Woodturning (rec.crafts.woodturning) To discuss tools, techniques, styles, materials, shows and competitions, education and educational materials related to woodturning. All skill levels are welcome, from art turners to production turners, beginners to masters.

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Old May 16th 07, 10:46 PM posted to rec.crafts.woodturning
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Default Is East still East & West still West? Musing about salad bowls.

Yesterday I went to the local Target store to buy some two cycle motor
oil. They don't sell it so I took a look at their imported wooden bowls.
The built up layered ring bowls with their straight sides and wide flat
bottoms were tacky and no competition at any price, but the large acacia
bowls got my attention. Some were over 12 X 7 with 1/4 in. walls that
sported smooth fair curves nicely fading into rounded bottoms. The
finish wasn't much to write home about, but at less than $20,00 for a
not bad, large acacia salad bowl do I hear footsteps?

The wood and finish makes them easy to spot as 'cheap imports' made on
production copying machines or by preteens in sweatshops. Many people
don't want to display them or use them on their tables when company
comes, but the quality seems to be improving pretty fast. Will it be
long before we see them approaching ever more closely the appearance of
a nicely turned domestic vessel? I wouldn't be surprised to see some
attractive hollow forms on Target's shelves in the future. They might
even graduate to being proudly displayed in gift shoppes.


I wonder if we need to begin thinking about ways to keep the public's
perception of our hand turned bowls separate from that of the the Far
Eastern imports. Can't happen here? I remember when most imported Far
East products were junky 'japanned' tinny sheet metal toys. Not anymore.
Ask GM or RR.

Are our present hand turned salad bowls so superior and so much more
desirable than the 'cheap junk' in Target or Walmart? Maybe so, but
assuming we want to keep it that way, what should we do or can we do to
maintain the present image of our beloved 'plain, honest & respectable'
hand turned bowls?

Maybe we should consider veering away from the simple workmanlike,
unadorned, maple work without that much to be avoided plastic shine, the
kind of salad bowl we turners favor, and consider adding more coves,
flourishes and glossy finishes. Perhaps we should employ a wider range
of beautiful timber even for the things we turn for use. This frou frou
is sure not my cuppa tea. I like a plain maple bowl, but then I don't
sell many. What's your take?


Turn to Safety, Arch
Fortiter


http://community.webtv.net/almcc/MacsMusings




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Old May 17th 07, 08:48 AM posted to rec.crafts.woodturning
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Default Is East still East & West still West? Musing about salad bowls.

I believe the far east product wont advance much further and will
alwys be distinguishable. What
you can do are two things: sign your work (ask collectors - signed
work such as pottery or furniture is
much higher in value) and emphasize use of local, non-industrially
felled trees. Those who care
will alwys prefer these.
Last but not least - your musings are on a commercial basis. Most
turners I know consider
turning a fun past time, an appreciation of nature and one of its most
appealing raw materials,
an art or practice/celebration of craftsmanship. If you turn for
income, far east competition
is a niche killer, indeed.

Arch כתב:
Yesterday I went to the local Target store to buy some two cycle motor
oil. They don't sell it so I took a look at their imported wooden bowls.


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Old May 17th 07, 12:49 PM posted to rec.crafts.woodturning
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Default Is East still East & West still West? Musing about salad bowls.

On Wed, 16 May 2007 16:46:10 -0400, (Arch) wrote:

Yesterday I went to the local Target store to buy some two cycle motor
oil. They don't sell it so I took a look at their imported wooden bowls.
The built up layered ring bowls with their straight sides and wide flat
bottoms were tacky and no competition at any price, but the large acacia
bowls got my attention. Some were over 12 X 7 with 1/4 in. walls that
sported smooth fair curves nicely fading into rounded bottoms. The
finish wasn't much to write home about, but at less than $20,00 for a
not bad, large acacia salad bowl do I hear footsteps?


That's the #1 reason I don't even *try* to sell turnings. I've had a
few offers on various peices, and people always want me to compete
with Walmart and Target. While it is easy to explain the vast
difference in quality between a hand jointed piece of furniture made
from real hardwood and a crappy particle-board IKEA style piece
whacked together with knockdown hardware to a potential customer, I
can't figure out a good reason why they *should* pay me what I'd like
to get for a turned item, other than I spent a lot of time on it and
could use the money. While it'd be nice if that was reason enough for
people to pay me, that's just not how it works!

