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curlyoak

I've never done this...

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They want me to stain walnut darker. I'm vulnerable. My sawdust addiction has been ignored lately too. I have made several projects for these nice people including a couple of walnut pieces. They like them. But the lady of the house wants it darker. The goal is to simulate a desk from pottery barn. Same except better materials. Not a nice design. 2 boxes and a top. It needs to knock down in 3 pieces to bring to a second home. Also the top must be flush to the outside of each box. Front will overhang.  No overhang. No reason either.The boxes are 3/4"  match grain walnut ply. Top is 4/4 flat sawn fas walnut. This lady is soo stubborn that I am left with do it as asked or not. No other real choice.

 

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Sometimes, clients aren't easy.  If she wants it dyed darker, dye it darker.

I know of one member here who dyed some beautiful curly maple here blue for a client and not by his choice.  

In the end, your client pays the bills.

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Sounds like they're good customers.  So dye it darker.

 

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I had to stain Cherry for a client. It would have looked so much better with some age. They loved it and I got paid.  Best give them what they want.

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I would certainly dye some different shade samples complete with top coat and have her pick because it is a one way trip.  Once the dye is on it, is on, no real sanding it off for a second try.

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2 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

Its just wood. If they're paying, give them what they want. 

Consider that even our own opinions vary with context. That blue curly maple that Kev mentioned makes us shudder in the context of furniture, but as a guitar body, it would be quite desireable.

For the record, that was on a coffee table..

Your point is still valid tho.  When you agree to build X for a client that wants XY&Z done to it, that's just what you do.

Ross is right, it's just wood.  It's their money and their decision.

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Do you need the business to pay the mortgage/put food on the table?  If so, you have good advice already.  If not, life is too short to spend time building something you'd be embarrassed to point to and say "I built that!"

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9 minutes ago, G Ragatz said:

Do you need the business to pay the mortgage/put food on the table?  If so, you have good advice already.  If not, life is too short to spend time building something you'd be embarrassed to point to and say "I built that!"

Sometimes, there's more to it than that..

On my resume, I still have a build I affectionately call the "ugly ass table".  My apologies for the bad word but, it is the table's official name!  This table design was changed on me after the fact and I was in too deep to drop it.  It ended up with egg&dart trim that was gold leafed and sprayed with black lacquer.  Yea, it was pure ugly but, the client loved it and paid the bill.  You could probably find some pictures of it here in the archives..

I know the blue table is still on here in the archives and that was a matter of the client willing to pay enough to get what they wanted.

My point is that every situation is different.  Never say "never" as  that is a long time!

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1 hour ago, Chet said:

I would certainly dye some different shade samples complete with top coat and have her pick because it is a one way trip.  Once the dye is on it, is on, no real sanding it off for a second try.

I agree!

And what’s wrong with a blue table ;)

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50 minutes ago, ..Kev said:

Sometimes, there's more to it than that..

On my resume, I still have a build I affectionately call the "ugly ass table".  My apologies for the bad word but, it is the table's official name!  This table design was changed on me after the fact and I was in too deep to drop it.  It ended up with egg&dart trim that was gold leafed and sprayed with black lacquer.  Yea, it was pure ugly but, the client loved it and paid the bill.  You could probably find some pictures of it here in the archives..

I know the blue table is still on here in the archives and that was a matter of the client willing to pay enough to get what they wanted.

My point is that every situation is different.  Never say "never" as  that is a long time!

I agree that every situation is different.  Reading Curlyoak's original post, I assumed the project was still "on the drawing board."  If he/she already has time and material invested and the client is changing things, that's a different situation.  Also, Curlyoak's profile led me to think woodworking isn't his/her livelihood, but maybe an income supplement that meshes with a passion for creating beautiful things from wood - if that's incorrect, again, a different situation.

All the responses prior to mine boiled down to "bite the bullet and do what the client wants."  The point I was trying to make in my response was, it's a balancing act - how important is the revenue vs. your feelings about the product you've created?  

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3 minutes ago, G Ragatz said:

I agree that every situation is different.  Reading Curlyoak's original post, I assumed the project was still "on the drawing board."  If he/she already has time and material invested and the client is changing things, that's a different situation.  Also, Curlyoak's profile led me to think woodworking isn't his/her livelihood, but maybe an income supplement that meshes with a passion for creating beautiful things from wood - if that's incorrect, again, a different situation.

All the responses prior to mine boiled down to "bite the bullet and do what the client wants."  The point I was trying to make in my response was, it's a balancing act - how important is the revenue vs. your feelings about the product you've created?  

