Having finally arrived at an advanced age and being a woodworker of many experiences, I find that a new direction is in order. I’ve heard that experience will give you wisdom but I’ve been wondering about a new direction for my woodworking, and life really, and find that the right path appears to be a combination of love…. and remuneration. As we all know – everybody’s gotta eat. I’ve always been one to do projects that interested and challenged me – not the run of the mill things. There has been plenty of challenging projects out there but the remuneration part is where the process breaks down. I have had many designers and decorators ask for the improbable and sometimes the impossible. When confronted with such requests I never say NO! I say well….... and then attempt to find a path that leads there.
Plenty of my clients have wanted to create special furniture or spaces and have had their ideas trampled on by unwilling contractors (woodworkers) who tell them it can’t be done. Some clients accept this, others continue to look for someone who will at least attempt to find a way to do what they ask. I have tried to be part of the second group of woodworkers although not always completely willingly.
So I’m making space here, in front of my fellow woodworkers, to examine and explore forward looking possibilities.
I am intending to share my more memorable and instructive experiences in an effort to help the “unknown” woodworker avoid or embrace the life that I have had. I will start with the recent and work backward to let you see how one gets to such a place.
I recently posted, on LJ, a ukulele that I made because I didn’t have anything to do that was of real interest. It was a real pleasure and turned out pretty well. For a first time luthier, I felt like I did a passable job. The wood work part was no problem, the “setting up” part was a new experience entirely. I had to feel my way forward on the string slotting and height adjustments, but since feeling my way forward is not (at all) a new experience I kept going until I eventually arrived at a playable instrument setting.
When I was a child, my next door neighbor, an oil field “roughneck”, taught me to play the ukulele. I was about 12 years old then and I have had a uke ever since. So playing the one I made is a real pleasure for me. And now thinking about making them to sell is an early thought, logical or not. However, most of the people I have talked to have discouraged me with the question “how can you make a living doing that?” Well…not to be discouraged by not making a living, I have decided to proceed in that direction. I will report on those results down the line. I hope these reports will be an encouragement to myself and to other woodworkers.