Arrrgh!

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Over the past couple of years, we have been on an economic roller coaster. The stock markets have been bouncing around like a lopsided super ball, record gains one day, record losses the next.

Employment figures look good but they don’t reveal the fact that many are working at low wage service jobs that don’t really generate much in the way of disposable income. And that’s what we need people to have if they are going to be in a position to buy our products. For most people, finely crafted woodwork is not high on the list of necessities.

And now we have this nonsensical government shutdown, crushing any hope of consumer confidence. Whatever your feelings are regarding our present administration, you have to admit that stability is not one of its hallmarks. And stability is what we need if our customers are going to feel well enough off to invest in what could be considered discretionary purchases.

People need food. They need a roof over their heads. They don’t need a new coffee table. They may want one but if it’s a choice between that and making the house payment, the choice is a no brainer. We need to bring this under control and soon.

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I saw an article the other day about home prices. This particular home was in Sunnyvale, Calif., and sold for over $2,000 a square foot. Yes, this was a record.

Chicken one day, feathers the next

It’s an old saw for sure but it seems like it’s always relevant. But these days it feels like it should be “chicken one minute, feathers the next. The economic yo yo we are playing with is enough to drive anyone around the bend.

It can’t be done

In our business we are often asked to do things a bit differently than we’re used to. People want to individualize their projects. They don’t want to pay premium prices for something that looks just like what they could have bought at the local furniture store.

Back to basics

Technology has been creeping into how we do business for a long time now. Obviously, CNC machines have taken on an increasing role in cutting, milling, shaping, carving, etc. And hand-held tools like routers and sanders are a lot smarter than used to be.

Tell the story

I have been asked about my work many times. Not any nuts and bolts stuff that I’m pretty comfortable talking about but things like how I feel about what I do or how I must love my work.

Where did everyone go?

It wasn’t too long ago when it seemed like someone was coming into the shop looking for work about every day. These days, it’s a rare occurrence.

Who’s in charge?

Here we go again. Threats of a government shutdown, plunging stock markets, bickering over totally irrelevant issues while the real business gets pushed to the side.

Do we still need basic skills?

These days, a prospective employee is more likely to be asked about his knowledge of computers than about how well he can produce a smooth surface with a hand plane.

Having the right tool

How often have we been in the position of having to do something, knowing that there is a tool or a piece of equipment that could get it done easily, quickly and efficiently? Personally, I have been in this position many times.