Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category
I love making big cutting boards.
I make them for 2 reasons:
- They are really good – essential – kitchen tools. They are made to be of use.
- I find pretty when I make them
Like all good things, they do not come quickly nor cheaply. When I’m making then out of quality hardwoods (which is always), then my costs are significant. I have to go through a lot of wood to choose the pieces that belong in these cutting boards. Not every board makes the grade.
Some of these boards required over 30 minutes just in the sanding & smoothing process. That’s a lot of sandpaper, at 60 cents a sheet, yaknowhatImean?
Another interesting aspect of these large cutting boards is that I don’t make them in large quantities. I only keep a few on hand, and then make more as the need arises. At our last event, I sold 3 large cutting boards (very unusual!), so it was good that I had this batch in the shop and very close to the finish line. However, of these 4 boards, 1 is already sold … so I’m really just keeping my inventory even.
I have to make more large cutting boards in the near future to get ready for our Spring Fling.
Another odd thing is that I show large cutting boards at every event, but I often sell more custom pieces than I sell the actual large cutting boards on display. The first large Hickory board that I put on display sold 4 other boards before it finally sold itself. And, no, none of these boards are Hickory. That’s on my never ending to do list.
On that board that is already sold (the 4th one shown), please note the very unusual grain pattern on the Black Walnut. I take what the wood gives me, and in this case I had a large plank that allowed me to make a very unusual sweeping curve, book matched, across the face of the board. It’s the first time I’ve been able to do that, and I’m quite happy with that board. It will soon be winging its way to Florida.
These boards are intended to be generational purchases. With minimal care, they will last for decades. They are made from very good hardwood, both domestic and international. All have routed handholds and non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws. All of these boards also have juice grooves. Here are the 4 all-new designs that made it out of the shop today:
Cutting Board 17 – 424. Bubinga, Cherry, Purpleheart & Hard Maple. End Grain, Juice Groove. 17″ x 21-1/2″ x 1-1/2″.
Cutting Board 17 – 425. Cherry, Jatoba, Canarywood & Hard Maple. End Grain, Juice Groove. 16″ x 21″ x 1-1/2″.
Cutting Board 17 – 423. Cherry, Hard Maple & Purpleheart. End Grain, Juice Groove. 16″ x 21-1/2″ x 1-1/2″.
Cutting Board 17 – 422. Black Walnut & Cherry. End Grain, Juice Groove. 18″ x 20″ x 1-1/2″. Commissioned Piece.
Well, I call them MBOs among the family, who have heard me talking about them enough to not want to sit through the polysyllabic formal name: Magic Bottle Openers.
I am surprised, though, that many people see these bottle openers at an event, and don’t immediately appreciate the magic. I mean, I always display the MBOs with a vertical sample that has bottle caps stuck on it magically – held in mid-air against the forces of gravity.
I guess people might think those caps are glued in place, but that’s why I move them when I demonstrate the magic in the MBOs. At that point, I generally get a comment about how the MBO has an m-word in it … and I always correct the customer. Every customer.
They are MAGIC, thank you very much.
These 12x MBOs are double magic, in fact: not only will they catch your bottle caps, but they will also stick to your refrigerator, if it’s attractive. If your refrigerator isn’t attractive, though….
MBOs are approximately 5″ x 11″ x 3/4″. I use 5 different colors/styles of bottle openers, and all MBOs, even these “fridge mount” versions, are pre-drilled for wall mounting, if that’s your preference. I’ll even give you the longer screws needed to wall mount the MBO; you just remove the short screws that hold on the bottle opener, and replace them with the long screws to attach to your mounting surface.
Then you’re ready for the magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 610. Padauk, Cherry, Canarywood & Yellowheart. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 -619. Padauk, Hard Maple & Honey Locust. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 620. Purpleheart, Bubinga & Caribbean Rosewood. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 -616. Yellowheart, Jatoba, Cherry & Mahogany. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 612. Purpleheart, Bloodwood, Canarywood & Jatoba. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 614. Jatoba, Yellowheart, Padauk & Hard Maple. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 615. Hard Maple, Honey Locust, Padauk & Canarywood. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 616. Yellowheart, Jatoba, Cherry & Mahogany. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 611. Padauk, Cherry, Canarywood & Yellowheart. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 618. Padauk, Hard Maple & Honey Locust. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 621. Purpleheart, Bubinga & Caribbean Rosewood. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 613. Jatoba, Yellowheart, Padauk & Hard Maple. Double Magic.
People use all sizes of cutting boards … which is something I had to learn.
I now stock as many sizes as possible at each event. In my lexicon, cutting boards are:
- At least 12″ x 12″ x 7/8″
- Made with suitable hardwoods: “hard maple or its equivalent,” as the FDA regulations for commercial applications say. That’s the same regulation that most states copy into their regulations for commercial kitchens. Every cutting board that I make fulfills those requirements.
