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Author Topic: Sawing at the county fair  (Read 6569 times)

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Offline Qweaver

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2010, 07:49:57 AM »
The first day was very slow.  There was a threat of rain and very few people came out to the fairgrounds.  The rest of the week is looking better and some of the "old timer exhibitors" say that Friday and Sat. will be the best days.
Our setup is good and the loading, sawing and off bearing process worked well.  Bring on the crowds.  8)
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2010, 08:30:26 AM »
Sawing in front of the general public can be interesting.  A few have a clue and the rest dont.  Youll get some interesting questions.  It would be fun to take note of some of them and share with us.

Weve had people stand and watch the whole process and then question what we are doing and why were doing it.
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Offline Qweaver

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2010, 09:32:12 AM »
Yeah, people that haven't had practice making and working from drawings have a hard time orienting  3D objects.  A man last evening that had watched a circle sawmill once could not understand that all we had done was turn the process 90deg.  I tried to explain but he just never got it.  My wife is the same, bless her heart.  I make a drawing and when it's built I hear..."I didn't think it would look like that".
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2010, 09:53:27 AM »
I worked with an engineer on a major project.  He could not visualize anything on an assembly drawing.   I had to detail out all the parts and have prototype parts made and assembled in the development lab before he could get it.  It took a lot of extra time on the project.  He got caught in one of the early cutbacks and got a job at the bank as an accountant.  He was real good with numbers and anal about detail.  It was a better career for him.
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Offline Qweaver

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2010, 09:43:29 PM »
The first day was pretty much a total loss.  Just a few watchers and the constant threat of rain.  Today was much better.  Several watchers, lots of questionsw and we sold 24 raffle tickets.  Tomorrows weather is going to be perfect and I think we will have a crowd.
Today was fun.  Woodmizer sent us a "show kit" with fliers and log scales.  We are trying to give these to people that show real interest in having a sawmill.  I'll get some pictures of our setup tomorrow.
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Online Dan_Shade

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2010, 10:15:26 PM »
sounds like you're having "fun"

I'm sure you'll end up with some stories to tell.  I vividly remember one fella passionately telling me that there was no way my rig could cut a board due to it's design faults, and his old belsaw was way better.  I got a headache over that one, but ended the conversation when I referenced the big stack of boards beside the fence i had just sawn.

Nothing like talking the general public to let us know how smart our friends are :)
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Offline woodhick

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2010, 09:25:12 PM »
I've done a couple of demos for a local woodworking club of which I am a member also.   Both times I supplied the wood and donated it to the club to be auctioned off at the end of the day.  Proceeds went to the club.  Remember this is woodworkers so I always tried to find something "different" or with character as that is what they always want.   Last time I had two killer nice persimmon logs that sawed out some very nice lumber.   Couldnt even get a bid of $.50 a foot.  I ended up buying it myself and bringing it home.  I also had some nice large basswood since there are some carvers in the club and they had requested it.   They all got together before the auction and low-balled the bids and then split the wood.  I told them that would be the last time I would do a demo for them.  Howver all-in all I met some nice new people and got a couple of jobs from it so it is fun but I would be careful of his offer to supply the lumber.
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2010, 07:29:52 AM »
I've worked with friends at fairs and shows milling.Bibs right about some of the questions you get,but once in a wile you will run into an old codger that knows his stuff and can have a real conversation and learn something.Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline fishpharmer

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2010, 10:08:15 AM »
You could offer to saw on halves at the fair.  Take your time, a long time, to saw some of the logs.  Answer all the questions.  Take your time to teach folks, make friends and maybe customers.  Isn't that what a demo is  about?

When the demo is over saw the rest of the logs for full price. :)
Just an idea.
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Offline Qweaver

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #29 on: July 24, 2010, 10:15:34 PM »
The fair is over and I have mixed feelings about calling it a success.  We sawed for two sessions a day during the week and there were usually only a few people watching.  We were able to run 7 raffles which made $150 and we split it 75/25.  The fair people were happy with that split and even offered to let me have it all to cover expenses.   But I know they struggle to stay in the green so 25% was plenty for me. 
Our last session today was the best with a pretty good crowd (15 to 20 coming and going) watching and asking questions.
I had several people say that they would like to have logs sawn but no actual jobs. 
We essentially gave away the lumber but I have more logs stacked than I can use...so no big loss.   And the main reason to do the show was to drum up interest and the lumber raffles helped.
Would we do it again?  Probably not.  It was a lot of work to set up and I will spend most of the day tomorrow getting every thing back home and ready to go back to work.  If each day had been like this last session, then OK.  It's hard to compete with dirt track races, mud bogs and bands. 
We'll have to see if we get any business from this and then think about other fairs.
Quinton
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Offline DanG

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2010, 11:04:45 PM »
Q, I'll bet you get some jobs from that.  Some of those folks are just glad to know that there is someone to cut their logs for them when they're ready, and you're the one they'll call.  If you decide to do it again, try doing shorter but more frequent demos.  If you're getting 15-20 onlookers twice a day, you can get 15-20 eight times a day.  They don't care to see you cut up a whole log, they just want to see a couple of boards come off and then talk with you about it.  If you have a cant on there and a guy comes along and wants to see you cut a board, then crank it up and cut him one.  More than likely, his wife and young'ns are pulling at him to move along, so make it short and sweet.  Most of them ain't gonna make it back if your next demo is 3 or 4 hours away.
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2010, 05:19:44 AM »
Did you hand out business cards?
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2010, 06:11:18 AM »
Quint,you planted the seed thats all anyone can do.Sometimes the ones that want alot of milling done you'll never hear from and the quiet little guy has a big woodlot and needs a new barn.Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline paul case

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2010, 04:46:20 PM »
business cards are the ticket. i get more business from them than paper ads.pc
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
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Offline Qweaver

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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2010, 11:15:30 AM »
Just to follow up here.
I have had more saw jobs in the six weeks after the sawing demo than I had all of last year.  In fact we're sawing a little more than us two old fools want to.    I usually ask how the customer found me and most either saw me at the fair or were told about me by someone that saw me there.  So it was certainly worth the effort...plus it was a lot of fun.  I also want to thank Woodmizer for their help on very short notice.
Quinton 
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Re: Sawing at the county fair
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2010, 01:48:51 PM »
Wonderful.  Your testimony should encourage others to do county fairs, etc.  Those events are the best and cheapest advertisement that I know of.   ;)
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