As anyone had the experience of moving into the cabinetmaking field with no experience and to make it even tougher, at the age of 55.
I have been in the printing business, working in the prepress area, an area that was a craft of the hand, now dominated by computers. I can't see myself sitting at this computer till i'm 70. Woodworking is a love that goes back to jr high. I had natural talent but never thought of it as a career.
You mention you have no experience. If you've done it as a hobby it IS some experience, albeit not at a professional level. If you can assemble a portfolio of what you have built, it would help state your case to any potential employer.
I also wouldn't discount your work experience either, while it isn't directly relevant, I would stress how it was a skilled trade and taught you how to work with your hands at a production pace. I would also stress that you're willing AND able to learn new things.
My biggest concern for you wouldn't be if you could get hired, but rather if you could live in a matter you're comfortable with at the pay you'll likely receive with little experience. If you can manage that, I think you'll do fine.
One more note, there are as many types of shops as there are niches in the hobby of woodworking. All the way from studio furniture shops to doors and millwork, custom cabinetry, and production cabinetry shops. Visit a few, and let them know your intent. I'm sure some will offer a tour and let you know more about their type of shop as a career choice. Good luck in your pursuits.
Over the years I have tried to hire a few guys as employees who did it as a hobby. In all cases they were 40+ years old and usually 50+. None of them made it. Woodworking in a professional setting is not much like woodworking as a hobby. It's fast paced and not at your own leisure. Once it is the job there comes stresses and pressures and deadlines. What was once romantic and fun, becomes a four letter word- WORK.
What has worked for me is to encourage men who have worked with their hands and show the amount of responsibility, dedication and aptitude to set up a shop at home and build certain components and aspects of a job for me from their home garage. They operate their own business (of which I encourage them and even promote them to to other shops and clients when their skills fit) and I supply a steady stream of work. I also help with any training upfront. It has proven to be a reliable source of income from home, negates the most negative aspects of taking the hobby they love and turning it into a job, keeps them home and earning a decent income. For me it helps as I don't have to have the real estate or costs and headaches associated with employees. It has proven to be an all around win for everyone involved.
If you are able it might be something for you to look into or approach a shop about.
I'm all the way across the country but woodworking wages run from $12-$35 an hour for all but the best and brightest. With a large percentage of those jobs falling in the lower half of that bracket. It is not a high earning position for most guys on a bench each day.
Familyman has it right when he said it becomes WORK. It can take a lot of the fun out of it. I once had a 60 year old man stop at my shop to ask about a job. He said at his age he wanted a job that he could "slow down" in. He didn't have a clue. Needless to say I didn't even keep his application.
What do you mean by "moving into the cabinet field"? Starting a business or just a job? I started by building a coffee table on my kitchen table right after we got married in 1972. Quit my corporate job in 1988 and started a shop. I held on for 8 years and what I discovered was that I was a hell of a lot better craftsman than businessman. I found a gravy job at a woodworker's magazine and closed the shop. That job lasted 3 years. When it was sold and closed, I took a job in a commercial woodworking shop. Just about killed me. Slinging 4x8 and 5x10 sheets of particle board all day, and laying up a lot of plastic laminate. The owner refused to allow bench stools and no one could ever sit down in the shop. I was 47 at the time. I really wouldn't want to get a job like that at 55. Luckily for me I went back to that corporate job and am now retired with a pension. I was very fortunate to get that dream stuff out of my system in time to get back to corporate life to finish out. I'd be really concerned to try it at your age. Starting wages would sure not help prepare you for any kind of retirement unless, you already have your mortgage paid off and a good nest egg.
Agreed some of the earlier posts. We tried several garage guys ,but to no avail. Commercial millworkers are young and hauling tail to make deadlines. The thought of sitting at a bench with a cup of coffee ,cranking out a project, is a pipe dream. We have had awesome success training women with no experience and as a result they have proven to be key employees
A hobby kills time, by definition. A profession capitalizes upon time for profit.
The IRS has some good definitions of each that help discriminate between the expenses of a profession vs the costs of a hobby. There are probably a lot of 'part time woodworkers' that are actually hobbyists.
What skills can you bring to a shop? Measuring? Accuracy? Engineering? Mathematics? Design?
Charlie I pretty much agree with whatís been said already but Iíll throw some thoughts your way.
I started when I was 25 and am 45 now and am about broke down, I spend a lot of time at the chiropractor. I was blessed with a wife that did pretty good for herself and was basically able to take care of us until I got a business built.
At your age and lack of experience I would suggest starting a small business on the side in the garage or something and see how it goes. Maybe do signature pieces, that is if you have that kinda skill, or maybe other kinds of furniture. Rustic pieces... find a niche. Keep the overhead as low as possible and donít be afraid to charge for your work. As itís been said, if you try to get a job at a cabinet shop itíll probably work you to death.
The main thing is whatever you do, do what makes you happy. Nothing like working at a job you hate.
Heres a little more perspective-
I'm about to turn 60 and I have a lifetime as a career house carpenter, cabinet maker and architectural millwork builder and installer. I can and have run and set up just about any woodworking machinery (own a complete shop's worth), with the exception of CNC and I went to school not too long ago to learn to use AutoCAD so I'm proficient with it.
I took on a management position on a large property in 2006, just as the economy was crashing and stayed till now, and the place is being sold. And I'm about to be out of a job. As qualified as I am, I'm not finding any jobs because I'm considered -
Too old to produce
Too set in my ways to retrain and learn "modern" ways of doing things
Too much a liability in terms of health-(and I'm in excellent shape, I take care of myself).
All this is couched in "not needing someone of my qualifications" refusals and if I do get an offer, it's for $16- 18 per hour, doing"some sanding and maybe cabinet work".
