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Master of Rocket Science
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone. This is my first post on here in a while

I'm a 27 year old professional woodworker. I just relocated from NYC/NJ to Chicago. I started out working in a shop in Paterson, NJ then moved to Newark/Jersey City and started woodworking only in shops in NYC. Before I left for Chicago I was living in Southern Queens on the border of Brooklyn for a while. So far Chicago seems pretty good as far as opportunities for skilled trades. There's a decent amount of custom woodshops here.

I'm planning on relocating to other areas of the country a few more times before I settle down. My question is "what is the BEST US city for custom woodworking?" Which area, city, region e.t.c. is the woodworking capital of the US? Where cabinet shops are plentiful and custom woodwork is in super demand? I would also imagine being a woodworker I'd probably want to live somewhere in the South at one point or another.

I'm really curious and interested to hear people's responses. Thanks guys!
 

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Banned
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3,075 Posts
Staunton, VA

Preferably in about 4-5 months when I open my new shop.

(Northern VA is good. Plenty of quality DC/Metro work to go around, so much that a decent bit makes it down here, a couple hours away)
 

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Punching above his weight
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9,224 Posts
Check out Portland.

A friend of mine specifically called me to try to sell me on Asheville, NC. Kind of the opposite. He said there were comparatively few people doing woodworking/construction there and that they were in high demand. I have no facts to back this up. Neither did he. hah
 

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Master of Rocket Science
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132 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I figured Nashville and Atlanta would be on there. Portland really? I've heard Portland was terrible for jobs as the whole city was "bring your own job". What about Texas?
 

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RE: Portland

Portland - Really?

I am a professional painter who has works & and still lives in Portland. I do own my own successful painting company here.

You must have found a really different story about what might be available here (know there is allot of hype about it).

Some realities surrounding jobs, living and working here.

1. Over run with Craigslist "Craftsmen & Professionals"
2. Expensive Housing & Apartments with low vacancy so bring a few roommates so your able to afford a place on the East side of town.
3. Expensive Groceries
4. Income Taxes
5. Low wages
6. To many cheap bastards who are not concerned with quality - just want the lowest price guy! (See #1)
7. Lots of beer & coffee places (See #5)
8. You'll need plenty of spending cash for tattoos and piercings to fit in with the regulars. Don't forget to bring your ear lugs
9. Cold & Rainy
10. Last but not least, if your young and say in your 20s this is the place to come and retire early.
 

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Master of Rocket Science
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132 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
When speaking with a multitude of people I discovered most had gone s corp. I read some articles written by accountants that explained for smaller businesses S corp is more practical.
That's exactly what I've heard and read on city data. So I'm assuming based on YOUR POST PORTLAND IS NOT THE BEST IDEA?

Also what about new York? ? I know I just left there but I wouldn't doubt that would be one of the highest demand markets for custom woodwork.

I'm talking pure numbers here. Number of jobs, clients, e.t.c.

I can't believe this post only got 11 responses
 

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Finakat,

You read it somewhere, I see it everyday!

Market for your craft I would guess would be places in the NE or SE with allot of old homes.
What comes to mind is

Boston and surrounding area.
Charleston, SC.
Philly
New York

Any place older, Portland has some older stuff but many areas being razed for high rise apts. & condo living with very little to no parking.
 

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Check out Portland.

A friend of mine specifically called me to try to sell me on Asheville, NC. Kind of the opposite. He said there were comparatively few people doing woodworking/construction there and that they were in high demand. I have no facts to back this up. Neither did he. hah
A buddy of mine just moved to north Carolina, he said the market is really saturated with high end custom builders.
 

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So you need to find places with needs that have not yet been filled.
And how long do unfilled needs last?
If half the people move every seven years then your ideal place won't last long, assuming you ever find it.

This problem may be more difficult than it first seemed.

How 'bout places with large historical districts or places where the houses never stop settling?
 

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You could head anywhere you want.......you're 27, so you have time to find/create your niche.

High end homes needing talented woodworkers are almost everywhere, from Honolulu to Boston, Minneapolis to Naples, San Jose to D.C.....you just have to pick a spot that you'd like to live........

On a side note, I will say that some of THE most talented guys I've ever met were in custom boat building, and timber framing......take a look at Sumner Redstone's pad in NH and see some head-scratching stuff......but those guys are often doing it as much for love of craft than money, so that's a personal choice.....

I wish you luck!
 

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I've had this debate with myself.
1) where do YOU want to live? Urban or rural? Liberal or conservative? etc
2) do you want to be near other woodworkers to share resources, get support? Or do you want to live where there is no competition?
3) who are you going to sell to? Direct to customers via retail? Or to Designers and contractors? Does your proximity to customers matter?
Answer those questions.
 

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You just left it .




Good observation. It always seems people think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.


Always remember the old saying ,"no matter where you go,you take yourself with with you".Location is not as much of a concern as attitude.
 
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