So, stuff from the lathe remains gift material. There are a few
things that I will sell, but only on commission, and only if it's
something that isn't generally availible.

Maybe we should consider veering away from the simple workmanlike,
unadorned, maple work without that much to be avoided plastic shine, the
kind of salad bowl we turners favor, and consider adding more coves,
flourishes and glossy finishes. Perhaps we should employ a wider range
of beautiful timber even for the things we turn for use. This frou frou
is sure not my cuppa tea. I like a plain maple bowl, but then I don't
sell many. What's your take?


If you need to sell the stuff that comes off your lathe, you need to
cater to your target audience the same way you would with anything
else. In most cases, that's going to be people with money they can
afford to burn- an occasional look at some of the high-end home
decorating magazines, like American Bungalow and similar, should be a
good indication of what is currently popular. It's a sort of fickle
market, and a maple bowl with a coat of wax might be the big thing one
day, while a carved lacewood hollow form polished to a mirror-like
shine is the only thing anyone wants the next.
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Old May 17th 07, 03:01 PM posted to rec.crafts.woodturning
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Default Is East still East & West still West? Musing about salad bowls.


"Prometheus" wrote in message
...
On Wed, 16 May 2007 16:46:10 -0400, (Arch) wrote:

Yesterday I went to the local Target store to buy some two cycle motor
oil. They don't sell it so I took a look at their imported wooden bowls.
The built up layered ring bowls with their straight sides and wide flat
bottoms were tacky and no competition at any price, but the large acacia
bowls got my attention. Some were over 12 X 7 with 1/4 in. walls that
sported smooth fair curves nicely fading into rounded bottoms. The
finish wasn't much to write home about, but at less than $20,00 for a
not bad, large acacia salad bowl do I hear footsteps?


That's the #1 reason I don't even *try* to sell turnings. I've had a
few offers on various peices, and people always want me to compete
with Walmart and Target.


Sizzle versus steak. Some like 'em pretty, hand-crafted of local woods or
are willing to pay for more that name on the bottom. Your stuff hold any
less Romaine than "famous name" turnings which cost a bunch more lettuce?

Though we can sell based on pure utility as well. As I remind people, you
can put popcorn in a steel bowl and it tastes the same, just don't set that
sucker in your lap. Wants a half inch of insulating wood to save the family
jewels. You can put the chips in Corel, but they don't have that little
recurve on the inside of the rim to keep your greasy thumb from slipping and
spreading the contents into Aunt Martha's lap as you pass it.

As to the business of dust-gathering "hollow forms" versus their ceramic
clones, I think the potters have a real leg up. They've got the ease of
forming, the hand craftspersonship, the name on the bottom, and any number
of glazes and firing methods working for them. Some turners paint, stain or
dye their stuff in hopes of imitating them, but it's more for
self-gratification than added value. I sell the shelves to put those things
on.

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Old May 17th 07, 04:26 PM posted to rec.crafts.woodturning
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Default Is East still East & West still West? Musing about salad bowls.

Max, Jesse, George, Just to acknowledge your thoughtful responses. It's
very satisfying to have had something to do with this kind of balanced
give & take among fellow turners. Thanks.


Turn to Safety, Arch
Fortiter


http://community.webtv.net/almcc/MacsMusings





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Old May 17th 07, 08:41 PM posted to rec.crafts.woodturning
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Default Is East still East & West still West? Musing about salad bowls.

Arch - first, good to see you post. Seems like it has been a while.

I think there will be a flood of low end bowls and turnings from
Indonesia, S. America, etc. if it can be determined that those things
can be made and sold for a profit. The amount of mass produced work
from those places has steadily increased, and certainly their
manufacturing methods and finishing have as well.

But this has always been the case. There is a turner that used to
frequent this group a few years ago that has sold his turnings to make
a living for many years. He told me that if he didn't have the side
income from his own mass bowl and platter turning efforts the he could
not stay afloat. So in effect he was his own competition, and the
there were only three differences in his "studio pieces" and his mass
produced. 1) mass produced was in big volume (I seem to remember a M.
Mahoney-like 600+ a year in addition to his studio work) 2) The
pieces sold at 50% of the studio price, and 3) they weren't signed by
him as an artist

While many people can appreciate good workmanship and a fine chunk of
wood, how many are willing to pay what we might think it is worth? A
pressed monkey wood/acacia/who knows what wood bowl that you can beat
the living crap out of for $20, and buy another if it gets screwed up,
or $200 for a nicely shaped and oiled maple bowl from an artist.

