Worth

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As many friends will attest, it doesn’t take much for me to be impressed with myself. I was impressed with myself a lot this past weekend, and even managed to put a price on it.

With great weather this last weekend, we took a daytrip to Columbus, Ohio, to see that Norman Rockwell exhibit I spoke of last time. The exhibit was superb, and afterward we decided to visit an area of Columbus called German Village for a late lunch and to sample the local brew.

Among the quaint old brick houses, charming restaurants and shops, we visited an artisan shop (well, actually a "Shoppe") that had a number of woodworking items among the ceramics, prints and jewelry. There were some jewelry boxes, bookends, cheese boards, wood-turned kaleidoscopes and the usual items you might expect. What I didn't expect were the prices.

One small jewelry box was $360. It was nice; very nice, in fact. But $360 nice? Apparently so, as the proprietor said they sell a lot of them. The thing of it is, is that it was the kind of thing that – with the exception of the finish, which can take a few days to do separate coats and all – I could turn out in an afternoon. Some small cheese cutters consisting of a hardwood handle and a thin wire under tension were going for $30. With about 30 cents worth of material and about 30 minutes of work time, I could make a couple of them. (In fact, I'm going to have to: My wife wants me to make them for Christmas next year. I knew I shouldn't have said, "Hey honey, look at these." I'll never learn.)

Now please don't get me wrong – I don't mean to sound as if I'm denigrating the artisan's work, because I'm not. Nor am I criticizing the market for woodworking items. Nor the fact that outrageous prices can be charged – and received – for work that I would find easy to do. To the contrary, I'm thrilled that there's a healthy market out there for these things. It means that woodworking is strong, healthy and in demand.

My point is that these are things I'm capable of making. In fact, I'm capable of making even better versions of these things and, along those same lines, perhaps earning even more money than was being charged for the ones I saw. And while I have no intention of trying to market my work in this manner, it sure is nice to know that I could.

It's even nicer to know that what I do for fun has the potential of having a high value to others.

And that makes it even more valuable to me.

Till next time,

A.J.

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