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Forum topic by agallant posted 10-03-2011 03:40 AM 1832 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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551 posts in 3030 days

10-03-2011 03:40 AM

I am sure a few of you out there agree with me. Working on projects for money sucks the fun out of the hobby and I am not going to do it any more. Recently a friend asked me to make a table for her, she wanted it made out of pine which I hate working with and a style that I hate. The project was like pulling teeth. I hated every moment of it, the wood, the style, the deadline everything. I decided after that no more taking on projects that I don’t want to do regardless of the money. I have a 50-60 hour a week job, I don’t need to fill my hobby time with another job.

21 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8540 posts in 3792 days

#1 posted 10-03-2011 03:44 AM


-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ShaneA's profile


7033 posts in 2742 days

#2 posted 10-03-2011 04:01 AM

Doing it for money certainly adds another feel to it. I can understand where you are coming from with not wanting to do it in addition to having a full time job. Since I often need the money to pay bills or finance more tool/lumber purchases, I find commissions almost impossible to pass up. i have been pretty lucky to have significant design input. I can see where that could make things difficult. Especially with pine or red oak involved:)

View Gary's profile


9352 posts in 3576 days

#3 posted 10-03-2011 04:11 AM

I’m with you. I do sell stuff but it’s always after the fact. Something I’ve been caught with is doing stuff for free for someone….let me explain.. Our Church puts on a lunch for the school teachers & admin a week prior to the start of school. They give them stuff that can be used by the teachers during the year. They also usually give door prizes. Well, this year, the person that always gets the door prizes was out of pocket. So, I volunteered one of those boxes I made to be used as a door prize. Well, today I got a request from the school that they want me to build a couple of things for them to auction off to raise money. Well, of course I’m going to do it. But, now I feel like I’m on someone’s mailing list. And, I feel guilty for that!!! Oh well…

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3250 days

#4 posted 10-03-2011 06:30 AM

I have a neighbor that owns over 100 rental homes. Very cheap. Always talking about how poor he is and that he is only in the property management business. Drives a 30 year old Toyota and always looks like a bum. He dropped by and not knowing that I know who he is, asks me to cut and route some door blanks from his wood. I do this and he offers to pay me $50.00 only he just doesn’t happen to have it on him.

Just to be good neighbor I would have done it for free, BUT he offered.When he offered, now I expect it. Has to do with being a man of your word. It’s been two months and I’m still waiting. I see him drive by almost everyday. I have a feeling patron is going to win the Publishers Clearinghouse $10,000,000.00 before I see that 50 bucks. lol

Now if that keeps him away, it worth it to be rid of him. lol

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3452 days

#5 posted 10-03-2011 06:36 AM

I do some commission work but I am very selective about what I accept. I find it much more enjoyable to design and create my work and then sell it…what you see is what you get. This makes my work life much more enjoyable…

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 4101 days

#6 posted 10-03-2011 06:46 AM

I have to agree with you on this one. I like to woodwork for fun and relaxation, and it seems anytime I am doing a project for money it really sucks all the fun out of the hobby. When I got my job at a cabinet shop I thought it would be my dream job…working with wood all day….well, boy was I surprised. It seems that building stuff the way other people want it, in the style that other people want, in the materiel other people want, on other peoples schedule wasn’t that much fun at all. Throw in a cheap, over bearing boss, and a ton of menial, boring duties and it wasn’t such a dreamy job after all…don’t get me wrong..there was allot of fun things about it..I got to operate one of the coolest toys ever..a giant CNC router. My wife constantly bugs me to make and sell cutting boards. I like making them, but I am afraid if i start selling them then it will suck the fun out of it. Then if I have orders, I will feel obligated to work on them every nite….then what..the hobby turns into a chore…


View tom427cid's profile


294 posts in 2614 days

#7 posted 10-03-2011 07:36 AM

weldig rod; I have had this happen before.My solution has been to catch the person in public better yet at church and hopefully there will be a couple of people around,and I ask(smiling of course) hey,so-and-so, did you forget about the job I did for you? Perhaps you can pay me now? Please and thank you. People like that don’t like shoddy business practices broadcast in public. Remember,keep smiling.Then he won’t know how serious you really are.

-- "certified sawdust maker"

View andy6601's profile


91 posts in 2612 days

#8 posted 10-03-2011 02:48 PM

I am doing some refinishing work for a lady that I have done odd jobs for for years. Anytime you do ANYTHING for money it takes it to a different level. Yes, it can suck the fun out of a hobby in a hurry, however, personally I am tickled pink that someone wants to pay me to do something I would normally do for nothing or recreation. For me it is a mindset, not to mention I get to use the excuse to my wife “Well I have to get this done, and out to the garage I go.” I also think that it is not for everyone, my father in law, refuses to sell anything thing that he makes, and he has an awsome power tool shop. I would chalk this up as a learning expirence and maybe just build what you want and then try to sell it. If woodworking is not your sole source of income you can afford to be choosey on what you do and don’t do. Just my thoughts, it is a balencing act that you watch carefully.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10898 posts in 3572 days

#9 posted 10-03-2011 03:24 PM

Being a professional hobbiest, I can sympathize with you, agallant.
I dislike anything that causes me to take time away from my chosen field of endeavor.
I have invested bunches of time, effort and money to build my rep as a dedicated hobbiest and even the mention of “WORK” makes me physically ill.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2619 days

#10 posted 10-03-2011 03:50 PM

Ok, IMO I think you are looking at it the wrong way. Every commission regardless of what you think of it is an opportunity for you to learn something and might represent a challenge. I wish I had your problem, here in Mexico, people go to a furniture store, look at something they like, like an 8 seat dinning table that is being sold for $5000, they take a snap shot with their cell phone and then come to you and want you to make it for $700. This just happened to me last week.
Of course this is my business, you have a job already, so I understand you wanting to do only those projects you like.

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

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3229 days

#11 posted 10-03-2011 04:04 PM

I am retired and set up the woodworkshop as a hobby to keep me out of trouble and off street corners, now
I find I can make rather nice projects with rather expensive toys. If I charge by the hour for use of tools and
materials, I can not let a bowl sell for $50 that is worth $200.00 minimum and I can not see selling something
for less than it is worth. I just make what I want and give it to family and friends, someday, I may change my
procedure. The extra income would be nice, but that would make it work, not fun and I retired to get away
from work. It was fun giving a nice turned bowl from a breadboard to the woodworking friend who had given
me a basket case Delta cross slide rest, and telling him that it was his fault for getting me started on the damn
thing in the first place.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3578 days

#12 posted 10-03-2011 04:57 PM

I guess I am the lucky one. Nobody likes my crude attempts on projects and nobody in their right mind would commission me to make anything except firewood, for which there is a growing market. :-).
My wife thinks otherwise, saying items I make could be marketed as “Shabby Chic” and make a fortune, but I am happy in my little world making Chinese knock offs where quality, fit and finish does not matter, and the best part is that it burns giving out good heat, something to consider as winter draws near.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3030 days

#13 posted 10-03-2011 06:59 PM

I am glad to hear that I am not alone. It is always tempting ‘if I take this job then I can buy this toy for the shop’ kind of thing but I have discovered in the end it is not worth it.

View helluvawreck's profile


32083 posts in 3010 days

#14 posted 10-03-2011 07:03 PM

If you have a job it’s best to keep woodworking a hobby where you can do it for the love of it.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4067 days

#15 posted 10-04-2011 02:53 AM

amen to that brother! Do what you love and love what you do.

showing 1 through 15 of 21 replies

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