The cabinet maker
I start my own cabinet making business. I am full of fear that I may not be good and cannot succeed. I get my first customer who is a man that understands great quality work. He wants me to build him a large wooden and glass cabinet. I start my work but am too scared to continue making it and I am running out of time. I hire tradesmen to do it for me. They do not do a good job. But their work makes me realise I can do the work. I build the cabinet. The customer likes it. I am confident I can have a cabinet making business.
Posted by: Lawrie Horner, on 17/08/12
I was starting a cabinet making business.
I advertised my brand new cabinet making business, but was afraid. I had a disability and had never run a business before. Could I succeed?
Yet, I soon had my first client. This was Mervyn. He wanted a large timber and glass cabinet with museum lighting for his collection of porcelain. I designed the piece and Mervyn liked it. Really liked it. We agreed on a price, it was ridiculously low.
I started making the piece. The work was not impossible but my self-confidence, which is never the best, sank to new lows. So I wasted time. I had to tell Mervyn that I'd miss our deadline. And I wasted more time.
Desperate, I called a firm that hired out tradesmen and booked a cabinet maker.
The cabinet maker drilled holes where no holes were meant to be. He rammed screws into timber without drilling pilot holes and split the lovely ash I had so carefully chosen.
The next day I called the firm again. This time, because my second deadline was running out, I booked two cabinet makers. These two young guys were even more highly recommended.
They did their day's work, and after they had gone I looked at their efforts. My heart sank. Right angles hopelessly out. A pile of screw heads that one of them had twisted right off with his cordless drill.
The manager of the tradesmen's firm came round and saw the damage. He apologised and said he'd send someone 'really good'.
By now, the 'really good' cabinet maker had to assemble most of the cabinet in one day. It was a tall order.
The morning he was due to arrive the manager from the tradesmen's firm called at 7am. The really good cabinet maker was sick.
I called Mervyn straight away and told him that I'd have to miss my deadline again. Relations were souring.
The cabinet maker finally arrived. He didn't even pretend to fix things. He tinkered for two hours then made an excuse about going home for some tools. He got back at lunch time and said he'd been called away for an urgent job. I didn't object.
I called Mervyn again. Things were looking worse.
I have to make it myself
I just had to do it myself. I had learned that trained cabinet makers weren't gods. In fact they were no better than me.
So I worked. I arranged with Mervyn to deliver the cabinet the next Sunday morning. I booked piano removalists for the move.
The final weekend
I was behind in my planning. On Friday I worked for 18 hours. I was up at 8am on Saturday and worked through until Sunday morning with no sleep. The piano removalists arrived at 10am and there I was, dog-tired and not yet finished. They agreed to take a lunch break and come back. Trembling, I called Mervyn and delayed things for two hours. Then I worked on.
Finally it was complete but I was too tired and worried to notice this success. The piano removalists came back. They manoeuvred it out in pieces and we drove round to Mervyn's.
The piano removalists and I put the major bits of the piece in place. They left.
By late afternoon I was finally done and Mervyn and I looked. 'Not bad,' he said, and this was praise indeed from a man who was disillusioned with me and had the highest standards. In fact I thought it was good. Mervyn paid me and I took a last look. Yes, not bad.
I went home and slept for 12 hours. The next day I felt a new man. I had my cabinet making business.
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