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ShopNotes Podcast 097 — You Get What You Get and You Don't Throw a Fit

By: Phil Huber
How to manage expectations when building projects for friends and family.

On this episode of the ShopNotes Podcast, John, Phil, and Logan, are discussing the perils of building projects for friends and family, and how you can "treat yourself" as a woodworker during the holiday season.

The topic is inspired by a comment from Rod: I have traditionally made presents for family members. Most were small things like carved Santas, cutting boards, toys for the grand kids. The projects were selected because of time required because I worked a 50-60 hour a week job and din’t have the time to commit to something significant. Well I have retired after 43 years and now have a a decent shop and the tools that I can tackle more things.

My dilemma is making things for family members. Once I make one item, all other family members want the same thing. As an example, I need to make my granddaughter a blanket chest. Once family members heart that, they all want one. I received additional “I want one too” from two daughters, two other granddaughters, one sister-in-law, and three close neighbors. So if I meet the needs of everyone, I turn into a production shop making repeats of the same thing for years (I don’t work fast). In some cases there are feelings of hurt or jealousy when their request is not met. I don’t like making things over and over again.

So I know you guys make gifts from your comments and my tour of your shop at the last Woodsmith gathering. How do you guys handle manage the expectations? Any strategies that you can recommend?

Published: Dec. 21, 2021
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