After reading Martin’s blog yesterday about all of us having some lumberjock club meetings, I did one of those head slap moments and thought out loud, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
What a great idea, a nice way to tie us altogether….actual face, to face club meetings.
I was first visited by Joel Tille from Iowa. Then, it was Kevin Larcom from Wichita. Now, Karson tells me that he will honor me by a visit late this summer while he is in Kansas seeing family. I think this website could start to look like some of those match making sites. But, we won’t need 29 matching character traits to find a match. We only need one. “Are you a lumberjock?”
Of course, we aren’t searching for a date, or a mate (at least not me), but rather for comraderie and a shared love for things made from wood. The one element that I have missed though is the face-to-face part of a relationship with a friend. Now, with the concept of the local club meetings for lumberjocks, we will get that also. What a great idea, “Slap!”
I try to work on the website and look at the photo of the other jock I’m typing to, and get the feel of talking face to face. But, some of you have dogs, fish, spider man, Homer Simpson pointing a gun, or other funny photos for your thumbnail, and it just isn’t the same when talking to a photo of a dog, or a fish! One guy has a photo with Marilyn Monroe, and I can’t seem to get past her face to look at his. Wow, she was a beauty. So, the face-to-face relationship has been something I have wanted from the lumberjocks community.
Ok, ok, so here’s a report from the 1st & 2nd Kansas Lumberjock Meetings documented for antiquity:
I have been working with “Kev”, aka Kevin Larcom on some ideas to help him realize his dream of having his own woodworking business. I met “Kev” at the Great Plains Woodcarver’s show in Wichita a few weeks back. My Maloof-Inspired rocker caught his attention, and so we had a chance to meet each other.
As he asked questions, and discussed his dreams, it dawned on me that most of what I had to say to him, I had already typed up and posted in various spots on Lumberjocks. So, I told him to join lumberjocks, and he would be introduced to a lot of the feedback I had already written, and more importantly, a big bunch of other folks that are smarter and more experienced than me, that he can glean information from.
If I had enough work, I would have tired to hire him on the spot, based on the small photos of some of his projects he carried around on his phone camera. But, I work alone, at least at this point. It is hard enough to find work for one right now. Maybe another time.
A few days later, I was thrilled to see a new “Jock” post his projects under the name “Kev.” Several days flashed by and I recommended that Kevin enter the Thorsen Challenge, and I gave him some good reasons why. For one, it would be a good way for a magazine editor to look at his work. And for another reason, the table would be cool, and saleable, I guess that is three reasons. I had some extra Walnut and Maple and Kevin honored me by using it to build his Checker Board Table.
During our 1st Kansas Lumberjock Meeting, Kevin came out to my place. I had planned to clean up a bit before he arrived that morning, but another friend of mine had just found out he had been laid off, and came out to see me. He said his first stop was at home to tell his wife, and then he drove over to see me hoping I was home. He said that he almost came to me before seeing his wife, but I assured him that he did the right thing by telling her first.
I had another friend a few months ago stop by after he was laid off. I don’t have any beer to give someone, but it seems that I’m a good guy to give a “hug” when a job dream dies. Or, maybe a good guy to push someone to do what they already know in their heart they want to do, just haven’t had the guts to step out and do it. I feel that getting laid off is just a good “push.”
Remember folks, you are who you are because God made you. You not important because of the money you make, or the job you have, or the things you buy with the money you get paid. If you bank your self esteem on those loose threads, you can be easily crushed if you get unexpectedly laid off one day, especially if you have borrowed money against those future paychecks that just stopped coming. You have value in this world because you exist, not by what you are paid to do. I’m sure Debbie has a better way to put it, but that is my take on it.
I’ve not been laid off before, but I have quit a couple of good jobs to pursue my dreams of doing woodworking, so I mostly listen to a friend and then encourage them to pursue their own personal dreams, and then try to help them figure out what that is. We make lists, develop concepts, make a list of what they need for training and experience.
I’m not a guy that says, “just do it!” A new career chasing a dream needs a lot of planning because there is a lot at stake, a lot of risk. Once you’ve done the planning, I will then say, “just go and do what you’ve planned!”
So, after my friend went on home to start working on his “my dream” list, Kevin showed up to see me later that day. I hadn’t had time to clean up anything, so he had to see the shop in the same condition I see it every day….a real ugly mess. I have promised myself that I will have it clean by the time Karson comes to visit in August. Hold me accountable, ok?
Kevin and I talked for awhile, and developed some ideas for marketing his work, especially his Wine Rack. I like that project, and I can foresee it being easy to sell, and quick for him to turn into some cash for his new business. The sort of project that I wish I had thought of first.
We also discussed his idea for the Checkerboard Thorsen table, and dug through the old Barn to find the wood for him. I sent him on his way with the wood, and a few of my books he wanted to borrow.
When he went to start his car, we found that the battery was dead. It had rained on him during the trip to my shop, so he had turned on the headlights. After getting to my place it was sunny, and neither of us noticed that his headlights were still on. His cell phone didn’t get coverage at my place, so he headed in to call his wife and say that he would be late due to car troubles. By the time he had returned from the phone call, I had jump started the car, and he was quickly headed back to Wichita.
Our Second Kansas Lumberjocks meeting was my trip to Kevin’s shop. I found it to be very neat, orderly, and clean…...three things my shop is not. I don’t even think I saw any sawdust laying around. Just one pile that he had swept up with a broom. Whew, what a clean place.
He has a great tablesaw and router table unit set up to work on, and several other tools ready to do just about any project he wants to do. We discussed what his plans were for the future, and about his recent trip to an art show to hand out business cards to the canvas painting artists, with the idea of making them frames. This was a great idea, and one I sure hadn’t thought of. I was impressed by his initiative to do that marketing work. (catch that business card use, did you? – see the Forum on business cards if you want more background http://lumberjocks.com/topics/466)
Generally, one of the first things that aspiring woodworkers ask me is where can they sell their work. Kevin wants to know that also. I know the type of person that will buy functional-art, but what their names are, is something I am still working on myself. Hopefully someday, I will have a network of folks that I know who enjoy buying things from emerging functional-artists like Kevin and me. Then, I could make a few calls, and find a home for something like Kevin’s Wine Rack, or Checkboard Thorsen table. Until then, I can only give encouragement to do the hard work, the marketing, the “paying of dues.”
He also showed me the walnut picture frame he made, which is now a new posted project. We also discussed his Sculpted Wine Rack again, and I got an update on his marketing work for it. I had several other meetings to make that afternoon, so I had to cut our meeting short. I then headed on to see a problem bandsaw with a friend of mine named Keith. I can’t get him to join lumberjocks, but I am still working on that. Then, I headed out to see Hatman Jack’s store to see if they had any walking cane sale money for me. Then, on to see Richard who had a friend Pete that he wanted me to meet who is remodeling a large home and might need some new furniture some day. A busy day.
There you have it. Now Kevin and I are actively recruiting for more Kansas Lumberjock buddies. Kevin is a member of the Wichita Woodworker’s Guild, and so maybe he can get some more jocks from that group.
thanks Martin for this community,
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com