Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category

Cribbage Is My #1 Game   Leave a comment

Cribbage boards are a top seller for me. That’s a wonderful thing … but it created a problem over the holidays. I sold too many.

So, I had to make more.

That solves the problem, pretty much.

The problem is that my inventory needs to be broad, my time is precious … and I’m yet to catch up with anything. I’m still behind with cribbage boards: I have 3 special orders to do, as well as holes in my existing inventory that need to be filled.

It’s always something. And that, my friends, is a wonderful problem to have.

In Search Of New Signs   Leave a comment

At most events, people tell me about signs that I SHOULD make. Usually, they’re wrong.

I make signs about Food. Family. And, Wine/Beer/Liquor.

That’s it.

I don’t make signs about pets. I don’t make signs about politics. I don’t make signs about how awful my wife is: I don’t lie. My signs are truthful, from my perspective. My signs are family friendly … because they should be.

I will custom make a sign for people; no problem. But the signs that hand in my booth are about food, family, & drinking. Good times. Good people.

That’s it.

These signs are replacements for those sold late in the year, plus a couple of new ones: the quotes from George Carlin and Ernest Hemingway.

All of these signs will be at my next event … in 3 weeks, at the Fresno Home & Garden Show. I hope to see you there!

The Rest Of The Stuff   Leave a comment

When the shop is humming, I make a wide variety of things.

Oh, I do most of my pieces in batches … I might make 24 cheese slicers at once, or perhaps 6 large cutting boards. But when I start a new batch of things, I typically do 50 or so glue ups (which takes a couple of days). Since some glue ups (what I call “blanks” before they are cut to final shape) are cut into 2 different pieces, I often end up with about 75 pieces being worked on in the shop at the same time.

One blank makes 2 Cheese Boards. One blank makes 4 Coasters. One blank makes 6 Cracker Things. Cutting Boards are always made one at a time, as are handled boards (“Sous Chef Boards”), Cribbage Boards, Signs….

I always like to take what the lumber gives me … which means sometimes I’ll find a board that tells me exactly what I have to do with that piece RIGHT NOW. That’s how the Black Walnut Charcuterie with live edges got made: I found the unusual and perfect board, and I had to make that singular piece.

Other times, something will happen that makes a piece fall out of the production cycle. Perhaps it has a problem that has to get fixed, I run out of time to get everything to the finish line, or maybe it just gets forgotten amidst the chaos.

It happens.

In any event, here’s a collection of recent pieces that made it to the finish line. To quote Bill Murray in Groundhog Day: “I’m versatile.”

Handles Are A Good Thing   1 comment

With this new batch of boards, I’ve accomplished 2 goals for 2020:

  1. I’ve got a beginning inventory – again – of handled boards.
  2. I’ve put together a good photography indoor set up that I can use.

I was most disappointed in the photography for the last post. Just like with these photos, it was done indoors … but I used a white background that was totally over-exposed when I did the shots. Having dark boards in front of a very light background is not good … this set up was much better, and the colors of the individual boards are very realistic in these photos.

Thank goodness.

All of the new handled boards will be at this weekend’s event in Lake Havasu City, AZ … Winterfest. It will be my 3rd annual trip to this event, and I hope to see you there!

A Charcuterie Board   Leave a comment

I recently read in a woodworker’s forum that the reason to use the term charcuterie is just so you can charge more for the board.

Hogwash.

When I started making boards, I didn’t even know what “charcuterie” was. It’s a French term for prepared meats, such as bacon, ham, sausage, etc. And, in reality, any board can be used for charcuterie, just as any board can be used for cutting, cheese & crackers, fruits, or what have you.

Any of my boards, anyway.

These boards are my choice for charcuterie. I love the curvy edges. The board just feels right in your hand.

Your mileage may vary, of course. Buy one of these, and you can call them anything you want!

Getting It Handled   3 comments

These aren’t a new idea.

These aren’t really a new design … but they are definitely a bit different. The handle is longer. There’s a juice groove on most of them. Not quite new, I think, but definitely different.

I’ve got a plan, you see.

I call these boards Sous Chef boards, as I think they are mobile. Give one to your assistant to chop an onion … and then they can carry the board to their workspace, chop away, and then return to you so the onion can be added to your work.

