Where is wood turning going?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by hu lowery, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    pretty much where I am trying to be


    Art,

    You are pretty much where I am trying to be and our goals are pretty much identical. There are some places I would like to show a few times a year that cater to people that will pay high end prices but my main focus is a middle audience, people that will pay a little more than the yard sale crowd but not the arty set.

    I will try to cut a few pieces for the arty set and keep them on display, never know, and when I am in front of a crowd that can drop far more than my highest priced piece on a whim, I'll have a few pieces aimed at them. I have my first signed bowl priced to pay for a new American Beauty. Unlikely to happen but I know a few settings where someone will plunk that much down as small change. I don't really want to sell my first bowl but if I do I'll have something to remember it by. :D

    Hu
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    If you are looking for numbers, the average customer will pay around thirty dollars -- maybe fifty to one hundred if the work is exceptional and you happen to be at a vacation destination of the sort where folks want to bring home a memento.

    For works of art, three things are necessary --

    • the right venue
    • exceptional quality that grabs and won't let go
    • a name to go along with it
    Folks that buy art want to show their friends that they own an original Molthrop or Osolnik or whatever, but not some schmuck named Boehme that makes them ask, "who?".
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  3. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    all I can do is try


    Bill,

    That is one place Art has an advantage, everything he makes is a work of Art! :D

    All I can do is turn and get my pieces out where people can see them, have to see what happens after that. If it doesn't pan out I have invested a lot more time and money in failed efforts that were a lot less entertaining. Not entertaining today, my lathe died yesterday. Fixed the drive, now I have a bad connection or bad capacitor to trouble shoot. That's more your area of expertise, if you aren't doing anything in your corner of the shop, drop on by!

    Hu
     
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Art

    We followed a similar path. While working and enjoying turning. Spending turning income on machines, equipment, and classes.

    For quite a few years our booth had bottle stoppers, pens and the small items among the hollow forms and platters.
    Then one year we said time to make some pens for the show next month.... Why? We didn't an left the small stuff home and had the best show ever..
    For us a couple things came together. Our work was more mature, the particular show was evolving into a higher end show, other good turners were in the same show, and concentrating on the hollow forms and platters made it clearer to patrons what we were doing.

    We found for us in the late 90s though 2004 that a price point of $125-800 worked great.

    Al
     
  5. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins

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    I've sorta been watching this thread since day one. My first thought was, woodturning should go where you want it to. I have never approached turning as if I was going to be a pro. It is my hobby. Having said that I am extremely passionate about it. Though i did do a great deal of teaching, competing and demonstrating. I started teaching it for two reasons,
    One was so I could share and grow and give back what I had been gifted.
    Two was it paid for tools, materials and consumables.
    I enjoyed teaching, there was no pressure to produce specific work and I could teach classes in projects I wanted to "play" in.
    Demonstrating adds a little pressure, the crowds are bigger. I didn't track exactly how much I earned teaching, it did fill a shop full of tools and smoothed out some rough spots on the home front a few years ago.
    I also wrote a few articles for woodturning design.
    All the while I was spending a great deal of time in the shop and researching turning online.
    I've never really made much of an honest effort to sell anything, I am just not cut out for sales.
    For me it all changed when my daughter was born 2.5 years ago. Now I have 20-25 years to hone my skills and how I would want to sell some work to supplement my retirement.
     
  6. KellyDunn

    KellyDunn

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    For some reason Hu thought his post #79 on this thread could be offensive to me. I was kind of shocked that he thought so. It just seemed like some heartfelt chat to me and in no way dissed me one tiny bit. So I told him, no grief from me. So in case anyone thought Hu was giving me some manner of grief know that I think nothing of the sort. I am a man who can chat about deep stuff inside us. Now I know I must have some limits so please dont test me. Like getting weirdly kinky, Elvis lives in your closet. Stuff like that. But since I am a fellow who knows pain and growth yet believes in the greater good of especially makers? I am pretty easy to talk to.
    So no grief Hu. Just making it public.
     
  7. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    probably because it was heartfelt


    Thanks for posting Kelly. Sometimes I am a bit more emphatic than I really mean to be in my posts and then realize that someone could be offended. Even without being a little too forceful in my wording I sometimes mess up. I have also deeply offended good people a few times with my internet writings either by dry humor or them feeling something was pointed at them that wasn't in the slightest. I'm trying to be more discreet these days.

    Edited to add a chuckle about discretion: Many years ago when I had a business my wife(ex now) and I were grocery shopping one night and bumped into a business friend I thought I knew well and his wife I didn't know. He was an all around good guy and I would happily have vouched for his high character. I knew he was a happy go lucky guy with a sense of humor too. When he introduced his wife I cracked, "That isn't the wife you introduced me to last week." It was a large store and the lady could be heard all through it for the next fifteen minutes. Oops!!

    Hu
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  8. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    Oops is right... somebody hit a raw nerve.:eek:
     
  9. waltben

    waltben

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    Not everyone's experience at selling is the same

    This thread has wandered over a lot of areas! After over ten years selling at art, craft, wine, music and who can remember what else venues (and several galleries and fine furniture stores), I can make a few points in a couple of them.

    Early on, I decided I didn't want to make 'museum quality' pieces. I wanted to make ones that people would be able to have out on a table without being worried. Some I've made have been a bit too thin for that, but over 90% fit this 'decor' category. This is something I believe gives me focus on what I'll make and how I'll make it.

    While I started out setting prices too high, I've found they also can be set too low. If too high, obviously people won't buy. If too low, they think your work isn't of value. It's hard finding the right level, but the major driver of that is the kind of event you're trying to sell at. If it's not juried and strictly hand made, you're likely to be in a flea market - not good.

