Frustrations of a home woodworker

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Somebody please remind me why I turned my garage into a workshop. I have my tablesaw, bandsaw, jointer, routertable and dustcollection system and a plethora of assorted small power and hand tools. I decided to build myself a patio set - table and four chairs.
So I looked at various plans and finally decided what I wanted to build and set about pricing various types of wood - basically just considering PT Pine, Cedar, Redwood and Teak. Considering that a table and four chairs would consume around 100 or more BF I expected to pay a decent price.
Here in Southern California ( Los Angeles area) clear redwood 2x4 is 1.85/lineal foot - 2x6 is 3.15/lineal foot. The sad part is that for that amount of money I can BUY many different types of great wooden sets, including teak and all I have to do is assemble them.
Some days it really gets me down. I have the utmost respect for those of you who do this as a business - frankly I don't know how you do it, unless you live in a forest where you can get free wood :)
Sorry for the rant - it's been one of those days. Unfortunately I still haven't decided if I'm going to spend the money on wood or just buy the damn thing premade.
Have a great day,
Vic
--
There are 10 kinds of people - those who understand binary and those who
don't



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I personally gave up trying to justify my hobby by saying to myself "I'll save $$". Wood is expensive but for me, it's the journey if you will, of building it myself. Sure I could run down to CrapMart and pick up a premade item but honestly, I have much more pride in building it myself vs. putting together something out of a box. I suppose on some items, I do save $$ if I were to compare what I built to something of comparable construction but overall, for me, it's the hobby. Cheers, cc
ps. getting ready to embark on my own patio table and 4 chairs. Just priced Teak...holy crap!
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LOL! AS I said - Been there, done that!
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Man, I feel your pain. I wrestle with the same issues on almost every project. I can usually find something pre-made that's cheaper than I can buy the wood. That's especially true for items that are lumber-intensive. Often, if a pre-made item suits the purpose, I'll just buy it. But I still get deep satisfaction out of the things I build myself. These are usually items to fit a particular space, or where I know it has potential to become a treasured heirloom. The cradle I built before my daughter was born is priceless. So is the cherry bed I share with my wife. You get the idea. Don't feel you have to build every wooden thing you own to justify the investment in tools. Sometimes, it's just not worth the trouble. Other times, it's worth every nickle, splinter and swear.
DonkeyHody "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again---and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore." - Mark Twain
Vic Baron wrote:

have my

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PT
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who
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Vic said:

snip
snip
snip
Vic, We all suffer for that from time to time. My lovely bride just picked up some chairs from IKEA! Good God! They are just plain trash. Now I have to make my own, someday!
OTOH, Where are you getting the wood? In LA there are some great places that the wood is great and priced right. EG Lane Stanton or Bohnhoff.
Dave
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Checking lumber yards - aka Terry, Swainers, etc. - Will check LS and B. Y'never know
Vic
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you
That's a poor choice of project. Don't build what you can buy.
Don't compete with Walmart. You can't.
If you wnated a table which was "just so" with a design element which is just for you, then you are "competing" with a custom artisan.
My idea of a good project is an aquarium stand (I have made 3, each very different) But each time I wanted something that looked like piece of furniture (among other requirements). If you have ever looked at the retail market for aquarium stands, it's 90% chipboard 10% pine. What I wanted simply was not out there. I looked at furniture that happened to be about the right size and it simply was not up to holding 300 lbs.
Make something special (unique). If you want to make something generic.... add something and make it special.
Cheers,
Steve
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What I wanted

I know the feeling. The aquarium I just put in weighs in at about 1100 pounds. Didn't feel to comfortable with chipboard.
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...
Yeah, what Steve said. I don't have the time to build as many things as I like, so I build only the things that are differentiated from what I can cheaply buy.
I did build one outdoor cabinet (for the barbecue) out of white oak. It kills me to see it weathering away out there every year. I think it will be a long time before I build anything of substance for the outdoors :-P YMMV
Nate
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<snip>

right on, Nate... there comes a time when you gotta say "This isn't worth the time and/or cost to build..
I was going to build 2 small book cases for my wife's "pyrography" (adds money to wood burning like "junque" adds to used stuff) area of the shop... figuring about $50 or so if I used MDF... Walking through Wally World and found a 30" x 36" prefinished book case for $17... I bought 3 of the suckers... They went together in about 5 min each, no tools needed, even the cardboard backs (yeah, I know) were already attached..
Bottom line: 3 bookcases that she likes for the cost of building them... and at least 3 nights that I wouldn't be building bookcases and can be turning kindling or making something that I enjoy working on..
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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On Mon, 04 Apr 2005 08:43:22 -0700, mac davis

(Flashback of the epiphany I had at work last month: a 21" Sony monitor weighs almost exactly the same as a 13" Delta planer.)
Repeat after me: "Ikea is your friend." They've got some $40 computer desks, complete with casters(1), that are just the right size for tool carts.
(1) No, the casters *don't* lock...whaddaya want for $40?
Lee
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wrote:

