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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wondering how common it is for a once valued piece to be thrown away or worse.
I once worked for a multi-location child care company where I was occasionaly asked to custom build somthing although it wasn't a job requirment. I was always flatered and happy to be asked. My first reaction was usualy attempt to help them find somthing from one of our vendors that suited their need. Secound effort was making suggestions and asking questions to maximize benifit and life of the item. More times than I like to recall,the item was later repainted(usualy latex interior)by the recipent's successor or another employee without chemicaly cleaning with solvent,much less sanded and primed. I always used poly,epoxy or HP laminate since it was a commercial inviroment cleaning and disinfecting was common. As you would expect,the paint peeled,rendering it usless in a place of business. I am not ranting or complaining because I was salaried and liked working in my shop. I should also point out that the majority of items were very much apreciated and used as intended. It's behind me now but I am curious what is your take in similar situations.
 

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Many moons ago, I built this hutch for a customer. I hadn't built that many furniture pieces back in the day and I was quite proud of it. The customer eventually bought a new house and this piece didn't go with their new decor. It was handed down to their adult daughter. She didn't like it and it got relegated to the barn. It was only a sophomore effort and not great woodworking but to have it basically discarded was a lesson in taking your work too seriously. Others won't.

Since those days, I've been an architectural woodworker building numerous banks, museums, resorts, state houses, court benches, etc. There have been many that have been torn apart and all the high end work taken to the dump. Here is a picture of a house on the ocean I worked on. It was featured in many magazines and an architectural text book. The owner had financial problems, the house stayed vacant for some years until a new owner bought it. The new owner hated the house and had it torn down. That roof was all copper and a guy I worked with later was part of the destruction crew. He said they backed up a dump truck and rolled the copper off and hauled it to a recycler. The new owner only bought the $4,000,000 place for the land.
 

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I really like that hutch. Wouldn't suit my suburban bungalow, though. Well, maybe, if I moved my buffet...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hammer that's a nice piece. Your story about the copper roof is yet another example of a large sum spent for creme de la creme only to be cast aside in another's eyes. Not a biggee unless you have a little invioromentlist in you and realize benift of recycling some things. In our case,old growth wood is somthing we don't like seeing wasted.
I managed to get myself in trouble over buying a roll top desk in spite of having owned one for 20 years. My new aquasition is quarter sawn white oak from late 19th or early 20th century showing it's age.
The hair on my neck stood up when I ran across it but my wife's assessment was "it's ugly". Oh well,at least the man cave has a cool desk until I see if the next buyer wants it as is or restored.:icon_smile:
 

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I've got an opposite kind of story if you don't mind. I'm not a exceptionally skilled master carpenter but each project I complete gives me the experience and patience needed to craft art from a tree. For Christmas I made a pair of what were supposed to be simple garden benches for two family members. Rather than slap some boards together and hand over some unfinished and rough place to sit, I used the same dimensions for both and completely changed designs for each. I stained one dark, utilized straight lines, and gave it a modern type feel, and gave it a high gloss finish of about 5 coats of poly. The other was more free flowing and liquid in design, and also had multiple coats of poly but stained light, and a satin finish. I fully intended for them to be used outside in their respective yards, and to be enjoyed in that setting. Funny thing is, neither will ever see the sun directly above them, since they are permanently located indoors. They both felt they were too nice to be outside. I tried to convince them that was their destiny, and it was ok to do so. They wanted no part of it. They are a part of the decor indoors. Made me feel good that my work had that effect on them.

Not the quality of the hutch or even nice enough to pass security of that house that went by the wayside, but I'm sure pride is pride, and it feels good no matter who or why praise is bestowed upon us.

talk to your projects. when they talk back, it's time for a break.
 

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Rarely does my wife see the beauty in any wood, cheap and plentiful, or rare and exotic. Getting studs for a shed she was getting upset when I wouldn't put back the "ugly" ones. She could care less about an awesome slab of tiger maple or walnut I happen upon, but anything I build for her needs to be pine with a coat of golden pecan stain or she won't want it. Geez

talk to your projects. when they talk back, it's time for a break.
 

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I once made a computer stand for my wife. It was my first piece of actual "furniture" that I still don't consider my first real project. Anyway, I chose not to stain it because I liked the darker painted look I had seen in a magazine.

She hated it!

It was stripped, sanded, and stained shortly after; and she then gave it away!

Needless to say, her computer is sitting on the floor, and I refuse to make another!
 

