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Thread: A little charity goes a long way?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs

    A little charity goes a long way?

    This past weekend was the local PTA's shining event celebrating a local schools anniversary and decided to run an event in a carnival sort of spirit.
    There were ofcourse plenty of dignitaries, a senator, assemblywomen, some high ranking school officials, local govt officials, and so on.
    From what I understand, or at least what drips down, is that the event was an extremely successful fund raiser.
    I erased the long story I posted.
    To sum it all up, I offered to make two chairs, adirondack, and a small table for them to raffle off with the other small donated gifts they had, to raise money.
    The PTA gladly accepted my offer, and against my wishes, put my name as the donater of the homemade chairs.
    Ok, there was nothing I could do but graciously accept alot of compliments.
    Not a bad thing. For a beginner like me, its a great ego boost.
    I recieved a call from the winner of the chairs, how much they loved them, and so on.
    then a request to build more for someones mother for mothers day.
    And others have questioned me about prices.

    Im not sure after spending 5 hours straight, cutting, ripping, routing and assembling, if I really want the pressure of building things for money anymore.

    I love woodworking, I love to fiddle around with wood, my simple designs, my flower boxes, chairs, tables, outdoor bars, swings, its all good, its all incredibly challenging and rewarding for me.

    Having to build to meet demand, the money isnt incentive, since Id never get rich doing it, and it really kills the fun of it. Killed it totally.

    I finished the chairs for the womans mother.

    Im giving them to her, and believe me, she can afford and has offered a better than fair price, but I cant take the money.
    Its killing it for me.
    The wood costs around 20 bucks, and I know the woman, and so does my wife, who socializes with her.

    I cant do it, the money. I want to keep it as a hobby, something I love doing.
    I believe IM getting better every time I build something.
    Im learning new techniques, gaining the confidence to try different things, and enjoy doing it at any pace I want too.
    Having the calls and questions, do you think youll have it ready when?, can you do this or that? Nope, I guess Ill never be cut out to be a real retailer of any of my work, even though I have sold chairs before, but not like this on order.
    My charity really introduced my chairs to alot of people, but Id rather not retail anything I make out of wood, and it wasnt until yesterday, I realized this.

    Im in my mid fifties, Im having trouble finding any local colleges or schools that offer what kind of classes Im interested in.
    So, Im thinking about asking some local cabinet and custom woodworking shops if I can volunteer my services, no matter they need, even cleaning up, so I can get some first hand hands on experience with different machinery, design and assembly techniques, and all around basic woodworking fundamental skills that will allow me to tackle more advanced projects, similar to things I see here, or my own ideas. I believe this may be a decent approach. I have alot of free time this summer.Am I making a mistake with this approach?
    Last edited by allen levine; 05-07-2008 at 02:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    Heck I am impressed. So far the only people asking me to build things are family than they have not offered to pay me! Not sure what that says about my work.....
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Congrats on all the compliments Allen. I'm sure they were deserved. Too bad the pictures didn't post correctly . Kidding aside, the only time I didn't enjoy my time in the shop was the time I was building to a deadline for money. If that happens ever again it will be too soon.

    Volunteering at the cabinet shop is a good idea since you have already set yourself up to accept the possibility of being broom-boy. The benefit of being around the pros and picking up on their techniques would make a little broom time OK with me too.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI

    I might be reaching a bit, but why not tell everyone who is interested in owning one of your chairs that they are only available through charity raffles. This will serve to elevate their worth - and - you get to donate your work for worthy causes. Then, go out and find a few charities you believe in! They will want your donation because of the perceived value and pre raffle demand.
    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Quote Originally Posted by Rennie Heuer View Post

    I might be reaching a bit, but why not tell everyone who is interested in owning one of your chairs that they are only available through charity raffles. This will serve to elevate their worth - and - you get to donate your work for worthy causes. Then, go out and find a few charities you believe in! They will want your donation because of the perceived value and pre raffle demand.
    Excellent idea!

    Allen, if the money aspect is killing it for you, then don't do it, if you don't need to be making money from the work, especially if it ruins your enjoyment, then don't.

    I do think that there are some specialty courses you can take that would be right up your alley, at woodworking schools, week long things and such, might look into those...?

