what next? laid off w/

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Laid off recently from a 20hr a week office manager job. Three years ago stopped woodworking (small crafts, shaker oval boxes) to take that job. Now I have a second 'chance'. The holiday season is coming up and I would like to give it a try again. What can I do that is fairly simple easy and would yield a good return on time and effort? i dont have a lot of experience and was going thru a lengthy 'ramping up' process when the wife said "work in the real world..." ANY suggestions welcome. have: bench top table saw delta lathe router drill press grinder various sanders disk and belt variety of the 'usual' hand tools etc.
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Wed, Sep 3, 2003, 2:37pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (mmiller4342) claims: Laid off recently from a 20hr a week office manager job. Three years ago stopped woodworking (small crafts, shaker oval boxes) to take that job. Now I have a second 'chance'. The holiday season is coming up and I would like to give it a try again. What can I do that is fairly simple easy and would yield a good return on time and effort? i dont have a lot of experience and was going thru a lengthy 'ramping up' process when the wife said "work in the real world..." ANY suggestions welcome. <snip>
20hr work week? Real world? She must cut you one Hell of a lot of slack. And you stopped woodworking to take a 20hr a week job? Didn't have time to spare then, eh? Most people have 40hr work weeks, minimum. Hard to believe a post like this would be anything but a troll. My suggestion would be to go out and look for a job. Then do woodworking in your spare time. And, by job, I mean a real, 40hr a week, job, not part-time work. If, by some weird chance, you are serious, oval Shaker boxes supposedly sell pretty well.
JOAT No sense in being pessimistic - it wouldn't work anyway.
Life just ain't life without good music. - JOAT Web Page Update 2 Sep 2003. Some tunes I like. http://community-2.webtv.net/Jakofalltrades/SOMETUNESILIKE /
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Could it be that he showed up 40 hours a week, but only worked 20? I know people like that. Ed
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Hey Ed, that hurts man. <vbg>
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There are no stupid questions.
There are a LOT of inquisitive idiots.
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wrote:

That would probably be a government job.
TomL
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DITTO. the post is a serious request. I am surprised that there are some who perhaps dont read the news. That arent aware that SOME of us do live in the real world and do lose jobs. My family is somewhat 'non-traditional' and I am giving thought to doing what I have always wanted to do and tried to do once before. If you have some REAL suggestions they would be welcome.
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...

If I had a REAL suggestion, I'd be doing it myself and probably not give away my secret to others in my territory.
To make a quick buck, you need a gimmick, something that sets you apart. Sort of like the hula hoop or pet rock. If you can develop a nice line of small boxes and find the right outlet, you can do well. It takes time to get the design just right. It must be attractive, sell for a fair price, and you must refine the production so you can knock out a 6 hour project in an hour. That presents other problems. It is realistic to achieve the 6 to 1 ratio. The problem, though, is that you are no longer a skilled woodworker facing the challenges of making a hand crafted item, you are a production worker with a job. If that is what you want, fine.
Another method is to develop a reputation for highly skilled specialty work. That can take years though. Ed
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My request for help was sincere and exactly as I described. I was/am a stay at home dad. Did I mention the three kids? did I mention the hand me down cars? the house that is falling apart? Did I mention that the hours I spent trying to do (and partly succeeding) woodworking NEVER FELT WASTED? did I mention that 20 hrs a week at a job that paid a heck of a lot more than what I was earning with a sale here and a sale there WITH A FLEXIBLE schedule was a god send?

I had a 40hr work week AND twenty hours at a part time job.

believe what you want, you probably have crow for dinner more than you would ever admit here. I am NOT a troll.

