Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happenings

I thought I'd post a brief update as I haven;t had a chance to post much in recent weeks. The glass for the coffee table project is proving to be a big hassle and I still don't have it in the shop yet. The company I went with has jerked me around so many times I've been forced to seek another supplier. Six weeks wasted.

I'm glad the client is very understanding with the delays in this project.

I've taken up some carpentry work with a local company, nothing in the way of high class joinery or hand tool workouts, but pays the bills. This week we are ripping the slate off an old barn roof, and it makes for a hard day. Last week was a marathon of sealing, staining, and polyurethaning trim for a basement remodel in a mini-McMansion subdivision with vinyl siding and fake railings on the wall of the house. I hope you'll forgive me that I chose to leave the camera at home.

The carpentry study group has been taking up a chunk of my time and we are now at the point where the group members are working on their projects so I have a respite from the instructional mailings. The first month had 6 mailings, a total now of 7, and I've added at least 100 pages of material to the TAJCD essay series.

I'll be doing a presentation on Japanese carpentry at a library in Connecticut later this month so I have some preparation to do for that.

Lots on the plate right now. I've written the next post in the series called 'Skin Deep', and when i get my brain back I'll edit it up and post it, probably in the next couple of days.

The ragweed is in bloom again, and that means that the next two months for me are full time on 24 hour allergy medication. Yee-hah!

Al for now, thanks for dropping by and I hope to be back to more regular posting in the near future.

4 comments:

  1. Hey, which library in CT? I'm in the Farmington Valley, if it's nearby I'll try to stop by.

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  2. Hi Simon

    thanks for your interest. The talk will be held at the Oliver Walcott Library in Litchfield, CT, Tuesday August 30th, 7:00~8:00 pm. Hope you can make it!

    ~C

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  3. Chris,

    Sure can hear you on "paying the bills", but doing carpentry work that doesn't require your own level of skill, doesn't seem like the best way to get to that place where you can do what you are cut out to do. Have you considered doing speculative furniture work that keeps your potential out there for the public to see? Are there any galleries or other exhibitions around that will help to spread the awareness of your potential? Such isn't without some possible self commiserations, but there is the chance (a decent one in the USA) of connecting with potential customers this way. I think it is fair to say that the biggest challenge of doing high quality woodwork for a living for most of us, is less in making the goods, than in finding the clientele, which may require a ceaseless effort covering as many bases as you can.

    I mean that you are already doing a lot, the efforts you do on the web and the quality of what you put out when called upon, but if you don't have the woodwork jobs lined up that you want to be doing, I think it is fair to say that you may not be doing enough. Meant to inspire here if it possibly helps, not to criticize. It saddens when people who can do fine woodwork, don't get the lobs that will express that.

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  4. Dennis,

    yes, I hear you, and thanks for the comment. It's definitely true that this carpentry work I am doing at the moment doesn't require anything even remotely close to the kind of work I like to do, can do, and have been training for and dreaming of. In fact,the guy I work for, as he runs a design/build company and is trained as an architect, doesn't seem too interested in hearing my opinions on how to do things. It's his show, so fine, but he'll never be taking advantage of my skill set. For one reason - he's not going to have any work like that, and for another, he doesn't really know what my skill set is. Everything I do is so utterly at odd with this way of building.

    I've been working for him for about three weeks on three different jobsites and in each case I have observed that the work around me, either already done, or in process, is poorly conceived, and poorly executed. Lots of decisions being made on a seat-of-the-pants basis, just reacting and improvising. And the finished product is hardly anything to be proud of - you don't see anyone beaming with satisfaction at least. Just finish it and on to the next thing. Keeping alive, fight another day. Get it done.

    The other trades that we intersect with all seem to be in the same mode. The stair 'finisher' on the last job in the McMansion installed a pre-cut oak staircase down into the basement with so many glaring errors, mis-cuts, and sloppy workmanship - the kind of stuff that just leaps out at you without having to look much. And they get away with it. My boss, to my shock and amazement thought it looked 'okay'. The homeowners apparently 'don't notice' the poor work, and the people doing the work don't seem to think there's anything wrong with it either. I could go on and on. I won't.

    I can always make more effort to drum up clientele, and you're right, if I don't have the jobs lined up, then I could be doing more to put myself out there. As to how long I will stay at this current carpentry job, I'm really not sure.

    ~C

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