    I've found that booth fees over $250 make it really hard to turn a profit after adding in travel, food and (possibly) lodging. Four of our best shows cost under $125 each - one's only $80 - and these are two day events. Check out the demographics of the area around any show before applying.

    I have a range of products at every show. From simple bud vases at $5 to decor pieces at $250 and lots of things in between. Everything is signed so that someone who likes my work but can't afford a bowl can at least buy a vase. My average sale consistently is around $50, mostly driven by mid-range things.

    We make certain we have cards, brochures, signage, table cloths and displays that look professional. Only small items have stick on price labels, everything else has a plastic sign holder and sign with my logo and verbiage about what it is, where the wood came from, etc. My wife does similar things with hang tags for each of her hand-made hats.

    My wife and I share our booth with two different mediums, but that has never been a problem. We've been at events with other wood turners (5 others once!), but each of us had different products, styles, finishes, woods, etc. I don't think multiple turners at a single show should cause friction because we all make things at least a little differently.

    Walt
     
  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Did someone add a few CEU's to their education?

    Thanks for sharing. This is very useful information that can be of benefit to all woodturners.
     
  11. James Seyfried

    James Seyfried

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    finished bowls

    A few pages back I posted pictures of a couple of natural edge bowls that I had roughed out. After spending a week in the U.P. riding single track, marking a trail for the Six Days of Michigan, then latter sweeping the trail (making sure everyone made it and clearing arrows) I was able to finish these bowls. I also had to endure being the 'old guy' all week long. :eek: I just can't seem to find guys my age to ride with.

    I really like the Abernet finishing disks that I used to finish these. I suspect it may be easier to sand NE bowls when they are green. I will at least give it a try on the next ones. Both are finished with Danish oil and Beall buffed. They are both about 14" x 11" wide and 7" tall.
     

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  12. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Bowls look great!

    I sand my bowls after they are dry 3-4 days after turning. More of an old habit before the abranet discs which work pretty well on wet wood. They clog but dipping in water and shaking clears them.

    Some advantages are much of the sanding can be done With the bowl in the chuck. I don't run the lathe while sanding NE bowls.
    Sanding is less dust. What I really like is sanding burls while wet. The wood dries with a reply surface I like..
    I think the sanding while wet takes more time.

    Al
     
  13. odie

    odie

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    Especially like the color of the bowl on the right.......:cool2:

    ooc
     
  14. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    I do sand wet - with 120 grit stearated paper. Any finer loads more than it helps, since the wood will collapse differently if early versus late wood or with figured wood. Dry gets the 180(220) and 320. Since I use the flex shaft for power sanding, it's easy to set the bowl in the lap, holding the bowl with one, the sanding mandrel with the other.

    Looks like you've turned a couple of flyers there. Keep them out of the wind, or keep something in them.

    What ride were you in? The 6 days site shows 2013 as a troll event in Grayling. Is it like the P.O.R. rally, up,down and around the forest service roads?
     
  15. James Seyfried

    James Seyfried

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    Thanks!

    I sanded the back on the lathe with a jam chuck and the tail stock, with the lathe off. I couldn't figure out how to do the inside on the lathe though. I have a vac chuck system that I need to set up and learn how to use. I thought about that while holding the bowl to sand the inside. Was it you that used a three shelve cart with the shelves upside down (easy chip removal) for your vac chuck system? The reason I ask is that I have one and think it is a good idea. But I'm trying to figure out how to mount the wheels with the shelves upside down. If my memory is correct do you have a picture of your cart?

    I was hoping it took less time sanding while wet.
     
  16. James Seyfried

    James Seyfried

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    I like the color too. I got the wood from a tree that fell in a storm and I'm still trying to figure out what kind of wood it is. Below is a sample of the log if anyone is knowledgeable with tree identification.
     

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  17. James Seyfried

    James Seyfried

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    What kind of a flex shaft do you use for power sanding? I used a Milwaukee angle drill, it was awkward and got heavy while holding the bowl in my lap.


    The ride was the Michael R. Burlingham Memorial Six Days of Michigan. This years event started in Gwinn and moved to Newberry. Here is the event flyer: http://www.cycleconservationclub.org/PDF/Events/SDM_2013.jpg They have a national dual sport ride that uses the forest roads and such but I do the trail ride. That is single track through the woods that is supposed to be at least 25" on the ground and 35" at bar height. The club I belong to sets up one day of the ride. We ran the group through about 90 miles of trails and 30 miles of forest roads and connectors, from Newberry to Trout Lake and back. All but a couple of guys dual-sported back to the the campground at the half way point. Mostly because of the rain storm and the basalt and logs scattered through the trails are real slippery when wet.
     
  18. Gretch Flo

    Gretch Flo

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    tree id

     
  19. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    I use a ball-bearing shaft. The cheapo sleeve bearing ones in the big box stores just heat up or glob up with dust when kept highly lubricated. Got mine at Lee Valley, but they've gone upper end on them now. The site is running maintenance now, but Woodworker's Supply at woodworker.com carried them last I looked.

    Far right. http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d160/GoodOnesGone/P3140057.jpg

    For sanding on the lathe, it's used as any other tool, on the rest, appropriate portion engaged with the wood depending on desired scratch direction.
    http://s35.photobucket.com/user/GoodOnesGone/media/150Sand-1.mp4.html

    Your event wasn't well-publicized, I guess. I read the Marquette Mindless Urinal (motto: "Yesterday's News Tomorrow") on line, and can't recall seeing it. http://www.miningjournal.net/

    I've been to Gwinn. Sawyer, actually. Not much left, now.
     

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