I graduated in '76. My friends and I all drove old rag topped jeeps to
school. After school we'd all be out ground hog hunting. We couldn't leave
the guns in the jeeps, so we used to keep them in our lockers at school. How
much time do you think I would get these days if I took an 30-06 through the
front door of the school with two loaded clips. Back then nobody even gave
it a second thought.
yep, we didn't take guns to school but, with the tacit approval of the
chemistry teacher, cooked up black powder and tested various
formulations for the purpose of building rocket motors. The rocket
motor casings were aluminum pipe -- can you imagine what would happen
these days? "Students arrested for building pipe bombs in classroom,
FWIW, we got a couple of good launches, the weak links were finding
reliable ignitor approaches and a reliable means of keeping the nosecone
attached. It was a very practical introduction to solving engineering
problems and got us involved in researching literature; it was my first
exposure to the rocket equation.
We also exercised good practices regarding range safety -- since our
high school was essentially in the middle of a wheat field, we would
drive out on a country road, find a location with a nice, drainage ditch
and set up such that we were well removed and under cover during
different guns for everything. 22-250 seemed to be the weapon of choice. But
when they would shoot them, you could hardly tell they were hit. When I shot
one you normally had a few loose pieces.
Back then I couldn't afford more guns, I spent most of my income on
chasing women. Strange, I figured once I caught one, I could start spending
all the money on me. And to think, back then I knew everything.
Late 50's and early 60's ... During dove season, and when there was no
practice, I occasionally rode my buckskin mare, Nancy Hanks, to school
carrying my 20ga Remington Model 11 shotgun with a couple boxes of shells in
a shell vest. I tied the horse to the back fence with a halter and, because
the lockers weren't big enough, brought the gun and game bag to woodshop for
Damn, how times have changed ...
Those kids are at the perfect age for the perfect toy tools ---
Right now, Sears has some of the (ok, I'll use the word!) cutest darned toy
tools on sale (see the "My First Craftsman" tools sets). The skil saw, the
drill/driver set and the chain saw even make sort of realistic sounds when
the triggers are pushed. They're probably greater gift ideas for us
grown-ups though :-)
I don't do wood working for money, but as a PC guru, many friends and
relatives have asked me to do work for them. Here's what I've
1. Never do projects for money for friends or relatives. If it's a
favor you're going them, and it's on your timeline, that's fine.
2. If you insist on ignoring #1, give a quote in writing, and have
them sign off on it before you even go looking for your car keys to
drive to the lumber yard.
If you ignore #1 and #2, it's your own fault if you get screwed over
on the money.
Same here. I give(or offer) my stuff to people I know will appreciate it
and not to people who ask. Some relatives and acquaintances say something
like,"Oh I would love to have something like that for my deck(living room,
home etc etc)." and I reply,"Oh, I don't do commission work.".....that
shuts them up and gets the message across.
Congrats on your "sale". Sounds like you had fun and you'll make a
child happy (assuming the hammer thing works out). Since it doesn't
sound like you intend to make your living at this, that's what matters
most. I'm just finishing up my first furniture project in many years,
a full-length mirror frame in a style reminiscent of Greene and
Greene. I enjoyed this project because it allowed me to
unapologetically indulge my perfectionist tendencies, something I'm
unable to do in many of my other endeavors. I've spent close to forty
hours on this frame detailing the through mortise and tenon joinery
and doing a bit of carving as well. I'll admit entertaining idle
daydreams of doing this sort of satisfying work for a living, but as
you mention, it's tough to make the numbers work out. If I were to
offer up mirror frames like the one I just completed, it would require
well over $1000 a copy to make the business at all viable. There's
just no way around the fact that the hand work involved in a project
like (when done right) is considerable indeed. That's what gives an
object like this it's underlying character. I have a newfound sense
of respect for the artists out there who are able to find patrons
willing to recognize this and pay accordingly. It's probably getting
tougher and tougher as the Walmart mindset permeates our culture.
Camano Island, WA
A (long) while back I was approached by a friend to do a barter deal.
She would have some custom curtains made for our dining room (paying
for all the materials and labor) in exchange for an L-shaped lidded
storage bench for her apartment (for which she would pay for the
materials; all I had to supply was design knowledge and labor).
Seemed like a pretty good deal.
She got her part of the bargain finished and came and installed the
curtains. I showed her the work in progress out in the garage
(feeling guilty for not having it finished yet). "No worries", she
tells me, "I still have to move the old armoire where this goes."
When I finally did finish the bench I called her to arrange delivery
and she told me she still didn't have room for it. She would need
another couple weeks to clear the space (divorce situation). That was
a month ago. This damn thing is now taking up valuable space in MY
dining room (needed room in the garage to get on to SWMBO's next
I'm still happy to do work for friends. But I've learned that there
has to be an agreed upon timeline, on BOTH sides!
firstname.lastname@example.org (Larry Bud) wrote in message
well you are running about $4 an hour over I am currently getting. I
have been doing commissioned "prototypes" and what I have been charging
is cost of materials plus 10 - 20 percent. doing it as a learning
experience, I figure I can play with their wood, not mine. Been having
lots of fun, building stuff that i wouldn't have a need for and it is
not costing me for the materials. the 10 -15% gets me a new tool or 2
and that is fine at this point.
when I deliver I always tell then how many hours were involved and then
they understand why I don't do this to make money... at the moment.
Joe Willmann wrote:
That's the right attitude. Any woodworking I do for money (so far
only one project), I do for mainly for the fun of it. Any money I
earn I look at as a bonus that I can use to get that new tool I
wanted. And I NEVER look at the $/hour factor.
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