ScrollSaw Information and Resources #63: I QUIT

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Blog entry by jerrells posted 04-12-2014 08:35 PM 2157 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 62: Where to fine the old, olde scrollsaw patterns Part 63 of ScrollSaw Information and Resources series Part 64: Magazine Subcriptions »

After many months of thinking on the decision, looking at different ways to do this, having as much input as could be offered, considering all of life’s alternatives, I have decided to give up, quit, stop scroll sawing as a hobby, part time activity, part time business or for the most part anything else. Yes, perhaps I will make one or two items per years that I personally choose to give away as presents BUT nothing more.

Many factors have gone into the decision – here are but a few.

1. When I go and purchase $10 of wood, spend another 20 to 30 hours preparing, sanding, gluing, cutting, staining, finishing and finally putting a price on the item of $30, I am told that is too high.
2. I have looked for different venues to sell my product all over the local area. First of all there don’t seem to be many craft resale stores and, second, if I do find one the monthly fee is far too high or sales are nothing worth considering.
3. I have offered my products through FaceBook (two different pages), my personal web site and in general they just do not sell. I have looked at ETSY as a selling venue but reports are, for the most part, “good luck”. Most of the similar items on that site sell as half or less than I would consider profitable. Not worth it to me.

So now here I sit with many dollars of new equipment in my garage that will sit and collect rust AND NO not one item is for sale or anything like that. The items I have I have worked hard to purchase out of the small profit I have made from this business.

It is a shame when we talk about “Made in America” and “Hand Made” the items are not valued as one would expect. I think that the general customer compares many of the craft type items to those that one would find at the local craft stores. I can tell you that, from personal experience, what you purchase at those stores, in terms of wooden products, are trash, junk and not worth the price you pay. However, I guess that is a personal value perception.

I entered this hobby kind of on a whelm. For the first year it was difficult and frustrating. However, like any profession I stuck with it. In the four years, or so, that I have been doing this craft I have won many awards and recognition. I enter every item I make on a woodworking web site ( and they are reviewed by many woodworkers and professionals. I cannot tell you how many positive comments I have received and people who actively follow every post I make.

The remaining inventory I have WILL BE SOLD for about 10% of the original price. Trust me you will be shocked at the price but I just want it gone. So Personal Message me, E-Mail me or any way you know to contact me, FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED.

So if you have followed me this far, I am done, I quit. One last thing, I will not discuss this outside of this post.

Thanks to all of you who have followed my activities, purchased an item from me or otherwise been involved in any way.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

13 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3798 days

#1 posted 04-12-2014 08:53 PM

Well, I must say I am sorry to see you quit, Jerrell. I do understand your reasoning though, and I wish you all the best.

So many people don’t understand the time and effort and workmanship that goes into creating beautiful items such as you do. It seems that with the economy the way it is, many people are purchasing the most inexpensive items – no matter what the quality – because they simply can’t afford the type of item that requires the time, skill and materials that you put into your work.

People need to understand that in order to support those of us here in North America, we need to pay a bit more. The working conditions and wages in the Far East and Asia are generally very poor, and that is why they are able to manufacture such a huge quantity of items at such low prices. But here in the west, workers demand more and as a result, we can’t compete. It is very sad.

Until we as a nation start looking for ‘quality not quantity, the problem will grow. It is very unfortunate.

I want to personally thank you for being such a good customer and a friend. It always thrilled me to see what you made – especially with my patterns because you are so gifted and talented. You really made me proud to be a designer and I always felt very proud when you chose my designs. Your professionalism and feedback also helped a great deal. Hearing your point of view brought another perspective that both Keith and I respected and welcomed.

I wish you all the best in whatever you choose to do. I hope you stay involved enough to remain on the forums so we can remain friends. Perhaps after a break you will feel like doing some woodworking again – this time for different reasons.

Good luck to you, my friend. Thank you for all the inspiration you have given to me and so many others.

Take care, Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4187 days

#2 posted 04-12-2014 11:22 PM

Sorry to hear things didn’t work out as you expected jerrles. Creating and selling is not for everyone…especially in todays marketplace. good luck in your future endeavors…

View kajunkraft's profile


191 posts in 3088 days

#3 posted 04-13-2014 01:02 AM

I guess it depends on the value you place on your time?

Or is it the market to which the product is presented?

In any event, it is difficult to make a living as a woodworker. I, and my wife, have made many items, put them out there for sale, with the thought that if they don’t sell for what we feel is a reasonable price, then they will become gifts to friends & family. For most, I think, woodworking is a passion. If one is just in it for the money, then go into some sort of mass production that can be done economically (ie: very competitively priced). But then it becomes just work; not a joy.

So, hopefully you can find the joy in woodworking and continue. Your projects are certainly commendable.

View punk's profile


181 posts in 3294 days

#4 posted 04-13-2014 01:10 AM

sorry to hear your quiting, over the years money never is what it should be you cant canpeat with big factories. you just haft to love what you are doing and hope for the big break, but untill it happens you decorate your house and a lot of christmass gifts. good luck in what you deside to do

-- Punk in PA

View kepy's profile


293 posts in 3152 days

#5 posted 04-13-2014 12:37 PM

Amen Brother. I have done about the same. Still keep cutting for myself and gifts for family and friends.

