Blog times

Hi

From now on i will be blogging every Thursday at midday. This is because i simply do not have the time to do a blog everyday and keep it interesting.

So set your diaries for every Thursday at midday and see what i have been up to!

 

regards

Jim

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Why Do I Charge £45 for a 3 bottle wine rack?

Someone sent me a message this very morning asking me: “Why do you think it is ok to charge £45 for a wine rack made from old horseshoes?”

That is a great question!

The first answer that popped into my head was to do something you should never do and answer a question with another question. Something along the lines of “Why do you think it is OK to ask me why I charge what I charge for my products!?”  Then i calmed down and thought you know what? Tell them why you charge what you charge and explain that these things are not as simple as they may think they are!

Dirty Horseshoes

Horse shoes come to me filthy from the hoof, literally. They have nails in and dirt that has been pushed in over the time the horse has been wearing them!

The shoes themselves come to me from a farrier called Dave, he’s a great guy and collects shoes for me when i ask him and delivers them as well! It’s truly a great thing and he is very kind! Now they turn up to me still caked in dirt and with nails stuck in them so obviously they need cleaning. Cleaning means i have to get all the dirt off them which happens in a two processes:

  1. Wire brush the horseshoe within an inch of its life to get all the mud and horse poo from the indentations in the shoe.
  2. Get a flap paddle sanding disk on my angle grinder and then clean the surface metal off the shoe and make it shine silver so it can be welded!

This morning i did the shoes i need to make a couple of wine racks tonight when i go back to my workshop after work.

After all the mud is wire brushed off then the sanding happens to give a weldable surface. Then comes the matching the differing horseshoes to fit together to make a wine rack the bottle will fit in and then you make each side and weld it firmly together.

Wire brushed Horse shoes

These have just been wire brushed and are waiting for sanding!

Cleaned sorted and welded

Then comes the fun part the welding! Make sure its flat make sure the shoes match and then weld them up!

Once they are cleaned sanded and sorted then you can get on with the fun bit which is actually making the wine racks or in fact what ever you make from the shoes it’s the same process. Be it hooks wine racks crosses or foot scrapers you have to clean them and sort them and weld them up.

Time for Paint

Time to paint them up black and send them on their way.

Then finally after all those steps there is the painting process. The paint alone is £9 a can so that takes up a lot of the perceived profit. Once the paint is done and its all dry then it goes off to the customer in bubble wrap and boxes.

3 bottle wine rack

The finished article

 

so lets recap:

  1. collect the horseshoes
  2. clean them with a wire brush
  3. sand them all down to get a clean weldable surface
  4. match the shoes to make the racks
  5. weld the racks together making sure they are flat and the bottles will slide in right.
  6. clean them off after welding
  7. paint them
  8. Package them up and send them out!

Now I ask you as I did the person who messaged me. Is £45 too much for a three-bottle wine rack?

Get yours right here and now you know what goes into making it you wont have to worry if you are getting you money’s worth! Click me for a wine rack

Oh and the best part of all this is when i explained why i charged so much they went ahead and bought one! So i guess sometimes its best people do know the details of what you do!

Christmas Products!

Now i have reached a stage where i am pretty sure, out of all the products i make which ones will sell for Christmas but it has not always been that way. Obviously working exclusively in mild steel i was limited at the start on what to make, let alone sell. I found solace in the arms of a horseshoe.

I decided however, that i would make these products my own, rather than just making the same things id seen round the place or on the interweb! There is one glaring example where i did do what everyone else does though because i was asked to and that was make a horse shoe wine rack! Life conspired against me by offering me money to make a wine rack for a customer, that triggered me making more wine racks than anything else my first year and i am grateful for the push!

Yet again like yesterday, my plan was altered away from what it started out as. This is going to happen in all things and remember to be flexible to a because money buys you freedom to some extent. Freedom to make and sell what you want but still having some stock of the things you know sell well.

6 bottle wine rack

This is one of two i made for the same person and it looks amazing with silver paint and full of wine!

3 bottle wine rack

I never wanted to make these but people love them so sometimes go where the money takes you so you can have the freedom to make what you want to!

