While I'm still not making a real income from this frame/molding thing, I'm getting closer every day. It takes a LOT, and I mean a shit ton of time to get a business going, and I'm doing it without any real funding and a body that is constantly fatigued and hurting. I talked to the person at the place that's going to give me my second order and she wants me to make a sample frame (she's going to pay for it) to make sure that her customer is happy with the color and style. This is kinda scary for me, as I'm not good at staining wood yet and I'm going to have to learn how instantly. It is good though not only because it's another order but because it looks like she may want me to make the frames themselves, not just the molding.
I've started seeing someone. I told myself I wouldn't get into dating until I had a real income but this kinda snuck up on me. I met Ashley at Sam Bond's, the greatest bar/venue in Eugene, 10 days ago when we got to talking and then up and decided to go to the hot springs at 11 at night. We got back to her place at 5:30 in the morning. We've been hanging out since then and I like her. I told myself that when I did get back into dating I'd do the actual dating thing, not my usual mode of seeing one person and getting into a relationship. Well, it looks like things are heading in the relationship direction but I'm telling myself that that isn't a bad thing. Reason one is that whatever happens is going to happen, reason two is that I'm still not letting myself try actual dating because I don't have things together yet. Ashley is okay with my current state, despite my misgivings about starting a relationship with no income and where that led me before.
There are a couple of personality traits about her that I'm not so fond of but they're things that I think I can just mention to her and they will improve. She tends to talk more than she listens, for example, and it can be difficult for me to talk about things on my end when she's cutting me off.
Her job is a big problem for me, as it goes against what I believe in. I'm not going to say here what it is but the specific form of it is something I am not okay with and she knows it. I do like that she is a self-starter, being one myself.
At this point I'm just enjoying the good stuff and seeing where it takes me but I'm also going to express my misgivings the next time I see her. I told her that I'm very upfront with people and this will be an example of that.
It turns out that yes indeed, I am the snuggliest guy around. Ashley told me that she normally isn't as snuggly with guys as she is with me, so she must like me. She hasn't been too adventurous sex-wise but she is very much into the idea of trying new things, so I'm stoked. Sex and snuggling are covered.
I'm trying not to let her distract me from my job too much, and she understands that (she has her own pile of work to do too). I explained to her how I was avoiding dating because I have no money and need to focus on my business but she said the obvious, that having someone around is relaxing, enjoyable, and generally good for a person and it can be worked into a busy schedule.
I'm getting close to being done with preparing a sample sheet for frame places. I was originally going to make actual wood frame samples for places but I've changed that. The owner of one shop wanted me to give him just the profiles on paper so he could decide what he wanted. Being me, I decided to not just trace the profiles on paper, instead, I took photos of the ends of the moldings I made, did a lot of work in Photoshop, and ended up with what are essentially black silhouettes. I'm putting eight of them on a page with dimensions of each part, which is requiring me to learn Illustrator instantly.
I'm also doing something extra snazzy: I'm making a model #/order sheet thing like one would find when ordering a mechanical part. For example:
X is the molding width, in this case 1.5 inches. It goes from Z to N in increasing size. The lettering is backwards because I wanted to more clearly differentiate between the first and second letters.
J is the molding thickness, 3/4" in this case. The letters for thickness go from A to M in ascending order.
01 and 03 are the bits, from the outside edge to the inside edge, that I used for this profile. 01 is a Roman Ogee bit, 03 is a 3/8" roundover. I put the zeroes in there to account for future expansion when I'll have more than the 8 router bits I have right now.
G is the depth of the rabbet, which is 9/16" in this example. All rabbets are 3/8" wide (unless custom ordered to be different) so I don't need to have a special character for the width.
I think this is a great way to do this. Instead of a customer saying "uh, I want the one that's 2 inches wide and has a round outside part and a curvy inner part" they can either look at the key and order their own or they can look at the profile sample sheet I'm making and just give me the number.
I'll post the profile sample sheet here (somehow) when it's done, which should be tomorrow. I've been trying not to go my usual way of waiting until every little detail is figured out and everything looks the way I want it before showing people stuff. I'm doing pretty well with that, i.e. my barely cobbled together website, but in the case of this profile sample sheet and key, I am doing things my old-fashioned way because I really want to impress the frame shops.
I've more or less decided to not stain anything unless a customer asks for it specifically. I really want to sell only nice hardwood molding/frames made of Walnut, Maple, Cherry, Ash, Alder, or a few other species. I'm almost done with my first walnut frame and it's going to be as good as I had imagined. I figured out the cost of the wood and it really isn't all that much compared to the cheaper stuff. Yeah, it's double or triple the cost of the cheaper species but the amount of wood in one frame isn't all that much. For the Walnut frame I made for an 8x12 photo, the cost difference is only about $8. For a WALNUT frame!
I REALLY want to be able to make molding from only the good woods like the ones I mentioned. I can do it if I just make a frame here and there, but I'm not so sure that that is the case when someone is ordering a hundred feet of molding from me. My labor is of course the majority of the cost but I think the extra expense of nice wood will add up faster as orders get bigger. We'll see.
All right, gotta get to work.