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This from the days when we worked for people with just too..much...money

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Project by John Blunt posted 532 days ago 2888 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

That’s right Too Much Money! I am glad I had my time in that market, and really glad to leave it behind for my own creative path. We did some beautiful work back then, and it really wasn’t our work. I really enjoy conceiving, designing, and building woodwork without a team of managers bothering me!

-- Seattle John, http://www.isgoodwoodworks.com/index.php





16 comments so far

View stefang's profile

stefang

12872 posts in 1959 days


#1 posted 532 days ago

Having sold quite a bit of high end furniture in my youth I can well understand your mixed feelings about working for wealthy clients, many of whom have no understanding of the processes involved. I expect that the great renaissance artists and craftsmen felt much the same way. Regardless, we need those folks to finance the realization of creative and innovative work.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13732 posts in 963 days


#2 posted 532 days ago

I built a staircase for one recently. Money was good. They were annoying through the entire process.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View CampD's profile

CampD

1199 posts in 2111 days


#3 posted 532 days ago

Been there, done that!
now I enjoy drinking my coffee in the shop in peace.

-- Doug...

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15582 posts in 1492 days


#4 posted 532 days ago

“The Agony and the Ecstasy”

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1100 days


#5 posted 532 days ago

They were annoying through the entire process.

How so?

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View John Blunt's profile

John Blunt

31 posts in 564 days


#6 posted 532 days ago

Stefang. I agree that this is nothing new. I also believe when we who make share resources we are much more free to originate our functional art from inside ourselves. My shop is a collective that hosts seven independent woodworkers, several hobbyists, and lots of short term renters. It is as if each of us has the shop to ourselves at about a tenth the cost! We almost never get in each others way!

I am grateful that there are people who have the means and the appreciation to support difficult and expensive work. Regardless, by sharing we level the playing field. My people do not have to fear the power of “No”, as I did for so many years.

-- Seattle John, http://www.isgoodwoodworks.com/index.php

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

1910 posts in 1646 days


#7 posted 531 days ago

I have a friend that cuts and installs custom wood flooring in very fancy homes and boats here in the Islands. Always amazes me when he says after a couple years he will be called back to install a new floor after they have had it torn up….”just wanted it to look different”. Yea, I have also done projects for customers like this….way to much throw away money.

-- Larry in sunny and warm Hawaii,

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1100 days


#8 posted 531 days ago

I think I a going to get some flack for this post, but I do not understand the attitude that they have “too much money.” I see nothing wrong with wanting to live in a beautiful place, even if they are competing with the Jonses.
To some, buying a LN plane is foolish, not to mention a Holtey or Brese plane. To others (like me) buying a beautiful tool that is also functional and disappears in your hand is a pleasure and makes my job more enjoyable. You gotta put yourself in their place, people with a lot of money are paranoid and believe that 9 times out of 10 people is out to screw them.

If you have a customer that is a PITA and is constantly looking over your shoulder the simplest way to get rid of them is to explain to them politely that the longer they keep interrupting you, the longer the job will take and you will have to charge them more. If they say fine, then charge them more!
You can usually tell when a customer is going to be a PITA right from the bidding and planning stage, if so, bid accordingly.

I would rather have a customer that is obsessive but has the money to pay me what I want, than a customer that leaves me alone but tries to nickel and dime me at every turn, contractors and architects are the bane of my existence and I finally decided not to work with them anymore.

I am going to sound like a jerk, but none of you who have responded are famous for your furniture making. Jobs like this, although boring are the ones that put food on our table and allow us to have a decent life. For me there is no such thing as a customer that has too much money, I approach them with the mind set that they are going to be great customers and a source of future earnings for me.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View John Blunt's profile

John Blunt

31 posts in 564 days


#9 posted 531 days ago

Jorge,
I fine with what you say, no flack from me. Too…much…money was meant to imply that there was so much that there was not point in worrying about it.

I do believe that extreme income disparity brings economies down. I don’t want to go to far off topic here so I will leave it at that.

As for what made it so frustrating, we agree! It was the huge hierarchy of architect, designers, and the builder that frustrated me. Without much access to them for problem solving, a big part of my talent was wasted. The home owners were not often directly troublesome.

