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Want to do woodwork for a living?

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A

Anonymous

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HI all

As a follow on from Steve's other thread, I wondered if any people would like to move to woodworking as their job in place of what they currently do?

No way for me as my dad was a cabinet maker and then later on, a chippy. I saw him spend too many days in buildings without windows or on roofs doing 1st and 2nd fits in the winter for too little pay!!
I'll stick to my warm office in my comfy chair in front of a PC any day! :lol:

How about you?
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Tony,

Your dad sounds like me!
Having spent my working career from 16 until I was 37 and joined GW, I was full time in woodworking.
There have been some massive changes, in that time not only in skills available, but also attitude.
I've managed to stay away from the shoe box building sites all my career, although I have been out on site commercially working, along with long stints in joiners shops.
When I first passed myapprenticeship everything seemed to be done at a pace where although time was money, the job had to be done correctly, not thrown up and bashed in. Despite being involved in some pretty prestigious jobs in the late 80's early 90's, the one thing that it moved on to was profit and cut throat tactics, the bod on the tools bearing the brunt when it all goes wrong...
I speak from experience, being self employed and having lost about £10000 in a two year period by having a conscience and pride in the work I was doing.
Each time I was working away from home, but wanting to get the job done, only to find myself at the wrong end of a 'liquidation' when arriving back, with invoices to present. The companies in question then restart under a slightly different name, same staff etc, but with myself and others carrying the can.
Landing the job here at GW sounds ideal, but to be honest, I could earn far more back on the tools. Don't be fooled, it's not high salaries, free tools and glamour!
One of the main reasons I took the job was because I needed a more financially stable position as my wife and three kids needed a steady income, and not being out in all winds and weathers getting stitched up is nicer!
I mentioned earlier about skills available, and it's become more apparent with the decline of the apprenticeship scheme.
When I was apprenticed it was as a carpenter and joiner. You took both standard City and Guilds along with Advanced Craft once you had passed the first part.
I was taught every aspect of woodwork, shuttering, roofing, all types of joinery, you name it, we were taught it.
I now see loads of people claiming to be carpenters, joiners, call them what you will but they 'don't do roofing' or 'don't hang doors', the favourite one where I live is 'i'm a shutterer'. I've actually fitted a kitchen and hung a load of internal doors for one of them, and he went through college so say doing a course designed to offer the same level of skills I took!
Over the years I've learnt far more than I did at college, (and I still am...)but the ground work was done by them, so I can make furniture, do joinery, carpentry at all levels, 1st, 2nd fix, shuttering etc, plus I've worked on a replica of a 15th century ship. Admittedly, some of these jobs I like better than others, but it's an adaptation of your own skills that gets you there.
At base level, woodworking is an assembly of components, scaled and jointed appropriately to the job in hand.
OK, I'm no David Charlesworth, and not up to the level of some of the posters here either, but I can do it to a decent standard.

Sounds like a rant! It wasn't meant to be, honest... :D

Andy
 
A

Anonymous

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Interesting story Andy, I can see why you went for journalism.

The companies in question then restart under a slightly different name, same staff etc, but with myself and others carrying the can.
Unfortunately been there when working as an engineer :twisted:

Landing the job here at GW sounds ideal, but to be honest, I could earn far more back on the tools. Don't be fooled, it's not high salaries, free tools and glamour!
Aww come on, I bet you look gorgeous in that little sequined number :lol:

I think the regular income is worth a lot more than many people are prepared to admit
 
A

Anonymous

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Aww come on, I bet you look gorgeous in that little sequined number
Hmmm... you appear to know more about me than i thought! :shock:
I think the regular income is worth a lot more than many people are prepared to admit
I think you are right. Earning higher salaries but at the cost of extensive travelling and/or higher risk of a company stitching you up plays a major part once you've had your fingers burnt!
To be honest, I still do plenty of woodwork, friends still call on me as they see me as a chippy/joiner, and to be honest, so do I, so I still use wood regularly, although I would prefer to be purely a pleasure woodworker at home rather than doing it for the mag etc through lunchtimes for projects etc!
I suppose i'm the opposite to your initial question, but not quite!

cheers
Andy
 

Drew

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Like Andy and like Tony's dad I did it for about twenty years and the longer it went on the more seasonal it seemed to become. I got fed up of following the route that ruined my trade "bonus", I chased the big money for a while and got sickened by the sheer greed I experienced on the civil engineering side. That was when I started to try out other aspects of woodworking from the sublime to the ridiculous, some cabinet making, childrens size nursery furniture, coach building, collectors dolls houses and miniature furniture(the duchess of westminster's got one of my houses) Ok its a boast but just a small one. Now I like to do it as a hobby. I definitely don't miss the days spent trying to get some feeling back into your fingers so you can use your hammer cause it's below freezing and any sane person would have packed up long before. Nor do I miss being rained off or rained on for job and finish. The only part I sometimes miss is the summers they were great.
Having said all that if I was sixteen again I would do most of it again tomorrow provided I could guarantee I would get the same apprenticeship and training. But no matter where I am or what I'm doing the one thing I will always have is what we all have in common here a love of using wood and making things from it.
Long winded I know but I don't say much often and I must have saved it up. :lol:

Drew
 

Midnight

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OK... I'll fes up... I want a piece of that....

