New: 5 Section Serving Pieces   Leave a comment

The banner on the front of the booth says “Cutting Boards, Serving Pieces & More.”

I am in search of the perfect cheese & cracker server. Today’s offering may not appear to be one at first glance … which is why these pieces need a second glance.

The front side has 5 sections for your various, uh, food offerings. It could be cubed cheeses, of course, but it could be veggies or chips or olives … whatever.

These pieces, though, are made to be used on both sides. When you flip the pieces over, there are no feet to mar the surface, so now you have a nice 14″ square serving piece that would be perfect for charcuterie – or, cheese & crackers.

Of course.

All I’m doing is giving people options. Then, they get to choose!

Each piece is 1-1/8″ thick, and is routed 3/4″ deep … leaving a 3/8″ thick bottom. The pieces are therefore very light to handle. Note these are not cutting boards: even though the flip side is flat and could be used for cutting, since it is so thin it would not hold up long enough to a fine cutting edge. For charcuterie, it’s perfect.

More

Just Finished: Large Serving Pieces

Yes, These Are Lazy Susans

Trays To Serve

 

Posted August 18, 2018 by henrymowry in Woodworking

Cutting Boards: Large & Small   Leave a comment

This is a week when I finally got some Cutting Boards done … in several sizes.

I made a couple of commissioned pieces, both of which were my large size: 16″ x 21″ x 1-1/2″. I talked about one of those in a blog post about The 350th Cutting Board.

But, a well stocked kitchen has a few cutting boards in various sizes, so this week, I’ve got options for you.

  • End Grain Cutting Boards, 13″ x 17″ x 1-1/4″.
  • Edge Grain Cutting Boards, 12″ x 16″ x 1-1/4″.
  • Small Boards, 7″ x 12″ x 1-1/4″.
  • Cheese Boards (which are just small cutting boards!), 9″ x 11″ x 5/8″.

You may need a couple in each size if you’re serious about your kitchen tools. Some cooks like to have dedicated boards for meat, fruit & veggies & bread. There’s no scientific reason for that, mind you, but if you like to have purpose-driven kitchen tools, then I’ve got some sizes to help you with that.

All of these boards will be at this weekend’s big event, the 55th Annual Tehachapi Mountain Fest. This will be our 4th consecutive Mountain Fest, and we can’t wait. Hope to see you there!

 

 

The 350th Cutting Board   5 comments

Big changes in the garage Woodshop.

I’ve entered into a new level of focus: Must. Make. More. My Kickstarter campaign just funded, after all, and now I’ve got a lot of pieces to make … and limited time to get it all done. I have 3 events scheduled in September, at least 3 in October, 3 in November and 2 in December. Big doings.

I took the last week off to help prepare – because I must! – and have successfully grown my inventory to a new height.

One result of that is a new cutting board, a new design … and some eye candy for you.

This large end grain cutting board is approximately 17″ x 21″ x 1-1/2″. It features 8 species of woods from 4 continents:

  • Black Walnut, Hard Maple, Cherry and Mesquite from North America
  • Bubinga from Africa
  • Jarrah from Australia
  • Goncalo Alves & Canarywood from South America

This commissioned piece will ship out next week. But for now, enjoy!

Cutting Board 18 – 721. Hard Maple, Black Walnut, Jarrah, Mesquite, Goncalo Alves, Bubinga, Canarywood & Cherry. End Grain. 17″ x 21″ x 1-1/2″. Commissioned Piece.

More

The 300th Cutting Board, 3rd Time ‘Round (4/27/18)

The 300th Cutting Board, 2nd Time ‘Round (4/4/18)

The 300th Cutting Board (2/9/18)

The 250th Cutting Board: Back In The Pig Business (10/13/17)

The 250th Cutting Board (4/8/17)

The 200th Cutting Board, 6th Time ‘Round (2/9/17)

The 200th Cutting Board, 5th Time ‘Round (11/30/16)

The 200th Cutting Board, 4th Time ‘Round (10/7/16)

The 200th Cutting Board, Third Time ‘Round (8/5/16)

The 200th Cutting Board, 8 Months Later (4/9/16)

The 200th Cutting Board (9/18/15)

Custom Orders   2 comments

Yes, I do custom orders!

Special engraving. Unique wood combinations. Oddball requests. You name it.

