Page 10 of 15 FirstFirst ... 67891011121314 ... LastLast
Results 136 to 150 of 222

Thread: Chris Swarz surfaced at Highland Woodworking.

  1. #136
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    New England area
    Posts
    153
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Taran View Post
    Reading the latest thoughts on the decline of people willing to work with their hands (or wanting to) reminds me of a show on PBS I watch from time to time. It's called a Craftsman's Legacy. The host is a guy who claimed to be climbing the corporate ladder and got burned out and turned to a life of working with his hands. Every week there is some new Craftsman he visits and the show centers around how they got started in their craft and then the rest of the show is them working on that craft together. Some examples include making soap (with lye and fat), fly rod making from bamboo cane and even a guy who is a master calligrapher.

    I've watched about 20 shows over the past year, and a few common themes have emerged regardless of the craft:

    1) If you are going to be successful and make a living at a craft, you need to be the best there is
    2) You have to embrace new ways to tackle old problems
    3) You need to be wiling to be Craftsman, Marketing and Sales VP as well as Book Keeper. Being savvy with social media doesn't hurt.
    4) You need to be willing to work very hard, for decades even, to accomplish the above and achieve success.

    If you haven't seen this show, you might want to check it out. Most of the shows involve people working with hand tools. It's worth a look and dovetails nicely with this discussion.

    As an aside, being an avid fly fisherman myself, the guy who builds rods from bamboo is JD Wagner. I discovered after googling him that he is from the next town over from where I live. As a result of seeing the show, I'm signed up next summer to make a split cane bamboo rod in one of his week long classes.
    All very true, and then a lot (most?) end up teaching, as does the bamboo rod maker you mentioned. So few, so very few, make a real, standalone living (no spousal income or teaching an absolute requirement) making furniture or other bench woodworking products.

  2. #137
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
    Posts
    7,286
    I have been working with my hands, since I was 15. Long time ago, about the time Norm was starting his TV shows...decided to sell a few things, mainly by word of mouth,,,with the requirement it would at least pay for itself.....
    138 chest-of-drawers..
    40 Hope/Toy Chests
    80 Tables of about every size
    30 Porch style Benches
    100 shelves..plain to fancy

    Had a full time "Day Job" at the same time...got to the point, the woodworking was getting to be a drudgery thing....imagine doing 6 five drawer Chest-of-drawers...in a single weekend. Had zero time for anything else. There was also a deal with supplying a Truck Detailer with custom made consoles and overheads....
    One day..decided to "retire" from the woodworking "job".....turned it into a hobby, to keep me out of the Pubs. Friends and Family were the "customers" after that.

    Seems lately, that I do a build-along thread...lots of pictures....just part of the way I do this hobby. IF anyone learns from them...that is GREAT! That is why I do them. Almost as much work doing the picture work as the build work...but still FUN....and THAT is what I like....

    Told one factory job boss..the day this job is no longer fun to do, is the day I will quit. He didn't believe me.....until I gave "Notice" that I was going elsewhere...took me two weeks vacation I had earned, used that as my two week notice.

    Maybe some day, IF a video camera ever shows up, and I learn how to do the "YouTube Thing".....until then...I just blog away...

  3. #138
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Broadview Heights, OH
    Posts
    540
    Charles,

    In this case the guy only teaches 2 one week courses a year, total of 4 students each class. In chatting with him via email, I think the teaching is more of a hassle than it's worth, but he does it to pass the knowledge to a new crop of artisans. I'll find out more when I take the class this August.

  4. #139
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Princeton, NJ
    Posts
    5,635
    Blog Entries
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Guest View Post
    All very true, and then a lot (most?) end up teaching, as does the bamboo rod maker you mentioned. So few, so very few, make a real, standalone living (no spousal income or teaching an absolute requirement) making furniture or other bench woodworking products.
    A double income is not exactly rare in 2018.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  5. #140
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    New England area
    Posts
    153
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    A double income is not exactly rare in 2018.
    It isn't, but you wouldn't want to be homeless if your spouse died either, or there was a divorce, etc. Median annual household income in the U.S. is $59K. There aren't that many furnituremakers/bench woodworkers clearing that purely with what they build on a year in/year out basis. Some do, but not that many in the grand scheme.

