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Thread: What path to follow???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Posts
    12,260

    What path to follow???

    I find a constant struggle and question arising in my woodworking as a hobby.
    Does one at some stage go down one path say hand tools only or say spinny work or scroll saw or carving or cabinet work versus furniture, solid verses veneer and on and on.

    I observe the spinny guys who have achieved amazing work results and realize all to well that to get to their level takes investment in time spent practicing as well as $$$
    Same goes for most of the other facets of our wwing hobby.

    personally i like variety but i am seeing how this comes at a price. Not even thinking here of $$ Just simply in terms of space, level of achievement, time available, amount of accomplishment and distractions.

    I would love to hear your views and whether you have found it gets better when you retire versus when you had a day job and kids to wrangle. ..

    I truly respect and admire those that can pull of the specialist focus.
    Even sticking to just woodworking is a mission for me.



    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk
    cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    5,998
    Woodworking was 'just a hobby' when I was still working full time. I did it some evenings during the week and on weekends. I've been retired for ten years, so now I get to work at my 'hobby' as much as I want. I've had thoughts of actively seeking commissions but I like the freedom to build what I want, when I want.

    I can best be described as a power tool junkie who does flat work. Well, some of it has curves but, technically, it's flat work. That doesn't mean I don't use a hand plane or chisel occasionally, but mostly it's power tools of just about every type.

    Will I limit myself to just flat work forever? Why should I? I have a decent lathe (that I need to learn to use more effectively). I have a scroll saw that gets occasional use. Likewise, I don't see why anyone would limit themselves to one type of flat work. I've built everything from a king-size platform bed with matching nightstands, dresser, mirror and chest of drawers all the way down to a simple bluebird house or a trivet made of a simple frame around a piece of tile.

    Variety is good for all of us in many ways!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    3,383
    Like Bill, to me it is a Hobby. I just follow my interests, Rob. At least, mostly.

    Last year I wanted to build my daughter a bed out of pine, so I did.
    Then my wife wanted some picture frames so I worked on that.
    This January I decided I wanted to try making a canoe paddle so I worked on that.

    Money, life circumstances, time available... all play a part of course.

    For instance I don't really have the space for a lathe, and I have 4 kids at home. So I've made the decision to not even consider adding a lathe to my shop until after the kids leave home. At that point, we'll see if I am interested or not.
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
    www.wordsnwood.com ........ facebook.com/wordsnwood

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    5,998
    Sorry to barge in again, but I had another thought. Yeah - dangerous!

    I don't know about the rest of you guys and gals, but I get the occasional comment from non-woodworkers about my love of woodworking.

    Example: "If you build stuff like that, when do you have time to play golf?" (I played enough a long time ago that I proved I could hit a ball. Now I like to do other things.)

    Or, maybe, "When do you get to go fishing or just ride around in your boat?" This from the same guy who will complain about having to feed that 'hole in the water' he owns! Oh, by the way - I don't own a boat!

    Or, "That sounds like work. When do you take time to relax?" Well, duh.....and here I thought woodworking was relaxing!

    Then again, it's difficult for some people to understand the creative process when the thing they do best is create havoc and dissension!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Posts
    10,604
    Rob, you over think things too much

    Do what makes you feel good. spinny, flat, neander, or Norm.

    For me I just love woodworking. I feel great when I'm building anything. I'm a power tool freak but still appreciate how a sharp chisel cuts. If I ever have the desire to turn anything more than a pen, that will make me feel good too.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,453
    My shop has evolved over the years as my hobbies do too. I used to do quite a bit of turning when I was in HS on my dad's lathe using firewood from the burn pile, nothing as artistic as what some of you guys do. At my last house I didn't have the room for a large shop. I used part of my basement for stained glass and doing finish work on my projects in the winter time. The tools in the garage evolved to more mobile and combined use setups to accommodate more tools. I sold my lathe, extra planer, dust collector at the time to make room and afford a welder, then got into doing more welding/metal projects