Yes in some areas, but they sell SLOWLY and are very time consuming to make. I have ALL the forms and tools and templates for such I JUST DONT HAVE HOURS AND HOURS TO POUR INTO ONE OR TWO SLOW SELLING PROJECTS. I have three months from now to replace in part approx. 1000+/mo in lost income.
AND JOAT: out of politeness and as a new visitor here (I have posted and viewed this board religiously several years back) I am holding back what I think of your post, I do believe an apology is in order on your part.
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mmiller writes:

As a matter of fact, you DIDN'T mention any of that, so do not expect people to be able to read your mind. If youw ant answers that suit your situation, explain the situation. Otherwise, don't bitch if what you get is what you asked for, but didn't want.
Charlie Self
"Men willingly believe what they wish." Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico
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Thu, Sep 4, 2003, 3:03pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (mmiller4342) claims: <snip> Did I mention <snip> Apparently we were meant to read your mind, because you didn't mention zip. You might think about that next time.
JOAT Failure is not an option. But it is definitely a possibility.
Life just ain't life without good music. - JOAT Web Page Update 2 Sep 2003. Some tunes I like. http://community-2.webtv.net/Jakofalltrades/SOMETUNESILIKE /
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Blood type too. I learned quickly that if you leave yourself open in the least, someone/ somebodies will take full advantage of it. that's why you never read the newsgroups unless you are in a good mood.
On Thu, 4 Sep 2003 18:30:26 -0400 (EDT), snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Jack-of-all-trades - JOAT) wrote:

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Thu, Sep 4, 2003, 3:03pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (mmiller4342) claims:
After I responded, I went back and read your post again. I will respond in more detail this time.
Youy wrote: My request for help was sincere and exactly as I described.
Well, that's a problem. Because you didn't describe anything. Here is your complete original post: Wed, Sep 3, 2003, 2:37pm (EDT+4) From: snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (mmiller4342) Laid off recently from a 20hr a week office manager job. Three years ago stopped woodworking (small crafts, shaker oval boxes) to take that job. Now I have a second 'chance'. The holiday season is coming up and I would like to give it a try again. What can I do that is fairly simple easy and would yield a good return on time and effort? i dont have a lot of experience and was going thru a lengthy 'ramping up' process when the wife said "work in the real world..." ANY suggestions welcome. have: bench top table saw delta lathe router drill press grinder various sanders disk and belt variety of the 'usual' hand tools etc.
See? But, now your feelings are hurt because of my response, and you come up with a whole bunch of, Did I mention?. No, you didn't mention.
I'm not sure what you mean here:: I was/am a stay at home dad. <snip> I had a 40hr work week AND twenty hours at a part time job. <snip> Are you saying you were/are a stay-at-home dad for 40 hours a week, plus having a 20 hour part-time job? Or, had a 40 hour regular job, plus the 20 hour part-time job, plus being a stay-at-home dad? Ah, doesn't matter. I had full custody of my sons from 3 and 7, no child support, worked full-time, and raised them with no help. At least you've got a wife. Yes in some areas, but they sell SLOWLY and are very time consuming to make. I have ALL the forms and tools and templates for such I JUST DONT HAVE HOURS AND HOURS TO POUR INTO ONE OR TWO SLOW SELLING PROJECTS. <snip>
Then why mess with them? Do a bit of homework, and find out what sells in your area.
AND JOAT: out of politeness <snip> I do believe an apology is in order on your part.
That's being polite? I'll be polite too, and just say, don't hold your breath. Look at it this way, now you understand the importance of details.
JOAT Failure is not an option. But it is definitely a possibility.
Life just ain't life without good music. - JOAT Web Page Update 2 Sep 2003. Some tunes I like. http://community-2.webtv.net/Jakofalltrades/SOMETUNESILIKE /
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On 03 Sep 2003 14:37:06 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (mmiller4342) wrote:

