Grumbles from the shop #8: Hanging it up

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Blog entry by dennis mitchell posted 06-18-2009 02:09 AM 5761 reads 0 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Another gallery done gone Part 8 of Grumbles from the shop series Part 9: Happy ThanksGrumblings Day! »

Ya I’ve done had it. Guess I’ll see if Thos will give me a job herding tourist. Today I turned down a chance to do the Western Design Conference. After doing shows, galleries, etsy and a web site with very little luck I’m plum out of energy. (and money) When I started I knew of 12 different galleries that had regional furniture. Now I only know 3. Two are owned by furniture builders and the other one won’t even return my calls. I can’t even blame it on the economy. I think it is more a change in taste and how people shop. Then again my furniture could just be too weird! This has been something I’ve been trying on and off for 15 years now. My heart is heavy.

38 comments so far

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4279 days

#1 posted 06-18-2009 02:15 AM

dennis…I am sorry…you are an amazing craftsman and I love your work…I KNOW things would be different if the economy had any improvement…but I know you cant make a decision like this without lots of thought…

keep us posted…what are the next steps?

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4034 posts in 4266 days

#2 posted 06-18-2009 02:26 AM

I hate to hear this Dennis. Maybe taking shelter with a job “workin’ for the man” for the short term is a good idea in economic times like these. I hope you don’t have to sell off equipment and such. Your work is certainly not too weird – it’s beautiful, unique and well-crafted. I have always hoped that you would find your patron.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 4529 days

#3 posted 06-18-2009 02:27 AM

I’m sorry to hear that you feel it’s come to this.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14179 posts in 4185 days

#4 posted 06-18-2009 02:30 AM

You have tremendous package of talent.

link that might spark an idea for you

have you tried making a music stand and selling on ebay ? if you could use up your shorts and sell one a week on ebay, it might pay a few bills…. I think there is a market for high end music stands on ebay … send me pm if you want to duscuss

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3728 days

#5 posted 06-18-2009 02:58 AM

Sory to hear it, but I feel for you. You’re not the only one in the boat.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Gary's profile


9386 posts in 3635 days

#6 posted 06-18-2009 03:05 AM

Hate to hear it Dennis. Your work is always so good. Hope something works out in your favor.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3730 days

#7 posted 06-18-2009 03:09 AM

That’s unfortunate. I’ve known three incredible wood craftsmen that had plenty of ups and downs. It’s a hard business to stay consistent with well paying clients.

You never fail until you give up.

Best of luck…...............

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4302 days

#8 posted 06-18-2009 03:17 AM

Dude -

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4096 days

#9 posted 06-18-2009 03:18 AM

pm me

maybe i can help you?

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4077 days

#10 posted 06-18-2009 03:26 AM

Dennis – I hate to hear this. You do beautiful work.

-- -- --

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3761 days

#11 posted 06-18-2009 03:46 AM

Dennis, sorry to hear about this but keep up your spirit. You have lots of talent and lots of us are going through hards times. It bound to change sooner than later I hope.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Karson's profile


35149 posts in 4603 days

#12 posted 06-18-2009 03:49 AM

Dennis: My prayers are with you. I know you are working on some cabinets with some junk hardware. I hope that it keeps you busy until people start knocking you door down for your skills and workmanship.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3688 days

#13 posted 06-18-2009 05:38 AM

i visited your website and really like your sofa table and lodge furniture. in todays global economy there is always a market. the problem is finding it, at the right time and place. wish i had some advise that would help you. as a side note i watched a couple of youtube videos of Spirit Williams, a lady wood carver. she mentioned she is still making a living doing relief wood carving. i wondered just what kind of living she was making. at the end of one of her videos she said she kept track of her time doing about half administrative work to run a business and the rest actually hands on carving. she said it came out to about $10/hour with no benefits. but she said she was very happy and quite content. man, for the quality work she displayed, i was floored.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14179 posts in 4185 days

#14 posted 06-18-2009 06:14 AM

For me wood working is nothing more then a glorious hobby. I have always been afraid to make it on my own and admire anyone who is brave enough to try. Wish I had an answer…. I can only offer my sincere encouragement to hold to your craft, keep your chin up, make some thoughtful adjustments and go with the flow.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3793 days

#15 posted 06-18-2009 06:23 AM

Custom woodworking is a tough business and a lot of people are shutting their doors. It’s been said, you are definitely not alone. I shut down quite some time ago and have been looking for work since. I’ve got nothing, and have been very worried. I’ve decided to take a stand. I don’t deserve to fail. I lost my home, wife, etc. I won’t put up with losing my business. So I’m taking a stand and am struggling to get back into it. Giving a few bids here and there, planning on doing the work from my garage. It’s tough, but I’m sick of waiting for someone to pick me up and carry me. I’ve done it on my own since I started working 16 years ago (I’m only 30 and have been through the ringer). You need to take a stand too. Forget the galleries. They take your hard earned money anyway. Hit the streets, post ads in towns that you know will accept your work, hunker down and make yourself known. Use lumberjocks and other sites to network. You can make a come back.

You will never get rich or have a lot of money in this business, especially with custom unless you invent something, become production based, etc. Like I said, woodworking is a difficult business to make a living. But you are making a living doing what you love. And if it’s not working out, change careers. But don’t lose it as a hobby.

Good luck to you, and to everyone in this situation.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

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