    Moral: if you're doing this for a living, be extra nice to your spouse.
    Last edited by Charles Guest; 12-18-2018 at 2:46 PM.

  6. #141
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Princeton, NJ
    Posts
    5,635
    Blog Entries
    7
    Please provide the facts behind these statements.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Brian Holcombe; 12-18-2018 at 6:54 PM.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  7. #142
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Coffee City, Texas
    Posts
    169
    In my occupation, my real job, I went through an apprenticeship program and spent years doing the hardest labor and most menial tasks for a starvation wage. It was a slog but I was aware throughout that demand for my work remained quite high and widespread throughout the country. Now that I have achieved a modest competency, my lifestyle is above average for a blue collar guy. I can see definite challenges involved in making it as a hand tool woodworker in the US today. Folks like Warren who do historical repro work probably have the right track to financial viability IMO. Original designs from a start up shop look very risky to me as a solitary income stream. Pete posted some numbers a few pages back and skimming them made the prospects for financial success as a hand tool woodworker in the US seem rather insecure. I heartily commend those with the courage to go for it though!
    Dojo Kun, 1: Be humble and polite.

  8. #143
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Helensburgh, Australia
    Posts
    2,250
    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica de Boer View Post
    The English speaking wood working community you mean. There are scores of skilled craftsmen and women in non-English speaking countries who have never heard of him... or you for that matter. That is not meant as an insult but the wood working "community" as you call it is larger than you think. It doesn't consist of a few forums and youtube channels. What Swarz does and his opinions are not nearly as important as you think they are.
    There is so much truth on that and it is a point I have made before. We only see the English version of the internet, take some time to delve into other language video available and there is a wealth of expertise we never see. It seems to me that the criticism of those formally trained and with a successful career in WW by weekend warriors who by definition have no qualification to criticise at all is a bit over the top. If the critics were equally qualified then they do have the qualification to comment.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  9. #144
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    There is so much truth on that and it is a point I have made before. We only see the English version of the internet, take some time to delve into other language video available and there is a wealth of expertise we never see. It seems to me that the criticism of those formally trained and with a successful career in WW by weekend warriors who by definition have no qualification to criticise at all is a bit over the top. If the critics were equally qualified then they do have the qualification to comment.
    Be careful sir, or you'll end up like me and find yourself staring down the barrel of a Libertarian musket!

  10. #145
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    New England area
    Posts
    153
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Please provide the facts behind these statements.

    Thank you.
    Median income in 2017 was actually $61,372. I won't insult you with a link. Google and/or Bing is your friend.

    The rest of it, obviously, depends on the woodworker's family. I would say that if a woodworking business nets below the median, and the family requires two incomes to make ends meet, then there's going to be a big problem if the non-woodworking earner is suddenly out of the picture for whatever reason. But it all depends on how you choose to live your life, how many children there are, etc., etc.

    A family of four in the U.S. is considered at the poverty line with $24,600 in annual income.

    Sorry if I've somehow struck a nerve. It all seems like common sense stuff to me. There are guys earning more than that, but they're rare. I know a few professional furnituremakers, as good as any around, and they would be over the moon if they had net income of $61,000, from just woodworking, year in and year out. In some years, that number would be more akin to gross revenue, net being half or so. To net $60K, you'd have to be booking gross commissions annually in the $100K range at least, ~$10,000 in gross commissions every month: booked, built, and delivered.
    Last edited by Charles Guest; 12-18-2018 at 7:52 PM.

  11. #146
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    849
    People are always fascinated with foreign video around here. I can remember a number of japanese language videos, and it seemed like for about six months people kept linking to the Chinese guy who cut mortises with one chisel and a hatchet.

    It may be harder to search for foreign language stuff for the benighted english speakers among us, but if the citizens of the world know where it is and post a link, I am sure people would be interested.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    There is so much truth on that and it is a point I have made before. We only see the English version of the internet, take some time to delve into other language video available and there is a wealth of expertise we never see.

  12. #147
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Coffee City, Texas
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    Be careful sir, or you'll end up like me and find yourself staring down the barrel of a Libertarian musket!
    I take Jessica's original point, waaaay back there, about the professional's view of 'instuctional media' in a way that might surprise you. When I look at books and youtube videos about welding, I would describe them with phrases like: facile, incomplete, reductive, unsuitable for professional training.

