I have a protocol for handling people with outrageous projects and complex designs. It’s all cash upfront, paid design time at a high rate, and all change orders in writing. It wasn’t that I was out to fleece my customers; it was to render moot speculative projects that would never go anywhere. Most projects like that were efforts that I’d wind up spending time on for a return in frustration and little or no money. When I first started as a nautical carver, I’d chased a few of these.
Most people who’d been considering a transom banner or quarterboards would walk up and just state, ” I’m interested in a banner for the back of my boat with the words – too loose to trek – on it.” Then, I’d ask what make and style of the boat it was, and we’d start discussing specifics of cost, style, and anything special that they needed. Then, I’d later quote them a price to consider from my notes. It was a pretty straightforward part of my business.
There were twists galore, however. The hollow back on transom banner for stowing what I don’t know, but I can make an educated guess; or The ground ashes incorporated into the lettering on one job. I’ve also done some reasonably weird stuff for inside boats, Small signs, and symbols that got incorporated into the hull for “luck.”
It must have gotten out that I’d do that sort of thing, so for a while, I had a clientele that asked for runes carved on ash, oak, and rowan. As long as I was not invited to the ceremony installing their talisman ( and I have a vivid imagination!), I did not care.
Lettering work for boats dried up due to vinyl lettering and Robo-carved boards, but this trade in specialty items did not. It seemed that these needed to be hand-carved to be effective. I was asked by a few why I accepted these pagan jobs but turned down political work. I stated that the pagans were only interested in calming the seas, pacifying storm elementals, honoring Neptunas Rex, and creating an avoidance of certain misfortune. Folks who wanted “Let’s go, Brandon,” Hurray for Lenin,” or other political sentiment were trolling the waters for trouble. I wanted no part of the misfortune they’d get when the opposing side rammed them.
I have a clean record with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and don’t want any trouble. Besides, messing with the sea deities is much worse than pissing off some crackpot politician. One will sputter and call you names; the other might sink you and send you to Davy.