Chasing my own tail !!!!

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Forum topic by Tom Godfrey posted 11-15-2012 12:05 PM 1185 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 2169 days

11-15-2012 12:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humor question tip

Sure you have seen a dog chase his or her own tail. Well that’s the way I feel about my wood working. I love to make things mostly just for the fun of it and not worry to much about what others think as much as worry about what I think.
I have come to realize that I need to be able to sell some of my work in order to continue buying all the fancy tools and stuff that I seem to always want. Selling seems to require a certain time frame, certain details, and I think its almost impossible to please the person you made something for.
Just to give you and example, I recently sold a couple of honey dippers on Etsy. Easy enough, Right? Nope after she got the honey dippers she wrote back and said she was disappointed and could she return them. First of all I really gave them to her when I take into account my time, material, power bill, and etc. I had posted a picture thinking a picture is worth a thousand words or that is what I have already been told. Well of course I wanted to make it right. I wrote her back and ask for the size she wanted and give me all the details. Her replay its just to big. Make this longer make this shorter and etc. i have looked at a lot of honey dippers and we even have one but there are as many sizes as you can count, some long, some short and in between.
I made two more, send pictures, no that’s still not right. Then I was giving a lesson on how you suppose to dip it into honey. Made two more and got that’s more like it but still think I should make this and that change.
Now the point of all this has got me thinking I just need to make what I want, the way I want and if someone wants to buy it fine and if not maybe tear what I made apart and try to make something else I want to make with it.
Here is where I am at this point. I don’t know what I want to make. Boxguy, and a lot of other people on here seem to have gotten to the point where they know what to make and make it. My problem is I get bored with doing the same ole thing day after day. I don’t think I will ever get to the place where I can make any one thing and be happy.
I started making pens, that’s okay but don’t think it my cup of tea, made a few nostepinne, that gives me a free hand and sort of design it the way I want but after a while spindle style turning gets old. Made a few bowls. those are a lot of fun but don’t have access to a lot of that sort of material.
Folks, just venting and wondering if anyone else has the same problem I do.
If you do please let me know, I don’t want to be the only nut on LJ.
Thanks for your time.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

7 replies so far

View harry1's profile


524 posts in 2278 days

#1 posted 11-15-2012 12:55 PM

My advice as always Thomas is to research the market, by that I mean visit as many gift shops as you can to see what type of hand made gifts they carry and how skilfully they are made and of course the asking price. Speak to the owners and explain that you are capable of making woodcraft items and would they be interested in seeing your work and if the answer is YES, what particular items would they like. Items intended for sale must be what the public want and at a price that they are prepared to pay, not what you want to make! Perhaps at this time of the year some toys might be in order also maybe solitaire marble games either the conventional round ones or like the one that I posted here.

-- Harry, Western Australia

View Gary's profile


9330 posts in 3426 days

#2 posted 11-15-2012 02:56 PM

So, here’s a different opinion. I think it depends on whether you want woodworking to be your job or your hobby. I enjoy the hobby. I won’t do commissioned work. I build what I want, when I want. That way, I don’t have to worry about issues like you mentioned. I am a little fortunate in that I have 3 places that will take what I bring them and they sell it. Like you, I am retired and not really looking for another job. Another thing is I won’t sell online. It (in my opinion) invites situations like what you described. I guess it depends on what you are willing to put up with.

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

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3237 days

#3 posted 11-15-2012 05:51 PM

Hey Tom, welcome to my club. I just about never repeat anything that I’ve made except for rocking chairs. If I had to crank out the same thing day after day it would be work instead of a challenge. “Been there done that”. I always feel like I’m on the edge of a total disaster or something really cool, but that pressure is the fuel that propels me. As for clients, sometimes they are so wetted to the “big box store” mentality that they have no idea what a crafter does. I once had a client, who ordered a custom rocking chair. I made it and she was thrilled, until five years later when she saw another one of my rocking chairs in a gallery. Suddenly her chair was problematic and she wanted to TRADE her chair for the new chair. WHAT???!!! She said you whip these things out and don’t see why that would be a problem. REALLY, whip them out. Apparently she has never made a rocking chair!
So my friend, in a round about way, I’m saying shame on her for messing with you. Some people are trouble makers, but honestly most customers are not. You have your aesthetic which appeals to your sense of style and that’s the voice that you have to answer to. If she doesn’t share that vision, then she never will. Don’t chase your tail, you will never catch it. Do good work, enjoy the process and find customers who appreciate your efforts. Best of luck to you….....

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2066 days

#4 posted 11-15-2012 05:51 PM

I agree with Gary. Is this your job or your hobby? I enjoy the hobby aspect as then I make what I want when I want and I’m constantly trying new ideas and learning ways of doing things. If someone is interested in buying a piece that’s great, if not it becomes a gift for someone who appreciates the item. Enjoy!

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Raymond Thomas's profile

Raymond Thomas

189 posts in 2211 days

#5 posted 11-15-2012 09:06 PM

If this is your hobby and you are crafting items to sell – just make sure they understand that all sales are final. If you sell online, make sure you are adding shipping and handling to your price but always make sure they understand the sale is final and they are buying a one of a kind item – you crafted it free-hand and another is definitely going to be different.

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 2169 days

#6 posted 11-16-2012 05:02 AM

Thanks to those that have responded. Yes this is a hobby but I want turn down any money that comes my way either. Do I go out and really try to sell something? NO Do i do shows or flea markets? NO
I hate to tell you this but after working with people from the early age of 15 I have gotten to really like not having to deal with them any more. Hey I love people and love taking with people but I don’t want to deal with them.
Now here is the good part. I had the best day in my shop today than any time in the last several weeks. Think it was just getting what I posted off my chest and after writing I knew what I wanted to do and did it all day today. I made about five or six small projects, had a ball and enjoyed every second of that time.
Thanks again guys and gals for your support. It means a lot to me.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2976 days

#7 posted 11-16-2012 02:40 PM

I try to never make the same thing twice, but occasionally it happens. As a hobbyist I like to try making different projects even if I do fail at making it look like the picture of something I want to make. I’ve been asked to make projects for others and have often refused by saying you can’t afford it. When asked what I mean I tell them that they can’t afford to pay for my time and aggravation. For those few rare times I have sold something it’s been as is sale. When asked why I feel the way I do I simply reply this my hobby and not my job. Also my shop is the one domain where I control everything that I do or feel. There are no time restraints or pressures in my shop and what I say goes, even at the point that I allow who I want in my shop.

If I were to sell something online I would simply state all sales are as is and final, if you want details before purchase contact me. Everyone has their own idea of what they want and you can’t please everyone. Making money to add to your tool inventory is a great idea, it’s the amount of aggravation your willing to put up with to accomplish that goal. I’m sure that most sales go without a hitch, but you will always have those that you can’t please no matter what you do.

Just thought I’d share my point of view. Thanks.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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