Actually my version goes like this; 88 sides of dovetails to cut, 88 sides to cut, and if one of those cuts just happen to fail, I’ll go postal and end up in jail…..
Last night I did it. Not go postal, but cut 88 sides of dovetails. And thank goodness, they all were cut correctly! I had no spare material left to make a new side, so by the time I got near the end, my heart was really pounding. I made sure to check and double-check that each and every piece was in the proper position and made sure nothing drifted out of position. I have a Leigh Super Jig (Dovetail jig) and it works really well. As with any dovetail jig, you have to spend the time to set it up accurately, but once setup, it does a great job.
Production Work or One Off’s
People ask me all the time, “why don’t you make like a hundred shtenders (lecterns) and sell them the cheap around town”, or “why don’t you make a hundred etrog boxes” (long story, but will tell if asked). I have two stock answers: First, “Cause that’s not my bag baby” or second, “I’d rather eat my own liver.” I am not trying to sound highbrow, or uppity, but I think of my woodworking as “art”. I don’t work in a furniture factory, I am not a cabinet-maker, I am a custom furniture maker and turner. And I want to state for the record, I have absolutely nothing against craftsmen who work in furniture factories or cabinet makers. If given the chance, I would not mind working in either profession for while if given the opportunity. But let’s face facts. I am a one man shop, and I get to choose what I do. And what I choose to do is express my artistic side through my turning and furniture design. Even if I am following someone elses plans, I try to put my own stamp on things.
Making a large production run of shtenders to cut cost and sell on the cheap is only hurting myself in the long run. In my niche market, If I sold nothing but inexpensive pieces, I would never sell my high-end shtenders. It’s like Ikea all over again. Now most people expect to get great looking stuff (although cheaply made) for pocket change, and look at me like I have three eyes and tail when I tell them how much a custom dresser is going to cost. No thanks, production runs are not for me.
So do you consider your work as art?