So i wanted to make a small! Something everyone could afford and would be useful! Still with the horseshoes but new ones this time! I thought what is it everyone has these days and most people are glued to? IPads, Tablets and Mobile Phones. I decided to design and make an iPad stand that would also be good for Kitchen use with big recipe books so therefore open to a lot of prospective customers of all ages. It had to be cheap but still be bespoke and hand made! This is what i came up with:

I thought long and hard about what this needed to achieve IE: a tablet or a book resting on it so needed to be wide enough but also stable so the book would not fall over. I have sold a good amount of these as they are not expensive and serve a purpose that most people can relate to and therefore may need!

Always look at what people may need and like my wheel stoves, you may not know if they will sell. Once you have the design and how to make it sorted out make them to order so if you do not get any orders it doesn’t cost you anything.

There are a lot of little makers in the world so marketing is important too. Go see an earlier blog where i explain that! (Marketing Tips With A Twist!) 

Let me know what you are making it does not have to be metal work and if you are unsure how to sell what you make or want any pointers email me Here

All  your Christmas Products needs can be found on the Etsy Shop Right here you never know you may find the answer to your gift worries there!

 

I Left You For A Time But I Am Back Now Building Benches!

Illness is just plain boring. I was sat in bed thinking I can take this opportunity to think out all my blogs and make plans! Do you know what i actually did? Nothing i was just ill my brain was on fire and it was all bad! Now i am just left with the most annoying cough in the land! You cough all you want but nothing ever happens! Anyway before i get into the dos and do nots of illness let move back on to the topic of metalwork and providing you with insights and tips as well as seeing if i can make it relevant to life in general to!

I wanted to look at the topic of evolution. No not the animal kingdom but the way things you make often evolve from the design you had in mind, be it because what you thought of does not work or simply that you find a better, bolder, stronger and maybe easier way of doing things.

The bench I am making for my friends Kerry and Spencer. It started off as an industrial bench with two legs made from 40 x 40 x 3mm box section. This would have given a clean look in the industrial fashion but in reality when you are looking at something that is going to get a lot of use you have to be aware of the fact that it needs to be solid enough to take on two maybe three people! It also needs to be strong enough to have kids jumping all over it and not collapse after 10 minutes which sadly is what would have happened if i had left the design untouched!

As you can see from the pictures the bench looks great but it simply would not last! Obviously I am frustrated because I have this idea in my head which I cant move past right away! So i did what I always do in times of uncertainty. I send a whats app message to the guys I share the yard with and got their opinion. Usually there is some piss taking that goes on but they usually come up with a plan if i cant or support or shoot down a theory i have depending on how stupid i am being! Alex suggested side supports welded to the legs and then screwed to the wood. I wanted to stay with the clean lines but knew this would be the best way to move on. As i now had confirmation from someone i trust that the idea would work that is what i did!

There is a lesson here somewhere and it goes like this. Do not be afraid to deviate from your plan as if it’s not going to work there is no point in holding on to it. Also, if you have people around you that you can trust to give you good advice, make sure you run your new plans by them. You do not have to be alone in these things, seek advice where you can or even just confirmation of what you know as that way you will not have to keep making mistakes through lack of knowledge.

All the bench parts

With all the parts made and smoothed and ready for paint it wont be long now till its done!

Its all ready to go to paint and by that I mean I have to rattle can paint it which I hate as I am not good at it but i am learning. Ill do another bench blog to show you the end result, that way you can see what has taken me so long to create.

This also may give you an idea for something you might want built or want to build your self and if i can be of any help let me know.

Tomorrows blog is all about looking at products for Christmas as that is a time when everybody has half an eye on what would make a great present for great aunt Joyce. Lets see if i can get you thinking on what to get her. Have a look at my Etsy shop and you can see what i sell at this time of year! Click me!

You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To!

2 years ago i could hardly make my bed and to be honest im still not too good at it. I do however seem to have found something i can make. Furniture!

In the past two years ive learned enough about metalwork, welding and construction  to make furniture for my own house as well as making tables etc for selling. I can not describe to you the feeling that gives me. Im not telling you this to brag or be big headed about what i have done but to show that what ever it is you want to do in life, if you work at it you really can do it.