To be fair, I often turn down oddball requests for special one-time constructions. I have trouble making enough pieces just to keep up with my totally out-of-control hobby, after all. Adding ideas that take extra TLC to make it to the finish line usually doesn’t make sense.

But who said I have to make sense? Adding the occasional odd request does help me use my creativity & expand my skill set. At the right time, doing a unique project can be fun. Since that’s why I’m doing this, I try and help people with fun projects as much as I can.

And, no, I still don’t make backgammon boards. Or rolling pins. Or toaster tongs.

But, apparently, if you want a Fire Pokin’ Stick, then I’m your guy.

The Board Chronicles: Jackalope Summer Nights 2018   2 comments

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

We’ve never done an event in Pasadena, and that seems like a mistake.

Time to fix that.

Jackalope is a promoter that does events in Denver, Phoenix & Pasadena. It’s a partnership between 3 friends in those cities, and their efforts have been on our radar for a while. The calendar hasn’t worked before … but this time, it did, so I’m going to Pasadena.

Mrs M is staying at home – well, not really. She’s not going a-vendoring because of her “job.” And the summer heat. Or something.

I am breaking a rule or 3 to do this event: it’s a first-time event, and those are always a risk. Doing an event in the summer heat is always a gamble, of course: no telling what the weather might do to attendance.

Just like life. Time to roll the dice.

New Ideas

  • This is my first outdoor event under the lights in a very long time. We use the lights at Santa’s Art Shop every year, but we don’t do nighttime events at this point.
  • The Jackalope team is very social media savvy. They shared multiple graphics with their 200 vendors to use on social media, which was much appreciated. And used. Given the attendance on a Friday night, I believe their efforts were successful.

Observations

  • The event is in Pasadena’s Central Park, and there is artist loading zone parking on 3 sides. I drove right up and got to unloading.
  • There are a large number of rental tents here, it seems. I’m next door to one … that is a shared booth. Two strangers are sharing; one makes dog collars and the other makes greeting cards. Much of the vendor community at this event seems to be young, relatively inexperienced with outdoor events and etsy-driven. I’m none of those things. Hmmmm.
  • I only recognized 2 vendors at this event, and only 1 of those is known to me to be successful. Lots of newbees here, I believe. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not a recommendation, either.
  • An afternoon set-up in 90 degree heat is not for the faint of heart. It was hot, hot, hot. The cart had to be drug uphill. No fun was had.
  • First event I’ve ever been to where the promoter zip tied the canopies together. Every front leg was zip tied to its neighbor. This is an order from the Fire Marshall of Pasadena, I’m told.
  • Part of a nighttime event is that I’ll have lights … and electricity. Why wasn’t I smart enough to bring a fan?
  • Live entertainment is part of the event … and I was located in the nexus between 2 competing vocalists. Nothing good happens when I must hear 2 vocalists from 2 directions at the same volume.
  • Back to the shared booth: 5 people are in the booth, plus a dog who is post-surgery and can’t use its hind legs. Too many things going on in a 10’x10′ space, and that’s before you realize that 2 different vendors are competing for that limited space to try and sell something.
  • I met a Backer from Kickstarter! Brian sought me out at this event so he can choose design of the “Best End Grain Cutting Board” that he wants me to make. Great chatting with him, and a total surprise to have a person come into my booth and lead with “I’m one of your Backers.” Wow!
  • Friday sales were underwhelming, for sure. Traffic was good for a 1st time event, I thought. Sales, though, not so much.
  • Our lights are the best (compare the booth shot below showing my booth as well as parts of the neighbors on each side. See what’s brighter!). I was complimented on the booth lighting by other vendors and customers. Lighting is important: people will only buy what they can see. When electricity is provided, there’s really no reason for a vendor to have bad lighting.
  • Saturday, I brought the fan. Life was better.
  • Given the heat, I thought I probably wouldn’t sell anything until after 6pm.
  • I was right. Too right.
  • Unfortunately.
  • My neighbor with the paraplegic dog created dog clogs all weekend. She put a dog watering bowl in the aisle, well out in front of her booth … resulting in dog/dog owner/dog petter assemblies in front of my booth, as well as her 5′ half booth, all weekend. The inter-species gathering didn’t completely cut off traffic, nor access to my booth, but it was not an asset for me. For her dog collar sales, perhaps.
  • Dog enthusiasts rarely buy cutting boards, in my experience. They walk their dogs, talk about their dogs, and generally enjoy the canine community. And, they do so in the public space in front of my booth, often for extended periods.
  • Load out was just as bad as load in, because I had to drag the cart uphill again! You’d think I would catch a break, but nope. I was sweating at 11:30pm, loading the Jeep.
  • Vending is a glamorous thing.
  • Requests were for chess sets (which I left at home due to space limitations in the Jeep), a chess table, wooden tool holders from a leather craftsman as well as a potter, platters for a restaurant & a wall art display.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Nothing good happened this weekend.
  • Worst Meal: Yup, had those.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 86
  • Booth cost: $326
  • Food cost: $0
  • Travel cost: $45
  • Total sales: $377
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $6
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 2
  • # transactions: 7
  • # soap & lotion vendors: Oh, so many. I saw more of them than I did jewelry vendors, which is just unheard of. I’m glad Mrs M wasn’t here!
  • # woodworking vendors: There was a turner, and a hobbyist who had a couple of cutting boards mixed into the display with his wife’s ceramics.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 7:0
  • Returning next year? Nope.

