Aug 012019
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These days, you can avoid just about any woodworking job you don’t like, yet still have a beautiful end product.

Don’t like making drawers? You have options. You can order some stock sizes and design your furniture or cabinet around those sizes. You can have a local cabinet shop make them for you to your specifications. You can even have an online service make custom drawers.

Maybe you don’t mind making the drawers, but you want dovetails and don’t want to cut them yourself. Yep, there’s a guy for that.

If your handcut dovetails are no better than mine, you might want to have someone else do your drawers for you.

Don’t like finishing? Want a sprayed look but don’t want to invest in a sprayer? You can send your completed item out to someone who does nothing else but finishing. Like to have your components finished before assembly? There are specialists who do that, too. Then you can glue up after the finishing is completed.

Maybe you hate sanding. Who doesn’t? The cabinet shop across town has a 48″ belt sander, and they’ll let you use it by the hour, or do the sanding for you, and they won’t even make you wind the sandpaper onto the drum.

Now, that’s an offer that will appeal to almost everyone.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

  9 Responses to “August Woodworking Poll: Farming Out the “Work” in Woodworking”

  1. I do it all myself, even the things I hate like sanding and finishing.

  2. I am a purist to the point of doing what I am able to do. There are a couple of expensive tools I do not own, i.e. a lathe, so when it comes to something I am unable to do I farm it out and I still call it mine.

  3. No place around here that I know of to farm anything out. Plus I’m to cheap to pay others to do what I can do myself, even if i’m not so good at it, but I do enjoy the trying. I also do not point out my mistakes, and so far no one has pointed any of them out to me.

  4. I use a local a local artist for stained glass inserts and I also farm out upholstery.

  5. I dont enjoy milling lumber to 4 square, so that is something I would gladly farm out.

  6. If I don’t try to do it myself, I will never improve my skills. This way, I learn from every project and many of the skill carry over to the next one. And while I am not perfect and far from a master craftsman, I think I have improved with each attempt. Nothing teaches better than mistakes.

  7. I’ve always do everything myself so I all ways retain quality control over the whole project. I do use milling services like widebelt sanding for large table tops or to resaw highly figured wood on a high end bandsaw sparingly While I’ve handplaned large table tops 10ft long I find hiring out the work to be advantageous to the bottem line. So having the skills to craft high-end furniture allows one to know and demand quality work from those you do hire.

  8. I try and do everything myself but if it’s a piece that needs to be painted a specific way, I could certainly farm that out to a professional. I like oil finishes and I have painted but I don’t care for the mess of the paint, the hassle of the over spray and the controlled environment required to do it right.

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