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WOW - all the things I miss that go on around here in a few days!

 

I cannot believe that people are still mass buying and hoarding your stuff - Just insane!

 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do, I love both products but I would imagine you will get more votes for the blocks.

 

BTW - Can I put an order in for 500 blocks and 300yds of line before you make the decision?

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47 minutes ago, Chuck said:

 ....if someone wants to make either rope or blocks and have a successful place to sell them,  they can start immediately.  No license required.  The quality just needs to meet my standards before I do so.    I would be happy to sell rope for someone else who wants to make it.  Just remember though....you will be making a whole lot of it.    No flaking as it is tough to find reliable suppliers.  I have already started making the rope I need to restock.   .....20' per pack......a minimum of 40 packs per size/color at all times is the goal.....36 different although the larger sizes I dont need as many packages in stock.

 

I am currently at zero packages for most sizes and colors.   I need  about 1000 packages in about a week...LOL.  You can brand it as your own.  I will be your exclusive dealer.  I will buy them from you outright....cash money.   

 

Maybe I can get away with 500 a week to start. 

 

But seriously,   blocks or rope? I would really like to hear from my customers.  Let me know before I go into a frantic production mode over the next week with whichever product you would prefer me to keep.   Which would you prefer?   Stopping either one frees up enough time that this might actually be enjoyable to do.   Maybe I will be able to cut back to working just 6 days a week in stead of 7.  LOL.  But let me know and speak up now or I am just going to continue restocking rope and let blocks slip into the sunset.  I want to listen to my customers and I am quite ready to do whichever is preferred.  I will stop for lunch while you guys let me know.

 

Chuck

Chuck: Blocks.. blocks.. blocks.. There are options out there regarding making rope yourself or buying from other sources, but good blocks are a rare commodity.

 

And if I have to beg.. I have no shame! 🙂 

 

Mike Draper

Whitehorse, Yukon 

-32c and getting colder

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15 minutes ago, Trussben said:

BTW - Can I put an order in for 500 blocks and 300yds of line before you make the decision?

 

Ben....you think you are funny but if you knew how many emails I have received just since yesterday that are exactly like that, you would wet yourself laughing.   By the way...one guy bought 143 packages of rope and blocks yesterday.   Just one guy.   It was nearly $1200 of blocks and rope......yet nobody will ever admit to hoarding right?   And last week he bought some as well.   Yikes.

 

I will take the day to think about this....plenty of other stuff to make besides Rope or Blocks for one day.  But yes I can see everyone's point that it would make more sense to continue making blocks vs. rope.

 

Chuck

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I’ll chime in with the rest. We can all learn to make rope fairly easily an inexpensively. Failing that there are other sources for rope of acceptable quality. 
 

There aren’t a lot of sources for good blocks. I’d hate to, and probably wouldn’t have, started Cheerful without your blocks to go with it. So since you asked, provide blocks give up rope. Video or not very few would invest in the time or tools to make them.

 

You do need to consider a pending by sequence order system and a cap on quantities that accepts back orders pending replenished stock. I think with your sales volume you can justify both. If you start back on blocks the hoarders will be out in droves and us normal people will be seeing the store closed sign. This will be true of rope too at this point. Many will assume if they don’t get it now you may decide to stop that too. 
 

At a minimum I would encourage that, like your mini kits, you offer a “blocks package” for your current and future models. 
 

I fully understand the tedium of repetitive tasks. I don’t know the math but with your volume maybe hire a guy to come to your basement and crank them out.  

 

It’s your call of course, but like the others I say: Rope we got, blocks we don’t. 

Edited by glbarlow
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Love your thinking about retirement Chuck. I just did the same thing - turned 60 just before Christmas and retired then. Been so busy since then I don’t know how I ever had time for work!

 

It seems the majority of your customers would prefer you to keep making blocks than rope and I can understand that. For those of us fortunate enough to to already have the equipment required for making blocks, a good tutorial on your methods MIGHT ease some of the demand. I know from personal experience that once one understands your methodology and the sizing formula, it really isn’t that difficult.

