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Full time? (Read 845 times)
 
Frank Padden
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Full time?
Jun 11th, 2017 at 6:46pm
 
I see a lot of turners selling their goods at shows. I've done a few and made out ok. I'm not looking for anyone's tax return........just wondering if anyone is making a living selling bowls?
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Jurriaan Kalkman
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Re: Full time?
Reply #1 - Jun 12th, 2017 at 3:15am
 
As far as I know, there's a few big names who can afford that.
I also know of full-time turners who teach, turn knobs for antique furniture, make parts for staircases, sell lathes, tools and other turning related stuff and generally have to do any woodturning job they can make money with.

Personally, that doesn't appeal to me. I make pieces because I enjoy turning wood and I like people to know how beautiful wood can be.

Of course, I like selling my bowls/vases.
What I don't like is to think about selling while creating them, or worse, while I'm gathering wood. Production work leads to Serial production leads to outsourcing means 'not a lot of fun anymore'.

I once had a potential customer phone me about 200 round plates, meant to bake bread on. 200 didn't sound like fun, so I passed.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Full time?
Reply #2 - Jun 12th, 2017 at 8:53am
 
Frank Padden wrote on Jun 11th, 2017 at 6:46pm:
.just wondering if anyone is making a living selling bowls?

While I don't like to respond to a question with another question, what do you mean by make a living.
If you talking about turning bowls as the sole source of income, it's going to be a very small number of people.
As Jurriaan mentioned, there are some professional artists/demonstrators out there but the number is tiny.
You can certainly make money turning but if you limit yourself to one type of item like bowls, the quality must be at the highest level.
JMO
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Leo De Bruin
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Re: Full time?
Reply #3 - Jun 12th, 2017 at 7:10pm
 
Not many people can make a living at it as Juriaan mentioned previously. I make enough to support my "tool addiction" and that is about it.  I get more out of my hobby than $ so all is good!
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robo_hippy
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Re: Full time?
Reply #4 - Jun 12th, 2017 at 8:48pm
 
The 'professionals' all have multiple sales points: their work, their name brand tools, videos, demonstrations, workshops, and other gadgets and gizmos... Being a full time woodturner, would not be fun... I was 'semi pro' which means I made enough to support my habit and pay a few bills.

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Rick Caron
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Re: Full time?
Reply #5 - Jun 13th, 2017 at 4:28pm
 
If i can sell a few bowls here and there i'm happy, cause then i can buy more tools.
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Full time?
Reply #6 - Jun 13th, 2017 at 5:59pm
 
My hope is that whenever I finally "retire" from my framing shop, I'll have a fairly good handle on creating stuff that people might want to buy at a couple of craft fairs to supplement my meager "retirement" income.... S/S and an apartment rental.... plus whatever I get from selling the business.

At some point, I'll probably make more money from selling the huge pile of burls I'm stashing away than from actual finished pieces!! Shocked

As for making a living at turning, it's like trying to make a living at photography... in other words, don't quit your day job!! Smiley



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John Cepko
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Re: Full time?
Reply #7 - Jun 15th, 2017 at 6:10pm
 
Photographers really took a hit now that everyone, almost, has a camera in their pocket.
Photogs aren't the only ones anymore taking pictures now.

If giving turned gifts instead of buying a gift from a store can be considered making part of a living, I am happy.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Full time?
Reply #8 - Jun 15th, 2017 at 8:31pm
 
John Cepko wrote on Jun 15th, 2017 at 6:10pm:
Photographers really took a hit now that everyone, almost, has a camera in their pocket.
Photogs aren't the only ones anymore taking pictures now.


Everyone may have a "camera" in their pocket but that in no way means they can take a decent photograph. There is a lot more to photography than access to a simple camera.
JMO
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Don Stephan
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Re: Full time?
Reply #9 - Jun 16th, 2017 at 6:28pm
 
There are always people at neighborhood craft shows offering simple bowls for $3 or $4 per inch (diameter plus height), which pretty much sets the maximum price for everyone for simple bowls.  And $4 per inch isn't going to buy groceries.

