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Forum topic by bbqking posted 09-15-2008 03:15 AM 2132 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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328 posts in 3718 days

09-15-2008 03:15 AM

I have just finished building 24 of these.
To be quite honest, I designed this myself, liked the piece, sold the orders, followed through on the production, and am now quite burnt out at even looking at these things. Have any of you guys & gals experienced this? I know a lot of jocks aspire to full time woodworking, but this was a little much. It’s like I didn’t have any time to do other pieces I need to do for other clients (or personal projects). I made good $ on this, but like I said, it set me up for red oak burnout. I would appreciate any comments and/or support. bbqKing.

-- bbqKing, Lawrenceville

22 replies so far

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 3737 days

#1 posted 09-15-2008 03:34 AM

I have experienced the same type of burnout in the past. I enjoy the challenges of new projects and custom work. In my case it was leather work that I burned out on. I designed and built a custom case for an engineer. He showed it to his buddies and the next thing I knew I had orders for 35 hand sewn custom cases. Foolishly I accepted those orders but found out that the one of a kind project quickly turned out to be drudgery. After that I refused to make more than 3 of anything. It felt like I was doing “factory work” after about the fifth case. Since I am really a hobby worker I could afford to only do what I really enjoyed doing.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3590 days

#2 posted 09-15-2008 03:43 AM

Burnout is quite common when you build the same thing over and over again.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View cmaeda's profile


205 posts in 3548 days

#3 posted 09-15-2008 04:13 AM

Sometimes, I even get burnt out building dressers because you usually have to build 3 or 4 drawers, dovetailed, box jointed or whatever. I can’t imagine building 24. But I guess that’s why this is more of a hobby to me. The extra cash is just a bonus.

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3708 days

#4 posted 09-15-2008 04:39 AM

Ah Yeah…

I started in March what I thought to be a project that I was going to finish by April. It is a hardware cabinet for nuts, bolts, whatever. It has (somewhere around) 40 small fingerjointed bins in the doors, and another 25+ larger bins in the cabinets that are also all fingerjointed with dadoed bottoms. Don’t get me wrong, the little bins are nice, and making them wasn’t a problem. But GLUING them is INSANE! I burned myself out on it big time. I can’t even look at it without a certain amount of DREAD…lol. I need to get it done because it’s been in my way since March, but I just can’t seem to pull myself together to GLUE ALL THOSE LITTLE FREAKIN’ BINS!!!


(Yeah, I’m better.)


-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 3736 days

#5 posted 09-15-2008 04:40 AM

I truly understand. At at least it’s finished and you were paid. It’s even worse to chase someone for $ after a job full of difficulties.

“If work was always fun, we wouldn’t call it work”

-- Ciao, gth.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4213 days

#6 posted 09-15-2008 04:41 AM

Non-woodworker friends are always asking me why I don’t do something to sell at craft shows. The reason is exactly that burnout you describe.

Making many copies of the same item may be a way to make a few bucks, but it is definitely not my idea of fun woodworking.

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

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 3825 days

#7 posted 09-15-2008 04:41 AM

I’ve experienced burnout with other things I previously enjoyed. I used to have a candle business and it started as a hobby and gift giving thing. My ex and I turned it into a business and we we’re doing well – orders came in for 24, 60, 200… and we started to hate candlemaking!

One of my favorite things to do now is pen turning and I’ve had a lot of people tell me I should sell them. They seemed surprised when I tell them I prefer to give them away! I make what I want, when I want and how I want. I may try to sell some – but I won’t be taking any orders! I don’t want my fun hobby to become WORK!

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3739 days

#8 posted 09-15-2008 05:19 AM

Seems like that’s the way it goes. Seems like sometimes I get runs of the same item, even though everything I make is scheduled by the order that I get the deposits. I do everything, one at a time, in the order of scheduling, which normally will give me some variety. But, like I said, sometimes it seems I get several of the same pieces scheduled together. If they’re made of the same wood type, sometimes I will go ahead an make the pieces that require several machine setups, at the same time. But that brings back the monotony.

