do I really want to do this anymore?

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Forum topic by wooleywoodsmith posted 11-29-2011 09:27 PM 2087 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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152 posts in 3390 days

11-29-2011 09:27 PM

So I am looking for advice. I have a pretty good wood shop in my garage but I have really begun to think about selling it all. Everything from door to door. Well everything except those things needed for turning. My wood shop has turned into the expectation of having to produce rather than it being my hobby. I haven’t made anything in a long while that I wanted to its all about making things for other people, be it as a gift or give away or be it for sale. It is very difficult for me to just build something, I have to think about it for a long time. Example I was asked by my neighbors mom for a table for plants 6 months ago and I am now just getting to it. Some times I feel like I do not have the tools to do a job well but I do. Most of the time I do not like how something turns out but then we are our biggest critics.
Now as for my turning… I love being in front of the lathe, I am getting better and better with every turned thing I do. I still feel that artistic side of me, that passion for turning. So the thought is that if I were to sell everything else I could use some or most of that money to purchase tools and what not to aid in my wood turning.
So the advice I am looking for is… Should I sell everything and if I do would I really regret it. So if you want to see the shop I am talking about please look at my shop pictures here. Thanks for reading and thank you if you respond.
Michael the wooley woodsmith

-- wooley

26 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2606 days

#1 posted 11-29-2011 09:38 PM

I would just take a break for a while and sell non essential tools or duplicates.
I had to do the same thing a few years back. It saved my passion for the craft and my marriage as well.

As for the building, I build a lot more for cash than anything else, personal projects included. But if I don’t feel like doing a particular job, I don’t take it on.

Sometimes I do trudge through a project, but in the end the payoff is worth it, either in cash or the use of the project if it’s something personal.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View ChuckV's profile


3125 posts in 3556 days

#2 posted 11-29-2011 09:45 PM

I took a look at some of your non-turning projects, and they are great. For instance, I really like the hope chests and the cribbage board table. Perhaps you can find a way to get back the joy that you once felt from the hobby – before the expectations of others moved in.

Sure, that is easier said than done. But, if I were in your situation, I would try to wait it out for a while, as NiteWalker suggests.

I wish you all the best.

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

View ShaneA's profile (online now)


6956 posts in 2628 days

#3 posted 11-29-2011 09:46 PM

Take a break. Turn down some of the build requests. Concentrate on the turnings for a while. If you feel the itch, the equipment will be there. If after a while no itch, then sell and upgrade turning equipment.

View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#4 posted 11-29-2011 09:47 PM

Hey Wooley
I know where your coming from. We all have different modes and moods we operate in. I would say if you don’t need to do the kind of woodworking your doing for a living then don’t. If you need to then join the club of folks that have to do what they have to do to make a living. If you want to turn then turn .As to the rest of your shop I would hold off a while and see how you feel in a few weeks or couple months,it might be your just burnt out for a while. If after a reasonable time period sell if you not going to use the tools and equipment your not using. If your woodworking as a hobby enjoy it and don’t let others dictate what you make or do in your shop.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3261 days

#5 posted 11-29-2011 09:55 PM

As far as friends and neighbors go, I keep my woodworking on the quiet side. They know I am a woodworker, but I make it clear I ONLY do my woodworking for fun. I won’t do requests except for my wife.

I am perhaps a bit odd though in that my neighborhood has PLENTY of woodworkers. Within a 3 block radius of my house, there are no less than a dozen of my neighbors that are woorworkers as well. I tend to bump into them when I walk the dog as they tend to work with the garage doors open. I keep mine closed, but I am sure folks are aware…

Don’t be afraid to say no to requests. Your time in the shop, if you are a hobbyist should be for fun, not someone else’s expectations…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4951 posts in 3990 days

#6 posted 11-29-2011 10:04 PM

I had somewhat the same quandry with the extended family. “Hey! Poppy will build it for us/me”.
I fiinally set a rule that they would pay for all materials (including expendables-sandpaper, blades, bits). That cut down on the silly stuff that they could do for themselves and left the good projects that I’m proud to build, fix, refinish for them.
If the turning side is your passion, re-do the inventory in the shop to fit your wishes.


View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4951 posts in 3990 days

#7 posted 11-29-2011 10:04 PM

I had somewhat the same quandry with the extended family. “Hey! Poppy will build it for us/me”.
I fiinally set a rule that they would pay for all materials (including expendables-sandpaper, blades, bits). That cut down on the silly stuff that they could do for themselves and left the good projects that I’m proud to build, fix, refinish for them.
If the turning side is your passion, re-do the inventory in the shop to fit your wishes.


View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4951 posts in 3990 days

#8 posted 11-29-2011 10:09 PM

Dang! Sorry for the double post. I tried to delete it…...


View Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop's profile

Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop

644 posts in 2720 days

#9 posted 11-29-2011 10:16 PM

Hey Wooley, I know where you are coming from. I used to do craftshows and in the beginning it was great. I could build and build and then show off my work and sell it for a profit. However, it didn’t take long to realize I was getting burned out b/c all it was, was a deadline. i had to have so much done in a certain length of time and that made it not fun anymore. After that I stopped and just did custom orders but there again I put pressure on myself and made deadlines. I took a well deserved break for not only me but my newborn daughter and stopped all wood working for a year. I knew it would be there when I decided to come back and I was so happy when I did. I now still do custom work but I stress to the customer that I WILL be taking my time but they will have it soon. I don’t set deadlines anymore and I keep the customer in the loop with pictures sent to them showing my progress, so they don’t think I am just taking their money and not doing it. I also turn down or delay custom work when I need to do work for myself or home. They understand and I still get the work.
My opinion is, don’t sell everything you will regret it! Focus on your turning and take orders in your own time. Don’t place deadlines and take your time with your passion. Only make it a business if you really are serious about doing so, otherwise treat it as your passion and hobby.
Good luck!!!


-- Drew -- "I cut it twice and it's still too short!"- Rock-n H Woodshop - Moore, OK

View Don W's profile

Don W

18756 posts in 2597 days

#10 posted 11-29-2011 10:34 PM

You are the only one that can answer the “will I regret it” but my advice would be to learn to say NO. As far as its taken 6 months to get to a project. So what? Have you seen the lead time for artisans?

I get requests all the time. I do them at my own pace, and depending on who it is, I price it accordingly. Pricing your work out of reach is a good way to cut back the work load. There is nothing wrong with pricing your work at what you think its worth. Its one of the big advantages to a hobby. You don’t care if you sell it or not!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View DS's profile


2926 posts in 2450 days

#11 posted 11-29-2011 10:38 PM

Been there, done that.
I woke up one day realizing that I had lost my muse. I was working completely for others and not pursuing the kind of work I dreamt about doing when I first got into the biz. That is when I decided to redirect my efforts in a new direction and attempt something that, for me, was impossible at the time—violins.

The effort was well worth it, as I am re-invigorated and injected with new enthusiasm for a craft that I dearly love. I am not saying that you should build violins, but, just that you should find what draws you to the craft and go in that direction.

I still get the boring jobs that pay some bills, but, they are hardly noticed when I am doing what I love.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View ralmand's profile


162 posts in 3332 days

#12 posted 11-29-2011 11:02 PM

I have had the same thoughts as you…still trying to decide what to do. I do not seem to have enough time and energy as I used to. I have a LOT of nice items but wonder if they are worth keeping…I could use the space for real FAMILY items…LOL

-- Randy, Allen Texas

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4248 days

#13 posted 11-29-2011 11:04 PM

I think you just need to quit working for other people. The reason you are enjoying the lathe so much is that you can totally unleash your creativity. You can have the same amount of fun with non-turned projects, but not if you are building something to suit someone else’s needs.

As others have said, I keep my woodworking strictly for fun. I’ll take an occasional request, but only if it is a project that I really feel like I will enjoy building. Otherwise, I tell them they can’t possibly afford the extra fee I tack on for jobs I don’t want to do.

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

View TheDane's profile


5448 posts in 3692 days

#14 posted 11-29-2011 11:14 PM

I only do stuff I want to do … the only person that ever asks me for anything is my wife, and she is pretty reasonable (a table, a cupboard, and a small cabinet, all for her sewing room).

Occasionally, I’ll offer to do something for someone, but usually if they ask, I just give them directions to A-Line Machine Tool (shop where most of my tools came from) or suggest they contact a professional craftsman. I ain’t a pro, and don’t want to masquerade as one.

I deal with enough pressure in the business world … I don’t need it in the workshop, too.

To answer your question … follow your passion. I love me lathe (my wife tells people I have a new mistress and her name is Delta), but I see uses for all of the other tools in the shop as well. If I were you, I’d take a break, do what you want to do, and re-assess things six months or so down the road.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View okwoodshop's profile


448 posts in 3204 days

#15 posted 11-29-2011 11:16 PM

Maybe we all have felt this way but it was as if you had been talking to me a couple months ago. I actually put my tools up for sale and quit building anything for about three months. Luckily I deciced to sell all or nothing and no one wanted all. My family finally talked me out of selling but I still didn’t make anything for another three months, then all of a sudden I got reinspired to do some little things and have been going strong ever since. Sure glad I didn’t sell out.Unless you really need the money I would say what my Dad used to say to me(he was a pack rat),”IF YOU AIN’T HAVIN TO FEED IT KEEP IT’. Nice shop

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