 

Perhaps a few folks local-ish to you could provide enough supply between them for you to meet the general demand while making a few bucks on the side to support their own modelling habits. Think of it as a “cooperative” supply chain. You might even be able to sell them the raw wood billets that they return to you as blocks for sale, thereby maintaining quality of the raw material.

 

Rope production might similarly be outsourced. If you were able to specify the “formula” and the raw ingredients (or at least a supply source for that), the rope could be produced in many different workshops and all sold through the Syren store. It might take a little to establish the right quality control, but if you were able to outsource production of these two items, everyone would win.

 

Best wishes for a successful outcome, whichever way you decide to go.

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No cooperatives for me....just gets too complicated chasing down inventory and also inconsistent quality.   I failed to find anyone who could make the stuff to my satisfaction.  At least so far anyway.   So I just have to cut back on one of them.....I am leaning heavily toward stopping rope instead now after talking to so many people today.   They made a good case.   I can see their point.  And I thank them for the kindness and time for helping me discuss it thoroughly.   I just have to crunch some numbers tonight.  I sold a lot more rope than I sold blocks even though they take about the same time per pack to make.    

 

I also had a few contacts since this morning from folks who might want to give making rope a try.  If the quality is there and they can meet demand at least half as good as I did, I would be more than happy to buy everything they can possibly make to sell on my site.

 

Chuck

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Great discussion, of course your call Chuck.  I would humbly request that you don't stop with either rope or blocks "cold turkey" to avoid the panic buying that hit you driven by uncertainty, and where people who are mid-build and have been buying sensibly on an 'as needed' basis don't get penalized (I know I need rope as well as blocks!).  You are a great asset to the hobby, and of course its your business 🙂

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That would be hard to do.....unfortunately.  Too many folks would just keep buying the rope or blocks regardless of their current projects.   No matter when I stop, some people will be mid project.  No way to avoid that.   My experience with my customers is that they just dont order what they need for their current projects.  Instead they would want me to cover what they need for everything on the shelf.  There is never any good time to stop making either product.   Its just too much...I literally have zero left on the shelf right now.   It would take me a month to restock both ropes and blocks again.   And then after thats gone I would be in the same situation again.   No matter what I choose....there will be some unhappy campers out there.

 

 

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Having bought neither (so I have no right to have an opinion 😁) I would suggest continuing the blocks and stopping the rope.  As many people have already said, it is a lot harder to make blocks than rope.  One of the things that makes your rope so special is the thread that you use.  It lays up much nicer than cotton thread.  Have you considered selling bolts of the thread so others can make rope of your quality?

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9 hours ago, Chuck said:

 Then when I turn 60 you can have the business.   Sort of an apprentice in the meanwhile.  Because when I hit 60 and on my birthday....I am retiring all together.   I am not going to be mass producing stuff at that age.....so I will be looking for someone to hand off the business to.....free of charge.   I will just hand over the keys so-to-speak.  Just passing along the info and expertise.   But you have to buy your own equipment.  All of my projects will go to the NRG and they will get the rights to the plans.

 

I have been looking and asking and so far nobody is interested because its a ton of work.   But otherwise I will just create that tutorial in short while and hopefully someone will take up the challenge or at least make their own.  

How many years until you’re out Chuck?

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9 hours ago, Chuck said:

Then when I turn 60 you can have the business.   Sort of an apprentice in the meanwhile.  Because when I hit 60 and on my birthday....I am retiring all together.   I am not going to be mass producing stuff at that age.....so I will be looking for someone to hand off the business to.....free of charge.   I will just hand over the keys so-to-speak.

 

Your age is none of my business but I hope you're not 59 and 11 months.

 

I would agree that rope is easier for people to make. 

 

In the "The Ketch Rigged Sloop Speedwell of 1752, Volume II" by David Antscherl and Greg Herbert, they describe a method for making blocks that would be a lot cheaper if you're just making a few for a single model. However you still need a Byrnes saw and a small drill press. It's more labor intensive but saves on the Mill and special bits.

 

Will Costello Boxwood work?

