ScrollSaw Information and Resources #68: Should I quit or not

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Blog entry by jerrells posted 04-24-2015 05:44 PM 1903 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 67: Wood Thickness Rant Part 68 of ScrollSaw Information and Resources series no next part

OK, I am at the frustration times 10 level. It seems like for the past six months of so NO ONE wants to purchase anything from me. When I started, about five years ago, it seemed that I was getting an order or two per week. Now it seems that I have to wait for the fall craft shows and hope I find a few good ones.

I have looked and the list of items I make and gone over it LOTS of times. I keep changing too much depending on how the wind is blowing. I have really settled on three of four type of items as what I like to do the most.

I have looked all over the local area, Dallas TX in general, and there are not the “craft stores” like there once was. You know, stores where you could rent a shelf at a reasonable price. I have a FaceBook page but that does not seem to do any good, and more.

I have looked at ETSY many times but I just have not pulled the trigger. It seems that it is the only viable area to promote your crafts at a reasonable price.

I watch many blogs, FaceBook pages and other sources and I know many friends are selling all the time. It seems to me that the only time people look to me is that they want a donation to a charity, which I do not mind in reason, or that just like something and want one for FREE.

At the present time this hobby is getting to where it cost too much and takes too much time to continue. If I were a real store front business I would be closed TODAY.

Now I do not mean to lay out the poor mes. Perhaps I am look for help, asking for assistance or just waving the RED FLAG.

If you care to respond I will read every word and use all information given. Anyway thanks for your time.

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

8 comments so far

View chrisstef's profile


18098 posts in 3805 days

#1 posted 04-24-2015 06:16 PM

At the present time this hobby is getting to where it cost too much and takes too much time to continue. If I were a real store front business I would be closed TODAY.

IMO it isn’t a hobby if it costs too much or takes too much time. That’s what hobbies are for, occupying your idle time and spending your fun money. The other thing that stuck out to me was that you’re making things that you like to make in hopes of them selling. To quote Joe Dirt “Its not what you want, its what the consumer wants”. Snakes and sparklers aint gonna cut it at a fireworks stand Kickin Wing. You need the whoosker do’s, the whoosker donts, the whistling bungholes with and without the scooter stick.

I feel like its time to take a step back and think with a business mind for a minute. What has sold, and sold quickly, in the past? Think to yourself why did they sell? Was it cheap? Was it top notch work? Was it something that captured a niche in the market?

If you want to continue your scrolling and making money doing it you’ve got to start looking at it like a business instead of a hobby. That’s my spare change on it brother. With that said, I do hope that things change around for you and you can get back to both enjoying what you do and making money.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Alan S's profile

Alan S

181 posts in 4116 days

#2 posted 04-24-2015 06:26 PM

I know you’ve struggled with this for a long time. Like chrisstef said, you’ve got to decide whether this is a hobby or a business. Unfortunately, the economics of scrollsawing, in my opinion, don’t make for a good business. Compared to other consumer products for sale, few people will buy hand scroll sawed items for prices that reflect a fair cost per hour of labor. If you enjoy scroll sawing, do it because you love it and don’t look at the money. Make gifts for family, friends, and yourself. If you are looking to make good money, I would find another area of woodworking to focus on.


View americancanuck's profile


457 posts in 3409 days

#3 posted 04-24-2015 07:27 PM

I have to agree with both of the previous answers to your original post. Of course it would be very nice to think that you could, at the least, recover your cost from your work, but I think the question you should ask is “is this work”. I make every gift that I give to all of my siblings, children, grand children, and great grand children. These gifts cost me much more than I would spend if I were to go to Wal-Mart and buy a plastic gift that is made in China but they come from my heart and not my wallet. It is hard to place a value on the face of a child, or adult for that matter, when they see a hand crafted item.
The decision about wether you want to continue doing something you really enjoy should not be based on wether you can earn a living at it. Enough said, good luck to you.

-- Retired and lovin it

View Vicki's profile


1127 posts in 4143 days

#4 posted 04-25-2015 01:29 AM

I will watch this post with interest. I love to scroll and turn, but don’t need that many more friend/family gifts. I am making things for donating to Relay for Life and the Local cat rescue. I was upset to learn that there are still a couple of things I donated that haven’t sold from almost a year ago. For me this is a hobby and I don’t want to earn money for me, but for charity. If I do it as a business then it’s work and not so much fun. I have made a few things for money but I always tell them I won’t rush so I can enjoy it. Anyway, I hope to figure out what will sell locally to raise money.

My tip if you want to do it as a business is to watch Etsy closely and see what people sell alot of. In fact I think I’ll do that too. Let us know what you learn.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View KarenMW's profile


37 posts in 1928 days

#5 posted 04-25-2015 02:13 AM

I knew scrollsawing and wood working were going to be a hobby when I started. I also made a facebook page and compared prices on etsy before I priced mine. I also looked into etsy but the time of emailing, packaging and other things are making me think twice about opening a store. I’ve already donated way more than I have sold (6 items St Baldricks event, 12 items to Friendship House fundraiser for specials needs and 5 to spay and neuter fundraiser) maybe expand beyond puzzles that’s what I’m doing and I’m getting inquires to make other things. Some I choose to do and others I decline

-- Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

View kepy's profile


293 posts in 3072 days

#6 posted 04-25-2015 01:00 PM

I know the crafting business has changed over the last few years. I am retired and scroll for what I want and to make a few gifts and occasionally have someone request an item. For quite a few years, I stayed busy cutting items for tole painters. I think sales depend a lot on location. I’m not too far from Branson, MO and I know some scrollers there that stay busy.
Here’s hoping everything works out for you.

-- Kepy

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3603 days

#7 posted 04-26-2015 02:11 PM

First, don’t take what I have to say offensive. I personally luv woodworking because I luv to do it. I don’t “have-to” do it. I don’t know if this is your bread n butter, but, if so, it is like everything else on the shelves. One day you’re up, and one day you’re down. Sorry to hear about your run of slow sales. I think if anyone sells anything that they make, it’s always going to be up n down. Hang in there. Have fun at what you are doing. If it isn’t fun anymore, then, take a different measure.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Edwardnorton's profile


203 posts in 2726 days

#8 posted 05-02-2015 01:29 AM

Well in my opinion it is getting where with the internet more and more people are finding the patterns or something similar to what they want and there making it themselves. It seem also that craft wood working has been revived the past few years which adds another killer to sales. It is just to cheap and easy to do it yourself than to buy. With the added costs of shipping and handling (much of which is well pumped up) it is just not worth buying most craft items.

I remember stopping the use of eBay because of how much people pumped up the S&H costs. I never realized it until I bought a postal scale and compared the weight/shipping costs to the sellers zip code. I understand profit after owning & operating 3 companies of ours for the past 45 years but raping people as most are doing just drove me to crafting myself.

For instance I make a cat birdhouse that is very popular. I found the pattern on Etsy & purchased it for $10, I also found others selling these birdhouses on the very same sight for $75 to $100 dollars when all it costs to make it yourself is $15 to $20 depending on current wood/paint prices. Those selling the birdhouses at $75 to $100 wasn’t even including S&H!

So really as someone already mentioned here, keep it as a hobby more or less and or if your doing ok at shows then continue that perhaps but your not going to become rich doing general hobby crafts or even make enough to count on as monthly financial support….

Best Wishes To You! :~D

-- EdwardNorton

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