That's a very fair point!  It may also very eloquently describe the difference between hobby and professional.  

Regardless, it stresses the importance of your questions before the project begins!

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35 minutes ago, K Cooper said:

I agree!

And what’s wrong with a blue table ;)

You'd never be able to tell, with them eyes.

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I have no idea what you’re talking about and there’s nothing wrong with my memory or hearing either. 

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If you make something for someone even if you do it for free wouldn't it be about what they want and how they would like it.?  If your wife asks you to make her something are you going to say no if you don't like what she wants. 

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I wouldn't do it but i look at this stuff differently. I see it as providing a creative service of sorts. You wouldn't walk into a gallery point at a painting and say i want this but the sky needs to be pink and that white barn should be blue.

The big difference is I work for ME and well Megan, no one else.

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9 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I wouldn't do it but i look at this stuff differently. I see it as providing a creative service of sorts. You wouldn't walk into a gallery point at a painting and say i want this but the sky needs to be pink and that white barn should be blue.

The big difference is I work for ME and well Megan, no one else.

Until April 15th comes baby! 

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Just now, K Cooper said:

Until April 15th comes baby! 

What's my birthday got to do with anything :P

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Thanks for all the replies. I feel compromised. I also feel I have no way out except to build what the lady wants. Part of the deal is to show some pre-finished choices. We are friends. They visit me And us to see them. We eat at their house and they break bread at our house. I know their kids and grand kids. And I like them. I have said no in the past on situations like this. The difference was I did not like them. I learned as a kid to take out the garbage when asked without a word of complaint. I was going to do it one way or another. If I did it immediately I was praised. If I moaned and complained and did it anyway but no credit.

Woodworking is a part time job today. I like the extra cash but it is not critical to my cash flow. It is my passion. Half days is all I want. By the time I start to work on the following day I have adjusted my game plan for the good. The daily considerations of the following days work add to the whole experience. And now an added part is the thoughts and comments of friendly woodworkers.

This desk is to be built at my convenience. I have run out of space due to materials building up in my inventory. I have plans to add a storage shed. To get a permit around here is crazy. They want to know the historic flow of water in my back yard. There is no flow or standing water. The might demand I cut a swale.Wacko! It has been months to do a weeks work. Just a 12 x 15. Everything started to change After Hurricane Andrew. Now all things must meet Andrew to the point of being ridiculous. I will have over $1000 in paper work. Plans with multiple required scheduled materials. And a site plan. And an environmental report on historic water flow yet to be paid.

I knew I had to build this desk. The work will motivate me regardless. And the conformation provided here will add to my peace of mind. Also the closer is I added to the price a homemade pie. She laughed and agreed. She bakes excellent pies...

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Except for all the regulations, it seems as though you've agreed to do the job. If it was an unknown customer, you could get out of it, but the pie from a friend, is gold. Do it and enjoy the pie.

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I think there’s a certain freedom in remembering that it’s just furniture.  Don’t take it TOO seriously.  As long as your client isn’t asking for something immoral, distasteful, unsafe, structurally unsound, or just utterly hideous, just make the thing.  Whenever I do client work, I always do a 5-10-minute spiel on why wood should just be its own color, so if you want brown furniture you want walnut, red is cherry, and so on.  If they go for it, awesome!  If they’re reluctant, I crunch numbers to show them that the added cost of labor and finishing materials would usually make it cost the same as the better wood.  If they say no and demand stain, I let it be and am thankful for the work. 

 

All that to say, in your situation I would probably check around and see if a I could source some sort of exotic that is darker naturally, then calculate the cost of that versus the cost of labor to add the finish.  Maybe your client would get an excited tingly feeling at the prospect of having something more exotic. Maybe not.

if you have to dye it or stain it, hey, just make it look good!  This is a matter of taste.  You aren’t a monster for darkening up some walnut.  (You would be if you used it for firewood.)  

 

And if you feel like a sellout, you’re in good company.  Michelangelo didn’t like all the rules the Catholic Church handed him while he was painting the Sistine Chapel, so he hid little artistic protests all over it, including lots of unnecessary nudity.  So make yourself feel better with tiny hidden protests.  I do it.  On a project where the client demands bad decisions, sometimes I’ll write complaints on the tenons before gluing them into place.  Maybe I’ll make the back beautiful so they’ll know what they are missing by hamstringing me.  Maybe I’ll do a perfect job on everything they didn’t micromanage me on, just to say “this is how nice it WOULD have been if SOMEONE had just let me WORK.”

 

I might be a little passive aggressive.  But it makes me feel better, hahahahaha.

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