I get this sort of flack below almost every day. I usually ignore it. But in this case I want to be perfectly clear about how I work and how I have always worked.
Comment from Gary Smythe on the PW blog: I’ve been following this project from your first announcement. With all respect, your comments about not letting the price of hardware/wood be of concern are not fair. You are doing an article for a national magazine and the advantage of getting it published is that it is an expense that costs you nothing either by expense account or a tax write off. Secondly, how many donations were involved? Honestly, I wish you the best, and I’m looking forward to the article, but I bet you didn’t pay $15 for the Londonderry Catalog. I know that the $300 book on Campaign Furniture was donated to you. You are a skilled craftsman/author. I just feel for the audience you are writing for, true costs ought to be revealed. $700 is the tip of the iceberg. I’m guessing this item for the article on the campaign piece is worth $6000 by the time we figure your material costs and at least part of your time in the design and build. I’ll have to read the article to finnd out if any new tools were involved. Writing/photography is in addition to that. Bring it on, I want to see what you made, but please don’t tell us about the vastly inferior underweight hardware as an alternative – It’s embarrassing. If considering using most of that stuff, it might as well not be used at all. Keep this up and the next thing will be an article about a reproduction Tansu chest, but don’t worry about the Paulownia and hardware cost.
OK, let’s break down the letter, point by point.
“You are doing an article for a national magazine and the advantage of getting it published is that it is an expense that costs you nothing either by expense account or a tax write off.”
I have no expense account. I personally paid for the wood, the hardware and the finish. The piece was not built for a customer. It’s mine. It’s not a tax write-off. So I built a piece of furniture for myself and paid for all the materials myself. The article earned me some money, of course, but not even close to what the materials and hardware cost.
“Secondly, how many donations were involved?”
None. I paid full retail for every scrap of wood, hardware and finish. I always have and I always will. Call Steve Wall Lumber, where I bought the wood. Call Horton Brasses, where I bought the hardware. Call Oakley Paint & Glass, where I bought the finish.
“I bet you didn’t pay $15 for the Londonderry Catalog.”
You are right. I don’t have a Londonderry Catalog in my house. I’ve never even seen one. I looked on the company’s web site, which is free. Call Nancy at Londonderry for confirmation.
“I know that the $300 book on Campaign Furniture was donated to you.”
Not true. I paid $100 for the book plus a couple T-shirts from a local woodworker who knew I was interested in the style. Want to see the canceled check?
“I’ll have to read the article to find out if any new tools were involved.”
“I’m guessing this item for the article on the campaign piece is worth $6,000 by the time we figure your material costs and at least part of your time in the design and build.”
Are you saying I was paid $6,000? Wish that were true. Not even close Way, way lower.
“Writing/photography is in addition to that.”
I do my own writing and photography. So I didn’t pay anyone for that. Perhaps I am not following you.
“Bring it on, I want to see what you made.”
Come on over. My home address is on our web site. I’ll show you every receipt.
— Christopher Schwarz