The Consignment Trap

After Bench Kitten got the job at the craft store wood life got hectic. Making things for her was fine with me. Making things for the owners of the store was less than satisfactory. Everything they ordered was on consignment. You made the investment in materials, tools, time and effort. They put it on the shelf to see if someone would buy it. If someone didn’t buy it you owned expensive kindling.

There were other woodworkers in the area who were also cutting wood for tole painters. One was doing it for a living, though I couldn’t see how and had no interest whatsoever in attempting to make a living doing woodworking. I already had a poor paying job and cutting patterns out of pine had become a bit boring. Once you learned how to use the machines the only thing left was keeping your fingers attached to your hands. Mine are all still attached and working.

When wood started coming back because it sat on the shelf longer than the owners liked I got a bit upset. Sitting on shelves had changed the look of the pieces and people wanted something that looked fresh and clean, even though they were going to cover every inch of it with layers of thick acrylic paint. A visit to the store was overdue. What I found was the professional woodcutter’s marketing trick. He used shrink wrap to package his pieces. They weren’t better pieces, they were packaged. People like packages and wrappings. It makes things look store bought rather than hand made. This was back in the day before people started to tire of mass produced particleboard furnishings and the like.

A shrink wrap machine was acquired. The rejected wood pieces came back to the garage where they were lightly sanded and shrink wrapped. Sent them back to the store. The owners thought they were all new pieces and they were happy. I began to dislike tole painters.


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