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Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Customer is Always Right

I had planned to start my tool chest build by now (in fact the SketchUp plans are already done). However, in the mean time I got a few paying commissions in that I couldn't pass up. So rather than going black on the blog until I get to the tool cabinet, I though I would share footage of a few customer projects. They are all very unique in one way or another, which is why commissions can be a nice change of pace. This first project is a media/speaker cabinet that a client came to me with. He did the design himself, and just handed me the specs to go ahead and build. This was specified as paint grade, so this will use different materials and joinery than you would see me use in some of my traditional furniture projects. My shop isn't exactly set up for sheet goods, so you'll see how I managed to get this monster started without doing any damage to myself or the shop. I also needed to build a dado jig for this project, as it has several dozen dados connecting the shelves and partitions. Thanks to Wood Magazine for providing a great set of plans for a great adjustable router jig.




9 comments:

Jeff Branch said...

Good post. I have built several projects recently that utilize sheet goods and will be following your build.

I have a long aluminum guide similar to the track for your saw. Mine comes in two sections that have to be joined with screws achieve the length for sheet goods. With your track saw, is there any flexing or movement of the track along the it's length, mainly at the mid point? I noticed you checked it's location about midway.

Rob Bois said...

Jeff, I have found that the Festool track, as long as both connectors are installed, is so rigid laterally that there is no flex at all even across an 8 foot span. When I shot that video, it was the first time I had used the saw, so I wasn't convinced yet, but now I've come to trust that it doesn't flex, and it stays put. There is no need for the optional clamps for the rail at all.

Mark Rhodes said...

I also make a lot of this bread and butter work Rob, if I didn't I wouldn't be able to survive on the furniture commissions I get perhaps three times a year at most. I can also say that the track is rock solid once connected, I'm using it this morning to cut some oak veneered mdf(when it arrives at least).

Rob Bois said...

It's a valid point Mark, and one of the reasons I posted this project. I think it's too easy for woodworkers to romanticize the craft. While reproductions or really interesting designs in hardwood are every pro's dream, the reality is the big margins and bulk of the commissions are kitchen cabinets, paint-grade casework, and other more mundane projects that rely more on having the right tools to increase productivity rather than any time honored skills or techniques. My next several posts will focus on these kinds of projects since I'm trying to use this blog to characterize the variety of work I do in my shop, not just the "fun" pieces. That being said, I really can't wait to get started on the tool chest :)

Anonymous said...

great post.

Rob, what is that thing hanging off your ipad when you were playing angry birds ?

Ellsworth said...

I really like where you and Mark Rhodes are going with this, I am currently finding out that the Romance of making amazing pieces from solid wood will come far and few between. It is a good eye opener for everyone and also will show them that it is ok to do other things when taking commissions. Maybe keep pieces that you want to work on as secondary ones that live in your shop and get worked on during slow times or free time. Use thoughs pieces to show case in local store windows and for shows, but dont hesitate to take the job thats going to put money in your pocket.

Experience is everything!!
Guy

Rob Bois said...

1) The thing hanging off my iPad is my microphone. It needed to be very close to the speaker to pick up all the nuances to Angry Birds.

2) Not to get too far into the weeds, but not only are the really interesting hardwood furniture jobs harder to come by, they typically aren't as profitable. In fact, I rarely win those bids since folks are rarely willing to pay what I have to price them at to make money. So stay tuned for some of the other strange projects I'm doing that aren't quite what you'd expect, but turn a decent profit.

Deco Design Center said...

Good blog about custom woodworking. Since we are in the custom wood door business, I like reading different wood blogs and different techniques. Great job, keep it up!

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