Where is the proof!!?? 

Well look below. I made a table and some wire shelves with my own hands for our entry way that was recently decorated by our Friend Stevie! The wire shelves were requested by my wife and the table i waned to make as a show piece. They both fit well as if they were made for the place!! You have a look and decide what you think.

These one inch steel mesh shelves were from an idea my wife had which works nicely to hold books and plants.

This idustrial style table i made to fit the space and cut down on the clutter that always collects in the hall!

What do you think do these pieces work in the space.

The sense of achievement having come from a place of no skill or knowledge in a mere two years to now being anle to furnish my own dwelling is huge.

Remember if you set your mind to it you can make things happen but sadly it does take work and time and a certain fullness of thought to get to where you are going. 

The Dog Walk Both a Mental and physical thing! 

This here is my dog Lilly! She is a handful.

Good Morning. As i sit here and write this im thawing out after a long dog walk in the first really cold morning of winter. I have to get up at 6:15 every morning to take Lilly, our American Bulldog out when its all quiet and more importantly mostly dog free. Lilly always reacts with barking and jumping with other dogs as she wants to play as she is still a puppy really. These dogs dont really start to grow up till about three years old.

I was always a night owl. Living mostly at night in some vampiric state of rock n roll. Now things have changed, im usually in bed by half ten. Life moves on with wife, kid, dog and work and this means getting some sleep at the usual socially acceptable time. 

What on earth has this got to with anything i hear you ask?  Well, i now get up early to walk the dog and that gives me 30 to 45 minutes where i have the peace and quiet to plan my day and formulate some sort of plan.

Because i do my metal work around my day job i need to be careful i have an opportunity to make everything happen in the timeframe it needs to. The quiet of early morning allows me to think about what really has to be done by the end of the day or week and formulate in my head my plan of action.

Early dog walk with lets me calmly plan my day.

Why do this in the early morning? Because its quiet and as long as i hold the lead and keep moving forward my dog is happy which leaves me free to see what needs to be done or even worry about things as im a worrier. The space and time away from the house gives me the perfect chance for the calm needed to make my world flow better.

Find a time each day to give yourself some quiet away from the norm to create ideas or even just worry. That way you can have a plan and give yourself the freedom to get on with your tasks in a way that is productive and calm.

What time of day would work for you? 

See what my organised time lets me make. Click here to see!

Guest Blogger Vicky Fraser Has More to Say on Pricing!

I emailed Vicky to let her know i was singing her praises for being a teacher of marketing and helping me to move forward and she kindly said she would give me a guest blog article to post out to you guys! This is great as its my first guest and someone i know, knows what she is talking about!

Business For Superheroes!

This is Vicky’s book which i bought and it continues to help me now!

There is a link to her site and the book at the end of her post.

Here is what she sent me:

Pricing elephant eats hairdresser alive

“Oh my god I’ve spent my whole career apologising for charging clients!!! Yes I need help. X”

Well, it’s not so bad. I’m one of those people who apologises to tables and mannequins for bumping into them.

And, being British, I also apologise when someone does something to me. Like stands on my foot, or inadvertently breaks my nose.

I’m going to get my hair done later — think snooker ball smooth, Sinead O’Connor-stylee — and when I received this text from my hairdresser, I sighed:

“Depends what we do but definitely no more than £70, hope that’s ok.”

(I’d asked her how much, so I could get cash out.)

Here’s the thing: she could have said £120 and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. But that’s not the main problem. The main problem is her total and complete lack of confidence in pricing.

She’s not alone, either.

Almost every business owner I work with has hang-ups about pricing.

I can’t possibly charge that.

Who the hell am I to charge that?

They won’t pay that.

We put a little question mark at the end of our fee statement. A little question mark that says, “I’m not confident. I don’t really think I’m worth this much. I’m open to negotiation — hammer me down.”

Look, I get it.

I’ve been there.

Talking about money can be fucking horrible. Doing it well takes practice. Lots and lots of practice.

But if you want to charge more — and make more — for what you do, you had better get comfortable with it.

