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Vanishing Act

David R Sochar Member

I need to explain the current state of affairs regarding the purchase of my book “Small Shop Production of Custom Wood Doors” thru the Acorn Woodworks website.

I sold my business and all things Acorn to my longtime employee about a year ago. The sale is on contract. I made the mistake of offering unsolicited business advice to the buyer when he was late making a monthly payment. For some reason, this offended him. To retaliate, he removed access to the book page on the website as well as my Acorn Woodworks email address. He made some unclear and illogical demands, all under the explanation of “just business”.

I am now forced to find alternate ways of making the book available, as well as sweating out whether the buyer will be able to complete the sale. It is available thru Amazon and other online retailers.

I of course looked to have him succeed, for all the obvious reasons. But he has taken an adversarial approach to me and made me unwelcome in the shop. I admit I now have mixed feelings.

So here I am living and writing the last chapter of my book. I am not yet riding the horse into the sunset. I do not want to have go thru default, repossession, and go to auction or find a buyer. But if I have to, I will.

Thanks for all the positive references. I am still proud to contribute to such a great community of woodworkers.

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9/17/23       #2: Vanishing Act ...

Sorry to hear that David. Rough situation. I had my own disaster with a partnership a few years before I closed my business. You have my sympathy!!!!

9/18/23       #3: Vanishing Act ...
BH Davis  Member



That's a tough situation and I hope it turns out well with the sale. I tried to do something similar with my two primary employees when I sold the business but couldn't make it work. In the end I was glad it hadn't come to fruition after finding a financially capable buyer.

As to the book there are a few things you can do. Websites are cheap to establish and maintain, especially if you can learn to do simple coding yourself. So you can set up a website for the book. If you don't want to directly sell you can use this website to point to Amazon.

If you are okay with direct selling and doing your own shipping you can set up an Etsy shop. That is fairly straight forward to do and Etsy handles all the financial details, depositing funds directly into your bank account.

Facebook Marketplace, Ebay and Craig's List are all widely visible ad resources and you could use those as well, but here you will handle the financial transactions yourself. There are actually lots of items available on these sites that are not yard sale sorts of things.

For all direct selling you would need to word your listings cleverly so that people can find the book when doing online searches. Look at the Amazon listing and see if mimicking that would work.

In my retirement shop I make and sell a well know ski area sign from the mountain we ski at most often. I have permission from the mountain operations folks to do this. I mention the sign and how to purchase it direct from me or on Etsy on my personal website. Mainly it's a Christmas/winter gift item for people so I also do a little advertising in the local online community forum up in VT in December. I sell quite a few of the signs every year using these methods. They're fun to make and sell, and of course some extra money coming in is always nice.

BH Davis

9/18/23       #4: Vanishing Act ...
David R Sochar Member

Thanks for the tips gentlemen. You all are a class act.
I am considering a new website for the book. I used Squarespace, Stripe and Shippo for the book on my direct sales. They made it easy, with good record keeping. Amazon kept a lot of the money it collected.
I am also considering selling a stool I have been prototyping. I went thru both hip replacements and a few other health issues, and am now back to fiddling in my shop, keeping busy.

No more several hundred pound doors to haul around. The stool weighs 5.5 lbs, the book even less.

While the shop sale has been a trial, I still have the immense satisfaction of supporting myself and family on a 52 year long career working with beautiful woods, great designs and fun projects. And associating with the finest folk around-fellow woodworkers.

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View higher quality, full size image (4000 X 3000)

9/18/23       #5: Vanishing Act ...
tom gardiner

David you really need to buy a 5 axis cnc and a hydraulic copy lathe to really bang out the stools if you want to compete with the big box stores. :)
I hope the purchase friction is a symptom of stress on the part of the new owner coming to grips with all that is involved in running a business. Maybe it will all settle down shortly. Good luck.

9/24/23       #6: Vanishing Act ...
Mark B

Good luck with resolving the situation and moving forward (I mean that sincerely not like "good luck with THAT".

I had an employee courting me heavily tossing around very high spit-ball numbers for a "structured buyout" and while not being a curmudgeon, I knew full well it would be a can of worms to even resolve any form of a reasonably substantial initial down payment much less the struggles of making monthly payments while getting a shop (even a relatively established small shop) off the ground. The last couple small shops in my area (mine included) are the typical "you are the business" or at least a very large part, so any form of transition to someone else even with my involvement would most definitely have some amount of impact on income/sales for the new owner regardless of how long they were there. If the individual didnt have perhaps twice their initial substantial deposit with the other half being a period of cushion it would seem a tough slog. Add in the current state of business in our area with the economy and in my world it was a no-go for that option.

Seems like youve already got the best book sales options in place. Amazon if your just at peace with skimming what little they leave you after the sale but no processing on your part or Squarespace/equivalent and processing yourself. My mother wrote an in-depth genealogical book pertaining to my fathers side of our family and self published. Tractor and trailer rolling in the driveway with about 15 pallets of hardcover books when I was a teen and another pallet of padded envelopes. It was very interesting to see how regularly those books sold to bookstores, individuals, and so on, including to this day. As others have stated the marketing would seem key. I know book stores are on the downslide but getting that book on the shelves at Woodcraft, Klingspor, as well as any other book stores you can could likely be more worthwhile than one would think.

Nice stool. No news to you, same deal.. go the farm it out route/5 axis Tom mentions or more than likely coming from the small shop world keep churning them out to keep you off the couch and cater to the bespoke crowd.

Good to you you post.

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