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The agony, the agony, some more agony and the ecstasy #15: Soliloquy

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Blog entry by 404 - Not Found posted 434 days ago 697 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Hitting the wall... Part 15 of The agony, the agony, some more agony and the ecstasy series Part 16: oh, please! »

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.



8 comments so far

View madts's profile (online now)

madts

1229 posts in 935 days


#1 posted 434 days ago

Keep on digging, you are allmost there.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2173 days


#2 posted 434 days ago

The work of yours I’ve seen always looks like top quality workmanship,that does not happen by accident. Wood working as a business is not as glamorous as many would think. You will finish it ,it will turn out great and then your done,until next time, then you start the process all over again with the next project.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4125 posts in 671 days


#3 posted 434 days ago

A post with the word ‘soliloquy’ gets my attention.

I have a lot of respect for anyone who makes a living at woodworking or even tries to. While it’s great to say that our jobs/careers should be something we’re passionate about, a job is also a great way to extinguish the passion…

Hang in there. It will get done, one step at a time.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4125 posts in 671 days


#4 posted 434 days ago

And from the old Shakespeare himself:

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

There might be a lesson in there for all of us…... just sayin’

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

1886 posts in 464 days


#5 posted 434 days ago

Love the post. I think carpenters/woodworkers tend towards prose and introspection.

A friend once told me; “A carpenter can do anything”. Years later, I am starting to believe that.

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

View sras's profile

sras

3777 posts in 1725 days


#6 posted 433 days ago

Any job has its sucky parts. Good jobs have less of this. Enjoy the good parts and maybe the sucky parts will diminish.

Thanks for sharing and good luck!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3578 posts in 1963 days


#7 posted 433 days ago

renners, we all, at least I did have those exact same feelings. I worked in high tech for 40 years and many times, more than I can count, I wondered what if I was doing anything worthwhile.

One of my managers had the same feelings so when she decided that enough is enough, she quit and moved back to Norway. She is happy as a Lark (if they have those in Norway). I got some relief when I was working in DNA micro-arrays as these arrays were helping research labs discover causalities for breast cancer which was to late for my mother but I hope it will help some. So hang in there it will all lighten up … eventually!

Buckethead, not to turn this into a religious slant but one carpenter even rose from the dead!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1565 days


#8 posted 433 days ago

Wood working as a business is not as glamorous as many would think. You will finish it ,it will turn out great and then your done,until next time, then you start the process all over again with the next project.

Thank you Jim, that’s it in a nutshell.

I’m not down about this job, just in the grinding it out stage. I will be beaming from ear to ear once that spray gun comes out – and the ecstasy? well that will come.

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