Educating the Customer

I believe buying from Hardwood Artisans is experiential. I believe we perpetuate this by informing and educating our customers with as much information about the wood, construction methods, and finishing techniques. In keeping with that effort, I have three related subjects today.

We have a table making class coming up next weekend. Everyone is pretty excited (and nervous) about the event, so much so that we were very concerned as to if we could actually build a table in 16 hours………..suppose we should have thought about that before!

Last week, I built a 42” x 60” fixed dimension table with tapered legs. We timed all the steps out, and discovered it takes (me) 8 ½ hours to make a table. I have been doing this for 30 years, so this is not a fair comparison, but it gives us a pretty good idea of how long things will take for customers.

The most time consuming element of building a table is sanding. Everyone says they hate to sand. I like it. I fall into a zone and really tune out from everything around me and into just the thing right in front of me. I use all my tools (touch, sight, smell) to monitor the progress of the sanding. Sanding like this is more of a discipline than a skill.

Here is my “almost finished” table, in maple:

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We are having a series of furniture care lectures. I will be going to each of the stores on sequential Saturdays. In the month of February, I will be in Fairfax on the 8th, Rockville on the 15th, and Shirlington on the 22nd, all from 11:00 to 1:00. We will be going over general care of the furniture, special problems like dents and scratches and water rings, and answering any and all questions to alleviate some of the fear associated with fixing your furniture.

I have been running this lecture for several years, and each time I give it I believe it gets a little better. I learn how to present the issues and resolve them better. Attendance is larger and larger, which tells me there is more demand for this sort of education. Come prepared. There will be a quiz.

To see me in action if you can’t make the dates, go to our Hardwood Artisans YouTube channel and look at the various videos we have put together.

Finally, in this education blog, we have what we refer to as the Log Blog. Sometime early last year, Greg had a log shipped in from one of our lumber suppliers. We had a project in mind. We thought it would be interesting to show people where the wood comes from. The project falls right into the philosophy of educating the customer.

Late last year I cut up the log into sections with a chain saw. Well, finally “the shop” (as I like to call them when I don’t want to single out blame……Kevin!) finally decided to get these log sections done. Each store has one, and we are busy embellishing the log and counting rings and time stamping growth rings. We also can use it to show customers how wood is harvested from the tree. Here is what we have so far at Fairfax.

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