Boards sold: 7

Cutting Boards: 3

CNC Signs: 2

Bread Saw: 1

Coaster: 1

New: Bread Saws   3 comments

Sometimes it just takes too long for me to complete a good idea.

I made a bread saw prototype in 2016, and promptly sold it as part of a wedding gift. You would think I would use that success and motivate myself to make more … but no.

I did buy the necessary hardware, which has sat in my cabinet for more than a year. You would think that would motivate … but no.

But, when a Lady walked into the booth last month and asked me to make her not one, but two Bread Saws, I couldn’t say no. She told me she had been searching for them for years.

Just like me & my motivation.

These Bread Saws are made from various hardwoods. The handle helps you cut each slice to the same thickness. Each handle is cut from a single piece of wood with an ergonomic shape that feels very good in your hand. The saw blades are stainless steel, and are so sharp that each saw comes with a protective shield.

Each piece is about 16″ x 2″. The saw blade is 8″ long.

Bread Saws in production. They are curvy.

I took all of the Bread Saws with me to my weekend event, Jackalope Summer Nights in Pasadena. Sold one almost immediately. The buyer had also “been looking for one for years.”

And then she found me. That’s good, right?

 

Just Finished: Large Serving Pieces   2 comments

It’s a good thing I like making these … Large Serving Pieces.

The name is a problem for me. When I started making these, uh, LSPs, people started calling them Surfboards because they have a curvy shape … and we’re in SoCal.

We have surfers here, you see. Deal with it.

So, these were called Surfboards for a couple of years. Then I thought that they weren’t really shaped like surfboards – especially when I started making true surfboard-shaped cutting boards, so I started calling these Cheese & Cracker Servers.

Which is true … but limiting. Some people use these to serve the entree. Or the dessert. Whatever. They work great as Cheese & Cracker Servers, of course … but that’s not all that they are. So, for now, I call them Large Serving Pieces. You can call yours whatever you want!

Making this batch of 19 LSPs put a lot of sawdust into the shop, because each edge of each piece has to go across the table saw blade at an oblique angle multiple times. There’s no saw guard to help with dust collection when I make these “open faced” cuts. Plus, the work pieces go across the saw blade, not through the blade,  which means that a whole lot of sawdust gets made to shape those elegant curves under each edge. Those curves are actually made in the shape of the saw blade as the work pieces go across the blade. These cuts are called cove cuts, and you rarely see them used these days.

Which only means I’m old school. Or something. In any event, these LSPs are individually designed, hand shaped, hand rubbed, and they are now ready for your inspection!

I must note that they are one of the rewards in my current Kickstarter campaign which is almost over. The campaign ends July 31, so you have until then to become a Backer and select the reward that you would like to receive. Yes, you can receive one of these LSPs if that’s your choice. It’s one of the most popular rewards, though, so you may have to get in line if you like one of these Large Serving Pieces!

Each piece (except for the one that’s a bit wider) is about 12″ wide x 19″ long x 1-1/4″ thick. All are finished with my standard food-ready finish: mineral oil, with a top coat or my “Board Butter,” which is locally-harvested beeswax mixed with mineral oil. All pieces have non-skid feet held on with stainless steel screws for long life.

