Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category

Simple Designs   Leave a comment

It was 14 months ago that I first discussed a special project for a restaurant that was in development. The manager found me at a craft fair, and wanted me to make some special serving pieces for him.

Well, OK then.

After following up with my contact immediately after the event and then again about 13 months ago, I assumed this idea would not move forward.

1 month ago, the phone rang. The restaurant was finally to the point that they almost knew what they wanted. After some design discussions, they gave me direction for 4 pieces … and I decided to make 8 different pieces on spec.

They offered to pay me for the work, but I know that if they don’t like the pieces, then someone else will. The ideas here are very simple – the food will be the star, I’m sure!

I meet with the managers this week, and I’ll let you know how it goes. Here’s what we will be discussing.

 

A New Coat For Susan   Leave a comment

Susan gets a new coat with this batch.

As with yesterday’s clipboards, these Lazy Susans are finished with “wipe on poly,” or polyurethane. I then added a topcoat of wax.

The three Black Walnut Susans really show the incredible variety of Black Walnut. I say it all the time: there’s nothing like Black Walnut.

In these pieces, you can clearly see the wide array of colors that can come out in some piece of Black Walnut: purples, turquoises, reds … as well as the much more common browns and creams.

Since I was having so much fun playing with the Walnut, it’s odd that a single board with a totally different design snuck in there, but sneak it did. It’s a good thing, too: my updated inventory of Lazy Susans tells me I only have 11 pieces for next week’s event. That’s fine … but 11 pieces won’t take me though October, much less the end of the year.

I have some long nights ahead of me!

For The Clippers   1 comment

I’ve been told these are old fashioned.

I’ve been told these are simply fabulous.

I’m pretty sure it all depends on your attitude towards paper. If it’s in your life, then clipboards probably have a special place in your heart.

If your goal is to be paperless, well, then just move along. Nothing to see here.

These pieces introduce a new idea for me: I’ve decided to make non-food items not have a food-ready finish.

I’m an innovator.

So, these clipboards are finished with “wipe on poly” … polyurethane. After the urethane was dried & smoothed, I then put on a wax topcoat … because that’s how I do.

Each clipboard has a 1/2″ clip. 2 sizes here: letter size and notepad size. Enjoy!

Cheesy, Or Small?   1 comment

A long time ago, I recall a fabulous late night conversation about plants that are confused. Trees think they are bushes. Bushes think they are trees. Very confusing times.

Alcohol may have been involved.

Today, I confront a similar conundrum. I make cheese boards … and people want them to be cutting boards. I make small cutting boards … and people think they are perfect for serving cheese.

My job, therefore, is to get out of the way and let people choose what they like, and use them how they like.

I’m good with that. Just like I’m good with bushes that think they are trees. After all, everyone should have a dream.

The shop has been humming for the last several weeks, even though you haven’t seen much of what I’ve been doing. There’s big stuff going on … and here’s a small taste of what I’ve been able to get out of the shop this week.

From The Shop: I Have A Problem   1 comment

To do what I do in the shop, I buy lumber.

I have a problem.

When you buy wood, you’re buying a natural product that is not perfect. Wood has knots. Checks. Voids. Cracks. Part of the intrigue of the craft is figuring out what to do with each piece of wood: finding the perfect project for each piece. That sounds like fun … until you get a piece like this one.

Black Walnut, 8/4 stock, with a knot and void … on this side. Sapwood (the light colored, younger wood) showing on the right edge.

This is an end cut – the end of a big, long board that was left because it’s just a bit short. I primarily use 24″ lengths of “8/4,” or “eight quarter,” lumber to make large cutting boards. This end cut piece is … 23″ x 12-1/4.” If I use that with longer lumber, I just end up shortening the good pieces I pair it with into waste, so this piece has to wait for me to find another use for it. A perfect use.

And it’s been waiting a long time.

This is a financial decision, in part. This end cut board is 2 full board feet, so it cost about $20. You don’t just throw away $20.

The problem isn’t readily apparent on the front side of the board … but when you flip it over to look at the back, the challenge is apparent:

The small knot at the bottom doesn’t look too bad, though it goes completely through the board. However, the large knot at the top is a big defect that’s hidden inside the board and travels towards the other knot. I think. That entire chalk circle is waste … in the middle of the board.