I never justify a project that way. A chinese factory full of underpaid virtual slaves is going to be able to produce a piece for far less than even the raw wood costs at the homecenter or lumber yard.
If savings on wood is what your after, find someone with a Woodmizer. The guys that remove trees and so on. Maybe not easy in California though.
I've just completed a desk on cherry. Shaker style, raised panels. Mortise and Tenons all over, dovetail joinery for the drawers. Solid wood drawer bottoms (with allowance for expansion/contraction). And so on.
Why build when I could go to almost any furniture store and buy one? Because it's my hobby. Because I'll get the features I want. Because I like the old techniques. Because I don't want hot melt glue in my furniture. And so on. There's as many reasons as there are hobby woodworkers.
And I aspire to make something as excellent at Krenov or Maloof. You're lucky. You could visit Sam Maloof's place. He's in Southern California somewhere.
BTW, the board foot price for redwood doesn't look wildly expensive. Teak is a different story. Have you tried looking for IPE? Maybe one of the online lumber dealers could help.
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thanx for the reality check! I've bilt lots of furniture for myself and spouse(s) thru the years and,yes, I could have purchaswed it cheaper BUT it was custom made by me with love. Can't price that!
Have a good one!
Vic
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<snip>

Clear redwood is pretty expensive, even in Redwood country. To a great degree, that's because the old growth was heavily exploited by my great grandparents' generation, and what we cut today is second third and fourth growth material.
Most high-end decking is now being done with ipe, at least here (SF Bay Area). Stronger, every bit as weather resistant, and really pretty. If you use that, or something similar, you can build a lighter-looking set, more like you would with teak, but at much lower prices than teak. Where with redwood, 2x6 was commonly used for deck boards, 1x6 more than suffices.
I can save money on projects that have to be done on site, sometimes, because I am often willing to pay with labor what I am unwilling to pay with cash. Where machines, jigs, and mass production techniques remove a skill premium, I have to consider whether it makes sense for me to put my labors elsewhere. And I have decided that I have poured my last concrete patio.
My woodworking tools are like my golf clubs. Used in an enjoyable, but sometimes frustrating hobby. Unlike golf, there is evidence of my occaisional success.
Patriarch
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<snip>

Hey! I just poured my first! Then I covered it with pavers! http://www.bunchobikes.com/pond8.htm
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We did one of those three summers ago, getting done just before a wedding. The one we did ourselves doesn't look as good as the ones in the front of the house that the landscaper's crew did.
Yours looks pretty good. Enjoy it for a long time!
Patriarch
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I don't do it to save money. OTOH, in some cases I have. I built a Tudor bench and it cost me $300 for the wood. The same bench at a store in Glastonbury, CT (Smith & Hawkins) was $990 I also have quite a few hours into it. Mine is cypress, theirs is allegedly teak.
When I bought a new TV, they had a stand that sold for $100. The one I made cost me $140 or so, but instead of particleboard, it is oak and has features the store bought did not have.
I'm thinking of a couple of other projects, like an Adirondack chair. I spotted one outside a store and it was $139. Except is swayed when I put my hand on it, can't imagine what would happen if I plopped my ass in it. .
Sure, some things can be bought cheaper, but the satisfaction of making something exactly how you want it is worth something that money will not buy. Nothing replaces the fun of giving a gift that you made and the recipient appreciates it. It is not the destination, but the journey. Enjoy the journey.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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Teak is pretty outrageous stuff these days. I happen to live by place that liquidates Costco returns, if I was to buy a few busted pieces I could put together a set for mor then it sold for at Costco. So one must be careful!
I just finished these projects for my wife:
http://alan.firebin.net/images/scrap2.jpg
The cubes were paterned after:
http://www.scrapncube.com /
I am WAY below those prices. :)
I bought me a set of Shaptons from tools for working wood as a reward, and I am STILL under those prices.
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I always laugh at my friends when they go fishing and tell them what I pay for a whitefish at the store. They come and laugh at me in my shop and quote me prices at Ikea.
Some of us now refer to our hardwood dealer as our crack dealer and we're a bunch of addicts. After spending all that money on tools and spending all that time getting good enough to build things I'm proud of, I can't think about the cost it wood hurt too much.
I just bought a board of Mahogany for $350 and a board of Mubangi (?) for $250 along with 75 bdf of Wenge and assorted other bits and pieces. Then one of the projects has a large carving so i had to buy carving tools and some assorted other things like riflers and specialty rasps. It's probably been about a $2K addiction this month but The projects are looking fabulous, I developed some more skills and next time I need some wood there's a better chance I'll have a nice piece in the shop and not have to go to the crack dealer.
JC
Vic Baron wrote:

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Vic,
I saw some nice clear redwood 2x6's at Ganahl Lumber in Anaheim recently for $2.49/linear foot. Ganahl's is a real lumber company with two big warehouses; one for softwood and one for hard woods.
Don
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