More

My Kickstarter Campaign

The Woods In The Woodshop

Kickstarter: Coasters

Kickstarter: Trivets

Kickstarter: Cheese Boards

Kickstarter: Handled Cutting Boards

Kickstarter: Large Serving Pieces

Kickstarter: Carnivore Boards

Kickstarter: Best Cutting Boards

The Board Chronicles: Camarillo Fiesta & Street Fair 2018   4 comments

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

Once upon a time, a friend told me this was a good event.

Not sure I still believe her.

Last year, I didn’t pass $1,000 in sales with my solo effort. On my birthday. That’s not a good thing, truly.

This seems like a good community event, though. Free music. Beer gardens. Carnival rides. Vendors. 30,000 in attendance projected. What’s not to like?

It’s not like there are many better events in July that I’ve found, after all.

So, I’m in for another year. I want to see if I can do better with some legacy working for me. It’ll be just me and a couple of hundred buy & sell vendors offering imported goods….

New Ideas

  • This event was marginal last year, really. It was barely OK. So what did I do? I doubled down with a double booth. I have room for everything this way. Still no Mrs M, though. She might melt in the heat. Oh, wait, I mean her lotions & balms & such might melt. That’s it.

Observations

  • I left home at 5:08a on my way to the Golden State Freeway … and my ramp was closed. No problem; the GPS will get me there on the 126. I’m told. I arrived at my booths at 6:18a, and was unloaded 30 minutes later. Same location as last year, so it’s easy.
  • This event does not send out formal confirmations, maps, booth #s or anything to help you find your booth or your customers to find you. Things may change up until the last minute, they say. At check in, they don’t give you a map, they just show you about where your booth is on a spreadsheet that has business landmarks on it that are years out of date.
  • No clue why they think that’s OK. It’s annoying, in my not-so-humble opinion as a well-seasoned veteran.
  • Canopies were up at 7:30a, and the booth & products were set up at about 9:30a. I was still putting pricing up at the official opening, 10a.
  • I looked across the street at 10 booths, most of which were community businesses (bath remodel, new windows, insurance agent, etc). Of the 10 booths, 8 had canopies that were totally unweighted. 1 had 20 pounds of weight, total. One had sandbags of undeterminate weight. I hope there’s no wind this weekend.
  • 11:40a: first sale of the day. I try to not every make duplicates of the same cheese board blanks, and I did make 4 of the same pattern in the last go round. Finally, finally, I sold one of them in this sale.
  • 1:03p: second sale of the day … and it’s another copy of that same cheese board. Huh?
  • I’m a monkey in a cage. Seems like it, anyway. Since I’ve added the signs on the mesh walls … people stop in front of the booth, look, point & laugh. And I just sit there looking at them.
  • Me. Monkey. Cage.
  • I did not expect that to happen.
  • Saturday ended barely ahead of last year … but I doubled my booth size. Did sales double? Nope, they were basically unchanged.
  • The drive home was an adventure. I followed the GPS, and it sent me through farmland. I drove a canyon to get to Fillmore. Why has the GPS forsaken me?
  • Sunday opens at 12n for some reason. I arrived a bit after 10a, and was open by 11a. I had walkers immediately.
  • No buyers though. First sale was at 12:45a.
  • But something did happen early: the insurance agent across the way brought a sound system. They turned it up so they were broadcasting to a 100′ radius above speaking volume, and proceeded to chat to everyone about their raffle.
  • I was that guy. I called the organizer to complain. She showed up 15 minutes later and had them turn down, thankfully. For some reason, they shut down the sound system & it left at 2p. No problem from my perspective.
  • A lady walked into the booth.
    • She said, “I have a cutting board. I got it from your competition. I love it. It’s my favorite thing. I got it from your competition.”
    • I said, “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It’s good to have a favorite thing.”
    • She said, “I got it from your competition.” And then she left.
    • Before I was unkind to her.
  • At the end of Sunday, sales were barely ahead of prior year, and far, far below my expectations for a 2-day event and my double booth. Very disappointing.
  • The drive home was another adventure, but I at least drove a different canyon. Why is Camarillo so hard to get home from?
  • This is my last July event before the end of my Kickstarter campaign, and I did mention it to several customers in the hopes of garnering a bit of support. The campaign is currently at 93% and just $329 away from goal! I know that I’ll bring it home, but it is oh so close. Here’s the link: Handmade Cutting Boards & Wooden Serving Pieces.
  • Requests were for bigger chess pieces (nope), a cheese slicer (on the list!), a cookbook stand, a horse tack shadow box, a coffee table top, knife cases and the 10 Commandments on a plaque. Bilingual, too. Oh, and a chicken shaped cutting board. That’s a trend. And I still haven’t made it.

