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Thread: Gripe: Shoddy Turnings for Sale

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    Gripe: Shoddy Turnings for Sale

    I was in a local fast-food restaurant this past weekend, and on the counter there were three segmented vessels for sale. Initially, I was pretty jazzed at the thought of a place like this selling turned wood pieces. The excitement left the building as soon as I had a better look at the three pieces.

    For starters, the form. There was none. All three pieces had a dumpy look, with nearly flat spots, uneven curves and absolutely nothing that flowed. Good form is like pornography...can't describe it, but I know it when I see it. I didn't see it in these pieces.

    Next, the fit. While I do give the guy credit for tackling segmented turning, at the very least he could have made the joints line up and not have the occasional gap between segments. This was especially apparent looking into one of the pieces, where the square edges of some of the segments hadn't even been turned away.

    Then there was the finish. Although the outsides of the pieces looked OK, I was appalled to see deep concentric 80 grit sanding scratches in the (flat) bottom of one of the wide-mouthed vessels. A hand could fit inside the piece, so in my opinion, there's no excuse for seeing visible sanding lines, especially coarse ones from the 80 grit gouge. And this was on a piece priced at $260.

    All in all, I was disappointed to see that this guy was selling shoddy work like this. The average consumer might get the mistaken impression that all woodturning is like this. As I see it, this guy was giving the rest of us turners a bad name.

    I was tempted to take one of his business cards so I could call him and offer some lessons, but I figured that would be in poor taste.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    Yikes! I think you will find high-end turnings at upscale restaurants (like the Pakistani restaurant we have been to).

    On a serious note, you are right about him giving the wrong impression. It is also possible that the turner had never seen a nicely made segmented piece up close.
    Chinese Proverb: Man who eats many prunes gets good run for the money.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
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    1,726
    I know what you're talking about Vaughn. I consider myself more a hack than anything, but from this site I have seen some outstanding work. I've also been to a few shows that the work was top shelf. I think that looking at quality work should give you a point for comparison, it should give you an idea of something to strive for.

    I guess over time if you're critical of your work your level of expectation will increase so maybe your work quality will increase. I've never made anything that I've been totally satisfied with, and I probably never will. I think that this striving for perfection though can drive you to a higher quality of work.

    I've also been to a few shows that a lot of the work wasn't very good. The mill marks, open joints, terrible finishing, etc. was obvious. When I would point these things out to my wife most of the time she would say that she didn't notice it. I guess what I'm trying to say is if you don't have anything to compare, you don't know what bad work is.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Reno NV
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    Well, there have been studies (Dunning–Kruger effect) out there that have proved that incompetence is bliss.

    Quite often the least skilled at a task rate themselves higher in proficiency than those who are skilled and know enough to know the difference.
    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


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Depending on which cap i am wearing i can see many sides to this issue. We have that saying frequently used that says beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we live in a so called free market.

    My mom used to paint, when i saw here pictures i always thought they were "not quiet there" but it was not until i got to see her art at an exhibition of a bunch of her fellow peers in her art club that i could see where her level was.
    There has also been so much of what i consider to be blatant junk traded as high class fine art at shock valuations that this guy could well be doing the same and making a mockery of the market willing to pay that sort of price.
    But then who would buy a $260 priced bowl in a fast food joint.

    Have to wonder if he sells any with work like that. Form or no form the finish you describe and gaps have got to leave one wondering. Does give you a good reference of just how worthy your own work is Vaughn. Some of your pieces i cannot get out of my thoughts i can manage to forget loads of things of much importance but i can close my eyes and see quiet a few of your magnificent pieces hope to one day be able to meet you and get to hold one in my hands Me thinks you underestimate your skill.

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk
    cheers

  6. #6
    My wife used to tell me that I would never sell anything I made. That I was to fussy about what I sold. One day we went to a craft fair and she was looking at some turnings. The guy next to her tried to tell her how good the turnings where. After a couple of minutes she couldn't help herself and she told the guy that she has seen better turnings than that tossed out. The guy says why would you say that. She starts out with bad sanding and tool marks and then talks about the finish. Myself I just kind of walked away laughing.
    Dennis

  7. #7
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    Great story, Dennis. I remember how proud I was of my wife when she came back from a craft show complaining about the low quality of the turned things she saw. She was picking out the same issues...form, tearout, sanding, and finishing.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ararat Victoria Australia
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    i couldn't agree more with you John, I've been woodworking off and on for 20 years and I've never been 100 percent happy with anything I've ever made either! I look at everything i make and think i could have done better! The more i learn, the more i realize i don't know As my skills have improved over the years, i find myself more critical when looking at other peoples work, but at the same time being more inspired to improve my own work and skill levels.
    My wife says that I'm too hard on myself and that I'm a perfectionist, but i think that if you look at your work and think near enough is good enough, you have lost your passion for woodworking.
    When i look at some of the things i made when i first started ( thinking at the time how clever i was !!) i see a lot of little mistakes and things that i would do different today. Looking at other "woodies" work is the best way, i think, to gauge where your skill levels are at ....

  9. #9
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    Feb 2007
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    North West Indiana
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    Well, to be the devil's advocate, at least they aren't sitting on the couch drinking from the welfare trough bemoaning the fact they don't have this or that because no one will give it to them. They are out there trying and putting their wares on display. Because some have higher talents, some of you have talent levels higher than I will ever achieve, should the rest of us hide or burn all of our work? Are we becoming wood working snobs? Entry level has its place and if someone loves the work enough to plunk down the cash, who are we to be upset. Maybe it is beginner work that will create a beginner buyer, they both will learn and advance throughout their lives. I say, "good job and congrats on putting your stuff out for others to critique and purchase if they like it".

    This also might be our reason for the low participation in swap projects. Intimidation is as large as peer pressure. No matter what you say about the project you get, if you bemoan beginner work in the majority of your posts then who wants to subject their self or their work to this intense scrutiny in a swap? I am not picking on anyone, I am just looking at this from the "other side of the fence" so to speak.
    Last edited by Jonathan Shively; 04-03-2012 at 11:34 AM.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Very good point Jonathan.

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk
    cheers

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