The Twisted Slab

Research for Online Slab/Barnwood Project

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I currently build furniture, doors, cabinets out of barnwood and slabs for a living working for someone else. Now, I am trying to figure out how to create some income online for myself via a website with blog, e-book, my own store with projects for sale, etc.

Do you think an e-book on how to build with slabs and barnwood would be of interest? If so, what would be a nice price point?

What do you all find the most challenging when building with slabs and barnwood?

Also I am trying to figure out the market. Why do you woodwork? Do you all woodwork for a living or is this a hobby? Or both

Thanks for any responses.

 Jesse

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Hi Jesse, and welcome.

The general consensus here is that the current 'rustic' trend is just that, and that it never should have become a trend, and that it will hopefully go away soon. 

Personally, the rustic look has been poisoned by the innumerable wanna-be youtube 'woodworkers' who, in fact, know next to nothing about woodworking & turn out the worst quality of garbage in the name of getting more views.

All that out of the way, I don't think there is anything wrong with using pallet wood or barn board to build shelves for the garage or storage room or garden shed. It gives material that would otherwise be tossed a second life, and it doesn't matter if it is ugly.

The current live edge slab trend, which also seems to be waning. has almost ruined the genre. There is some beautiful live edge stuff out there, the work of George Nakashima being a premier example. But again, there is so many bad examples of it being churned out that 'live edge' is coming to be associated with 'yuck'.

That's the end of my rant for now. 

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Hi and thanks for the comment. I hear you.

Fortunately, I previously worked in a custom woodshop building doors, cabinets and architectural millwork for several years where we actually thought about wood movement and the like.

I currently work in a rustic woodshop where not much thought goes into construction other than to add more screws or bolts. And I'm certainly had enough of the epoxy resin.

I have had similar thoughts as you. There is even fake barnwood stuff at walmart and pine slabs at Lowes. But I do enjoy the aesthetic of live edge and barnwood. I agree with you about Nakashima, too. 

One thought I had with my e-book idea was how to properly build with slabs while accommodating for wood movement. 

Thanks again for the response

Jesse

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Jesse, I misjudged you and I apologize. I may have come across as being a harda$$ about this stuff, but if done well, it certainly has its place. I think the goal and the challenge when building with reclaimed material is to a) build it well and b) make it look, as a whole, like it is something as old as those barn boards it is made of. 

It would be refreshing to see information, be it video or in written format, that shows how to build properly and with good design principles.

I think the biggest challenge is getting freshly cut surfaces to look aged like rest of the board. And board selection can be an issue cause you don't want one board that was on the south facing side of the barn right next to one that is not nearly as weathered.

I'm just a hobbyist, but there are guys on here that do woodworking for a living & guys that are complete noobs, just getting a start. There are also a bunch here who's work ranks among the best fine furniture to be found anywhere. Fortunately, most don't come off sounding as grumpy as I did :) 

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No need to apologize. I didn't take offense, and thanks for the response. 

I build quality stuff; I've just been doing it for somebody else. I've been building a shop for the past couple years and am trying to turn it into a business. I love woodworking and am trying to come up with creative ways to not only make active income building stuff for people but also create passive income online related to woodworking. 

I am thinking rustic just because I build with slabs and barnwood all the time these days,  so that's what's on my mind. 

I am at a crossroads with my woodworking career. I build rustic furniture for a living but subscribe to Fine Woodworking. I have the skills for both. I am amazed at how much my  boss is able to sell rustic stuff for versus how long it took to build - especially when you just screw something together. The difference in labor when building with pocket screws versus mortise and tenon is crazy. 

But where I work the final rustic product is nice and commands a high-end price, and the customer doesn't notice the difference or even thinks about joinery. 

It's an interesting conundrum and I'm just rambling now. 

Knowing now that this might be the wrong forum for the answers I'm looking, what do you think would be a good angle for what I'm trying to do? Or do you have any other thoughts? Thanks for the back and forth

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I'll bite. Having dipped my toe into the 'online woodworker' as a possible income source, I wish you better luck. As for producing an e-book, my personal experience at building with 'slab' material could have been greatly improved with some valid information about ensuring thick stock is really dry, and planning for wood movement in a realistic manner. Thick slab stock exerts an amazing amount of force as it shrinks or swells. After my unpleasant experience, I learned that ancient stonecutters used dry wooden stakes driven into holes in the rock, then added water to split the stone. It is that powerful. I later noticed 2 features of many Nakashima designs that made sense with that knowledge. He used much thinner 'slabs' than we tend to see today, and most of his bookmatched slab table tops, although joined with butterfly keys, have an intentional gap down the middle. It is obvious to me now, that he realized the force of expanding wood.

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The video was on point and the timing was great.That apparently went up yeserday, lol. Thanks Martin-IT.

His main points were relevant even though I wasn't thinking about YouTube so much in my model. Watching his video, there certainly seems to be a fine line between selling out and staying authentic. And I'm not judging.  

 

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We do a lot of slab tables for retaurants and there offices. There is a a lot of money on the purchase end as well as the selling end.....

IMG_0552rfde.jpg.f8eb15533054fdcace86fe0f1ada7cfe.jpg

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I was watching a video of a crafter got sick because of inhaling epoxy fume, and there it is: https://www.westsystem.com/safety/health-effects-from-overexposure-to-epoxy/

 

At room temperature, epoxy vapors are unlikely to be highly concentrated. However, if you are already sensitized to epoxy, exposure to low concentrations of epoxy vapors can trigger an allergic reaction. At warmer temperatures and in unventilated spaces, the epoxy vapor levels increase.

Never breathe the sanding dust of partially cured epoxy. Epoxy chemicals remain reactive until they have cured. Serious health problems can result from sanding epoxy before it is fully cured. When you inhale these dust particles, they become trapped in the mucous lining of your respiratory system. The reactive material can cause severe respiratory irritation and/or respiratory allergies.

I have never seen anyone on youtube wearing a respirator.  Just the small amount that I have mixed (one pump shot of system west), I could smell fume....

I cannot imagine the fume when they are mixing 5 gallons bucket.

 

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