If you develop a unique enhanced look that people find attractive, perhaps via carving, piercing, coloring, . . . you can command a higher price, but of course that price will be beyond the means of many shoppers.
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Full time?
Reply #10 - Jun 17th, 2017 at 2:29pm
 
Ed Weber wrote on Jun 15th, 2017 at 8:31pm:
John Cepko wrote on Jun 15th, 2017 at 6:10pm:
Photographers really took a hit now that everyone, almost, has a camera in their pocket.
Photogs aren't the only ones anymore taking pictures now.


Everyone may have a "camera" in their pocket but that in no way means they can take a decent photograph. There is a lot more to photography than access to a simple camera.
JMO


Yeah, but.. what happened back a while is that the magazines were buying from anyone who sent them something for as little as $20 per cover because the amateur who got lucky was ecstatic  to just be "published" and it didn't matter for the money.

The pros, unfortunately got the shaft in that they couldn't make a living on $20 per cover shot.

I just had a customer have me print and mount and laminate 35 photos she took while in SE Asia. She took ALL of her  shots on her cell phone!!!  ...and it shows!

The majority of them are poorly lit or out of focus or even camera motion and the file sizes made it barely enough to get it to 15x20 size and that was pushing my abilities.

So, tho I agree your premise, sad to say they also don't seem to care about decent quality anymore. Cry
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Ed Weber
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Re: Full time?
Reply #11 - Jun 17th, 2017 at 4:56pm
 
Ralph Fahringer wrote on Jun 17th, 2017 at 2:29pm:
So, tho I agree your premise, sad to say they also don't seem to care about decent quality anymore. Cry

I agree, quality has become secondary at best for some people.  Sad

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Arlin Eastman
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Re: Full time?
Reply #12 - Jun 30th, 2017 at 2:38pm
 
Ralph Fahringer wrote on Jun 13th, 2017 at 5:59pm:
My hope is that whenever I finally "retire" from my framing shop, I'll have a fairly good handle on creating stuff that people might want to buy at a couple of craft fairs to supplement my meager "retirement" income.... S/S and an apartment rental.... plus whatever I get from selling the business.

At some point, I'll probably make more money from selling the huge pile of burls I'm stashing away than from actual finished pieces!! Shocked

As for making a living at turning, it's like trying to make a living at photography... in other words, don't quit your day job!! Smiley






Now that is the best brag I have ever heard and very envious to.  lol
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Jennifer Hasan
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Re: Full time?
Reply #13 - Jun 30th, 2017 at 5:57pm
 
I turn full-time and love it. I have a nice mix of wholesale and retail revenue streams. I consider myself barely an intermediate turner so it's not all about skill level. (I'm self-taught and started turning part-time four years ago and full-time two years ago.)

Others may disagree but I think you need a skill set that goes far beyond turning to make a living at this. I'm grateful that I was a marketing executive for 15 years. In fact, it's my marketing skills that makes it profitable for me, not my humble turning experience.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Full time?
Reply #14 - Jun 30th, 2017 at 6:07pm
 
Jennifer Hasan wrote on Jun 30th, 2017 at 5:57pm:
I think you need a skill set that goes far beyond turning to make a living at this.


I agree 100%
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Jurriaan Kalkman
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Re: Full time?
Reply #15 - Jul 3rd, 2017 at 3:26pm
 
I would go so far as to say that you need an interest that goed far beyond turning.

@Jennifer: where do you feel you experiment more, with woodturning or with marketing?
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Jennifer Hasan
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Re: Full time?
Reply #16 - Jul 3rd, 2017 at 7:08pm
 
Hi Jurriaan,

What do you mean by experiment?



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Jurriaan Kalkman
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Re: Full time?
Reply #17 - Jul 4th, 2017 at 12:00am
 
If you feel you have some free time to spend, are you likely to go in the shed and experiment with pepper mills or try fully turned salt scoops, or are you likely to create a video for the website, or better integrate it with facebook or anything like that?
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Jennifer Hasan
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Re: Full time?
Reply #18 - Jul 4th, 2017 at 10:31am
 
If I had to choose, I'd rather turn a new item than do something marketing related. However, when I do have free time, I spend it reorganizing my shop to be more efficient or cleaning. I also spend a lot of time managing my wood inventory.

There is so much more to turning for a living than actual turning. I wish I had a partner who was interested in helping me. I envy people who have spouses that help them run their business.
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