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Interesting post... One of my 1st projects, 30 years ago, was a toy box for my son who got three little brothers to share with. I'm a self taught wood worker so my 1st projects were crude to say the least. Simple lap joints are all I knew. Now that my sons are 30 + (youngest 28), they all want it for entry way boot bench. All 4 sons are attached to it and want it. I never sold an item but I've made lots of things. Some go to the church Christmas bazaar and other fundraisers, but most are for family. I retired 3 years ago (my skill level has taken off to craftsman level) and I'm now making a dresser for one of my five grand daughters. I'm making it out of pine because it will be painted (kids furniture) but it will last a few lifetimes. The moral of my story is that people do appreciate our work, especially when it's family.
 

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I spent close to $1,000 on a deck in my back yard that I used 1 time. I'm tearing it down this summer, resodding and putting a swing set up for my kid.
 

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Most the stuff I built was with my grandfather, all great quality, like our arm-war (sp?). But there were a few things that served their purpose then I broke them up and well... threw it out.. like that out-door grill stand to put "stuff" on I didnt have room for for a few parties. I didnt want to spend a lot of money of buy some ugly plastic thing.. Cant say I wish I never built it.. now if I had to look at it a few years after it got weathered I'd could see saying that!
 

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This desk/hutch was my first project for my wife about 5 yrs ago. The smaller cabinets came second. She uses the heck out if it. So, that makes me feel good, but the drawer tends to stick slightly on one side and it drives me absolutely nuts. Wife won't let me touch it though. Sometimes I don't know if she's just being nice, or if the stuff I make is good quality compared to some of you more experienced woodworkers. I guess I will know one day when/if my stuff is still around.

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that desk/hutch looks incredible man. many people would buy that in a store.

edit - wait first project!? sheesh!
 

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jascotx said:
This desk/hutch was my first project for my wife about 5 yrs ago. The smaller cabinets came second. She uses the heck out if it. So, that makes me feel good, but the drawer tends to stick slightly on one side and it drives me absolutely nuts. Wife won't let me touch it though. Sometimes I don't know if she's just being nice, or if the stuff I make is good quality compared to some of you more experienced woodworkers. I guess I will know one day when/if my stuff is still around.
That is some awesome "first project" workmanship. I'm afraid to ask what you've mastered in the last 5 years for fear of feeling emasculated even further. Lol. You really should consider selling if the end result is that good.

talk to your projects. when they talk back, it's time for a break.
 

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I know if I spent a lot of time and effort to create a piece, especially a large and/or intricate piece of furniture, it would give me a sick feeling to find out it was heartlessly destroyed.
 

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I once made a computer stand for my wife. It was my first piece of actual "furniture" that I still don't consider my first real project. Anyway, I chose not to stain it because I liked the darker painted look I had seen in a magazine.

She hated it!

It was stripped, sanded, and stained shortly after; and she then gave it away!

Needless to say, her computer is sitting on the floor, and I refuse to make another!
Sitting here laughing and sayin AMEN brother! I'd probably be the same way!
 

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Hammer 1
I've done curved decks like that in the house photo. Curved rails and all. Very labor intensive and it cost the owner about 3-4 times the cost of normal straight, square decking.
I've also done round topped dormers and walls for interior/exterior. The first owner loved em, the second wanted them removed.

Seems like style is subjective to the individual you build for. My own home is a extreme contemporary. I realize only 10% of the populous will appreciate that style. For them it's a "must have" scenario. Sorta like a house with a pool. A certain % will have to have it, the rest find it as a downside.

I've been an architect for 30 years and also a builder in that time. Now I make unique one off furniture. It never ceases to amaze me what people must have in their designs, and yet I know they will never see the return on their money if they sell it. I also know the next owner will likely gut the place out and do their own design changes,,,thus all is lost.

I design em, build em, get paid and never look back unless called back.
Now once furniture goes out of my shop, it's never seen again.
We take pride in what we build, but at the same time it must be realized most don't get or appreciate the efforts.
 

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When I was still in High school I worked part time for a small construction co. i mostly did labor work, and took every opportunity to learn from this guy or that guy. Well I remember working with the drywallers hanging the sheets in the living room of a house. all standard stuff. then about 14 years or so later. I was working for a different drywall co part time. I was sent for a remodel of the first house i ever hung drywall in. It is an odd feeling tearing out your first "real" work....... even found the sheet that i signed and dated in 1990!
 
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