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Thread: Cutting Edge Woodworks (long)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Louisiana

    Cutting Edge Woodworks (long)

    not sure if this is the right place for this, maybe it belongs in the off topic forum, feel free to move it mods. thanks

    For those of you who donít know I have owned and operated my own custom cabinet business since Feb 07. Recently I decided to close the doors on the business and return to work in the engineering field where I worked before. Computer aided drafting and design, specifically in the petrochemical field. My decision was not an easy one. I fought with myself for months trying to decided what to do. In the end I decided this was the best route for me and my family. My stress level was far too high and the aggravation that comes with building and installing entire homes worth of cabinets was just getting to me.

    For me this was always a hobby, something I loved to do. Doing it for a living took the fun away, I still enjoyed doing it and enjoyed my job but it got to a point where it just wasnít the same anymore.

    I know this comes at a time when the economy is bad and it seems like I would be shutting the doors due to lack of work, well that is just the opposite, in the months before I quit I was turning work away or passing it on to another cabinetmaker friend. I just could not keep up with the amount of work I had and I refused to hire anymore workers (mainly because I am OCD about my work). It was just me and Dad and I was outsourcing and still couldnít keep up. This drove the stress level up, not to mention I was contracting my own home which took far more attention than I expected.

    There is lots more I could say but it would make this thread too long. Bottom line is I am much happier and less stressed than I was and that is great for me and the family.

    If anyone is considering a move like this, let me know, Iíll do my best to tell you the things I wish I had done differently that may have helped make it better.

    I am now working on my last set of cabinets (well for awhile anyway) and it is my personal ones. My best set yet I think. Iíll be posting pics soon. Finishing should be getting started this weekend.

    Thanks to all who helped me while I was in the biz, I appreciate the support this place offers us all.

    Chris Mire
    Former CEO of Cutting Edge Woodworks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Chris, life is a journey, and you took a road that you wanted to take, now you have come to a crossroads, and you are making a turn, I hope it is one for the better, sure sounds like it.

    Who knows where you will be in 10 years, maybe you will get sick and tired of the "engineering field" and go back to woodworking. In 10 years or so, you will be in a very different place, kids will be grown up, and such, so who knows.

    Are you glad you gave it a go, even though, right now, you are closing the doors? I'd think you would be, at least this way, you can say you did give it a go.

    Best of luck to you, and your family!

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Louisiana
    you are right stu. i fought with the decision for so long because I felt like I was failing if I gave up. But because I chose what I feel is right for me and my family I feel like I succeeded. Plus I think the biz was a success in many ways, I had a good customer base and had lots of work.

    I think things happen for a reason, and it just so happens that i started this business 5 months before my son was born, which meant that I got to see him alot more in his first year than I would with a traditional job. That means the world to me. So yes, i am glad i gave it a shot. It is good to know I could do it and do it fairly well.

    I still plan to do woodworking, both for fun and hopefully a little profit, but I just need a break for awhile, not to mention all the personal projects that I will need to build to fill the new house.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Hi Chris.

    Sometimes it is hard to take certain decisions, but as Stu says you don't know what will happen in 5 or ten years time. Take it as a "stand by" position to be retaken when things and circumstances change, and after all I'm sure that you can extract positive conclusions from the experience.

    I wish that now that it is a hobby again you will recover the fun in doing it.
    Thanks for sharing you projects and experiences with us.
    Best regards,

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
    web site:
    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    Chris, I admire your guts... both to take the plunge, and to choose to get out when the time was right.

    I retired (early) from a good paying job to do woodworking full time. Like you, I have more work than I can handle (and so do a couple of my friends who are solo woodworkers in town). But I can go as fast or as slow as I want, so it is still fun (I can sit at the computer and play on forums, and go to the shop a little later, if I want, since it is no longer "work.") And as a retiree I don't have to worry about working hard enough to put food on the table.

    I won't take cabinet jobs, because they tend to be bigger commitments with strict time constraints, but I do a lot of furniture and entertainment centers, and love it. I did that work part time (as a hobby more than second job) while I was working, and have had a backlog of work since long before I took the "full time" plunge. If you can keep your shop, you may find it is a pleasant avocation or part time business until retirement, then use it as a way to keep yourself happy and off the golf course.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
    better to have tried it and decided it wasn't for you right now, than not to have tried at all. And unless you sell off all of your tools, you've always got that skill to use if you need to.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Odessa, Tx
    Chris, I can't really add much to what the others have said, except that by pursuing it professionally/commercially for a while, you were able to develop a nice shop and REALLY hone your "Skills" and procedures to PERFECTION, (as has been seen in the Beautiful Pictures of your Work) that you've posted here.

    I truly think that in the long run you will see it has been a Win/Win situation that will leave you with Superior Skills and Experience whenever you want, (or feel the need) to continue woodworking down the road whether as a Hobby only, for part time work for added income, OR commercial projects of some type (at your own pace after retirement).

    I wish you the very best in your new endeavor, and look forward to seeing pics of the projects you will make for your own home. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Don't be a stranger either.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV

    That's a very honest assessment you've provided.

    My job, punching keys for a living, hasn't always been fun. At times I've enjoyed dreaming about what it would be like working with my hand for a living, building things. In the back of my mind I've always known that if I turned my hobbies into my living, well, I'd probably feel about them the same way I feel about my current job. Don't get me wrong, I like my job fine, but I enjoy my hobbies more.

    Certainly you've provided some good food for thought here....

    I hope you are able to enjoy both your vocation and your hobbies....
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Sounds to me like you entered the full-time woodworking business with a lot of reasoned thought, and you are now leaving it with the same level of reasoned thought. Nothing wrong with that. As Stu said, they're forks in the road, and it doesn't look like you're taking any of the turns recklessly.

    Best of success in your return to the CAD world. (At least you know you always have the woodworking to fall back on.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    keep your tools chris, sawdust is worse than heroin
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

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