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    If I thought I could make a go at actually earning a living, heck, thats a joke.
    My mortgage is paid off, my kid is finishing her last year of school, and the financial demands in my life have finally settled down enough I can spend more money on wood and brads.(the correct brads ofcourse, repairs are costly)

    Rennie, I was actually approached already by someone who works with a big childrens charity, she told me shed give me a call.(but again, now it seems like work, I like to make things when I want too, or volunteer too, not at a specific time or given any time frames. I cant accomodate someone if I have an issue at work and cant spend time on chairs or anything else)
    I guess looking at it money wise, a 25 dollar donation is not worth as much as a raffle item if the event is attended by 100s of people.

    Glenn, I didnt take a camera, I went to deliver the chairs and offer any help with setup of any of the booths.
    I saw a cell phone pics of two ladies trying out the merchandise.
    If I can, Ill try to post it. Im not the best when it comes to moving pics around if I didnt put it on my computer with my own camera.Ill have it emailed to me if it wasnt already.

    Stuart, there are courses Ive looked into.
    Most of what I saw was not local, and I thought about doing a 7 day trip, would be worth it for me.
    Unfortunately, my health since Feb, due to recurring attacks of diverticulitis, have kept me from making any plans to travel.
    If I have no luck with anything local, Ill wait till Im feeling better, and find something.
    Last edited by allen levine; 05-07-2008 at 03:20 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    Glenn, Im not sure if you were joking or not, so I have one of the cell phone pics.

    I blanked out the faces of the lovely ladies that arranged the event, I had just brought the chairs, they are sitting in the school yard, I have no clue where my little table is in that picture.
    The second picture, I just finished them tonight, same exact wood and chair, except for one thing.\
    The diagonal legs and front legs on the second set, I cut out of 3/4 inch, instead of one and half inch lumber.
    I made the chairs for the charity, strong enough to hold a 400 + lb person. I didnt know who would win them, nor did I want anyone to think they werent sturdy enough for them to feel comfortable with and not buy a raffle.(I am a heavyset guy, no, not 400lbs, but Im not 200 either, so I build to accomodate people bigger than me)
    The chairs for the mom, well, shes 100 lbs wet, and I know the 3/4 inch stock will hold someone 3 times that, so I saved 3 bucks each chair.
    The table, is always from scraps. I dont think Ive ever built those little side tables the same dimensions.
    I use what I have, just nail up some boards, rout them first, give them a quick sanding, and thats that.
    I bought a plug cutter recently, so now I plug the screw holes on the arms. It just looks better.
    I cant open my car door with those chairs in the garage/work area, but I didnt want to leave them outside in case it rains.
    I didnt want them to get wet if the daughter picks them up tomorrow.
    (its treated lumber though)

    On another note, my white oak refinishing job is still sitting on my table there.
    I just couldnt recut enough pieces to make my regular design work, funny, the other oak chair made it.
    I bought a few board feet of white oak, its been sitting for weeks, but Im getting on it this week.
    Ive resanded every part, and its looking pretty good. I just need to go out and get more of that epifanes.
    Last edited by allen levine; 05-07-2008 at 03:39 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Central (upstate) NY
    A friend of mine has diverticulitis. If the money is causing you stress, then definitely find some way out. You health is more important than someone else's desire for the best chairs on Long Island!

    The "exclusively at charity auctions" is a nice touch. An even nicer touch, if you desire, would be to keep contact info for the people who seem most interested and give them a heads up about the next auction you've donated to.

    Good luck and stay healthy!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    thanx mark, Im trying to listen to the doctors, but I have a mental block when it comes to eating.
    Its like when its 9:30 at night in the middle of february, and Im in the garage without heat trying to get something done, and the wife starts yelling out the door, "enough already, give it a rest!", and when Im at a buffet, she yells the same thing"enough already, give it a rest!"
    It aint easy being married to someone who is the same 120 lbs when I first married her 30 years ago.

    best chairs? the only thing I can say for sure is that my chairs are built with alot of heart, maybe more heart than skill.
    Last edited by allen levine; 05-07-2008 at 04:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    most shops would have to hire you and pay you a wage in order for their insurance to cover your body while you where in the building.
    if i where you i`d look to the guilds that sound to be common on the east coast? it`s possible that one or several of their members would be open to sharing their knowledge?
    or you could sit in your chair and ask questions on the forum.....there are lots of helpfull folks here who have "been there-done that"
    knowledge it out there for those who ask it`s just getting started
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

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