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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ΟΣLD SCHOΣL DUDΣ



I make furniture but the making of it is only half of it. Running a business is like being a shark. Swim forward or die. Many people long for sinecures so they can do the same thing over and over and still get their money, but the creative destruction of the economy generally precludes that. Even the Post Office uses state-of-the-art machinery to fold, spindle and mutilate your mail now. Time marches on. Me, I just would like a Sunday off.

The swimming forward can be as simple as presenting the same old thing in a fresh way. Or maybe you're always at the cutting edge of consumer fashion and your ideas are obsolete while you're still thinking them. Perhaps you make it exactly the same but you change the font on your website instead of keeping a storefront to display your wares. Whatever, things change. You can sell Mid-century Modern furniture hand over fist right now to twenty-somethings who watched The Incredibles and soaked in the design vibe, but that wasn't a wise ware to hawk twenty years ago. But if you have hand skills, someone will always want you to do it. The buggy whip conglomerate might fold, but a few hardy souls can make bespoke buggy whips for the connoisseur if they got mad skills. The drones will get laid off and work at IKEA.

I ordered a lathe six months ago, to swim forward and make turned leg furniture too. It was delayed so long I sort of forgot about it. (It was ordered the same time as my replacement for my 350 pound doorstop) It arrived last week unexpectedly and broken. I don't have time to pay attention to it right now, but I was compelled to because I had to tell the manufacturer what's wrong with it so they could send me replacements for the busted stuff. Now it stands there in the corner winking at me. It reminds me of the boat I built four years ago and never launched. Its very existence is an accusation. Hurry up.

I went looking for video for lathe turning. Everybody is turning bowls I don't care about and nobody has any skills worth mentioning on YouTube. My only rule for claiming to be an expert in any walk of life is you have to at least be able to do it better than me. That's a lot rarer than it should be although I'm no great shakes at anything. At least that's what the nuns told all of us about everything every day, you Mr. Big Britches, you. Anyway, at least I found this guy.

Here's to you, crazy Greek dude with the sewing machine lathe and mad skew chisel skills. You rock.

Umm....I think it's a dude.

8 comments:

anybodyinpoulsbo said...

Pretty cool, although I got a little sweaty watching him/her continually look up at the camera while putting hands to his work. He seems to have advanced to the gray hair stage with all of his factory equipped digits intact however so who am I to say.
By the way pal, I collect mid-century furniture and it is no passing fad but a rock solid investment. You know.....for now.

Thud said...

I use a chap over here who still operates out of a 200 year old shop front to turn roof finials for me....any request for other woodwork is met with a stern disaproving look...I thank god and retreat chastened.

Ron said...

OT: Scroll down for a little Myrna Loy/Max Baer/Primo Carnera action!

http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/2009/01/howard-hawks-blog-thon-prizefighter-and.html

Eric said...

I got a friend who, while not the virtuoso that guy is, has fun with his lathe. I guess being a mechanical engineer probably has something do with it.

wamtiques said...

OK, agreed...but is he/she OSHA certified? Just lean into the wind Sippi...

Chris Byrne said...

You'd be amazed at how many people are making money selling those hand turned bowls.

Andy said...

Looks like a Grecian Jim Henson creation. Muppetopolous. A few more layers of shavings in his arm hair and he'll have the fur for it.

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