Like you, I pass on that arrangement, and work directly with the home owners, or furniture customers. We are not even dependent on wealthy clients. The sharing of our shop knocks costs down to a tiny sum for everyone here so we can deliver highly custom work to people of modest means.

Thank you for your comment.

-- Seattle John, http://www.isgoodwoodworks.com/index.php

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

1910 posts in 1646 days


#10 posted 531 days ago

Jorg, I can’t speak for others here, but I think we understood the meaning of someone with to much money. I do not begrudge anyone for making a great living and are able to have the toys they want….but just because you may not have heard about us or our woodworking skills doesn’t mean we don’t have them. I like many of us here, owned and operated a Company in years past…retirement seems to give us the chance of trying new things in the shop. I for one do like anyone that is happy with something I made and if they happen to be able to purchase nearly anything they like, it always makes me feel good to know they now own something I made with my own hands (those and the power tools that is)

-- Larry in sunny and warm Hawaii,

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1100 days


#11 posted 531 days ago

but just because you may not have heard about us or our woodworking skills doesn’t mean we don’t have them.

I never meant or implied that you don’t have the skills, but there seems to be an undercurrent of disdain or animosity towards these people who have money. Now, as John explained, I have no problem when someone gets on a soap box about architects, building contractor and in some cases designers. Late payments, supposed flaws or out of specs work so they can delay/not pay, changes on the spec in the middle of the work expected to be done at no charge etc. But these are not the customers, they are the go between and in most cases the ones who make out life miserable. Life is too short to put up with these kind of a$$holes. But it neither should be a reflection on the person with the check book, who many at times are very nice people, they no longer have anything to prove, they know they have it made.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View John Blunt's profile

John Blunt

31 posts in 564 days


#12 posted 531 days ago

Almost without exception my clients who had billions or near billions also had enormous business networks of people who worked for them. In that mostly corporate world the systems are vertical. Hierarchical systems encourage people to tell people on the next level down what to do, and to expect them to deliver regardless of how it benefits or harms them. I believe that is what you are describing, Jorge.

It is a wasteful system that transfers much more wealth that it creates.

I have worked for some very wealthy, down to earth and helpful homeowners. I worked for some excellent and humble architects and designers. I am sorry, Jorge, that you had an excess of negative managers. They were all hired by very wealthy people to do their work for them.

Now, can we put this to rest? I much prefer to share the good that I have, and to partake of whatever you may offer that makes us ALL richer in every sense of the word.

-- Seattle John, http://www.isgoodwoodworks.com/index.php

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

1910 posts in 1646 days


#13 posted 531 days ago

If I have said anything that offended anyone, a big I’m sorry from my end as well. And John you did a great job of explaining all of this. I agree it is not the money that may make people a little hard to work with, but those are the people that do pay for what me build.. I have several friends that I have worked for over the years that have been very well off and they really seemed to really like what I made…others we not that way. So perhaps it all started when they were young. Either way as long as they pay I always walk away smiling.

Hey John, keep an eye out for my wife. She will be in your neck of the woods for the next few days visiting a couple of our Grandkids up in Kingston. We lived in WA for many years…lovely area, but the cold and wet just took it’s tole on our bones.

-- Larry in sunny and warm Hawaii,

View John Blunt's profile

John Blunt

31 posts in 564 days


#14 posted 530 days ago

Hey Hawaiilad,
It would be great if your wife would visit! When she is in Seattle, she may call me on my cell # 206-354-8127
I would love to give her a tour of our shop and introduce her to some of our many shop share people.
John

-- Seattle John, http://www.isgoodwoodworks.com/index.php

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

1910 posts in 1646 days


#15 posted 530 days ago

John, Thank you for the invite for my wife. She had planned to stay until Tuesday and I just received a call from her saying she is coming home on Sunday….I got in the middle of a big dog fight yesterday and had my leg torn up a bit….a friend took me to the Hospital and just came down a bit ago and changed the bandage. And of course my wife is about ready to kill me for getting hurt….what’s up with that?? Anyway, perhaps I might visit on one of the fall trips I take to visit the Grandkids up in Kingston.

-- Larry in sunny and warm Hawaii,

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