Saturday, 1 February 2014

What Makes a Sucessful Woodworker or does a Woodchuck just Chuck Wood.

While working today a thought flashed into my mind. When is a woodworker considered to be a successful woodworker? Never really thought much of it before.
I am thinking of someone who works this craft as a way to make money, yes a professional.

Many hobby woodworkers do great work but it is not their main source of income.

   Most professional woodworkers write articles for magazines to supplement their income. Some teach at schools for extra income or they are just sought after for their special skill sets.

   A long time ago I would say success is measured by the amount of work they can produce.
Not so long ago it would be measured by the amount of any style work produced with a profitable return for said work.

  How about amount of profitable work that has that heirloom quality look and feel.

  Profitable work that is heirloom quality for the masses.

 Scrub that last statement as it can only be finite.

   A successful woodworker can only judge success for themselves. I see lots of successful looking woodworkers on the internet but are they a slave or the master. Most I look up to have mastered their way of living to include woodworking as part of their daily life. Lots of work to build good, not very much, well cut some firewood. If you are skilled and honest, work will find you soon enough.

  How much one can produce is really just a small part of the picture. What pieces they make are what really counts to them as much as the client.

  In my case I try to make a quality piece with proportional beauty as best I possibly can today with what I have.
When you look at that piece it is really a reflection of me. A reflection of my mood, health, family happiness and my mental state. Not just my skill level and good wood selection.

    The woodworker likes wood. They examine the wood to make the best use of what it has to offer. If the piece is not satisfactory, put it down and find another. A piece put aside today may be perfect for the next time.
 The woodworker must remember to reach beyond their comfort level now and then so they can grow.
 A conscientious woodworker will refer you to someone they trust if the client is asking for something that is beyond his skill level or they do not have the tools to build such items.

Most important to me a woodworker must teach at least one other what they know about working wood. 

How about using your skill and place of work to help others in ways beyond making objects for them?

  I challenge anyone physically capable to come in and make a spoon and spatula out of wood. I will instruct you to safely use the two necessary tools and give you the confidence to use them. Ten  minutes or so after the instructions you will barely notice there is anything happening beyond the walls of the shop space. After 2 hours you will feel refreshed and focused. I am sure of it.

  The woodworker should educate people who will listen about the differences about hand made furniture and mass production to further the appreciation of hand crafted items. You can buy furniture where ever you like but if you ask me I will give you my honest opinion.

  The woodworker should be tactful when talking to clients about furniture. For example,  DO NOT use a clients 1920's era china cabinet given to them by Aunt Myrtle which they consider a priceless masterpiece made of solid mahogany from England and give them the bad news that it was probably made in Grand Rapids, Michigan during the great furniture rush and show them the proof through all the design flaws and short cuts, terrible veneering and the inspected by number 09 sticker under the drawer.

You will probably find yourself in a prone position on their front lawn maybe followed by the china cabinet landing on your back.

Even still a woodworker must be brave and sure and maybe a little athletic.

Some will say there is much more than what I have written here and I am sure there is. I don't know everything about this craft, you learn something different almost every day.

After many life altering events a man once said, "One truly knows it all when they realize they rarely understand anything." That's mine, you can use it if you want.

 Woodworking in a small shop making items one at a time is not just a job to me but a lifestyle.
A lifestyle that is often rewarding far beyond the work itself.

Thanks for reading

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