 

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So I'm mixed on this.  I've never made either rope or blocks, as I just use yours, I think my biggest problem with making rope would be to figure out what I needed in order to make 'size x' rope, and then of course sourcing it.


If you do stop making your rope, would you be willing to share the source of your thread and maybe a list of what goes into making each size for dummies like me that love your products and have happily paid you to avoid making this stuff myself?

 

Or maybe you could just sell the base materials (simply buy in bulk like you probably do now, and resell without any changes, full spools only).

 

A rope rocket wasn't on my shopping list, but sounds like it might have to be, while I did plan to acquire a Sherline mill already in the semi-near future.

 

Best of luck whatever you decide, and whichever line you drop, will be missed by many including myself.

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I think my “blocks and rope package” for your models merits consideration. That’s just supporting your own product line. 
 

I also thinking investing in a order management system that queues orders and limits quantities per person is a practical consideration. If you do either blocks or ropes under the present method the hoarding will continue. Especially when you announced your closing up shop when you reach 60. 

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People will hate me Chuck but I think you should continue to produce both blocks and rope but increase your product costs to reflect the quality of your product. I get it that ship model makers are notoriously cheap but given the choice between crappy blocks and rope or your products people should be willing to pay more. If not let them shop elsewhere. Decreased sales volume but increased prices should net about the same and you won't be killing yourself to meet demand. You sell Lexus products at Toyota prices in my opinion.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, dvm27 said:

People will hate me Chuck but I think you should continue to produce both blocks and rope but increase your product costs to reflect the quality of your product. I get it that ship model makers are notoriously cheap but given the choice between crappy blocks and rope or your products people should be willing to pay more. If not let them shop elsewhere. Decreased sales volume but increased prices should net about the same and you won't be killing yourself to meet demand. You sell Lexus products at Toyota prices in my opinion.

 

 

I definitely agree with dvm, you should most certainly raise your prices on these labor intensive supplies. You sell products for the serious modeler not the cheap skates. These are not entry level products.

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Chuck, it would be ashame to see your bocks and rope go. What you do is the best in the business. I know a couple of professional modelers who like your rope and blocks and use then when they can. Your rope and line is museum grade.

As, others have said before me , you need to take a look at your cost. How much is the material. Your cost of fabrication and packaging. Your labor. Your cost of handling and shipping. You need to have a fair profit! We need to have you do what you do the best!

You have been the best innovator this hobby has had. From Practiums, Kits, to new innovations. Do what you need to do to keep healthy and well. We need you!

Tim

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Thanks...

 

But trust me its not the money.  Money isnt my problem at all.  I make so much more than I will ever need.  Its time.  Sorry guys,  but at this level of sales I just need to make more than I can possibly make in a day.  
 

I can make 40-50 packages a day of rope.  But I sell well over 100 per day.  I just cant keep up with demand.  Maybe after the pandemic if sales slow down to a manageable number.  But as of right now,  There just isnt enough time in the day.  


And more importantly,  I just want to spend more time making models.  At my age,  getting started at 7am in sweat shop mode and not stopping till 7pm is not my idea of fun.  Seven days a week. For the last seven years.  
 

you guys will be able to make your own rope...but if you find making it so terrible for just one model where you would need to spend one day making rope....Imagine doing that for 100 models every week, non stop.  Its just not how I want to spend my golden years.

 

But blocks I can make.....I can make those without too much hassle.  Which leaves me plenty of time to design and build the Winnie....then a POF cross section...a bunch of smaller craft.....the us sloop Hornet....And many more.  I have also been toying with the idea of making a fully framed frigate.  Just to give folks an alternative to all these Chinese versions out there.  
 

But all of that is just a pipe dream if I am spending every last second churning out rope and blocks.  
 

Its a much better use of my time and expertise.  I am just fried.  Its either blocks or rope but not both.  Maybe Chris or someone else will pick up the slack  and start offering decent rope.  But I have to stop for sanity.  Remember that this stuff is all hand made.  It not like I am loading a machine and pressing a button.  
 

Its starting to feel like I am in a prison chain gang or for the last seven years being on the rock pile.  Every day.....like cool hand Luke.

