Wood Working

Around 1990, long before I started building water rockets from soda bottles, I started doing some woodworking in my basement workshop. Most of it was small stuff that was sold at some local area craft fairs. Such things as wooden toys, puzzles, magic tricks, small boxes and chests. Some other larger things were made to order. I operated a home based small business registered under the name of “Wood ‘N Magic” for many years.

That is until the jerks at the local city hall started looking for ways to get more money from the home owners. They found out that I had registered with the state to collect sales tax on sales at craft fairs, something that was legally required to do to sell there. So they said that I should pay them an annual license fee and allow one of their goons inside our home to inspect my workshop to see if my operation was what I said it was.

Keep in mind that I wasn’t doing any more in my home than the average amateur home craftsman. Neighbors had no idea that a “business” was operating here. No deliveries were being made here, any materials that I needed were purchased and brought home by me in my own personal van. Most sales were at craft fairs so almost no customers ever came to our house, certainly less than the number of uninvited solicitors that came to our door. My workshop is in the basement so minimal noise from the power tools got outside to bother anyone.

Furious, I went to the state’s licensing office to cancel my tax license, took a copy of the cancellation to city hall and told them to forget about getting any license fees and sending anyone to get inside our home. I told them that I would have the tax license reinstated if we could ever relocate to where people still had freedom inside their own homes. Now that I don’t spend as much time on my woodworking business, I’m happy to make it my “business” to get out and help oppose anything that city hall wants.

My business card from back then, with the personal info removed.

Some of the small things that were sold at craft fairs.

(Front row, left to right) Mystery Spinners; Climbing Bear; Heart Puzzles; the blue cube and black block are magic tricks; large red Yo-Yo.

(Middle row) A very accurate Rubber Band Gun of my own design; Rabbit shaped holders for napkins, mail or small magazines and books.

(Back row) Hexagon cedar bird house; the female figures are Acrobat Toys, you gently squeeze the handles together and she does various flips around the string between her hands. Little girls loved them, and some of the guys liked watching the little ladies perform, too!

(L) Fingerjointed box with a hinged lid. (R)  One with a sliding lid.

(L) A fingerjointed chest with a hinged lid and handles. (R) A large fingerjointed box. I had a fingerjointing jig set up on my table saw that worked so well I kept wanting to make more things with it while it was still accurate.

A display shelf that I made to sell my things at a small shop that rented small spaces to crafters. I lost money on that deal. The shop did not attract the people who liked my products, and many of the things really needed explanations and demonstrations to sell. Most of the customers were apparently little old ladies that liked shopping in places that reeked of potpourri!

A rocking cradle for dolls, scaled down to about three-fourths of the original size given in a plan. The original was made at the request of my wife, who was into making some very beautifully detailed porcelain dolls at the time. Two more were made later and sold to her friends.

A friend of my wife showed her a small souvenir decal from a trip to Germany and asked her if I could make a wooden sign with that coat of arms as a gift for her future husband. I used a projector to enlarge the design onto paper, transferred it to the wood, and then used a router to cut out much of the detail, including the drawing of the eagle.

A lady’s very young son was obsessed with the “Caped Crusader” and she wanted me to make a themed headboard for his new bigger bed in time for his birthday.  She didn’t have a specific idea other than it had to be a Batman design and there wasn’t much time until his birthday. This is what I put together.

I made this “treasure chest” as a gift for my father. I wanted to try making something with a rounded top but I think the top turned out a little too big for what I had in mind. It looks more like the lunchbox that he carried to work. It’s back in my house again, along with the rest of his remaining possessions. Old family photographs are kept in it now.


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