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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 07-29-2010 02:46 PM 1454 views 1 time favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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poopiekat

4226 posts in 3202 days


07-29-2010 02:46 PM

Do you ever get annoyed when you present your latest new project to the public and you get questions (mostly from other woodworkers) that irritate? After putting your usual measure of heart and soul into a project, and get asked “Which router fixture do you use, Leigh or PC”, or “Where did you buy your patterns” when your creation was conceived in your imagination and built by hand? I’ve learned to tolerate some degree of naivete, like when people make remarks about the finish, thinking that only polyurethane 2 inches thick will do, or wondering why there are no metal drawer guides on a newly built Mission sideboard. Seems the craft itself has morphed drastically in the last few decades. I cannot, or won’t, focus on todays buyer these days; I have absolutely no idea anymore what John Q. Public wants. Same with my antique furniture restorations ….nobody wants the old stuff anymore either. I feel like a relic in my own lifetime, just like the blacksmith, ice-man or cooper. Even Toys-R-Us is preferred nowadays over Gramps’ potentially dangerous, untested toys and play furniture. There’s hardly any place left for us conventional woodworkers anymore, unless ramming sheetgoods through a cabinet saw all day for profit is your idea of fun.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!


21 replies so far

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

265 posts in 2822 days


#1 posted 07-29-2010 02:56 PM

I know what you mean with regard to poly. I think people don’t know what they are missing since they havn’t gotten a chance to experience the other (in my opinion) more beautiful finishes that can be applied. It will be interesting if I run into the metal draw sides issue once I start building drawers (next few projects). In the end I build projects mainly for my own enjoyment. I know most people don’t see have the stuff I thought through when designing and making them.

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FatScratch

189 posts in 2770 days


#2 posted 07-29-2010 03:24 PM

I bet those kinds of questions must be annoying. I am new to woodworking and constantly learning that tried and true methods of construction, finishes, etc. are the real quality in woodworking – as well as other products. People simply do not know any better, unless you politely educate them. Take the opportunity to say with pride that you don’t use purchased patterns or specific jigs; the wood was crafted using your imagination and hand tools. Educate people on why wooden slides may be better than metal, etc. you need to point to the longevity of these kinds of pieces; it took me a little while to understand that aspect.

I wish someone with more knowledge had explained to me why my particle board dressers with fake veneer would not last and could not be effectively repaired if something broke on them. I wouldn’t have had to purchase better quality stuff. We need more people with your eperience trying to educate younger generations about quality and “investment” in the products we buy – buy it once, not three or four times because its cheaper and doesn’t last.

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canadianchips

2362 posts in 2465 days


#3 posted 07-29-2010 03:30 PM

I’ve been struggling question most of my life. “What do public want ? ”
I have the satisfaction of watching my nephews and Niece play with TOYS that very few others have.
I have satisfaction of having pieces of furniture in my home that NO ONE else has.
I have satisfaction of buying old pieces really cheap, cause John Q. Public is tossing it out !
I have satisfaction of giving those old antique pieces a 4th leg that it had when it was built !
AND one day I will have satisfaction of watching people throw out there cheap designer furniture and replace it with quality furniture that lasts.
People today think they have too much money, call in a designer, decorate every couple of years.
Designers would be out of work if they designed things that last !
(For the farmer, John Deere admitted the worst tractor they made was the 4020. IT lasted forever and they were unable to sell new ones)
Hate to sound like the bearer of bad news BUT !
When the economy crashes (And it is) people will revert back to tradiional long lasting FUNCTIONAL pieces.
That day I will have satisfaction of ALREADY having mine.
Keep doing what you are doing, it makes you happy DO IT.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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richgreer

4541 posts in 2542 days


#4 posted 07-29-2010 04:10 PM

After reading this I am thankful that I don’t have to worry about what the public likes. I build what I like for myself and for gifts.

b.t.w. – The John Deere 4020 was, without question, the best tractor we ever owned. It just refused to break down or wear out. Actually, the only thing that wore out was the seat and that was replaceable.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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spclPatrolGroup

233 posts in 2362 days


#5 posted 07-29-2010 04:43 PM

I dont think i’m that old yet (31), but I have been getting into handtools as of late, and having people continously ask my why would I use a hand tool when I have a power tool that can do the task for me is starting to grow old. Why own kitchen knifes when you can just throw everything into the food proccessor?

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poopiekat

4226 posts in 3202 days


#6 posted 07-29-2010 04:55 PM

Thanks for the great replies!
Yeah, this is a new world, and eventually even our arguments in favor of well-built products will not be valid anymore. It will fall on deaf ears, as people gravitate toward products that are cheap, produced in developing 3rd-world countries and forced on us by G-8 initiatives…where our spending money MUST end up in the pockets of poorer nations. future generations will not see the point of merchandise made of high quality. And… would anyone see the irony of, say, a repro Chippendale dining room suite, hand-crafted by Indonesian artisans? What would be the point of that? I have enough projects for our home and workshop to keep me busy for the rest of my days…and I can almost hear the complaints already… that the armoire I built is either too heavy to lift, and is not knock-down constructed… making it of even less value to my heirs, who anxiously await the opening of the new IKEA store next year….I’m sad….