What can you sell ? Where are you selling it ?
If you're going for comission sales through a medium-volume shop, then look for things that make high-end Xmas gifts. Mirrors, tea trays, clocks. Less than a hundred bucks, can be carried in one hand - the sort of thing that the moderately well heeled might buy on impulse, if they're in the shop with a gift-buying mindset. Most people also buy gifts for more people than just themselves - addressing the gift market, you get to leverage one buyer's wallet onto several people's consumption.
I wouldn't do boxes. Here in the UK I can go to the Indian / Nepali import shop and buy superb boxes for a pittance. There's just no space for me in that market.
Furniture can be good, but it's harder to sell. Few people will impulse-buy a chair or a table.
If you're doing high-end custom, then sell to rich people by making stuff that rich people want. Cigar humidors, display or storage cases for conspicuous consumption (firearms, collectibles). These all have excellent margins, but the marketing costs are high. Chatting to passengers on regional aircraft has worked for me - on a long-haul I'd be back in steerage, but I sold a humidor just by getting stuck on the tarmac for an extra hour next to my new client, and got talking furniture.
Don't compete with things that are already available cheaply as imports. I can't sell my sword racks to people who have several thousand $ swords to display for more than $30, because that's all an imported one costs.
It's doubly difficult to be a commercial woodworker, compared to a hobbyist. Not only do you have to learn to do it well, but you have to learn to do it quickly. Some of my "production" items are now less than a quarter of the original time, just by making jigs and improving the process.
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I have in the past sold some items through local crafts/commision stores. The kind of stores that you have to look hard to see tucked away in some rich suburb. I have had some luck with large flower presses, and oval shaker boxes. Was on the verge of producing some kids' 'puzzle chairs', shop owners were very excited, but I ran out of time.

IF there is any suggestion that I will find of more value here than anything else I have a feeling it is the above. It gives me not so much the "what" but the WHY of it!

I've noticed that some of the things I used to make or planned to, are now for sale in el cheepo discount stores here in the states. My kids picked up some pine Shaker Peg Board for a dollar and some change in a mark down bin at a local "crafts" shop.

I know, it is not that I want to be rich, I just want to provide some extra income for my family, (wife has a job).

My first item of a project/series ALWAYS took the longest...
ANDY DINGLEY, I wish to thank you, perhaps more than I can express here, and wish you the best of luck in the UK.
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Thu, Sep 4, 2003, 3:22pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (mmiller4342) claims: <snip> Was on the verge of producing some kids' 'puzzle chairs', shopowners were very excited, but I ran out of time. <snip>
Well, why the Hell don't you make some now then? Ran out of time? How is that meant? 'Cause it only takes me 5-10 minutes or so to make one. Never timed it yet, but it sure doesn't take long at all.
JOAT Failure is not an option. But it is definitely a possibility.
Life just ain't life without good music. - JOAT Web Page Update 2 Sep 2003. Some tunes I like. http://community-2.webtv.net/Jakofalltrades/SOMETUNESILIKE /
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I know I will hate myself for this but a quick and easy craft that sells well is anything in SOS (sh*% on a stick). You have seen them the yard ornaments that look like granny bending over in the garden type things. Now is the time for anything to do with Halloween or Christmas. Find a catalog with patterns and use that for inspiration. Then as soon a Christmas is over go to REAL wood working. Oh yes local craft show to sell them.
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I've seen them too, just not very many in the upscale suburban town I live in. I still have a few of the old catalogs that had 'plans' for such. Garden markers seem easy and cheap too. (compared some of the others who posted in response, you have NO need to 'hate' yourself...) thanks for the reply, it helps.
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I don't think I have ever seen one in someones yard. At most local craftshows they do seem to sell well though, especially the odd ones made out of barn wood or fence posts.
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mmiller4342 wrote:

Are you serious? If such a thing existed, we'd all be doing it.
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Chris Merrill
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As a quick follow up, I am fifty and just graduated from college. Guess what ? We have a depression goiing on which means NO jobs. Sometimes you think you have it rough and then run into some of you guys. I have no kids at homke, my wife is a professor so that helps (would help more if she were inthe public schools but am thankful for this) and I am starting my own consulting business. Things are going great for me and I will put you and the other fellow n my prayer list.
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