The artist's bowl required special care and feeding, and to some
extent, special handling. The Indonesian bowl can be bounced, kicked,
dropped and then cleaned easily. No oiling necessary, no special
care, no worries. So is the maple artist's bowl worth 10X more? Only
you and your client know.

The prattle about "educating the public about our craft" is an old
saw. And I might add, it is in every aspect of any craft work. You
should have heard the boys I knew (excuse me, artists/crafstmen) that
were making humidors in the cigar days of the late 80's and 90's.
They were selling their boxes (exotic wood on the outside, melamine on
the inside with a humidifier strip) for about $300 to $600, and
couldn't keep up with the orders.

Then the foreign imports came in from every direction. Some more
expensive, most much less. Artistry didn't matter at that point, nor
did educating the public. The question of the day was "real or
percieved value". Out of concern for my buddies whom would never let
me live it down, I passed on buying a humidor at Sam's club that was a
tastefully inlaid solid mahogany with polished lacquer finish affair.
It held more cigars, had a better humidifier, and even had a built in
hygrometer. It was $69.

I also remember the "ironwood" artists from the 70s. Guys went out to
the desert areas and found ironwood bushes/trees that would make good
project candidates. They did well for themselves until someone in
Mexico discovered that the Sonoran desert was covered in it. They cut
down so much and flooded the market so thoroughly that all that is
left of the market is cheap, ugly carved crap.

I can't help think that somewhere along the line we may see mass
turned bowls from S. America if some enterprising person will just go
raid the burn pile at the edges of the rain forest to get exotic
woods. There is a lot of material, a lot of man power, and a ready
market. I promise you this; If I knew someone I could trust to run
it after I set it up, I would go down there and do it. I think the
market is ripe.

As always, just my 0.02.

Robert




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Old May 18th 07, 03:46 AM posted to rec.crafts.woodturning
CW CW is offline
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Default Is East still East & West still West? Musing about salad bowls.

That's not eacatly high volume. I am fully equiped to make two an hour. I
would, if there was a market.

wrote in message
ups.com...
1) mass produced was in big volume (I seem to remember a M.
Mahoney-like 600+ a year in addition to his studio work)



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Old May 18th 07, 06:58 AM posted to rec.crafts.woodturning
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Default Is East still East & West still West? Musing about salad bowls.

On May 17, 8:46 pm, "CW" wrote:

That's not eacatly high volume. I am fully equiped to make two an hour. I would, if there was a market.


I agree. That's not Mahoney numbers by any means. But he also turns
platters, super custom pens from all manner of materials, produces
exquisite hollow forms, does custom turning, and makes a lot of
gallery pieces for his studio and associated galleries.

He also harvests almost all of his turning wood, writes books,
maintains a website, produces DVDs, tests tools and turning related
paraphenalia, and besides that, maintains the business end of it all.

He was a long time denizen of this group, but I think he is just too
damn busy these days. Check him out:

http://ezinearticles.com/?expert_bio=Steven_Russell

Robert

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Old May 18th 07, 03:36 PM posted to rec.crafts.woodturning
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Default Is East still East & West still West? Musing about salad bowls.

In article .com,
" wrote:

On May 17, 8:46 pm, "CW" wrote:

That's not eacatly high volume. I am fully equiped to make two an hour. I
would, if there was a market.


I agree. That's not Mahoney numbers by any means. But he also turns
platters, super custom pens from all manner of materials, produces
exquisite hollow forms, does custom turning, and makes a lot of
gallery pieces for his studio and associated galleries.

He also harvests almost all of his turning wood, writes books,
maintains a website, produces DVDs, tests tools and turning related
paraphenalia, and besides that, maintains the business end of it all.

He was a long time denizen of this group, but I think he is just too
damn busy these days. Check him out:

http://ezinearticles.com/?expert_bio=Steven_Russell

That's who I thought you meant... Last year Steve was the demo guy at
the woodworking show, he posted almost nothing then. This year he has
been posting a little. He also posts over on the AWW forum and on Wood
Centeral. He also hosts the Wed night chat room there.

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