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full time woodworkers?

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Forum topic by scott shangraw posted 06-02-2007 05:34 AM 3737 views 0 times favorited 73 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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scott shangraw

513 posts in 2724 days


06-02-2007 05:34 AM

I was wondering How many full time woodworkers do we have here on LJ .And more so how many are doing it for a living!!!!

-- Scott NM,http://www.shangrilawoodworks.com


73 replies so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8775 posts in 2754 days


#1 posted 06-02-2007 05:47 AM

I still do remodel as well as the fine woodworking. When I did my taxes for the 2006 year it forced me to look at the real numbers. For the last 3 years my income from custom woodworking has jumped incrementally from 25% to 50% to 75% of my total income. The custom jobs individually were actually profitable, the average joe remodels just seemed to move cash.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View clarkcustoms's profile

clarkcustoms

9 posts in 2748 days


#2 posted 06-03-2007 01:56 AM

Scott, My first line of defence as far as paying the bills and keeping from starving to death is custom woodworking, The materials that I use for building custom projects my son and I take old buildings apart for the materials then we recycle the materials into whatever it is people want built. I also sell some of the materials from the buildings that we take apart,usually it’s milled up for flooring or for kitchen cabinets but for the projects that I’ve built from the recycled wood has included everthing from rockingchairs to grandfather clocks to gun cabinets to bunkbeds I’ve also milled up a couple of houses full of trim. I enjoy working with old recycled materials becouse it very dry and as a rule it doesn’t move much with changes in humidity the main drawback is all the freaken slivers that I spend hours picking out of my hands.
Taking old buildings apart and cleaning the old materials is very labor intensive but to me there’s absolutly no way new wood can duplicate antique recycled materials. Sincerely, Jim at Clark Customs

-- James Clark

View scott shangraw's profile

scott shangraw

513 posts in 2724 days


#3 posted 06-03-2007 02:48 AM

It nice to have a business that compliments each other.I bet you come across some nice materials.Its nice that all that is not filling up landfills and going to good use

-- Scott NM,http://www.shangrilawoodworks.com

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scottb

3648 posts in 2982 days


#4 posted 06-03-2007 05:51 AM

I love working with reclaimed wood. I’ve stripped and reinstalled lots of trim in out 1880’s house. In some places there is new big box “clear” pine mixed in. Once stained you can spot the difference a mile away, blindfolded at night.

To avoid hijacking the thread, I’m not a full-time wood worker. I’m a part /nearly full time basement remodeler (sub contracting for Owens Corning with my Dad) We also do the occasional project for our own customers as the schedule allows. I also still work part-time as a graphic designer for our local daily newspaper (been there full time 12 years, and just can’t seem to break the habit!)

I like the variety this current working lifestyle offers. Occasionally we get to do some demo and custom installs – cabinetry, stairs… Ideally over the course of the next 5-10 years I’ll have a fairly equal split of woodworking, carpentry and computer related design – whether as all seperate jobs, or somehow all roped into one. (LJ magazine anyone?). Maybe some teaching thrown into the mix.

I could always sell the home, by a lathe and live in a hut on some island, selling pens and bowls to tourists!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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Tony

978 posts in 2685 days


#5 posted 06-04-2007 01:11 PM

You have found another one! I have been full time for about a year now.

Spring is here, the sun is shining and the people are coming out of hibernation from the long winter. – Things are slow, but they are picking up slowly and steadily.

I am not going to make a fortune here, but I am happy, the bills are paid each month, I have a fantastic and loving wife and there is beer in the refrigerator. What more can a man ask for?

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi)

View scott shangraw's profile

scott shangraw

513 posts in 2724 days


#6 posted 06-04-2007 03:57 PM

Tony love you outlook.I can say about the same exact thing

-- Scott NM,http://www.shangrilawoodworks.com

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2816 days


#7 posted 06-04-2007 05:40 PM

I am also a full time woodworker, for a year now as well. Things started out with a rush, and then slowed down. Now I am trying to build my skills and client list, as well as my product line.