When a cut off board is waiting for me to find inspiration, it lives in the shop in some nook or cranny until I can figure out what to do with it. The root problem for me is that I’m out of nooks. And crannies.

I have no space. No. Space.

That means boards that are waiting for me to find the “perfect use” sit out on the floor, leaning against a handy vertical, just waiting for me to trip over them. Or knock them over. Or have to move them so I can get at whatever is being blocked.

And then move them back again.

Yesterday, I’d had enough of this double defect board, and inspiration was not forthcoming. Doesn’t matter; time to cut it up and see what what’s what.  I chalked the outline of the board, and ended up with one long piece that’s 4″ wide. I got 2x smaller rectangular pieces that will end up as routed bowls. Or something. And, I got a little bonus piece that … will find it’s way into a nook or cranny along with many other walnut pieces that look just like it.

I need a new plan.

Someday.

 

 

Cutting On The Edge   Leave a comment

There are 2 basic kinds of cutting boards: edge grain & end grain. Today’s boards are all edge grain.

Today we celebrate stripes. It is Bastille Day, after all!

All of these boards are made with a variety of hardwoods, both domestic & international. They are made to be of use, and with proper care will last for decades. What’s proper care? Check out my post on that topic, here.

All of these boards have non-skid rubber feet, held on with stainless steel screws for long life. All of these boards have routed fingerholds to make them easier to handle.

If you like what you see, all of these – and more – will be on display at this weekend’s solo event for me at the Camarillo Fiesta & Street Fair. Yup, I’m going to the Street Fair this weekend. After all, it’s my birthday. I’m entitled!

Mrs M isn’t coming along, though … she has to “work” at her “job.” She says.

I hope to see you on Saturday & Sunday at the Camarillo Fiesta & Street Fair, at booth # 128.

Clipping Right Along   Leave a comment

The truth of the matter is I like making clipboards.

That’s much to the chagrin of Mrs M, who just doesn’t get it. She works in a paperless office. A virtual world. You could argue that it’s a fantasy world of her own making, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Some people, however, still use real paper to write real words with a real pencil. Or pen. And those people seem to love my clipboards.

After receiving an order for three, I finally got enough shop time to make this batch of 9. One of those is notepad size, and the rest are letter size. All have 1/2″ clips.

With this batch, I’m using a polyurethane finish. Since these boards don’t need to be food ready … they aren’t.

Innovation, on a clip board.

I find that satisfying, so I’m going to keep making these!

Surfers Need Cutting Boards, Too   Leave a comment

I didn’t know surfboard-shaped cutting boards were a thing until I listened to a customer.

Listening. That’s an important thing.

By listening, I’ve learned that just about everyone in SoCal knows a surfer. And when they know a surfer ….

I’ve had senior citizens in the booth tell me that the cutting board in their hand is designed “just like” the surfboard they rode, way back when. And that’s a good thing, in my humble estimation.

Some people use these for cutting; others use them for serving pieces. Some just think they’re fun & want to have them around.

I’ve finally come to terms with it: I make wall art for some people.

So, I may try and be of use to people, but some people just want me for the eye candy.

And who could possibly object to that?

The Latest, Big & Small   Leave a comment

Cutting boards, cheese boards … this post is a potpourri of recent making.

When I’m in the shop and doing what I call free styling … it’s hard to tell what might come out.

In this collection, there are some large, end grain boards because those are selling, suddenly, and I needed more. And that’s a good thing.

Also in this collection is one of the smallest boards I’ve made, because those seem to sell as quickly as I make them. Perhaps I need to get small, in the immortal words of Steve Martin?

I don’t think there’s a wrong answer, honestly. If you want to go big, or get small, then let’s go!

Boards That Are Handled   3 comments

I designed Sous Chef Boards after watching the family work with Velda in the kitchen … her assistants were given assignments to go chop this or slice that, and then they returned to her with the product of their toils. They needed a mobile something, and I started making these handled cutting boards.

These are the larger version of Sous Chef Boards … and therein lies the tale.

You see, when I started making this batch of large Sous Chef Boards, I started experimenting with the handles: length and width were both in play. And then I played with the cutting surface itself, with sizes ranging from 9″ to 11″ wide.

I then discovered that those boards with a lot of Jatoba or Purpleheart were heavier than those with a lot of Hard Maple or Black Walnut, due to their increased density.

Can’t wait to take these 10 boards to market and see who likes what.

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