I did something yesterday that I don’t do all that often. I bought a piece of wooden furniture, rather than make it myself.
Now hold on there: it’s true that I bought the chairs and stools for my dining table and bar. But those are metal and fit a specific aesthetic with the rest of the room. And I bought them a quite a few years ago (at least the chairs), when I was still relatively new to hand-tool focused work.
The piece of furniture in question is a bookcase. Specifically, a simple pine bookcase to display my vintage Lego collection. It’s from a bare wood market called WoodMarket in Monroe, CT. And it’s perfect for what it needs to be.
Will I still build that leaning bookcase? Probably. But now I can put it on the back burner and get back to a couple of projects I’ve been halfway through for a while. Discretion is the better part of valor, as it were.
And, most importantly, I was able to support a local artisan in the process.
The more I get into the hobby myself, the more I feel an obligation to buy furniture made by pro woodworkers (I have my student loans first though). There’s a sad irony, hobbyists [arguably] know more about the product than most buyers would, and [arguably] can better appreciate the time/skill/effort that goes into a quality piece. But a lot of pros could use more customers while a lot of us hobbyists are adamant to make everything ourselves […eventually].
I’ll admit, there will still be some things that I probably just won’t be able to bring myself to pay someone else to do. And of course, there’s some projects I want to do myself for their own sake.
However, at a later stage in life, I hope my inner homo economicus will allow myself to hire out work I don’t what to do for whatever reason. Similarly, when I see excellence in a particular aspect of the craft (say turning, inlay, etc.) I hope I can support that craftsperson rather than just daydreaming about learning yet another thing [someday]. There seems to be many aspects of the craft that can only be achieved with excellence through a volume of practice I, as a hobbyist, cannot realistically expect to achieve.
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