Archive for November, 2008

Pre-game Jitters

11 November, 2008

Today my wife and I will be packing, double checking reservations, double checking what we’ve packed, getting folks lined up to feed the critters while we are gone, and making sure everything is lined out for our trip to Berea, Kentucky.  There I will be attending the Woodworking in America conference, a kind of a dream-come-true for Galoots and aspiring Galoots.logo

In case you haven’t already heard, this conference is an opportunity to learn woodworking tips and techniques from the likes of Adam Cherubini, Mike Dunbar, Frank Klausz, Christopher “The Schwartz,” Roy “St. Roy” Underhill, and to rub elbows with esteemed toolmakers such as Thomas Lie-Nielsen, John Economaki, Robin Lee, and Mike Wenzloff (I’ve left many other names off because you can click on the link faster than I can type.)  You can see why I would be excited… and anxious because I want to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything I need to take!

BUT THERE’S MORE!  Yes, as I’ve contended in previous blogs, woodworking is a hobby or a profession, but it is also a community.  Berea is an opportunity to get together with the extremely cool people that have become fast friends via the web, podcasts, and Twitter.  Since I seem to be in a name-dropping posture this morning, I’m looking forward to seeing Marc Spagnuolo (The Wood Whisperer), Matt Vanderlist (Matt’s Basement Workshop), Shannon Rogers (The Renaissance Woodworker/Rogers Fine Woodworking), Kari Hultman (The Village Carpenter Blog), and about 320 potential new Galoot-type friends.  This promises to be the coolest event of 2008, and I’m hopeing we can get signed up for 2009 while we are there.

AND EVEN MORE!  A decade ago, over the protests of the more insightfull professors, I was released from a an intensive study program with a Masters of Divinity degree taken at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.  As in, roughly an hour’s drive north of Berea.  This is like going home!  So, here’s my perspective: going home to somewhere I haven’t been in 10 years, meeting old friends I’ve never seen before, making new friends I don’t know yet, and rubbing elbows with people I’ve seen on TV and in print.

I can’t wait for tomorrow!

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A lesson in business from an 11 year old…

1 November, 2008

I’m trying to keep it all in the family, and it seems to make sense, at least to a degree.  You see, in an effort to take a part of my woodworking business to the internet, I decided to pick up a pen turning lathe, a bunch of kits, and some padauk and rosewood.  Good start, then I could get a feel for it, and perhaps hone my business skills.  I shared all this great thinking with my bride, who thought it was great thinking and was therefore intrigued by the whole idea.  Little did I know…

I turned about 8 pens, and then she came out to the shop and said, “Teach me.”  Okay, sounds very cool.  Pen turning is great fun, but I really enjoy case work which I could get back to if she were turning.  So, I gave her a crash course, and before long her pens looked as good as mine.  Or, at least as good as mine.  Okay, I can handle this, I must be a pretty good teacher.  Soon, my lathe was our lathe, and once in awhile I get to use it.  While she is at work, that is.

This afternoon she brought my 11 year old son out and taught him how to turn pens while I was working on another project.  He learns very quickly, and he got to finish his first pen and pencil set, made out of padauk with “rhodesium” hardware.  Since he’s left handed, I teased him about making the set upside-down.

As I’m merrily banging away on this casework, my son starts asking my bride why we are doing so many.  One of the reasons I love my wife so much is because she’s easily able to expound on the inner workings of capitalism and supply-side economics, which my son got a working lesson in as the chips flew.

After he was finished with his set, he brought them over to show me.  “If I sell some of these for you, can I get a commission?”  I like the way he thinks, at such a young and tender age.  “Sure, of course you would.”  “Well, Dad, how much?”  “Well, Son, it would have to be a percentage of the net.  Do you know what the net is?”  “Is that the total profit?”  I don’t know where he got his grasp of things.  Not from me — I still don’t have all this figured out.  “Exactly.  How does 30% of the profit sound?”  “How does 50% sound, since I am helping make the pens?”  “Okay.”  He dickered, I lost.  Go figure.