- Either edge grain or end grain
- Almost every cutting board has non-skid rubber feet, held on with stainless steel screws. I do make some 2-sided boards that don’t have feet, but those are generally smaller than my “cutting board minimum size,” above.
- Almost every cutting board has routed handholds for easy handling of the board. There are some exceptions, but those are generally special orders.
One of my challenges is to create an event display with enough cutting boards to show the breadth of my work, while still making it pretty. I struggle with those two conflicting goals … and there’s a new display and all new look for the booth just around the corner.
Meanwhile, here are the latest 7 boards to make it out of the shop.
Cutting Board 17 – 110. Goncalo Alves, Black Walnut, Honey Locust, Cherry & Jarrah. Edge Grain. 17″ x 21″ x 1-1/2″.
Cutting Board 17 – 416. Hard Maple, Cherry, Jatoba, Padauk, Yellowheart, Hickory, Goncalo Alves & Black Walnut. Chaos Board, End Grain. 13″ x 13″ x 1-1/4″.
Cutting Board 17 – 418. Hard Maple, Jatoba, Purpleheart, Padauk & Black Walnut. End Grain. 14-1/4″ X 15″ X 1-1/8″.
Cutting Board 17 – 417. Purpleheart, Hard Maple & Jatoba. End Grain. 14″ x 21-1/2″ x 1-1/2″.
Cutting Board 17 – 421. Hard Maple, Cherry, Jatoba, Bloodwood, Purpleheart, Honey Locust & Canarywood. End Grain. 11-3/4″ x 15-3/8″ x 1-1/2″.
Cutting Board 17 – 419. Hard Maple, Cherry, Jatoba, Padauk, Yellowheart, Teak, Hickory, White Oak, Purpleheart, Goncalo Alves, Canarywood & Black Walnut. Chaos Board, End Grain. 12″ x 12″ x 1-3/8″.
Cutting Board 17 – 420. Cherry, Hard Maple, White Oak, Padauk, Jatoba & Hickory. End Grain. 11″ x 13-1/2″ x 1-1/8″.
The leftovers. The last ones. The ones that didn’t make it into the right containers. The unsorted.
The odd bits.
These boards were the final ones to make it out of the shop before the long trip north to Fresno. My inventory now officially stands at 236 unique pieces. I have never attained this number before, and it’ll last … well, for a few more hours. Then, it’s back to vendoring.
But wait, there’s more! There are 30+ boards that are nearly complete in the shop; many of them will be complete for next weekend’s Almond Blossom Festival in Quartz Hill. Thank goodness. I wouldn’t want my inventory to slip now that it’s built into such a varied lot.
On to the odd bits: 2 cheese boards, 3 end grain small boards and 3 cutting boards. Some are simple, some are chaos, and one is already sold. The simplicity of the Hard Maple edge grain board – by far the simplest look in this bunch is counterpointed nicely with the end grain chaos board that features 10 different woods.
Of special note are the 3 Black Walnut end grain small boards. I don’t make this kind of board very often … and as I say at nearly every show, there’s nothing like Black Walnut.
Small Board 17 – 216. Black Walnut. End Grain. 11-1/4″ x 9-5/8″ x 1″.
Cheese Board 17 – 320. Padauk, Cherry, Black Walnut & Jatoba. Chaos Board. 8-1/2″ x 11″ x 5/8″.
Cutting Board 17 – 414. Padauk, Cherry, Hard Maple, Bloodwood, Purpleheart, Black Walnut & Jatoba. End Grain. 9-1/2″ x 14″ x 1″. Sold before it was finished.
Small Board 17 – 217. Black Walnut. End Grain. 11-1/4″ x 9″ x 1″.
Cutting Board 17 – 109. Hard Maple, Edge Grain. 11″ x 14″ x 1-1/8″.
Cutting Board 17 – 415. Oak, Hickory, Hard Maple, Jatoba, Padauk, Bloodwood, Canarywood, Goncalo Alves, Yellowheart & Black Walnut. End Grain. Chaos Board. 11″ x 13″ x 1-1/4″.
Cheese Board 17 – 319. Jatoba, Honey Locust, Bloodwood, Jatoba, Hard Maple, Teak & Padauk. Chaos Board. 11″ x 9-1/2″ x 5/8″.
Small Board 17 – 218. Black Walnut. End Grain. 11-1/4″ x 9-5/8″ x 1″.
These took forever.
I’ve had this idea on my wall for 2 years. I wanted to make them, really. I just had to figure it out.
And these took a lot of figuring.
Science is involved, you see. Geometry. Physics. I was called to master gravity itself, and gravity is the consequence of the curvature of spacetime. Gravity forms the galaxies, and it causes the tides. Gravity is nothing to mess with if you’re not prepared.
For the beer drinkers, you see, I had to master magic … but for the wine drinkers, I had to master science.
Make of that what you will.
These wooden Wine Bottle Holders are about 9″ long, but they only stand with a full wine bottle in place. Without the wine, they fall over … unlike humans, who more often fall over with wine, not without it.
Make of that what you will.
I’ve made 8 in this initial run, and half of them have light colored wooden centers, making them ideal for personalization.
Wine Bottle Holder 17 – 03. Purpleheart, Hard Maple & Cherry. Easy to personalize on the Cherry.
Wine Bottle Holder 17 – 02. Bloodwood, Hard Maple & Jatoba.
Wine Bottle Holder 17 – 04. Purpleheart, Hard Maple & Bloodwood.
Wine Bottle Holder 17 – 01. Jatoba, Yellowheart & Maple. The Hard Maple is easy to personalize, as you can see.
It’s been a glorious run. 75 days without an event meant I had time to retire to the
garage woodshop, and really get to making. And then Dr H showed up, and showed me how the professionals do it.
He just recently actually retired, you see, so he’s the professional at, uh, retiring. Me, I’ve got a long way to go before I can say I don’t have a job, just a hobby. And it’s an out of control hobby, at that.
While he was here, I showed him how I do what I do for fun. He even had some fun with me, until I handed him a sander & told him to get to work.
And work he did. That’ll teach him … ’cause that boy needs teaching. And if you know him, you know what I mean.
But, unfortunately, all good things must end and Dr H’s vacation from retirement (which is confusing to me) is over and he’s now on the way home. I’m left sweeping the floors by myself … which is a good thing, as there is a lot of sawdust to clean up. Vacations are over, making is complete for now, and it’s time to get back to vendoring.
This weekend, you’ll find me at the Fresno Home & Garden Show. Big doings in Fresno. Who knew?
This is a solo show for me; Mrs M has concluded she may not belong at Home & Garden Shows. No matter; I’m sure that I’ll be able to find a good time. In Fresno. After all, I’m bringing the magic with me.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 601. Jatoba, Padauk, Cherry & Hard Maple. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 602. Padauk, Hard Maple & Honey Locust. Double Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 603. Yellowheart, Jatoba, Cherry & Mahogany. Single Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 604. Hard Maple, Padauk, Black Walnut & Cherry. Single Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 605. Cherry, Purpleheart, Hard Maple & Bubinga. Single Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 607. Padauk, Honey Locust, Canarywood & Yellowheart. Single Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 608. Padauk, Hard Maple & Honey Locust. Single Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 606. Purpleheart, Bloodwood, Caribbean Rosewood & Canarywood. Single Magic.
Magic Bottle Opener 17 – 609. Jatoba, Padauk, Cherry & Hard Maple. Single Magic.
More Magic Required
The Last Bits Of Magic
It has been a glorious vacation. 75 days without sales events has been a wonderful thing.
We’ve created a monster, you see. I make “Cutting Boards, Wooden Serving Pieces & More” … according to my sign. Mrs M makes her “Handmade Soaps & Lotions” … according to her sign. And we’ve found enough success actually selling those products that we’re now constantly chasing our tails trying to keep up.
And, it’s a good thing. No complaints! But it is a job to keep track of what inventory is needed, and then actually following that siren song of creativity to produce what we must. That’s how creativity works: you must create to scratch that itch. You must.
Luckily, this week I’ve had the recently retired Dr H in the shop, and he’s helped me through the many steps of making those several different products, including a rather large one that he’s taking home. He also helped me think through the, ummm, shall we say unusual production of a new product, but that’s a story for another day.
Getting covered with sawdust relaxes him, he says. Everyone has their own wacky ways of having fun, it seems.
Here’s the latest to make it out of the shop:
Cheese Board 17 – 316. Hard Maple, Cherry, Honey Locust & Yellowheart. 10″ x 11-1/2″ x 1/2″.
Small Board 17 – 214. Purpleheart, Cherry, Bubinga, Hard Maple & Bloodwood. 10″ x 11-1/2″ x 3/4″.
Small Board 17 – 215. Hard Maple, Purpleheart, Padauk & Jatoba. 10-1/2″ x 11-1/4″ x 3/4″.
Cheese Board 17 – 316. Yellowheart, Goncalo Alves, Hard Maple, Cherry & Purpleheart. 11-1/2″ x 11-1/4″ x 1/2″.
Cheese Board 17 – 318. Jatoba, Purpleheart, Cherry, Goncalo Alves & Bloodwood. Chaos Board. 11-1/4″ x 11-1/2″ x 1/2″.
Small Board 17 – 209. Hard Maple, Purpleheart & Jatoba. 10-1/2″ x 10″ x 3/4″.
Small Board 17 – 211. Hard Maple, Bloodwood, Cherry, Purpleheart & Bubinga. 11-1/2″ x 12″ x 3/4″.