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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canadianchips

2362 posts in 2465 days


#7 posted 07-29-2010 05:06 PM

richgreer !
WHAT DID YOU SAY ?, (ha ha) , my dad’s 4020 had a cab, my hearing has suffered from those days .

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

726 posts in 2426 days


#8 posted 07-29-2010 06:59 PM

Hey P-cat, I know what you are saying; but don’t feel alone. When was the last time any auto body shop used Bondo instead of replacing a bent part? When does our society teach our kids to repair anything rather than just go buy a new one? Nobody is taught how to do electrical or plumbing work in school, it’s all about paying someone to do it. There is a lot of history taught, but what about a future? It seems society in general is all about paying, money money money. If someone wants a craft or skill, they need to buy it. I feel it all started when people decided that life was meant to become a millionaire rather than a parent. There is truth in the older-than-me peoples’ statements that tv was the beginning of the end of American society and craftsmanship. The internet, video games, on and on. But the bottom line is that America changes, and as it does the people left behind don’t like it. Welcome to the club. I agree with what you say, but being sad or angry about it doesn’t help. Stick to your guns and do what is right by you and yours, be happy with you and yours, and let the world be what it will be. We are a million miles from what our founding fathers had in mind for their creation, but here we are. So… Hi!

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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poopiekat

4226 posts in 3202 days


#9 posted 07-29-2010 07:14 PM

Thanks, Nomad62! Yep, we understand the same things, and I know I should be more upbeat about it! I can still stay very busy doing the things I find most gratifying…and wise enough to know whether and where my efforts will be most appreciated. As a child of the 60’s we were discouraged from getting our hands dirty in those nasty Practical Arts courses, admonished about any occupation where you’d get your hands dirty…then in the 80’s and 90’s there was a resurgence of respect for the trades…but it seems to have faded away again. I guess timing is everything!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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SCOTSMAN

5839 posts in 3053 days


#10 posted 07-29-2010 07:17 PM

I’m with Rich everything I make is for gifts for my and friends and family.
It makes life much easier.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

4226 posts in 3202 days


#11 posted 07-29-2010 07:28 PM

Alistair,
You are absolutely right about producing for friends and family. I’m concentrating only on liesurely projects. Though I have been bonked by parents of young children who spoke of their preference for Fisher-Price plastic toys over handmade items.. It was an ouchie… but I’m learning and adapting to this new reality.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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poopiekat

4226 posts in 3202 days


#12 posted 07-29-2010 07:35 PM

canadianchips:
It’s good to know that there are so many woodworkers who have reached this stage of life as I have.
If, god forbid, the economy totally collapses, perhaps us old-timers will be in demand once again, converting lumber into useful objects and necessary items, because nobody else will know how. I’m glad my fellow LJs had the right things to say, at the right time. I needed a bit of attitude adjustment and once again I’ve found my focus thanks to all of you.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View brunob's profile

brunob

2277 posts in 3637 days


#13 posted 07-29-2010 08:06 PM

I’m a make it and give it away person. As an example: I enjoy making pens. I carry one around in my pocket. The first person to admire it, gets it. Then I put another in my pocket. Get to make a lot of pens that way.

-- Bruce from Central New York...now, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2405 posts in 2393 days


#14 posted 07-29-2010 08:33 PM

I think I am going to sound really old here, but when we were kids there was so much time to play outside in the evenings in the summer, and everything seemed so relaxed.

Our lives have been transformed into an instant gratification society.

Everyone wants it all right now, fast food restaurants, drive through oil changes, microwaved foods, etc. and I see this also relating to the construction and restoration and woodworking businesses.
Some of our imposed deadlines are rediculous.

Quality woodworking takes time, and in my opinion, the current “right now” generation does not understand, so as some of you have said, we need to be better at education in this area.

One of my phrases is “Ask better questions, you will get better answers”...

Going back out to ride the 4020.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

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ChuckV

2882 posts in 2995 days


#15 posted 07-29-2010 09:06 PM

My wife and I are very fortunate that we are able to raise our two boys on the fringes of the madness, if not slightly outside. We live in a rural area and grow much of what we eat. We also have some goats and chickens. Our TV can do nothing other than play DVDs and videos.

My six and eight-year old boys give me hope for the future. They are home-schooled, mostly by my amazing wife. When I see the boys playing, they remind me of myself when I was their age. They have strong imaginations and are constantly making up their own games and toys. Lately, my wife and I have been spending lots of time with them in the woodshop. They make all sorts of toys for themselves out of my scrap piles.

It’s not that we are raising them in some secluded fantasy-world. They enjoy these simpler things that take more time and effort than the more common stuff that they see at some of their friends’ houses.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

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