Sometimes it’s in the form of needing to create a unique design that does not fit within the parameters of our typical production format. These projects may require us to master a new technique or a tool we have never used before.
Defining art and craft
I recently came across the following definitions that attempt to differentiate art and craft.
Like gold and silver?
Wherever you stand on the question of climate change or global warming, there is no denying that our sources of fine hardwoods is rapidly diminishing.
The big push in today’s market place is toward automation. Most large industries are already at least partially automated with CNC machines and robotics performing work formerly done by people.
Where did they go?
A recent column in the July 2019 issue of Woodshop News, “What’s the deal with finding skilled labor?”, discussed the shortage of cabinetmakers, joiners and woodworkers in general.