    I do think however that it is worth arguing when she denigrates Chris Schwarz' contributions on a public forum and belittles the scope and impact of all English speaking hobbyist woodworkers. I just think that she's wrong. I thought she was unaware of the US's policies regarding why a citizen can sell hand made goods although some were quick to twist that comment into something I still don't understand. She can say what she wants, so can you, I can argue. The quest for civility continues...
    Last edited by Kory Cassel; 12-18-2018 at 9:54 PM.
    Dojo Kun, 1: Be humble and polite.

  13. #148
    Quote Originally Posted by Kory Cassel View Post
    I take Jessica's original point, waaaay back there, about the professional's view of 'instuctional media' in a way that is might surprise you. When I look at books and youtube videos about welding, I would describe them with phrases like: facile, incomplete, reductive, unsuitable for professional training.

    I do think however that it is worth arguing when she denigrates Chris Schwarz' contributions on a public forum and belittles the scope and impact of all English speaking hobbyist woodworkers. I just think that she's wrong. I thought she was unaware of the US's policies regarding why a citizen can sell hand made goods although some were quick to twist that comment into something I still don't understand. She can say what she wants, so can you, I can argue. The quest for civility continues...
    Kory, I can only speak for my post. I have re-read it and I think it has to do with educational pathways that once existed in greater choice, and the evolution of the market demand that has affected the profession of woodworking. I did not suggest that anything should be regulated or controlled. I definitely never advocated that anyone should shut anyone else down.
    I thought I was also indicating that both sides of the conversation had a valid point.
    So... I do not understand why the discussion became politicized nor why a lecture from you and Pete about the founding fathers or the revolutionary war was in any way relevant (to my post at least, and perhaps the entire discussion).

    And for clarity, I am not proposing that anyone abridge your rights nor would I ever propose to stand in the pathway of your pursuit of happiness.
    Also, I share yours and Pete's adulation for the founding fathers of the US, but again, I don't see where it is relevant to my post (and here comes the key part - even though I mostly agree with you).
    Edwin

  14. #149
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Calgary AB
    Posts
    168
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lawrence View Post
    People are always fascinated with foreign video around here. I can remember a number of japanese language videos, and it seemed like for about six months people kept linking to the Chinese guy who cut mortises with one chisel and a hatchet.

    It may be harder to search for foreign language stuff for the benighted english speakers among us, but if the citizens of the world know where it is and post a link, I am sure people would be interested.
    Google translate has made decent progress. But it is still hard to get the info; in some languages a word can mean multiple things. A good bet is finding the wikipedia page about something you're interested in written in the native language of wherever you're interesting. I use a google translate extension in my Safari browser. When viewing the translate wikipedia page, (say for the Japanese wiki page on the hand plane), I can hover over the translated words and the original pop up. In Japan, there is a terminology like in any language, for the body of the plane, blade, blade & body. This makes it much easier to zero in. The words just don't translate normally. "Flea" is what we get in English when translating "chisel" from Japanese. But if you can grab the original character or word from wikipedia or some other source than things get much better. Add some other words related to your interest into google and down the rabbit hole you go. Phrasing is hard, I can repeat a search with the same sort of phrase but trying different characters for the words etc and get varied results.

    If you look hard enough chances are you'll find something of interest and value. I spent days and days researching about things I was interested in but from another culture and found very valuable information. At some point I'll have 2-3 windows open and 40 tabs open in each. Go through enough blogs, write ups, mini documentaries, and one can form a good grasp of some things.

  15. #150
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Coffee City, Texas
    Posts
    169
    You might have had to see some since deleted posts to catch the full flavor of the national pride rant. I am certainly not claiming superiority of vocational education in the US. I was simply explaining why I believe the US will not support the requirement of any certification or diploma to sell woodwork even to promote quality standards. I think it has more to do with a cultural repugnance against government control of a person's opportunities than the evolution of technology or market forces. If we disagree as to why the idea is unworkable in US society unlike some other parts of the world, than that's fine. I don't understand the point that Jessica was making, I thought it was a question.
    Dojo Kun, 1: Be humble and polite.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •