Author Archive

New: Live Edge Charcuterie Boards   Leave a comment

Yes, I used that funny French word that people have trouble pronouncing. The word means smoked meats … and, when in France, you go to a “charcuterie” to buy, uh, smoked meats.

Why did that become the word we use for cheese & cracker platters?

’cause it’s fancy. “Fancy like Applebees,” as Walker Hayes recently sang (link below).

But I digress. Now that we’ve got our groove on, it’s time to talk about these new boards that have a couple of unique stories to go with.

First, I am pleased to present several boards made from Olive wood, which is new to the Woodshop. After years of searching, I just had to go out the front door to get this wood … when we bought the house in 1988, there was an ornamental olive tree in the front yard. The kids climbed in it growing up. Pretty tree, and a great climbing tree, to boot. But, sadly, the tree died several years ago. I had a crew out to remove the tree … and leave me the good logs. I then went to my buddy Charlie to “slab” the logs and branches that were usable. The ends got painted with a latex/wax combination so the wood would dry slowly and not crack. The wood then got stickered (small boards between the Olive pieces to allow good air flow for even drying) and then I left the wood in my storage unit to dry out. I didn’t touch the boards for 18 months.

Eventually, the boards came back to the shop for processing … and, time being what it is, I didn’t touch them for another 2 years.

But then the stars aligned, and I made the boards you see below. These are live edge pieces, meaning the actual edges of the natural tree – maybe even the bark! – is the edge of the board. About half of these pieces are finished with mineral oil and board butter, as I do all of my pieces that are destined to touch food.

Until now, that is. Some of the boards had knots, voids and cracks that needed attention, and needed filling since they were destined to be serving pieces. I reached into the bag o’tricks, and here are my first boards with epoxy filled, mica-colored accents. These boards were then finished with a Urethane top coat.

As is normal for me, all boards got non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws.

Two of the boards are made from live edge Black Walnut. My niece – the namesake for the “Kaye’s Board” end grain design that is a personal favorite – found a sawyer near Cameron, MO that had processed some lovely Black Walnut lumber and was willing to let me bring 5 boards back to the Woodshop.

So, new lumber. New finishing. New, as it often does, also means Mrs M had to have some.

But, good news, she decided to not be greedy and I do have some left for your consideration. These are, obviously, very unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. Please note that all sizes are approximate. Every board was finished to get the most out of the wood that was available, so they are not perfect rectangles. They are natural.

I have already heard from several people that want some, and 3 ladies are first in line (Jeri G, Reva W, Sue E in that order). Boards that I still have will go with me this 4th of July weekend to the Art In The Park event in Morro Bay, CA. Want to buy one? Email me at Henry@MowryWoodshop.com. You’ll need to tell me the number of the board(s) you want, and please give alternate choices if you have some. I will send you an invoice, and then ship the boards to you after the holiday.

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Because The World Needs These   Leave a comment

I love Deviled Eggs.

I make these Deviled Egg Platters to help make the world a better place. They are difficult to make: each one takes 9 hours to carve on my CNC. It takes about 90 minutes to hog out most of the waste with a 1/4″ end mill, and then a 1/16″ tapered ballnose bit advances 1/100″ with each pass to make the egg cups as smooth as possible.

Labor of Love, they are.

Here are the latest 11 that I have completed. 2 are already gone. The 9 remaining will be going to Bishop Mule Days over Memorial Day weekend … so if you would like one of these for your holiday table, speak now and I will get it shipped to you, no problem.

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Buying a Deviled Egg Platter

I Call Them Large Serving Pieces   Leave a comment

When I started making these, everyone called them surfboards.

They aren’t really shaped like surfboards, but they have a certain curvy shape that takes people there.

But, then I started making actual surfboard-shaped serving pieces or cutting boards (you choose how to use them!). I needed to rename these pieces, so … well, I am known for my creativity (well, sometimes).

Large Serving Piece was the perfect name. Name the thing what it is, that’s what I think. Creativity can only confuse people at this point.

The LSPs are made with cove cuts on all 4 sides. Cove cuts are made taking the piece across the front edge of the table saw blade, moving sideways – not through the blade with a straight cut. This makes a large sweeping curve which is unique to this piece.

And making those cove cuts spews sawdust everywhere. Saw blades are made to capture sawdust between the saw teeth, and return it to below the table of the table saw for dust collection. The sideways movement of this cut interrupts that flow … and I’m left with a fine sawdust over the entire shop as well as an 1″ of sawdust under foot after making these pieces.

Once the cove cuts are done, then the piece gets the signature oval-ish shape cut on the band saw, and then the LSP is smoothed with 2x different random orbital sanders. 4x non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws complete the piece, which floats lightly on the table.

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Buying a Large Serving Piece

Passport Stamp: Petrified Forest National Park   Leave a comment

We visited the Petrified Forest National Park on May 3, 2022. We entered through the South entrance, after spending the previous night in Winslow, AZ (on Historic Route 66) and enjoying the downtown homage to that signature tune by The Eagles.

After driving through the closest town, Holbrook, AZ, and driving right by the largest private seller of petrified wood and buying nothing … we arrived at the turn off to the park entrance, and went to the apparently smaller retailer of petrified wood that has a very impressive store right by the entrance. After buying nothing, again, we proceeded on to the main event.

The southern entrance of the park is close to the park museum and gift shop … worth a stop. Then we took a hike to the adjacent Long Logs area of the park to see one of the greatest collections of petrified wood you can walk to in the park: we walked about a mile and a half on a largely paved path. Most of the pix below are from that hike.

After getting blown by 20 MPH winds, gusting to 30 MPH, we proceeded on the drive through the park which took about 4 hours. We stopped at most of the recommended places, though we became discouraged by the 30 MPH winds that were gusting to 40 MPH at this point and did not do a significant hike again. In spite of the wind, we had a great visit and transitioned into the northern section of the park, AKA the Painted Desert. Our timing in May was good with some of the vegetation in it’s growth/flowering cycle.

Please note that our drive through the park was guided by the app “Just Ahead” which is highly recommended. This GPS-triggered app guided us through the park with both driving directions and interesting trivia just as you approached the relevant sections of the park. Highly recommended as the way to visit our national parks … though you may need to download maps while on the hotel’s wifi the night before!

Here is what we saw.

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National Park Service: Petrified Forest National Park

MowryJournal.com 2014: Petrified Forest National Park

The Eagles 1977: Take It Easy

Nat King Cole: Route 66

Cutting Boards – 9 New Ones   Leave a comment

I make cutting boards in a mostly traditional way. Some of my choices, though, are often not traditional.

  • Cutting Boards that come from the Woodshop are generally for one-sided use … they have non-skid rubber feet so the boards do not move while you use them. I am not a fan of moving targets when you have a knife in your hand.
  • When I do make a 2-sided board – like the Carnivore Boards – then the boards come with a non-skid silicon mat. Both the mat and the aforementioned feet hold the boards in place, and, importantly, provide an air gap so the bottom of the boards never just sit in water on the counter. That would be bad.
  • All boards are made from quality hardwoods, selected for their beauty and particular characteristics that make them good cutting board woods.

Last week, a pair of large cutting boards I barely remembered making – 6 years ago! – came back to me for refinishing. That is a service I do for free, by the way, but I digress.

The boards were 6 years old but were truly in fabulous condition. They had been well-used (every day, the owners proudly told me), and they had some knife marks as well as a scorch on one of the boards from where some hot pan had been set on the board for too long. I sanded the boards smooth, got the scorch mark as well as about 98% of the knife marks out, and re-oiled the boards. It took about 15 minutes all told, and the owners were thrilled with their like-new boards.

Did I mention they ordered 2 more large boards for gifts? I was pretty thrilled, too.

In preparation for last week’s event, I finished several cutting boards to add to my display. Here is what the really-new boards look like.

Posted March 10, 2022 by henrymowry in Woodworking

Tagged with , , , ,

The Board Chronicles: Fresno Home & Garden Show 2022   Leave a comment

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.

Remember me? Remember how I used to write things?

I’m back.

I’ve done the Fresno H&G a few times, and it’s time to crank it up in 2022.

Finally.

Read about my past experiences here: 2019, 2018 and 2017. Interesting that 2017 was my first solo event, ever. Now, I don’t know how to act if Mrs M shows up … and she hasn’t made soap in quite a while. Don’t bother her, she has a wedding to help plan.

But back to going a-vendoring.

New Ideas

  • I got moved to a new building this time … because my old building was undergoing renovations and was unavailable. I did not receive word from the promoter until late, well after I was paid in full and most booths were booked. We had a, uh, disagreement about what should happen to my booth. I didn’t respond well to the pressure sales tactics, which stated that they would not charge me for moving my booth to a new location.
  • Note to sales reps, everywhere: beware trying to pressure an old sales manager. It will not end well for you.
  • I finally stated I would move to a building that met these criteria: 1) not near another woodworker, 2) not near dogs up for adoption and 3) not near loud, amplified-selling “sideshow barker” type presentations.
  • My sales reps’ recommendation failed on point 2. Completely.
  • So, I, uh, suggested that she not book that location and then I suggested a location near the craft cocktail booths (and an open bar, come to find out). My new home was building # 4 … which, in the time-honored tradition of the Fresno Home & Garden Show, was known as “MORE EXHIBITS.”

Observations

  • I arrived at the Fairgrounds at about noon on Thursday, with 8 hours to set up the booth. I asked directions to building # 4, and parked the trailer with pretty good access to my new home.
  • Set up began as soon as I checked in at Building # 2, I think it was (AKA “MORE EXHIBITS”). I had discovered a problem as I unloaded the trailer … table cloths had not made it into the trailer. They were at home, over 3 hours away. And in 2022 gas, that would be …
  • Luckily, Exhibitor Services fixed me right up with hotel banquet-table-style plastic tops & skirting for all 10 of my tables. And it was def def definitely cheaper than the gas would have been to go home.
  • My spiffy wooden name tag is missing. No clue where it got to.
  • The vendor behind me was a rock n’ roll hair salon, selling hair care products (Hair dryers & such. The prices were way more than I expected. Like, way more. Don’t buy hair dryers at home & garden shows is my recommendation.)
  • I am pleased to report the rock ‘n roll hair salon turned down their music. And I didn’t even have to sic music licensing agencies such as ASCAP or BMI on them. Something I was contemplating, to be honest.
  • Fresno is an agricultural area, so it’s inevitable that I am approached by well-meaning ranchers that want to give me their trees. Not lumber, which I might be able to use, but their trees. Sorry, not set up for that. I turned down old Oak and a Black Walnut stump. Unfortunately.
  • Fridays at home & garden shows are known for 2 things: not much traffic, and lots of senior citizens that are there for exercise and to pick up free stuff. Oh, and rain was forecast. My Friday was dead slow, until I finally sold something at 2:30pm. And then I had someone in line to give me more money while I was wrapping up purchase #1.
  • When it rains, it pours. HA. Weather humor.
  • Rain was again forecast for Saturday, but there wasn’t really much moisture in the air. It was a little wet, attendance was probably down, and it was just cold & wet all day. Temp was in the 50s. I kept my jacket on all day.
  • This is the 2nd event that I had Deviled Egg Platters for sale … but I only had one made. I asked Mrs M if I could borrow her personal DEP to promote special orders. She said yes … and I sold 2x “just like this one.”
  • Interestingly, she had a retirement party at the house for a loved colleague a few weeks ago … and I got orders for 2x large cutting boards “just like hers.”
  • Maybe I should try to not sell more of her stuff.
  • Sold my whiskey sign about Grant … it was going to be a wedding present someone in the whiskey business. If you know about General Grant, you know that is appropriate.
  • Had a lady that wanted to buy an oval Lazy Susan. An oval Lazy Susan. She saw nothing wrong with the idea, and I couldn’t explain the problem with a rotating oval in the middle of a dinner table in a way that she could understand. No sale there. Thankfully.
  • Once again, I was amazed at the people that saw crackers on my display … and decided they were free food. One guy asked if it was OK, I said no, they are stale! … and he took one anyway. That was a first.
  • Strollers are getting bigger. One family had dad pushing a stroller with baby, and mom pushing a foldable wagon with a toddler. That family procession was about 15′ long.
  • My favorite transaction of the weekend was with a group that didn’t dress like me. Mothers all had scarves or hats or something on their head. They spoke with an accent I couldn’t identify. But one of the Moms loved one of my big end grain boards, and we talked about it … but the price was too much.
  • An hour later, her daughter was back and wanted to see if I would sell it to her tomorrow, after she talked to her siblings about sharing the cost for their mother … as a birthday present, just 2 days away.
  • Sunday afternoon, the daughter was back with crisp hundred dollar bills in her hand to buy the board for momma.
  • I’m a sucker for that, so I gave her an unexpectedly large amount of change back. Come to find out, this is an immigrant community that had moved from Russia to Armenia to America several decades ago, and now has at least 3 culturally significant communities on the west coast. Who knew? It was nice getting to know a bit about them, and I am glad I put a smile on these American faces.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Nope, not this event. This is Fresno, and I’m all about saving money. I had frozen dinners and left overs from home in the hotel room each night. But, Mrs M’s cooking is WONDERFUL. That’s what I meant. Mrs M for the win.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 440
  • Booth cost: $1,000 for a double booth, 10×20
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: I talked to four different people, but no names were exchanged. No personal touches here.
  • Visits in the booth by a promoter’s representative: Only when they were leaving info to solicit me to come back for the smaller fall show that conflicts with much bigger events I do in October. Nope.
  • Competitors: sure, though none that I found did exactly what I did. As always.
  • # transactions: 21 sales in 20 hours
  • Returning next year? Unclear to me at this point. I believe this is the best show available to me IN MARCH. I made a few dollars … literally, a few dollars. Already have one follow-up sale, though, so perhaps…. Well, Liza sang it, “What good is sitting alone in your room?” I would never compare the Fresno Home & Garden Show to a cabaret … but will I return? I simply don’t know. If gas triples in price, no.