The Food

  • Best Meal: I tried to order take out ahead of arriving back in Santa Clarita … and a lousy cell connection resulted in a bad order. Oh well, I guess we will eat 5 side Caesars. Eventually.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 220
  • Booth cost: $500
  • Food cost: none
  • Travel cost: $114
  • Total sales: $1,092
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $478
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • Saturday alarm: 4:20a
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: far too few
  • # soap & lotion vendors: no clue
  • # woodworking vendors: no clue
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 23:0
  • Returning next year? Nope. Nope. Nope.

Boards sold: 23

Word Blocks: 5

Cheese Boards: 3

Magic Bottle Openers: 3

Cutting Boards: 3

CNC Signs: 3

Trivets: 2

Heart Board: 1

Coaster Set: 1

Wine Bottle Coaster: 1

Sous Chef Board: 1

Cutting Boards, Coasters & Small Boards   Leave a comment

Ah, the finish line.

I tend to make boards in batches. That makes it easier to cut lumber to size, and that makes me a bit more efficient.

Which would be a good thing.

After our successful Spring Fling, I was out of 12″ x 16″ cutting boards – my most popular size! That’s just not OK, so I made a few to get ready for this weekend’s event in Camarillo.

In the process of making the Cutting Boards, I made a few Small Boards, as I call them (usually about 8″ x 12″ x 1-1/4″). One cheese board got finished (9″ x 11″ x 5/8″). And then I finished a couple of sets of coasters, as well as a quartet of 3D-carved Wine Bottle Coasters. A little variety makes the whole working in batches thing a little more fun, in my estimation. I can’t make too many of one thing, or I go crazy.

As you can see here, every cutting board is unique. That’s a goal!

And speaking of goals (again, a very smooth transition!)….

My Kickstarter campaign is now 87% funded. I’m $611 from my goal of $5,000. Please consider becoming a Backer – and getting a cool reward from me in time for holiday giving. Note the clock is ticking: the goal must be reached by July 31. Check out the options here: Handmade Cutting Boards & Wooden Serving Pieces.

Kickstarter: Carnivore Boards   8 comments

If you are a meat eater, or know a meat eater, then these boards might tickle your fancy.

I designed these boards for 2-sided use, which is unusual for me. I believe cutting boards benefit from having non-skid rubber feet, so most boards I make have one good side … unless there’s a compelling reason to do it another way.

Which brings us to the Carnivore Board.

The side everyone comments on is the one with the oval ridges forming a dish in the middle of the board. Those ridges are designed to hold the carcass of the chicken or turkey in place while it’s being carved. Surrounding those ovals is a giant juice groove that will hold 2 cups of juice.

I have some experience carving turkey. I know what you’re up against.

Flip the board over, and you’ve got a nice cutting board, again with a nice juice groove, for beef or pork carving. You can take a tri tip off the bar-b-que, put it on your Carnivore Board, and serve it on the board.

All of your meat carving can be done on this one board.

The Carnivore Board, in action.

All of these Carnivore Boards are made from Hard Maple, which is the gold standard for cutting boards. Dimensions are 14″ x 19″ x 1-1/8″. Finish, as with all of my food ready boards, is mineral oil, with a top coat of my own Board Butter, which is a mix of mineral oil with locally-harvested beeswax.

Here I show you 4 Carnivore boards that just got finished. They are all the same … except for the grain of the Hard Maple boards. Every piece of lumber is different, so every one of these Carnivore boards is slightly different.

Carnivore Boards are one of the rewards offered in my current Kickstarter campaign, which will end on July 31. If you would like to become a Backer of my campaign, then receiving a Carnivore Board for your reward is an option. All of the reward options are explained here: Handmade Cutting Boards & Wooden Serving Pieces. Note that the campaign is 82% funded as I write this, with a goal of $5,000. If I don’t make the goal, then nothing happens. Help me make the goal, though, and I’ll deliver your reward to you in time for holiday giving. Thanks for your consideration!

 

More

My Kickstarter Campaign

The Woods In The Woodshop

Kickstarter: Coasters

Kickstarter: Trivets

Kickstarter: Cheese Boards

Kickstarter: Handled Cutting Boards

Kickstarter: Large Serving Pieces

Kickstarter: Carnivore Boards

Kickstarter: Best Cutting Boards

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