How do you say... NO!!

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Forum topic by Richard posted 10-08-2010 10:26 PM 1858 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 3298 days

10-08-2010 10:26 PM

A question for all of you woodworkers.

I do woodworking as a hobby and I donate most of my projects to charities, raffles, silent auctions, retirement gifts and ect. Every so often I am approached by people who are impressed with my projects and they want me to make them something for money. Saying how their grandma would really like this. Or how they want this for their wife’s birthday. The funny thing is, I am just a average woodworker.

I decline stating that I am way too busy, (which is a bold LIE, because I tend to build projects which only interests me). And out of the blue, a new charity or project comes up which interests me and I make something for that charity and like Murphy’s Law sooner or later I run into those people who I told them I was too busy. They ask me if I am still busy and if more money would interest me.

How do you guys politely turn these people down, While still remaining friends?

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

33 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3148 days

#1 posted 10-08-2010 10:34 PM

I can get interested in pretty much anything with the right price offered, so I don’t know.

Also, now that you have told a fib, it’s even harder to come back with “Sorry, I only do things to donate to charity”

View CharlieM1958's profile


16278 posts in 4395 days

#2 posted 10-08-2010 10:36 PM

I just tell them woodworking is something I do for fun, and I make things I like to make. I go on to explain that taking someone’s money to make what they want is a whole different ball game, and makes my fun more like work.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 3298 days

#3 posted 10-08-2010 10:43 PM

Wow! That is how I feel exactly word to word. I have always thought this way deep down and you came up with what I was thinking. I guess woodworkers think alike.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3292 days

#4 posted 10-08-2010 10:44 PM

have you try with a simpel NO!
I´m not up in that league so I don´t no
but Charlies comment makes sence to say


View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3321 days

#5 posted 10-08-2010 10:53 PM

Maybe instead of money you could ask for some obscure, rare, ultra exotic stock in exchange for doing their project. I’m not talking about a blank from the keel of the Mayflower, more in line with 10bf of clear Madagascar Ebony. This way you’re not charging them money, you get stock to use in a future project and they can decide if they want to pay top dollar, wait for a bargain or don’t need the project done that much.

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 3984 days

#6 posted 10-08-2010 11:43 PM

If I don’t want to do a project for someone I just quote them a price that’s out of their league!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4302 days

#7 posted 10-09-2010 01:55 AM

I’m with Charlie and Richard. My answer on a whole lot of things is “I do these things for free because I find them fun. If I charged my usual hourly rate to do them, you couldn’t afford them. And I’d have to do them on a schedule and do them to someone else’s specs.”

If someone ever calls my bluff, well, I’m gonna rake in some decent dosh.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Mogebier's profile


170 posts in 3210 days

#8 posted 10-09-2010 02:49 AM

I just tell everyone that I will get to whatever project they want me to do for them when I’m done doing the projects I want to do for myself.
Then I show them the list. The “Master To Do List” that I have had for almost 14 years now. Then they leave me alone :)

-- You can get more with a kind word and a 2 by 4, than you can with just a kind word.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3252 days

#9 posted 10-09-2010 03:22 AM

I have the same problem with a slightly different twist. I do a lot of work for my church and I am well known within the church by many of the older members. They will approach me with a request to do things in their home which are, essentially, handyman work. I do it if I know them to be rather poor, especially if it is an important project for health or safety reasons.

However, recently I got myself suckered into doing some cosmetic work inside a couple’s expensive RV. There was no health or safety issues and the people who own that RV clearly can afford to hire someone. I’ve got to learn to say “no” in situations like this.

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

View Jesse 's profile


105 posts in 3039 days

#10 posted 10-09-2010 07:32 AM

Well, you could always try to flip Murphy’s law around in your favor? Attempt to sell your work and then surely no one will be looking.

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 3298 days

#11 posted 10-09-2010 07:42 AM

So True! You hear about woodworkers trying to go into business, and trying to find customers that will pay. Maybe I should carry some cards of some of my fellow local woodworkers and steer them towards their direction.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View snowdog's profile


1166 posts in 4160 days

#12 posted 10-09-2010 01:44 PM

I read here a long time ago and I use it all the time when I am asked to do some wood project for others, “I would be happy to show you how to do it, come to my shop and I will teach you” everyone so far has declined except for my sister and we had a blast working together. This only works with friends and family but anyone else (as long as your polite) really does not matter :)

You could also work out a deal with another lumberjock to do the project and get a commission :)

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4199 days

#13 posted 10-09-2010 02:00 PM

I just say “Naw, I don’t want to do that” .
Frankly, I’m rather fed up with charities.
They are becoming businesses and used by governments to offset their primary responsibilities or tax dodges for wealthy corporations.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3044 days

#14 posted 10-09-2010 02:00 PM

Just tell them the truth and they can’t find fault you for anything. It’s your business what you do with your leisure time.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3657 days

#15 posted 10-09-2010 04:57 PM

I would just tell them that woodworking is a hobby and that you dont do work for hire.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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