Boards sold: 29

  • Signs: 6x
  • Cheese Slicer: 6x
  • Cheese Board: 4x
  • Trivets: 4x
  • Handled Board: 3x
  • Dip Server: 2x
  • Deviled Egg Platter: 2x
  • Large Cutting Board: 2x
  • Lazy Susan: 2x
  • Bread Saw: 1x (SOLD OUT)
  • Ampersand Board: 1x
  • Magic Bottle Opener: 1x
  • Heart: 1x

New: Deviled Egg Platters   1 comment

I love Deviled Eggs. Love ’em.

When I was an itty bitty, if you can imagine such a thing, I was allergic to eggs. They gave me a rash. But, good news, whenever we went to a pot luck dinner at the lodge, or a family gathering, or whatever … someone would always bring deviled eggs.

And I would always sneak 1 or 3 when Mom wasn’t looking.

So I ate my way out of the allergy. Built up a tolerance, I did.

Deviled Eggs: a savory treat from a wicked chicken. Love ’em.

So, I knew that as I built out my offerings of serving pieces, I would be making Deviled Egg Platters. The world needs great serving pieces, and I am happy to help. And if Deviled Eggs just happen to get made by more people more often, well, life will be better for us all.

You’re welcome.

It took 2 years to design these platters, which each hold 24 Deviled Eggs. I worked with a designer in the Philippines who had more skills in 3D design … and less affinity for Deviled Eggs, come to find out. The design is exactly what I wanted, though. These are shaped on the CNC, as you might expect, and each platter takes 9 hours to carve. These are a labor of love; I make them to make the world a better place.

The platters are 14″ across, and 7/8″ thick. They are made for 2 sided use: the back is plain, and would allow you to serve appetizers, charcuterie, or whatever you might like on the flat surface.

Not that I understand why anyone would do this, when they could make more Deviled Eggs.

Personally, I prefer the Platters made with white/yellow/red woods (to match the Deviled Eggs), so I use a lot of Bloodwood, Hard Maple, Osage Orange, Canarywood, Yellowheart, Bubinga and Makore. Your mileage may vary, of course, so I will make others with a more varied color palatte. Eventually.

I made 7x of these last last year, and 4x were given to family. That left 3x to take to my final event of the year, Santa’s Art Shop … and all 3x were sold in 90 minutes. Time after time, I heard the exclamation, “OH, my friend/cousin/Aunt/Mother/Friend always makes Deviled Eggs, and she would LOVE ONE OF THESE.

Happy to be of service. They will be back in stock in February. Meanwhile, you are welcome to order one, here.

Assembling A Soap Drying Rack   Leave a comment

Once you purchase a Soap Drying Rack, 2 big boxes will soon land on your front step.

Really big boxes. Together, they weigh about 75 pounds.

These are your instructions on how to insert the 8x bolts to assemble each unit. If you are stacking 2 units, then you’ll also have 4 bolts to attach the units together. That is all that is required!

One Soap Drying Rack, on wheels, assembled and ready for some serious saponification.

Here is how you assemble your Soap Drying Rack(s).

  1. Open the boxes and lay out the top, bottom, sides, 8x trays and bags of hardware. If you bought a double rack, only open the boxes (that are labeled) with the bottom rack. No need to confuse yourself with more parts.
  2. Put the bottom on a flat surface. If you bought the Rack with wheels, then turn the bottom upside down so the wheels are facing up. Use your hands to press the tab down towards the wood and unlock the wheels. This will be much trickier after the unit is assembled, so unlock the wheels first. Note wheels are shipped in different colors, so I can’t always control which color is on your unit.

3. Flip the bottom back over, so it rests on the unlocked wheels.

4. Look for the letters that are handwritten on the outside of the boards mounted to the bottom. Now, find the side that has matching letters. When you place the side directly next to the mounted board, the 2x holes that are drilled beside the letters will line up. Use the 2-1/2″ bolts – the long ones. Put a single washer on the bolt, and then insert it from the outside of the unit so the bolt sticks through to the inside of the unit. Then, place another washer, split washer and nut back on to the bolt and make them finger tight.

5. Repeat with the other hole.

6. Repeat with the other side. Note: I always label every unit differently, so you must assemble the sides with the tops and bottoms as labeled and explained, below. It’s the only way it works!

