I’m not that pretentious to claim to know Shakespeare, I just wanted to drop a little mindset thing in here, just before the last part(s) of this blog.
So hit the back button now if you’re looking for woodworking tips or technical stuff. There’s none of that here. Don’t go posting complaints in the comments, although judging by the low comment count, I think that unlikely anyway (what?, is it me? was it something I said?)
Standing at the planer or saw or router table with the ear muffs on, I often think there must be an easier way to make a living. There’s not been a whole lot of satisfaction accompanying this job. I liked going out to meet my client, I liked designing it, I liked it when I got the job and started making it. But now the pressures on and it’s beginning to feel a chore. It’s not going to take much longer, I’ve been lucky with it, nothing has happened that couldn’t be fixed easily. The worst thing being one end panel took a bow of just shy 1/8 following a twist in the grain. Wood movement that I hadn’t expected. It was perfect when I glued it up, come to hang the door, another thing to fix. Other than that, nothing’s been dropped or dented, everything fits well. I did put a door down on a screw, it was going to happen sooner or later, but a blast of steam and a quick bit of sanding took care of that. Now I’m really looking forward to seeing it finished and fitted.
I’ve gone well over time on this already. That doesn’t seem to matter. I can’t rush it, this job has got to be done properly. Putting the bolection mouldings on has proved to be awkward, cutting the crown was quite intense as well, first time cutting crown on the flat with compound mitres – bevel 30° mitre 35.3° for a 45° spring angle but it works perfectly and it’s lot safer than trying to hold short pieces upright. The crown really gives it an air of grandeur.
Doing things properly is what it’s all about for me. I never used to be a cabinet maker. Worked for the Man in graphics prepress for 20 years, chewed up and spat out by the machine, unemployable in a shrinking industry that pays peanuts for monkeys. I have the guy who made and fitted my kitchen and wardrobes to thank for my career change. He wasn’t a kindly old benefactor or master craftsman willing to take me on. No. Just a brute judging by the quality of my expensive fitted kitchen. My epiphany at the time was “I can do that better than that” and that is how I got here. Calloused hands and all.
It’s nice working on a diverse range of stuff, but that stuff is only as diverse as my clients. I have a few with a bit of imagination, they always want the jobs I really look forward to. Not so much fun the humdrum for the cost conscious. Maybe I’m a snob, it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s highs and lows living life as a self employed cabinet maker – the agony and the ecstasy – a little dramatic perhaps, but true nonetheless. I want to get away from the low end of the market, I hope this job will in some way help with that, but it will merely be a photo on a website at some point. I’m reminded that the word ‘hope’ doesn’t belong in a plan.
‘Dream’ probably doesn’t either.