That said, I'm not nieve enough to think that it's going to be my key to fame and fortune; truth be told, that's not why I want it..
All my life I've worked with my hands; after 17 years building control systems I'm kinda good at it. I enjoy it too, when I get the chance to do my job as it should be done. There was a time when that was enough; just getting the opportunity to turn a mess of wire into something that not only worked well, but looked the part too, as opposed to an explosion in a bowl of spagetti...
These days, the opportunity happens all too infrequently... Sure, a steady pay cheque's a reassuring thing... but there has to be more.... surely...??

That's why I want a piece of this... I doubt I'll be able to kiss wiring goodbye and focus on woodworking full time... but as long as I make enough to get by.... I'll be happy....

Simple... stupid... whatever... that's my dream....
 
A

Anonymous

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Expected a few more replies here :evil:

So, practically no members want to be a pro woodworker then?

Are we all part-time players? :wink: :)
 

Philly

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Wish I made that decision 15 years ago-too big a mortgage and too many responsibilitys now Mate!
Philly :oops:
 

johnelliott

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Tony":l7zs0wni said:
Expected a few more replies here :evil:

So, practically no members want to be a pro woodworker then?

Are we all part-time players? :wink: :)
:shock: :shock: :shock:
Hey! Over here, I do it full time and more. I quite like it too. It's better when the phone's ringing and the customers are forming an orderly queue. The queue started when I started doing kitchens. If I'd stuck with trying to sell furniture then I would have had to give up a long time ago

John
 

Alf

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Tony":3w2vdgye said:
So, practically no members want to be a pro woodworker then?
I have a desire to eat, sleep and enjoy my woodworking - so, no.
I'd love to be a pro pontificator on woodworking though. Gotta beat doing it just for fun...


Cheers, Alf
 

norman

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Hi all
I made that move in 1970 and still going strong. so it can be done and its still a lot of fun.
Norman
 

houtslager

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woo hooo now heres a topic close to my heart - lol :p
who wants to be a pro butcher of all things wooden ?
well these days it is totally different from the "good old days" :shock:
Speed speed and profits are todays motto/creed. :evil:
In my day [ roll of drums and whistling pipes ] I learnt the old fashioned way- swept the workshop floor, went to shops to collect the crate of beer and brätwürst sausages and bread rolls for the workshop breakfast.
{ this was a Bavarian breakfast note :oops: } Then I was shown - note SHOWN the tools of my future trade/profession. After more sweeping and beer collecting, I was allowed to use the tools.I still remember the smell of the meisters clothes and breath over my shoulders as I marked out and cut my first joints.
Oh have the years flown by :cry: now, after working in so many countries and in different branches of woodworking- joinery, cabinet making restoring, finishing , shipwrighting and of course site work.
I have come to the conclusion, that woodworking only pays if your prepared to cut corners and lower ones standards :?
After so many years in woodworking most S/employed I look forward to doing something simple, that does not require me lifting a 100lbs plank of timber onto my planer/table saw or thicknesser. Or hefting a chest of drawers onto my bench in order to restore to its previous glory. :?
Am I still looking through rose tinted glasses ?
wishing anyone who wants to work in this branch lots of luck
HS in Amsterdam
 

Drew

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Hi Chris
As soon as I can lay my hands on some photos I will let you see them. It might take a while, it was over twenty some years ago and my filing system takes over where chaos theory fears to tred. So I'll sharpen up the shovel and have a look.

Drew
 

bg

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Well I would like to move to woodworking, but in a modest way. I’ve no illusions that furniture making will provide a living, but when I retire from my normal work (IT related) maybe I could sell a few bits of furniture, at least to cover the costs of making it. After all I couldn’t keep putting it all in my house. Of course I’m probably deluding myself in thinking I will spend many hours in the workshop and make too much stuff as I’m usually rather slow in making anything. If I though I could make even a modest amount of pocket money in a year from knocking out a some furniture at my own pace (lets say about 10K) and to my own designs (commissions would defiantly be out – not enough skill for that) then, as I’m getting towards retirement anyway, I would give up the rat race right now. But I agree with Tony, if you want to earn a living, as opposed to getting some pocket money to finance your hobby, sitting in front of a PC takes some beating.
 
A

Anonymous

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I tried it for a while about 10 years ago and it was really tough keeping the flow of customers coming in. Now I do it professionally only when sought out, which happens through the local artists' consortium that I belong to (great source of ideas and inspiration, but not of work!). I have found that selling services is far easier than selling products. Maybe that's why installing kitchens sells better than building custom furniture?
 

Bean

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BG
I do in a small way as I have a display in a local gift shop, I have sold a few boxes and small tables this way, It helps to pay for tools etc but I do not think there is a living in it.

Bean
 

Drew

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Chris

I finally found a couple of very poor photos of the houses I used to make. 3 rooms downstairs, 3 upstairs, attic rooms, oak skirting and architrave, 5 panel internal doors, electricity and lighting, opening oak sashes and diamond leaded windows.

http://www.stargate-glass.freeserve.co.uk/images/frontelev.jpg

http://www.stargate-glass.freeserve.co.uk/images/endelev.jpg

I have been told that theres one in a museum of childhood down south as well, but I've no idea where. We exhibited at Earls court twice and were very well received. Funny though I can remember them having looked more impressive than that, init great how the memory plays tricks.:?

Drew
 
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