    Thinking about it, I typically focus on one hobby at a time most of the time and learn it. The stained glass has sat for a few years, but I have done some recently (mostly repairs) and am setup to do it again. The welding I use from time to time and have a couple of projects on my list, but don't do much of it exclusively. Woodworking is setup all the time, but I do mostly flat work and for mostly functional use. So I guess I have focused on one area for WW as it fits my needs. I do have other tools on the wish list, but they are still for cabinet making and such. I don't see the need to limit yourself, just buy tools as you need them for projects and work on what you enjoy. Focus on learning the task until you feel you've done so.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    So. Florida
    Posts
    268
    I don't know how to respond to this thread, but my situation is somewhat isolated. I do woodworking for a living, and have for over 40 years. I've always been self employed, and never made products to sell. Whatever I made was requested by a client. Fortunately many of my clients are designers, and architects, that provide a steady flow of work. The rest of the work comes from word of mouth referrals, and advertising.

    What is interesting is that I have no control over what my next project will be. I remember times when the project seemed beyond my skills to even accept a deposit. But, as they say the rent goes on. The way I figured, is if someone else can make it, I'll figure out how. It's either that or don't eat. So, I haven't really spent much time doing what I like to do, and when I retire, whether that will be the time that I can have some fun.

    The work has been physically demanding, and has played a toll. Maybe my hobby in retirement will be helping those that love the work.




    .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chiloquin, Oregon
    Posts
    19
    I love being retired except for one thing, when I had a job I had weekends off, now . . . . I am NOT a good woodworker, but I enjoy it tremendously. For me the difference between a $200 premium hand tool and a HF $50 tool will have little impact on the quality of the finished project. So I am a frequent shopper at HF. So now I have a lot of different kinds of tools, some powered, some not. As I get more into 'stuff' I find that some of the HF tools need upgrading and I do that. Am I wasteing money by starting with HF, I don't think so. I really had no preconceived notion of how any particular tool would fit into my woodworking hobby. My exceptions to this HF kind of mind set was my majors. I have a cnc router, a cabinet saw, a 19 inch bandsaw, etc,. Now that I am into year 4 of my dream shop and retirement I am slowly learning those areas I like to play in. My past life was spent in the computer biz so my cnc stuff was pretty easy to get going except for the much needed knowledge of wood stuff. I am slowly learning about how wood works! Once I did a couple of projects for friends in the area I quickly became a psuedo sign shop. I charge for the signs, I don't do anything for free. Last year I made enough side money to pay for my shop expenses of power and heat and maintain some wood supplies. It is still a hobby, I will NOT work to anybody's schedule but mine and I enjoy learning new things every time I go into the shop. My motto is if it ain't fun don't do it! Soooo, have fun! Russ

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    Posts
    4,944
    Russ,

    It sounds like you really have a handle on your ww. Good for You!!!

    Enjoy,

    JimB
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Posts
    8,529
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gibson View Post
    Rob, you over think things too much

    Do what makes you feel good. spinny, flat, neander, or Norm.

    For me I just love woodworking. I feel great when I'm building anything. I'm a power tool freak but still appreciate how a sharp chisel cuts. If I ever have the desire to turn anything more than a pen, that will make me feel good too.
    I agree with Bob about your over thinking things. Some folks migrate to one type of working just as some folks migrate to a specific style such a mission style or Maloof or what ever I just let my imagination take me where ever when I do the design. When I did the church commission they specifically said mission style so that was a given but as to how I built it I used modern power tools as well as hand tools and I even used the lathe. That was one of the things that Sam taught in the shop was there is no right or wrong way it is whatever you feel work for you and gets the job done. Someone in the class asked Sam if he ever used a spoke shave for a particular part of shaping that he was doing with a rasp. He went over and got one from the cabinet took a few swipes an then set it down. went back to the way he was doing and said that the spoke shave was to slow.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

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