It’s good to have help. And, a mobile board works best with a handle, I think.

So, here’s the first batch in a long time of handled boards. But, wait, there’s more.

I’m making 3 other related designs with handles, and combining them with a 4th serving piece/cutting board that’s going to be my next post. When all 5 of these boards are done, I’ll be making a new interactive display to hold them all.

Big display. Big idea.

So you see, it’s all in process, but I’m going to get it handled.

Choosing: A Very Good Idea   Leave a comment

This was one of my Mrs M’s best ideas of 2019.

The idea was so good, fortunately, that I was required to make a LOT of them. A good problem to have, yes?

Garlic Dipping Boards, for the win. These are 2-sided boards. One side has a carve-out to sit the Great Garlic Grater into, and the other side is plain … to be used for charcuterie, or serving bread, or whatever you like. You’re an adult, you get to choose.

There are 2 shapes of Great Garlic Graters, hexagonal & square. The buyer also gets to choose which shape, then the color of the GGG, and then the wood design of the Garlic Dipping Board to pair with it. Choosing is part of the fun.

Some say that I make the choosing very hard … and I believe that is my job. You see, I get to choose, too.

New: Dough Boards With Hooks   2 comments

These boards are called many things: bread boards. Pasta boards. And, dough boards.

These purpose-built boards can be used for cutting boards, but they are really intended to do 2 things:

  1. Provide a flat surface for rolling out dough
  2. Catch the edge of the counter, and don’t move as you push the dough with your rolling pin

These boards are designed for 2-sided use. One side is plain, but the other has an engraved ruler and graduated circles to help you roll out the perfect-sized circles of dough for pie crusts … or whatever.

The “hooks” are the boards at the top & bottom of the board that are mounted on opposite sides. The one at the bottom will catch the edge of your counter when you work your dough, keeping your board stable. At the same time, the one at the top of the board will keep you from going off the edge. These aren’t literally hooks, but that’s the traditional name of this device. I’ve attached the hooks with dowel joinery.

Another traditional name with these boards are the “bread board ends.” These are the boards on each side that run perpendicular to the horizontal pieces of the main work surface. These are attached with tenon and mortise joinery; the tenon runs the length of the board. The cross grain strength of these boards will keep this relatively thin board flat. There’s a good explanation of this traditional woodworking element, below.

Each board is 18″ square and 3/4″ thick. One of these was a custom order; the other will go with me to my first show this year … Winterfest in Lake Havasu City, AZ, next month.

More

Breadboard Ends

Grandma Mowry’s Chocolate Pie

Last Ones   Leave a comment

It’s been a long year, and in many ways, a difficult one. Not in the shop so much … it’s when I venture out of the shop that bad things happen. Sometimes.

But, good news, I’m not leaving the shop for a while. That’s good: I can do some interesting work if I just give myself enough creative time!

I’ll be working on a few shop upgrades (FINALLY) over the next couple of weeks, as well as finishing up the last few boards that didn’t make it to the finish line. I have about 30 pieces in process including bread saws, cutting boards, cribbage boards and a, uh, new piece of wall decor. They all need a bit more attention, but that’s for another day. Thankfully.

Here’s the latest, and last 2019 treats, to make it to the finish line.

Yes, I Do Custom Work   Leave a comment

Yes, I personalize. Yes, I can customize. But, as the sign in the booth says, “Quickly? Maybe. Or Not.”

I can do things well, or I can do them quickly. It’s my goal to never move quickly if that compromises the work.

One of these pieces required a new technique: the cutting board, that was a wedding gift for Jaclyn & Spencer, had to have the board on the front edge carved on the CNC, and THEN I assembled the board. After the glue-up, I still had to do shaping & smoothing without damaging the personalization. Love the result, but it did take time to get it right. This was not a rush order for a last minute gift!

These pieces range from the aforementioned wedding gift to home decor to business gifts to special gifts for friends that have moved to the other side of the world. These special gifts are often a challenge to make, candidly. They always require special handling. But, I love the smiles on the faces of happy customers when they choose me to be the guy that makes their idea come to life.

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