After 2 weeks at college and starting work on my first project, it appears that this year, we have to pay for our own timber. Because I have worked in the timber trade since last October, I am able to say that I know the value of timber. Worried that each project might end up costing me a fortune, I decided to start straight away by aiming to keep my costs as low as possible by using, for my first project, … plywood!
So some of you might think it is a daft idea. I am learning furniture making, and most of my fellow students are going on about all the wonderful and unusual timbers that they may or may not use for their projects. American Black Walnut, Teak, Rosewood, Ebony, Mahogany, even good old Oak which, despite it being widely available, is very expensive.
But someone told me recently that a lot of the time, furniture designers will put the emphasis on the timber/materials rather than the method/technique. Any design idea should be feasible with simple timber. And I have chosen plywood because it is simple and easy to find. I also thought that it would be cheap too but unfortunately, the best ply, as all timber, isn’t the cheapest one. Birch ply is the best but therefore also the most expensive. I had a look at cheaper plys and really, it isn’t the sort of thing that you would be willing to spend money on to make a good quality table.
My design will need 2 sheets of 1.22 x 2.44 m ply which cost £43 each. So immediately, the cost of the table I am making shoots up to nearly £100. Then I have to add the labour and cost of all other materials. I am guessing that the table will end up costing nearly £300.
This timber purchase worries me. I hadn’t planned on that when I registered for this year.
On top of this, I have now resigned from my job at the saw mill as I had reached a stage where I felt sick at the idea of commuting there 3 days a week. I remember the days of working in London, when having to get up at a given early hour, and be at work at another given hour, became a total drag.
A few days ago, I almost fell asleep at the wheel during my commute. That woke me up (no pun intended!). Just like when I worked in London, I decided that I couldn’t keep a job that had become so tiring that my health was becoming at risk. A heavy commute (1:30 hours a day) plus long hours (9 hours a day) plus a very physical job (carrying loads of timber and other heavy materials most of the time) which, all added together, gives me a very good reason why I am tired.
In fact, it has come to a point where I am no longer going to karate twice a week. During the summer, I went only once a week. I had my regular 3 days a week job at the saw mill, and then the workshop 2 days a week. I had a very busy summer working, taking only 4 days off to visit my dad in France. After the rush in June to finish the end of year project, it meant that I never had a proper break. My body started to rebel last week when I got a cold which, for me, means that I must slow down.
So when, 2 weeks ago, my sensei announced that he was closing the dojo because of lack of students to sustain the class, I took it as a blessing in disguise. There is another class I could join, but I decided to make the best of the moment: I will resume karate when I have found a new and more local job.
In the meantime, I am home every evening after college, and I am enjoying that tremendously. I love the feeling of finishing college and knowing I have the whole evening to look after myself, catch up with my personal admin, work on my design and learn CAD which I need for my course.
I now have some free time during the week until I find a new job, and you can bet your bottom dollar that I am making the most of it. Between my search for a new job, my homework and my paintings, I am wondering how I ever managed to fit in a job in my timetable as well.
I have a speech to give at my local Art Gallery to present my paintings along with a bunch of other artists and I have sold more paintings this year than usual. Therefore I have decided to invest money into my website to develop it to something more professional and easier for me to control rather than having to pay someone to do it for me.
So although I no longer have a regular job, I feel on top of the world regardless because I can feel myself riding a wave of positivity. I want to make the most of it while it lasts. I don’t know how long it will last, perhaps next week everything will be going wrong… but in the meantime, it all feels good and positive and encouraging, so off I go on my positive wave…
… up up and away…