Grumbles from the shop

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Blog series by dennis mitchell updated 06-19-2011 09:38 PM 13 parts 61352 reads 350 comments total

Part 1: Shaking my head...we'll never learn

02-24-2009 06:29 AM by dennis mitchell | 40 comments »

I spent the day installing cabinets, I built, in a manufactured home. Kinda like spreading caviar on wonder bread. Actually it was a sales office. They were busy. I guess the depression is driving folks to these “bargains”. My sister bought a 12 year old one down in Nevada. In 12 years the outside trim was falling off. All the windows failed. The roof leaked and needed replaced. The dry wall was cracking. This was all just normal wear and tear. I’ve done a bit of work in...

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Part 2: Support your local cabinet maker

03-28-2009 09:49 PM by dennis mitchell | 24 comments »

One more time someone told me I was too expensive so they got their cabinets at Lowes. Did they ask me for my price…No! They just assumed. The reality is every time I’ve bid against Lowes and apples were apples my bid was cheaper. I guess we can get brain washed. I’ve even seen that prejudice here at Lumberjocks. Yes most shops have gone after a high end clientele. It might even be hard to find a local cabinet maker who would do “low end” work. We even have a ten...

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Part 3: Etsy update

03-29-2009 03:54 PM by dennis mitchell | 22 comments »

I’m going to throw a pity party and you are all invited. When I get some good news I’ll pass that along to. (First I’ll have to get my taxes out of the way). It has been three months that I’ve been running this Etsy shop. I know some artisans have done OK. I’m pretty sure if I dedicated the time and energy I would have had better results. First off the price is great. The time to setup shop and download photos is significant. I figure when all is said and done I...

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Part 4: Splinters

04-03-2009 09:58 PM by dennis mitchell | 23 comments »

I am pretty immune to the little buggers. I figure I can dig a splinter out with a Phillips screwdriver while running 4X8’s through the table saw. These days I’m having to use those special magnifying goggles just to see them. For some reason they are making them smaller these days. I think it has something to do with global warming. The other day I got the worst of my career. It wasn’t that big. Big ones are easy. This was a skinny little oak splinter about 3/8’s long...

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Part 5: Taxes!

04-19-2009 05:45 PM by dennis mitchell | 25 comments »

Yep that time of year. Folks are having tea parties. The economy going south. I get to see my year end, bottom line, financial worth. I don’t think it will impress anyone. It sure made me wonder. This self employment gig has cut my income in half. Maybe I need to tell you about one of my heroes. I have this buddy. Plays a mean guitar. He also is a craftsman. Does some very nice, high end, upholstery work in an 8 X 12 shop. A few years ago he was telling me how he “just gets byR...

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Part 6: The world is her litterbox

05-10-2009 09:11 PM by dennis mitchell | 20 comments »

A few years back my cat decided to get untrained. She started crapping behind the furniture. It was pretty strange. The solution was to move her to the shop where she has access to plenty of sawdust. So I get to share my shop with cat crap. Wonderful. This cat loves to ride on my shoulders. She will sit up there while I’m cutting 4X8’s or at the miter saw and just purr away. She will also stand right under your feet or try to climb your legs while at the saw! This picture is her s...

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Part 7: Another gallery done gone

06-14-2009 11:15 PM by dennis mitchell | 23 comments »

Tomorrow I set out to pick up my furniture from another store that has closed up. In the ten years I’ve been building furniture I’ve had my furniture in four different galleries. All of which have shut their doors. One of them more than once. This one lasted a year. The hard part is knowing how much heart the owners of these stores have invested. Let alone money and time. I see this and I know the American dream has died. What is the average? One out of ten small businesses survi...

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Part 8: Hanging it up

06-18-2009 02:09 AM by dennis mitchell | 38 comments »

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 econom...

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Part 9: Happy ThanksGrumblings Day!

11-27-2009 03:04 AM by dennis mitchell | 16 comments »

Ya I had to work today! Finely got a job and the contractor screws me on the schedule. But damn it was nice to play behind the saw. Grumbling done right has to start with the knowledge that I’ve got it made. One of the few independent Americans left. I get to do what my skills and talent direct me towards rather than deal with the legal/corporate/bureaucratic, anything for the mighty dollar, world of business the rest of America gets to suffer with. I sometimes grumble about how many pe...

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Part 10: Louis L'Amour

04-01-2010 06:27 AM by dennis mitchell | 8 comments »

“There is a knowledge in the muscles of a workman that goes beyond the mind, a skill that lies in the flesh and the fiber, and my hands and my heart held a love of the wood…” Louis L’Amour. Words of a great wordworker. Trying to teach woodworking to a beginner really brings this home. No matter how smart, or talented, it just takes time to learn how to hold a chisel, or run a belt sander. This is something no hobbyist can know. He might build to a higher standard (and ...

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Part 11: Buy American?

04-27-2010 12:15 AM by dennis mitchell | 10 comments »

Just got another buy American (insert Local for my foreign buddies) Email from someone I know who just buys the cheapest crap. I figure if half the folks who believe in “Buy American”, bought American, one quarter of the time, and an eighth of the time it was of decent quality, woodworking would pay a good wage and I’d have a real job!

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Part 12: Politics Religion and Woodworking

05-12-2010 09:06 AM by dennis mitchell | 91 comments »

We use to talk about God and Politics here at LumberJocks. We had no need for a rule excluding it. From my point of view woodworking is a spiritual experience. The very nature of it. The heart of a tree. The finest examples of the art of woodworking are found in religious buildings around the world. I don’t see how we can really talk about woodworking and not talk about the deep meaning it has in so many peoples lives. I guess politics and woodworking has such a special meaning to me...

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Part 13: Woodworkers spark the end of western civilization

06-19-2011 09:38 PM by dennis mitchell | 10 comments »

Not many grumbles from the shop these days. It seems that when a contractor orders a kitchen he expects a completion date. Go figure. Health issues have limited my work day to an hour or two a day. So projects are few and far between. Unfortunately so are paychecks. The woodworking withdrawals set in bad so I started a project just for me. I raised bees in my younger days and wanted to get a hive again, but they cost some bucks, so when I found out about top-bar hives I knew I could get a hiv...

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