Small Board 17 – 212. Purpleheart, Cherry, Hard Maple, Bubinga & Bloodwood. 11-1/2″ x 11-3/4″ x 3/4″.
Small Board 17 – 210. Hard Maple, Purpleheart, Padauk & Jatoba. 9-1/4″ x 10-1/2″ x 3/4″.
Small Board 17 – 213. Black Walnut, Cherry, Yellowheart, Canarywood, Padauk, Caribbean Rosewood, Purpleheart & Jatoba. 11-1/4″ x 11-1/2″ x 3/4″.
Small Boards & Cheese Boards … And How They’re Different
75 days off from events.
With that much time off, chaos has returned.
Mrs M found her way into the
garage woodshop, and used her mad left brain skills to create some boards that are … different.
In some cases, very different.
The results are unique, and won’t be found again. Chaos boards are not bilaterally symmetrical, as most of my boards are. These boards find their own balancing point … in the chaos.
Cutting Board 17 – 408. Chaos board, End Grain. 13″ x 13″ x 1-1/4″.
Cutting Board 17 – 409. This was built to be a chaos board … but didn’t end up that way. End Grain. 12-1/2″ x 13″ x 1-1/4″.
Cutting Board 17 – 410. Chaos Board, End Grain. Jatoba, Cherry, Padauk, Black Walnut, White Oak, Hard Maple, Canarywood, Hickory, Purpleheart & Yellowheart. 9-1/2″ x 13-1/4″ x 1-1/4″.
Cutting Board 17 – 411. Chaos Board, End Grain. Black Walnut, Hard Maple, Cherry, White Oak, Purpleheart, Jatoba, Hickory, Goncalo Alves, Yellowheart & Canarywood. 13-1/2″ x 17-3/4″ x 1-1/4″.
Cutting Board 17 -412. Chaos Board, End Grain. Cherry, Oak, Hard Maple, Black Walnut, Padauk, Hickory, Canarywood, Yellowheart, Purpleheart & Bloodwood. 13-1/2″ x 16″ x 1-1/4″.
Once upon a time, there was a Lady that suggested I make cutting boards. I had made the mistake of telling her that the glue-up process was the same as the technique I used for the just-completed routed bowls I had made …
… and she said, “Make me a cutting board.”
Because her wish is my command, I did.
With age comes wisdom, you see.
I carefully selected the woods for her board:
Honey Locust – because as nice as she is … she definitely has thorns
Cherry – because she can be sweet
Jatoba – because sometimes I have no idea what she means
Walnut – because she’s definitely nutty
Tigerwood – because I’ve seen her angry
You can see a photo essay on the making of her original board here, as well as a follow-up post when I restored the board to like-new condition after 4 years of use, here.
Once upon a time, but more recently, the Lady suggested that she would like another cutting board for the counter, but smaller than the first cutting board I made her. Knowing that I had no choice in the matter, I took her wish as my command. I of course thought that I should use matching woods for the boards that will be displayed in the same kitchen as the original board, and here is what resulted:
Cutting Board 17 – 108. Goncalo Alves, Black Walnut, Honey Locust, Jatoba & Cherry. Edge Grain. 11″ x 17″ x 1″.
And because you always give a Lady just a bit more than she expects, she also got this small board:
Small Board 17 – 208. Goncalo Alves, Black Walnut, Jatoba, Honey Locust & Cherry. 8″ x 11″ x 1″.
“We have a big family,” they said.
I love doing special orders for people, so they get exactly what they want. This lady wanted a Lazy Susan.
A big Lazy Susan.
So, that’s what she got.
This Susan is 30″ across. It actually took me 6 glue-ups after a couple of mistakes that had to be fixed. The woods used are Black Walnut, Yellowheart, Hard Maple, Cherry & Purpleheart. And, as you may have surmised from seeing the pictures, this was a chaos Lazy Susan.
However, the story doesn’t end there. Since this is a really, really big Susan, I had to make a really, really big square to cut the circle out of. And, when you cut out a big circle, you leave big corners behind … and these were big enough, I just had to do something with them. In my latest batch of boards, this new cheese board was the one that everyone commented on, as it’s a new style for me.
“Make more, make more!” they all said.
Now if I can just find someone that wants to buy several large Lazy Susans….
Lazy Susan 17 – 01. Black Walnut, Yellowheart, Cherry, Hard Maple & Purpleheart. 30″ diameter. Commissioned piece.
Here’s the Susan with 12″ steel rules included in the picture to give the size of the piece some perspective.
Sometimes the need for inspiration propels the ability to have it. Doing things differently can be a very good thing!
Cheese Board 17 – 315. Purpleheart, Hard Maple, Cherry, Black Walnut & Yellowheart. Chaos board. 11″ x 11″ x 3/4″.