View Grumpy's profile


23914 posts in 3845 days

#9 posted 09-15-2008 05:29 AM

You are not on your own King. That bed I just finished took Months but after all I am retired.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3888 days

#10 posted 09-15-2008 05:46 AM

next batch you might wanna give to china and then count your profits while you do what you want.

to succed at this, you have to build what China can’t do…............profitably….......and the Olympics surely showed that someone, somewhere over there is making big profits?

the “profit” can make or break what is fun and what becomes a chore….............I just wish I could teach the kids that live with me….....the logic in that equation?

almost all jobs start out “fun” and most do not end in “fun” aside from the accolades recieved from a satisfied client.

in the end…........its all about the challenge, the goal, the experience gained in reaching and or almost reaching the goal…................and just past that is the plain cold truth….........was it worth the money spent or the money made?

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3888 days

#11 posted 09-15-2008 05:54 AM

and lastly

the most precious resource we all own… time. How we as individuals, judge how to use that time is another ball game.

In answer to your question. ...........I have yet to see a project that I didnt want, in anxious anticipation, for the day, that it left my sight forever. I occasioanlly look “back” at past projects but I never stare at them, ...............................if I stared at them, there would never be a future!

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3714 days

#12 posted 09-15-2008 05:54 AM

I think the major difference is whether you are doing it for yourself or for others. I did an eight-week project building shelves with many small dividers. There was lots of routing and detail work, and I had to set up the whole house like an assembly line. Even though it was repetitious, I knew that I would be the one enjoying the use of the shelves. When I use them, I appreciate all that went into the building of them.

Doing things for others for money would take a lot of enjoyment out of the process.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3888 days

#13 posted 09-15-2008 06:15 AM

richforever….................Doing things for others for money would take a lot of enjoyment out of the process.

I am moving soon, with all 12 kids, furniture and all worldly objects. I guess you are saying that moving me and my family would make you feel better if you helped me for free then if I slid ten 100 dollar bills into your pocket?................or 1 ten dollar bill?

somehow, somewhere… boils down to the buck. For instance… it as much fun to build your own deck with a 100 dollar budget, or your own deck on a 1,000 dollar budget. Build the same deck for a neighbor to the right on a 3,000 dollar budget or the same deck for the neighbor to the left for an 8,000 dollar budget….......or revert to option one and build your own for the original 100 dollar budget?

it’s all a matter of perspective …............I think?

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 3810 days

#14 posted 09-15-2008 01:14 PM


I’m currently in a high-end custom shop. If and when I came up with a product, I would gladly do lots and lots of them. I wouldn’t see any problem setting up a production schedule and knocking things out en masse.

But, then (ala roman) my perspective would be business and making a living, not doing a hobby. If it were profitable enough, I figure I could always hire some one else to do the grunt work, leaving me to do less so I could do additional products like custom work…...for additional money…..again, being business work. As long as it kept me doing the work (not product) that I like to do.

I’m all about the freedom part. But, then I grew up in a manufacturing environment. I understand the grunt stuff…that millions of people do everyday….and it doesn’t bother me…generally speaking. I’m not trying to bust anybody or saying “hey, bum, put your nose to the grindstone…” or anything.

Now that I think about it…I really do like manufacturing processes (I’ve always been fascinated by automated machinery, robotics and stuff.) But, as long as I’m taking trees apart and putting them back together in a different way is cool with me.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3708 days

#15 posted 09-15-2008 03:53 PM

heheh… I have to have a constant variety. I think I have Adult ADD… I burnout on a project about two hours into it, then I’m off making something else. My projects have to be short and quick, or they sit. In recent years, I’ve broken larger projects into stages and called each one a “project.” That seems to help some, because I feel like I’m getting something done. I’ve always gotten bored or burned out easily.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

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