 

I love that movie.   Cool hand Chuck.

 

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Chuck, I only feel qualified to speak up on this subject for one reason: as much as I want your products when I reach that stage of my two builds, I do not want to punish you for offering those products. I have been there and will never forget the feeling of guilt when I pulled the plug on the people who relied on the products I made but guess what? They survived and found another way get the job done.

You are the only one who knows the real cost of your products.

 

Twelve hour working days? Seven day work weeks?  Hands up anyone who actually wants Chuck to do this.

 

I really wish I had not delayed ordering my rope and blocks but that is my tough luck. Maybe you will find a way to keep the products coming, maybe some else will step up. We will see what happens.

 

Just my opinion.

Bruce

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Unfortunately I cant do that.  Its just not economical.   I dont want to get into the thread business.   I am going to be cutting my income on purpose by around 30-35%.   I have to buy that thread in bulk with a minimum order of $2000 at a time.   That is not going to be possible.  Especially with so many other alternatives out there.

 

Plus you just have to keep looking for the right material...I always do...its actually fun if you only have to make your own rope for the model you are working on.

 

If you dont like using polyester which I prefer for the finished look of it....see below , the finest rope I have ever made in my opinion.

 

polyrope.jpg

 

You can find some really great thread to use.

 

In fact I recommend this new product just out over the last few months.  Its called Ljiljan crochet thread.   No lumps and no fuzz.  The color looks spot on for running rigging.  see below.  It comes in five sizes.  And there is no better machine to use than the Rope Rocket by Syren for making it....

 

 

Image result for Ljiljan thread

Image result for Ljiljan thread

 

Check out these great topics on the matter....

 

 

 

 

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Sorry guys....for the foreseeable future....the Syren Rope will cease to exist.   I have made up my mind.   Happy wife ......happy life and all that.   

 

But I am sure one of you guys would be happy to start up a little cottage business and start offering your own to folks.  You could easily make $30,000 to $40,000 a year just making great rope alone.  I made more than that last year for just rope sales.   But the quality has to be top notch.   I would be more than happy to sell your rope in my Syren store should you want to give it a try.  

 

Cotton-poly blend.jpg

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1 hour ago, Chuck said:

Which leaves me plenty of time to design and build the Winnie....then a POF cross section...a bunch of smaller craft.  And many more.

For those of you panicking about an impending end to Syren Model Ship Company, I just read a list that should take us years into the future.  Speaking for just myself, I'm going to take a deep breath and relax.  I don't think Chuck is going to ride off into the sunset very soon.  And there are several of us who want him to have time to work on more model designs.  

 

Chuck, you are the best.  All of my kindest thoughts to you.

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100 is the smallest thread...

 

 

Thanks Matt.....that is exactly why I am doing this.   I am a ship modeler/ship model kit designer at heart and not an assembly line worker. Sorry guys as I know many of you depending on me for rope.

 

But this one is already on the drawing boards....

 

victorine.jpg

And this one....

 

image.thumb.jpeg.c41d343df8f3b3000d785b10b9423fc3.jpeg

 

and this one....

 

crossproto.jpg

phaseonecomplete.jpg

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And yes....if any of you guys that are in the process of rigging your models with my rope but need just a few more packages  to finish, you wont be left in the dust.  I will of course make sure you can buy enough to finish your current models.   

 

BUT.....I will not be able to make those that contact me 25 or 50 packages or something crazy like that.  I know I will have many contact me who will try and get me to make rope for all manner of things and not be entirely honest about needing just a handful of packages to wrap up their current rigging.

 

So please.....if you really do need some.  Contact me via email or by PM.  I wont leave you hanging.   But please wait until I reopen so I concentrate on restocking everything else.  Dont start sending me requests 5 minutes from now.   I wont be listing rope for sale on my site again....as people not in this position will just buy it all...and all requests will be done outside of my ecommerce system.  Payments can be made via PayPal.   

 

So dont freak out about your current project if you are currently rigging with my rope.   But once everyone has finished up their current projects with my rope...I am out of the rope business.

 

Chuck

 

 

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