I think with the return of summer, people will be out and spending more. I just have to find the right items for them. Like Tony said, I may not make a fortune, but I am much more happy than I was in corporate life.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2969 days


#8 posted 06-05-2007 01:24 AM

Does a cabinetmaker qualify as woodworking? Many days it just seems like factory work. Dealing with homeowners and contractors sometimes remindes me of my worst days behind a desk. Quarterly reports, estimates, cut lists, payroll, proposals, taxes and more taxes…did I say taxes? I tend to think of woodworking as something special, but it can suck you into the go-fast into debt, and grow, grow, grow mentality that makes my country so crazy. $20,000.00 dollar kitchens for people so busy all they ever eat comes out of the microwave! Insane!

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2815 days


#9 posted 06-05-2007 01:41 AM

I was talking to a real estate agent on the weekend who said that the kitchens in the condos are nice – they are just built to only last about 5 years and then they will be replaced.

I couldn’t believe this “plan” of living.. wow. What have we become?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 2982 days


#10 posted 06-05-2007 01:47 AM

I think I lived in an apartment complex with the same credo, except the didn’t look particularly good either (must have been on year 19 of their 5 year life) – the base cabinet “floors” were dished terribly, might as well have been bowls…

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View scott shangraw's profile

scott shangraw

513 posts in 2724 days


#11 posted 06-05-2007 01:52 AM

I find this mentality alot with even furniture now.I get comments like I don’t want to spend that much on furniture I get tired of it in a few years and want something else.We have become a throw it away society I think.
Dennis I would say cabinetmaking is woodworking.I tried doing some kitchen cabinets in the begining Boy!! it’s not easy and contractors etc. are very hard to work with but hey ,at least people seem a little more at ease droping $$$ on there kitchen to show off.Sometimes we have to make things we are not thrilled about to pay the bills!!!

-- Scott NM,http://www.shangrilawoodworks.com

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 2713 days


#12 posted 06-05-2007 01:52 PM

I did it full time for 17 months after my factory got bought out and dissolved. Unfortunately the bills got to be too much and I phoned my old trucking boss looking for work in the crating shop at night. He offered me a trucking run at night which will go by my front door in 2 weeks due to a new plant opening in my area. I will be able to park the rig at home and continue in my wood shop during the day, which I do right now but stressfully so since I have to drive 50 miles one way to work each day which eliminates two extra hours in the workshop. Hopefully my custom casket making business will take off and I can let the trucking go. Right now I’m working on a signature casket with 3 paintings set into the lid which will be given to family members after the service.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View Tony's profile

Tony

978 posts in 2685 days


#13 posted 06-06-2007 11:04 AM

Carpenter or Cabinet Maker. THis depends which country you come from.

In finland – there are only carpenters.

In the UK a carpenter is sombody who makes Houses and things like that – A cabinet Maker is person who produces fine furniture.

A person who produces kithchen cabinets all day in a factory, using machines is not a woodworker – they are a machine themselves and I feel sorry for them.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi)

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2969 days


#14 posted 06-08-2007 01:11 AM

Tony, your remark stuck with me. Personally I’d hate factory work, but I’d also hate being in an office. I’ve known people who have spent their entire lives doing factory work who are, mentally, better off that many business owners. I’d rather do factory work then have a job that takes advantage of people…payday loans, credit cards, bankers, loan officers, oil executives, lawyers, politicians…heck I’m still a little pissed at paying $300.00 an hour to talk to a nurse.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2815 days


#15 posted 06-08-2007 02:15 AM

must be more than a little angry, Dennis.. that was quite a while ago that you told about that.

I saw little clips from Michael Moore’s new “documentary”—I thought of your situation and Mark’s of course….
Last thing he said was ” don’t go private”... and Canada is trying to get some private health care up and going…. shame on us.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

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