Saturday, April 16, 2016

clutter eradication.

K body box guitar
New tool chest for clutter eradication program
I have been finishing boxes (after first sanding to 320) and finishing the paint job on a "k" body guitar. I have also been using a new mechanic's tool chest as a means of clutter eradication in my wood shop in preparation for beginning my box guitar book. I've lined the drawers with the cardboard the tool chest came in so that it can hold sharp objects, and I still have about 4 drawers to fill after loading it with router bits, drill bits, and miscellaneous tools. A few small power tools will fit behind the doors.

I visited an interesting website, urged on by a book about band sawn boxes published by Spring House Press. David Picciuto's website is a fun place with a fun guy who puts some clever zip in woodworking that may help to inspire some younger folks to join the woodworking fun. I invite you to join the woodworking fun.

On the other hand, in a blog post concerning how much to charge for work, he offers some unreasonable advice. He suggests that woodworkers and other craftsmen figure out what they need to make in a day and establish prices for their work based on a "day rate." How to price your work, a simple technique. His suggested starting point is $500 per day and claims that his own day rate is a thousand bucks.

What if you are just starting out? Would you expect to be as efficient and productive as a more experienced woodworker? What if you are just starting out? Will your work be worth buying? What if you made a bunch of stuff and you've set up at the local craft show or farmer's market to sell your work? Do you expect your day rate to also cover the time spent selling your work? In my experience, those who ask questions about how much to charge for their work are the same ones who've just begun developing skills, and whose efficiency and artistic vision have not been refined by continuing exercise.

One of the world's most foolish metaphors is that "time is money." Whether you are working by the hour or by the day, the metaphor "time is money" robs you of other things, the joy of the work, the pleasure you can take in it and the other values you receive from it. By focusing on the money you will be missing some things of even greater value.

I realize this doesn't answer the question so many woodworkers ask, "How much should I charge for this thing I've made?" To that I ask, how attached are you to it? Would you buy it yourself? And if not, why not? What are the non-monetary attributes of it? How did making it make you feel? And if it's worth making in light of how you feel and compensates financially enough for you to continue and save a bit each day, perhaps you've found a working formula for price.

Cherry and walnut with tray inside.
What about the idea of making something lovely without regard to price, building something significant and lasting within human culture or that might touch and enhance in some way the lives of others in your family or community?

Here in Eureka Springs people (including my wife and I) volunteer the time each day to a variety of causes because they choose to make the world a better place. If every maker tried to follow Picciuto's formula we'd all be left buying and selling products from China and never make a single thing, for who would pay us what we are clearly not worth in an economy overburdened with meaningless stuff?

Make, fix, create and reflect. Inspire others to love learning just as you do.

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