Who do you think people feel safer and more comfortable handing over their money to? Someone who’s trembling with fear and whose body is screaming I DON’T THINK I’M WORTH IT…? Or someone who confidently states their fee and shuts up?

I’m telling you now, I am 100% sure you are not charging as much as you could. None of us are.

Would you like to be able to charge more? And feel good doing it?

Good.

Join the Superheroes Crew and I will teach you everything I know about confidence in pricing.

You’ll stop feeling that terror as you tell someone your price.

No more apologising for charging money for what you do.

And you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to how clients and customers treat you…


Vicky Fraser
Small Business Arse Kicker. Entrepreneur. Ran away with the circus.

Want to do better? Buy my book: Business For Superheroes.

 

How do people see you?

Have you ever wondered how people see you? I mean what light they see you in and what you are doing to portray yourself in the best light?

Pissed Jim

There are alot of photos such as this where im acting the fool or being drunk. This has no place in my business now and the way people see me in conjunction with the metal work has to change!

I made a habit of being too rock n roll for the longest time but now I’m doing metalwork and wanting to be taken seriously that just doesn’t cut it. I may have finally got to a position in life where I want to grow up a bit and be seen for being good at something other than drinking and being the life of the party!

If you follow me on any of the social media sites then you may well have noticed that all the pages that correspond to the metalwork and welding have all been branded in the same fashion even this blog page has the same brand now so everyone can know they have found the right place which ever medium they are looking at.

new brand cards

Now everyone on the street who gets a card or anyone who reads my blog or sees a Facebook page knows its me as well as it being a little more professional looking it creates an image I want to portray.

Before my logo was a skull in a cog. That is great for my tattoo shop or a band but it took me a while to progress to the stage where I wanted to be taken seriously for what i do not a fictional character i used to play. It takes time to get into the whole character of the metalwork professional and I am still not there yet but i am hoping that through my body of work and my successes so far people may see that I am serious about what i do and am no longer a person who treats life as somewhat of a joke.

My past and future paths are very different things and id like the metalwork to speak for itself. The logo is now very clean and minimal and by doing this id like the pictures of what I make to be the focus for people as well as portraying a level of commitment where i want and am actively searching to be seen as good at my job.

There will be a new website soon and also a proper way to order or discuss commission work. Its time for a change and I am making it now! I am not saying there is no room for fun etc in the social media posts but you need people to trust in you and what you do so playing the fool isn’t always the best way to do that. Im learning as i go with this so i thought id share that with you.

How do people see you?

Click on any of the links to see the branding

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

 

Let me give you some help you did not know you needed! 

So you are making a bench lets say! You have to make some box section into frames for each end of a six foot bench. You chop all your lengths to the right sizes. I always chop all the parts before i build anything, double checking each measurement before i cut them to the right size. It amazing how easy it is to get things a couple of mm out and that means bent legs and that on furniture doesnt work save that for your love life!

Always cut all of your pieces before you weld anything and prep them all clean so you can mock it tack it and check it!

Sparks are cool right!?

Once you have cut all your pieces then make sure the ends are all cleaned so you get clean welds! Then have a look at the big picture. How are you going to secure the legs to the wood?



What i do is drill the cross member to secure the wood, counter sinking all the holes. For those that dont know all that means is the screw heads will fit flat into the bar if you use a special drill head that carves out an indentation to allow this. Get a counter sinker as this looks so professional when your screws fit flat in the metal. Its a little thing but shows you care about what you are making.


Get those corners spot on using the welding magnets, make sure it all fits together perfectly and tack it on one side then weld the other side. Make sure you tack one side first as if you dont the box section will lift and the leg wont be flat to the frame as the heat makes it bend.


Once you are super happy with it all then weld it all up neatly. On this project i want the welds to show!

Its always the small details you need to pay attention to like the drilling and counter sinking before you weld the bars together. You can do it after but its all alot harder. Work smart not hard!! I learned this the hard way and that taught me how to do it right so i am sharing this knowledge so you dont have to struggle!

More on the bench in another blog but for now ive said alot!!

If you want anything made or want to know how to make something Email me by clicking here!