7. Place the top of the unit on the sides so the letters match, and the holes will line up.

8. Insert bolts from the outside with one washer, then put the other washer, split washer and nut on the inside, finger tight.

9. Check a tray to make sure it fits on the rails and slides into the rack easily. Remove the tray(s).

10. Tighten all bolts.

11. Note: the bottom tray does not fit on runners like the other 6x trays. The bottom tray slides on the boards mounted to the bottom of the unit. You have to insert the tray a bit carefully at first, but once you get the hang of it, the bottom tray goes in smoothly.

12. If you bought a 2nd unit for stacking, then open the other 2 boxes.

13. Attach the bottom of the top unit to the top of the bottom unit (got that?) by matching the letters on the top and bottom. When the letters match, the holes for the top & bottom will match.

14. Insert a 2″ bolt (the shorter, thicker ones) with a washer on the bolt from below, sticking up through the top and the bottom. You may find that using a hammer to tap the bolt gently through the tight hole is helpful. Put a washer, split washer & nut on the exposed bolt. Make it finger tight.

15. Repeat for the other 3x holes.

16. Repeat steps 4 – 10 for the top unit.

Yes, I ship you 8x trays. The 8th tray is a bonus … and insurance in case one tray breaks in shipping. Plus, it fills the box nicely for shipping.

Enjoy, and get to making soap!

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Click here to buy: Soap Drying Racks

Mrs M’s Original Soap Drying Rack

New: Wine Gift Boxes   1 comment

Back in the day … back when I went a-vendoring at craft fairs … I sold Magic Bottle Openers. In fact, I sold a lot of them. They were quite popular, and my demonstration of them became a point of entertainment in the booth.

Honest.

Me. The Entertainer.

Who knew?

But I digress. I would demo the MBOs, people would laugh … and then a small voice was often heard asking, what do you have for wine drinkers?

Uh…..

Well, at first the answer was nothing. And the customers were not pleased.

Then, the answer was Wine Bottle Holders. They were a bit of fun, but, ultimately, I didn’t like making them, so I stopped. I’m an adult, you see. I get to choose. And the customers were not pleased.

So, then, the answer became Wine Bottle Coasters. I still have those (well, I will have them when I make more!), but they were not as much fun as an MBO. And the customers … well, you know.

Which brings me to my latest offering, Wine Gift Boxes. I got an order to make 200 of these a couple of months ago for a local business that wanted to give them to key customers. And you only have to hit me with one big order like that to make me think that I may have found something.

These Wine Gift Boxes come in 2 sizes, 1 bottle and 2 bottle. They come with a packing material called excelsior, AKA bird’s nest. Excelsior is long aspen wood shavings that is just perfect to nestle a bottle of wine into when you present the bottle(s) and custom box to your friend or client.

I am making the boxes out of Baltic Birch, which is a high quality, 7-layer plywood. The wood is left raw, but sanded smooth. I have made a few versions that are available now for immediate shipment … and I have a few designs that can be personalized and are perfect for weddings, anniversaries, house warmings, or other important celebrations.

All of these can be purchased today on my retail website, MrMsWoodshop.com. Click here to go straight to the page with the WGBs. If you are ordering a customized box, be sure to include all of the details for what you want carved or engraved on the lid in the notes with your order.

And … if you are going to a craft fair in May, I just might see you there! I will be at the Fresno Home & Garden Show as well as Bishop Mule Days. Details are on my events page, here.

Passport Stamp: Arches National Park   3 comments

We visited Arches on May 14, 2021. The Lady had signed up to get their tweets, so she knew that park capacity was being surpassed daily. They were closing the park to additional visitors at 11am. Or earlier. The park was re-opening in the late afternoon when more visitors could be accommodated in this “small” park.

Plus, we knew that popular spots would run out of parking fast. So we spent the night in Moab, and then got up at 6a to arrive at the park at 7:30a.

We had to wait in line for 15 minutes to get into the park; they had both lanes open to get the paying visitors into the park. We, of course, had our Golden Eagle passports, so we were in without paying the $30 per car. We elected to drive straight to the iconic Delicate Arch first … and we got there with plenty of parking available. After that picture was captured, we proceeded to drive through the rest of the park at our leisure, stopping at every designated wide spot in the road to take pictures.

The park’s website said we could spend 10 minutes at every Viewpoint, and finish the park’s paved roads in 4-1/2 hours. We beat that time, and felt that we had been there, done that.

Here is what we saw.

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MowryJournal.com: Arches National Park, 2014

National Park Service: Arches National Park

Posted May 14, 2021 by henrymowry in National Parks

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