-- Kepy

View americancanuck's profile


457 posts in 3488 days

#6 posted 04-13-2014 07:44 PM

I’m somewhat sorry to say this but I think a posting like this is selfish, egotistical, and childish. If a person wants to erarn a living or even just cover expenses he or she should get a job that will accomplish that end. As a retired hobbiest I give most, if not all of my output away. The appreciation I get is far more valuable to me than any amount of money could be. For another craftsperson to throw in the towel because he/she does not feel adequately compensated degrades all the rest of us and I don’t feel any loss.

-- Retired and lovin it

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1407 posts in 2512 days

#7 posted 04-14-2014 02:17 PM

Well that is a shame. Have you tried internet sales?
ETSY, or some other sites that do craft sales?

It seems like your market may not support it, but others can and do.

The quality of your work is good, maybe what you are offering needs to be fitted to what they want, not what they will pay for. So maybe you needed to go after more popular themes..

I don’t agree with AmericanCanuck… seems like he doesn’t understand that you approached this as a business.

-- Jeff NJ

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3745 days

#8 posted 04-14-2014 02:56 PM

I’m thinking of trying to build a business myself. I’ve got about 4 years before my wife retires to find a niche. We’re just trying to earn what you are allowed to make in addition to SS. I want to make nice things but I realize it’s probably not going to be easy. I’m thinking that I may have to add laser engraving and/or CNC routing in order to have something to sell in addition to handcrafted wood items. Perhaps this might also be an option for you, Jerrell. Best of luck to you.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Pdub's profile


926 posts in 4058 days

#9 posted 04-14-2014 04:54 PM

I know how you feel Jerrells. I have done many craft shows where people compliment my items but say they are too expensive. People don’t understand how much goes into a project. (Tools, materials and time) I have found that smaller scroll saw items, such as Christmas ornaments, sell better around here. I got lucky and was invited into a craft group, some years ago, wherecustomers expect to pay a little more for quality. I have had to expand into items that are not scroll sawn though. Best of luck and I hope you keep scrollin for the enjoyment, even if it is to give to family and friends. You know they will appreciate what you do!

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View thechipcarver's profile


229 posts in 2457 days

#10 posted 04-14-2014 05:11 PM

I have said this many times before and I will say it agian, the world we live in today is a throw away world. People would rather go to Walmart or stores like it and pay as little as possible for things that they will have to replace in a years or so. Than pay for good, quality, hand crafted things that can be pasted down.

The way I see it and I might ruffle some feather with this statement. If you are in it for the money, but a laser cutter. If you enjoy scrolling, keep doing what you do and if you sell something along the way, great.

I had a gentlemen, one time, come up to my booth at a woodshow and ask if the scrollsaw ornaments (what little I had) I was selling was made on a laser cutting. I told him they where done by hand on a scrollsaw and he gave me a look as if I was lying to him. He then sat the ornament down and walked away. I tell you what, that was the best compliment I have ever got. :)

-- While teaching a class, a gentlemen once asked me: "When chip carving an intricate design, what do you do when you are almost finished and the wood breaks off?" I replied "Cover the kids ears."

View Marcus's profile


1165 posts in 2898 days

#11 posted 04-15-2014 02:07 PM

We are doing a lot of finger pointing at the “throw away world”, but its also worth looking at what we’re creating. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve looked over jerrell’s projects and he does amazingly detailed work, but is it what the consumer is clamoring for design wise? I’m in that oh so coveted demographic of 18-49 year old males w/ a good chunk of disposable income. I have a good number of friends and acquaintances in the same both along with visiting a good number of houses for meetings and the like. I dont think in the last 5 years I’ve seen any intricate scroll work pieces in any of these but at the same time have seen pieces of art (both woodworking and other) that have cost some serious money. If you enjoy making these types of pieces, thats awesome, keep it up because you really have a talent with it (it sounds like the talent comes from years of hard work). Just don’t expect everyone to love the style.

I could be the best shag carpet manufacture in the US, but if it’s not what the consumer is after, I’m outta luck.

Best of luck jerrells on your next adventure!

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3171 days

#12 posted 04-15-2014 02:22 PM

Sorry to hear this, but if it’s not working out to your satisfaction you need to cut your losses as soon as possible and move on down the road.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3714 days

#13 posted 04-15-2014 03:10 PM

It is all about the market. I can’t sell a cutting board for better then 50.00 around me an then they go slowly and that is with patterns and exotic woods mixed in. Just walking through a show where someone sold out of 600 boards in a day and a half and all over 100 even up to 200. Pretty with well laid out grain patterns but simple end grain boards. Would never sell like that near me.
I love my scroll saw but agree with those who say a cnc machine for making money. Too much time already goes into prepping and later finishing the wood to make it profitable in a lot of markets to take the time and scroll each piece. I just scroll as a way of getting my mind clear of everything while producing something pretty that makes a nice gift.

-- A posse ad esse

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