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A surprise sale

Unexpected commissions are the best kind, especially when they come out of nowhere when you have extra time on your hands.

I don’t do a lot of project commissions – my woodshop time is typically taken up doing projects for writing assignments – but it’s nice when one comes along in advance of the holidays. Most of the commissions I’ve done are the result of efforts I’ve made specifically to acquire them, but not this one. It literally came out of the blue by a route that couldn’t have been more convoluted.

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That’s a photo of a reproduction spool cabinet I made more than a decade ago for a magazine project article. I’ve mentioned these here before and have made several, although not for a long time. So how did this surprise commission come about? That involved luck.

My customer wanted to get one for his wife for Christmas and did an Internet search. He found hundreds of pictures of spool cabinets, including that photo above, which was the “beauty shot” for my project article. Someone had reposted the photo in a forum somewhere, so he didn’t know who’d made it, but he liked it.

He then did a reverse image search turning up more photos, including that same one, but this time with a link to my (in-need-of-updating) website. There, he filled out the contact form, which sent an alert email to a special folder just for that purpose. Because I tend to put things off, I didn’t see his email for nearly two weeks.

Fortunately, when I contacted him, he had not yet found a cabinet for his wife – another bit of luck, as there are lots of these reproductions – and we worked out a deal. Not only did I make a sale I wasn’t expecting, it came when my calendar is pretty open.

Now, when I work on reproductions, I often do multiples. It takes far less time to do two or three of an item all at once, than single projects individually. So, by making two of them I’ll have one for the customer and a second ready to go for a future commission. If I check my email more frequently.

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