Tim, I am not sure what you mean? Dog on it, there are only a few ways to hold a checked board together. I do like contrasting woods for embellishment. My wife told me either use this board or throw it away. It was too nice to throw away. I don't like throwing stuff away.
Notice the legs! This is my dog leg collection. I know Bow-Wow might be a better description. My name is Jeff and yes I am a Woodworker. I would like to think I can not be bought but I can be rented.
Have you looked into SCORE (website is www.score.org)? It is a nonprofit primarily staffed by retired executives. They offer lots of free resources for small businesses, including assistance in evaluating a business opportunity and developing a business plan.
We used SCORE for one of our businesses and found their suggestions were helpful.
I used SCORE when I started my business in 1985. Yes, they also gave me many suggestions. However, I, like you, was faced with one brick wall - you can carry out dozens of ideas but you still cannot force people to buy from you. The way the world is changing I would not encourgage any wood worker to jump into this profession FT. Do it PT until you have enough work to go FT. It took me years to do this and that was in a good economy and people were buying period reproductions. Today it is the opposite. That may sound negative but it is the world is heading (at least for now), like it or not.
When I started our business, we talked to Score! The only thing he, Score, could say was go full time. I had a full time job and a pay check. We felt it was too dangerous to drop everything, so we dropped Score. I went part time on our business for 5 years before going full time. This last September we started our 26th full time year! I know going full time at the start would have been a mistake. Score may have some great CEO's and CFO's, but you need someone who started a business on his own.
I, too, started part time while working a full time job in furniture repair. I refer to it as "My nine years in hell." I have a lot of stories. It helped me perfect my craft and taught me a lot about people. It taught me to be flexible about doing what others want me to do while being rigid in my standards of its execution. Maintain integrity and you will make friends and that will pay off, literally.
To refer to your first post, and to your reference about the Seymours, remember that they had a lot of financial problems. These were due mostly to wanting to do create furniture that was more expensive than most Bostonians were willing to pay for. Sound familiar? If you are trying to make a living at something you are trying to do what other people want done, not what you want to do. The trick is to find satisfaction and sucess in that. PSP
Thank you for all the input and information. I will have to explore SCORE and see what they may advise. Sir Headley thank you for the complements, and I agree - I do need to post my work more. These days I am doing anything and everything I can to keep the business going. I have been blessed and very lucky over the years. The best advice I have gotten over the years is "Sometimes you make more money say NO to a job." The other best advice I have gotten was " You will always stay busy if you can repair furniture. " These days I repair and restore a lot of furniture, but I am making a couple things too. It's a hard business and it takes a ton of work to keep it going, but I love it and love the craft. I can't picture doing anything else but working in the craft.
Up here in New England I try to take on jobs no one else wants, for most think certain jobs are too hard or involve a lot of veneering. The way I look at it is anyone can make a box, but not everyone can embellish the box. I also find that the younger generation still find Federal furniture interesting, due to it's contrasting veneers and how delicate it appears.
Hopefully, I can keep the business going and make a living working with my hands. I am also getting knee deep in marquetry and English furniture for there seems to be a lot of interest in it. Good Luck to you all and may business flow your way.
Fans, Banding, Marquetry Panels, and all other forms of inlay are what I have been focusing on making. I hope to put them all for sale. I love making inlays. I am even making many of the Seymour banding ie. arrow and lunette. If I don't sell them then I will use them some day in my work. I hope to add them to my site for sale soon.
Music to my ears. I lack the patience to enjoy making inlays. As a result, a couple of my personal projects have been languishing for years. I am glad to hear that this is something you are undertaking. I will be contacting you about this in the new year. I would like to encourage other members to give you work, also. Remember that inlay making was a specialty trade "back in the day" and most furniture makers bought their inlays from those specialists. PSP
To be honest, I just love making banding. It is so much fun for me and I just about can make any example. I can also saw the banding to any thickness, and what ever length necessary. I make my logs 42" long on average, for one piece can go across a serpentine card table front apron.
One word social media! Get your website modernized. You need to get a blog up and running. Get an Instagram account. Get a business Facebook page. Present at woodworking in America. Get a google page. Get a Yelp page. Take photos and post items like you do here. You are Steve are too cool and damn talented for people not go know you. You need to teach in New England. Contact Bob Van Dyke at the Connecticut Valkey School in Manchester.