My most viable alternative is to build a shop and put my machines to work- and being in business is not something I'm good at because I don't care for the busines end of it.
All this leads to is be prepared to start at the very bottom- and it's a tough little pill to swallow after a life time.
Mark, hate to hear that your job is ending. At your age, whether youíre in good shape or not it sounds like youíve paid your dues. You own the equipment to do for yourself, just sounds like an opportunity to set some hours and maybe enjoy more of life and not answer to anyone much. I just know for my own self that Iíve worked way to many hours and a guy that has worked for me for years just quit because of health reasons and instead of hiring back Iíve decided to just stick with the other part time guy that I have and put it on cruise control.
FORUM GUIDELINES: Please review the guidelines below before posting at WOODWEB's Interactive Message Boards(return to top)
WOODWEB is a professional industrial woodworking site. Hobbyist and homeowner woodworking questions are inappropriate.
Messages should be kept reasonably short and on topic, relating to the focus of the forum. Responses should relate to the original question.
A valid email return address must be included with each message.
Advertising is inappropriate. The only exceptions are the Classified Ads Exchange, Machinery Exchange, Lumber Exchange, and Job Opportunities and Services Exchange. When posting listings in these areas, review the posting instructions carefully.
Subject lines may be edited for length and clarity.
"Cross posting" is not permitted. Choose the best forum for your question, and post your question at one forum only.
Messages requesting private responses will be removed - Forums are designed to provide information and assistance for all of our visitors. Private response requests are appropriate at WOODWEB's Exchanges and Job Opportunities and Services.
Messages that accuse businesses or individuals of alleged negative actions or behavior are inappropriate since WOODWEB is unable to verify or substantiate the claims.
Posts with the intent of soliciting answers to surveys are not appropriate. Contact WOODWEB for more information on initiating a survey.
Excessive forum participation by an individual upsets the balance of a healthy forum atmosphere. Individuals who excessively post responses containing marginal content will be considered repeat forum abusers.
Responses that initiate or support inappropriate and off-topic discussion of general politics detract from the professional woodworking focus of WOODWEB, and will be removed.
Participants are encouraged to use their real name when posting. Intentionally using another persons name is prohibited, and posts of this nature will be removed at WOODWEB's discretion.
Carefully review your message before clicking on the "Send Message" button - you will not be able to revise the message once it has been sent.
You will be notified of responses to the message(s) you posted via email. Be sure to enter your email address correctly.
WOODWEB's forums are a highly regarded resource for professional woodworkers. Messages and responses that are crafted in a professional and civil manner strengthen this resource. Messages that do not reflect a professional tone reduce the value of our forums.
Messages are inappropriate when their content: is deemed libelous in nature or is based on rumor, fails to meet basic standards of decorum, contains blatant advertising or inappropriate emphasis on self promotion (return to top).
Libel: Posts which defame an individual or organization, or employ a tone which can be viewed as malicious in nature. Words, pictures, or cartoons which expose a person or organization to public hatred, shame, disgrace, or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person or organization, are libelous.
Improper Decorum: Posts which are profane, inciting, disrespectful or uncivil in tone, or maliciously worded. This also includes the venting of unsubstantiated opinions. Such messages do little to illuminate a given topic, and often have the opposite effect. Constructive criticism is acceptable (return to top).
Advertising: The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not an advertising venue. Companies participating in a Forum discussion should provide specific answers to posted questions. WOODWEB suggests that businesses include an appropriately crafted signature in order to identify their company. A well meaning post that seems to be on-topic but contains a product reference may do your business more harm than good in the Forum environment. Forum users may perceive your references to specific products as unsolicited advertising (spam) and consciously avoid your web site or services. A well-crafted signature is an appropriate way to advertise your services that will not offend potential customers. Signatures should be limited to 4-6 lines, and may contain information that identifies the type of business you're in, your URL and email address (return to top).
Repeated Forum Abuse:
Forum participants who repeatedly fail to follow WOODWEB's Forum Guidelines may encounter difficulty when attempting to post messages.
There are often situations when the original message asks for opinions: "What is the best widget for my type of shop?". To a certain extent, the person posting the message is responsible for including specific questions within the message. An open ended question (like the one above) invites responses that may read as sales pitches. WOODWEB suggests that companies responding to such a question provide detailed and substantive replies rather than responses that read as a one-sided product promotion. It has been WOODWEB's experience that substantive responses are held in higher regard by our readers (return to top).
The staff of WOODWEB assume no responsibility for the accuracy, content, or outcome of any posting transmitted at WOODWEB's Message Boards. Participants should undertake the use of machinery, materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB's Message Boards after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages it deems inappropriate. (return to top)
Forum Posting Form Guidelines
The name you enter in this field will be the name that appears with your post or response (return to form).
Personal or business website links must point to the author's website. Inappropriate links will be removed without notice, and at WOODWEB's sole discretion. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
Your e-mail address will not be publicly viewable. Forum participants will be able to contact you using a contact link (included with your post) that is substituted for your actual address. You must include a valid email address in this field. (return to form)
Subject may be edited for length and clarity. Subject lines should provide an indication of the content of your post. (return to form)
Thread Related Link and Image Guidelines
Thread Related Links posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should point to locations that provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related Link that directs visitors to an area with inappropriate content will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
Thread Related File Uploads
Thread Related Files posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. Video Files: acceptable video formats are: .MOV .AVI .WMV .MPEG .MPG .FLV .MP4 (Image Upload Tips) If you encounter any difficulty when uploading video files, E-mail WOODWEB for assistance. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related File that contains inappropriate content will be removed, and uploaded files that are not directly related to the message thread will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links, files, or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices.
What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe
for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use
of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation,
and at their own risk.