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Worst Job Ever

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Anonymous

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As humility is a wonderful quality, I thought I'd start off describing one of my worst jobs ever!

1. Years ago, I got an order to strip, french polish a womans 1930's burr walnut bedroom suite. It was deep, deep gloss spray laquer finish but badly crazed. I took it all away, did the work and returned to be greeted with a deafening silence. She hated it all. Accused me of not repolishing the bedheads and eventually started crying, telling me I had ruined it and that she wished she 'd never had it done! What do say to that! I slunk off, with a cheque believe it or not.AND it went through!
Had nightmares for ages about that one! With hindsight, I reckon the job wasn't very good but you have to learn to get better! An embarrssing lesson methinks which certainly curbed my entreprenurial woodworking enthusiasm!! (Oh and before anyone asks, I've got alot better since then!)

So, anyone got a worst job ever? Cos not everythings lovely, lovely is it?!!

I know the above is not strictly WW but it is in a similar field.

Regards
 
A

Anonymous

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My worst job ever, was before i really got into woodworking, and whilst i was still at school

The project was to make a wooden bar stool

When i had finished putting mine together, i stood it on the bench, and it wobbled,so i shaved a bit off one of the legs.

Yep, you guessed it, by the time i had finished taking bits off each leg, a 2ft high stool, was 11 inches high, and then the teacher told me that,just maybe the bench was not level.

I still took it home, and my mum made the right noises, but i do not recall it ever being used

Even if they do not own up,i reckon everybody has a disaster lurking somewhere

cheers

john
 

johnelliott

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Matstro, I felt for you on that one even if it was some time ago. Business would be a lot easier to conduct if it wasn't for the customers. When I got back into woodworking recently I decided to avoid doing work for people due mainly to the difference between their expectations and what can be achieved in reality. It's a fact that in nearly every case the best the job will ever be is in the person's head before they actually see it. Some people will be so (unreasonably) disappointed that they will react like your customer did, or use it as an excuse not to pay.
Some tradesmen are really good at handling that kind of aggro, I know that I am not and it sounds like maybe you aren't either.
I would advise anybody setting out to take on work to order to ask themselves how well they will be able to deal with a situation like when (not if!) it arises
In order to avoid that stuff I will be making furniture to my own designs and trying to sell it. That way, they see it before they buy it. I do realise that restorers are not in such a fortunate position
John
 
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Anonymous

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Johnelliott,

Bit of a misunderstanding here!

The job I did was rubbish, and thats what I meant by "worst job ever"

I'm sure others have been in the same position if they were honest.We've all done jobs which we would rather forget and thats mine!

The furniture was very, very highly finished originally by spray. To properly french polish the furniture to the same look is a formidable task which takes hours and hours. Of course when it all went back although it looked ok it didnt have that 2mm thick coat of gloss laquer, and thats why she was upset. I should have pointed out what the difference would be beforehand or quoted 10 times the amount to cover all those hours.I did neither and it was my fault. She was right to be upset, I couldnt afford not to take the money. An episode I would rather forget!!!

To digress slightly, you seem to have an unusually harsh attitude toward the general public? I don't on the whole have any problem with dealing with most of them. If they are unreasonable and I'm in the right,I have no compunction in dealing with them. I do think they have to be steered abit, but then thats probally worth the effort to ensure they remain happy with what you do.

I think what I was trying to do with the original post was to inject abit of reality in to this ww business, suggesting that not everything goes right, we're not infallable, everythings not sweetness and light and there is a downside to it all.

Just being a bit different and having a bit of fun really!

BTW Cutting the legs down. Thats a classic. Is that why beginners make so many coffee tables? Now I know!!!!!!

Regards
 

johnelliott

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Right, I think I see what you mean now, and I also know what it is like to have done a dodgy job and had to take the money for it-

Years ago I made a mahogany dining table to order, and I badly needed the money for it. I'd joined the top from 4 boards, cut the top into the required circle and moulded the edge. I'd bought just enough material for the job. All I had to do now was the sand the table and apply some finish. As I started to sand the top one area was getting worse instead of better, there was a worm hole on the edge of one board where it joined its neighbour, and the more I sanded it the more obvious it became. It wasn't a question of my not knowing what to do, I had to hide it somehow, I tried everthing, eventually I let in a patch but to me it was very obvious.
Anyway, I delivered the table and the woman didn't say anything and I took the money and banked it and I, too, had nightmares about it for ages and I still cringe when I think about it now

My harsh view of the public's attitude has developed over a number of years, not so much from personal experience but from mostly anecdotal evidence from the many tradesmen I know and the various people I come into contact with. I personally feel it is better for a beginner to start with an attitude like mine and move towards an attitude like yours rather than the other way round. Most people are actually OK but every now and then one will come across the other type and it can be a pretty unpleasant experience

John
 
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Anonymous

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John,

Yep, I know what you mean, customers! Nowadays most of mine are Trade not Private. Suits me better.

I recall dropping some work off to a chap who started shouting and swearing for no reason, went right off his trolley! He was drunk as a skunk apparently, I couldnt tell at the time. If you have a permanent drink problem like that it's not always dead obvious first off. All the bits fell into place when I was told later.

I dont know where you are in Wilts. I deliver to Melksham quite a bit.

Wow, I'm impressed by everyone here. Wot no job foul ups?!

Regards
 

GrahamC

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I have often spent hours and hours labouring on what amounted to no more than firewood, fortunately I only do this for fun and not for a living.

The comments about customers expectations are not limited to woodwork however, far too often now people are just bloody unreasonable. I think it is all to do with the compensation culture coming from America.

Mind you, if you deliver a poor product then people are entitled to be angry. That is why I am happy just to play at woodwork and not earn a living from it.
 

johnelliott

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matstro":2064boo4 said:
I dont know where you are in Wilts. I deliver to Melksham quite a bit.

Regards
I'm about 10 miles south east of Swindon, the other side from Melksham I'm afraid, but always happy to receive visitors.

John
 

Drew

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Matstro
Yes I've been there done that and got the t-shirt. When I did it I felt like changing my name to Turkeys R Us.
I thank God for the capacity to blank things out and store the memory away on some shelf gathering dust in my memory.
I think that most crafts-people have been in the unenviable position of producing something they are not proud of.
I believe the important thing is how you react to it yourself.
If you are someone who can turn a blind eye to it and it happens time and again award yourself the spurs and stetson.
If as it appears here your conscience pricks you and you resolve to do better next time, not make that mistake again and treat it as a learning experience, in my mind you have it cracked.

Drew
 
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