I've been seriously considering my next tool purchase...and it's never easy to choose: Router? Chop saw? More dado blades?
But this time, I think I'm going with the Gargoyle. If you haven't heard of these, you should check 'em out. They've been around a long time, but they've fallen out of favor in the modern woodworking business. Properly positioned, the tool – a stylized demon dog - wards off evil spirits, always helpful in running a small business.
Obviously my comment about buying a Gargoyle as my next tool investment is tongue-in-cheek -though I do like Gargoyles. I even put gargoyle wings on my toolbox (btw...don't carve Purpleheart...more on that later). So why am I saying all of these [possibly] ridiculous things?
I once heard an adage that if you line up 10 woodworkers and ask them how to do something, you'll get 10 different answers. That being said...I think it's a stretch to make a blanket statement like “woodworkers are superstitious,” but I do think there is something more to our experience...something that other trades don't share.
Somewhere in the moment that the blade meets the board, a little magic happens. It's not business, it's not technical. It's something spiritual.
When I made the switch from running my workbench to running my business, I started looking at things very differently. Running a workbench was easy, and for the first 4 years I had my business that was pretty much all I did. I took deposits to get the work done, kept a day gig at a shop, and sometimes got shafted on the final payment. I was ambitious, and my dreams carried me.
Every deposit, I bought a tool or machine to accomplish the job, and I saw my dreams of being a business owner growing. Once I clued in to what running a business is actually about, though, I really started considering more carefully the value of every tool purchase.
Was it really worth buying another tool or machine to do the job faster? Or was I better off putting in the extra time, or hiring help for the unskilled parts?
Now that I actually run my business and deal with mostly administrative, planning, and training tasks, I wonder more and more about those parts of business we can't control.
I wonder about the things that don't show up on the balance sheet. I think that with woodworkers there is always a view to the things that can't be expressed. Somewhere in that moment where the blade meets the board, and the magic happens. It's not business, it's not technical. It's something more spiritual.
My craft has changed from the days when I was fascinated with that magical moment where the blade meets the board. I now find myself fascinated with those magical moments of selling the customer, estimating the work, and figuring out how to invest in my most capable and inconsistent tools...my people.
Maybe a Gargoyle is the answer? The one I bought for my yard at home cost $40. It's probably worth a try.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.