Archive for the ‘Cutting board’ Tag

The Cheese Slicer Success   Leave a comment

After a successful debut for this new product, it was back to the shop to make more before I ran out. 16 started … 15 made it to the finish line. One had a facial blowout along the way, so that one found its way to the recycling barrel.

These slicers are between 6″ and 7″ wide, and all are 11″ long. They’ve got non-skid rubber feet, and are now Mrs M approved.

She chose one of these (it’s in the first picture) to go into her personal collection. She doesn’t do that often, so I’ll take that sign of approval when I can!

If you’re in the mood for some expertly sliced cheese, you’ll find these at the Simi Valley Street Fair this Saturday. You’ll find me in booths 1901 and 1902.

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New: Cheese Slicers

The Board Chronicles: KHTS Home & Garden Show 2019   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.

First, a note about my long absence from writing these Chronicles.

I’ve been busy. I’ve been behind.

Way, Way Behind.

Way.

I have resolved to catch up, though, and one way to not get farther behind is to not let more events pile up in my “I have to write about this” pile.

This is my 5th time doing the KHTS Home & Garden Show … and it’s their 10th Annual show. It’s my home town. It’s a radio-sponsored event. It’s also city-sponsored; their Arbor Day celebration is a big part of this event which takes place in Santa Clarita’s Central Park … Soccer Fields # 7 & 8, if I remember correctly from my refereeing days.

You bet I’m there.

New Ideas

  • It just seems like a new idea … Mrs M joined me at the event! This is the first Mrs M event since December.
  • Lots of new products here for me: Cheese Slicers, Magic Knife Holders, Clocks, CNC Signs, Cribbage Boards, Card Boxes, Charcuterie Boards….

Observations

  • I was behind (remember?), so I was finishing product on Friday morning instead of setting up. It was a lovely day, this Friday. It got up to 85*. So, that’s when I finally got to do the setup. When it was the heat of the day.
  • And this is our largest setup: the Trimline 10×20 canopy + a 10×10 pop-up Undercover canopy. Yes, for the 3rd year we did a 10×30 at this hometown show, in an “L” shape. My solo setup was 4+ hours in the heat.
  • I did as much as I could stand, and then stopped. No awnings for this event. I just didn’t have it in me.
  • The event starts with the Arbor Day celebration, complete with free tree giveaway to several hundred people (no clue how many … but it was a lot of trees). Those seeking free stuff didn’t seem to be my customers, but there was lots of early traffic. Lots.
  • In spite of the seemingly good traffic … we were down to prior year. Down 13%, the tally showed. Maybe Sunday….
  • The headline of this event for me was legacy. I had 4 different people come to the booth, tell me that they came to the event just to order something from me, and then proceeded to do so. 4 special orders at one event, all caused by people knowing I would be there … that’s never happened before.
  • Legacy.
  • Sunday started slowly, as all Sundays seem to. A couple of the special orders happened, then a big board sold … but it seemed like we were going to be short again. Then a large special order came in right at closing, which was great.
  • Then a couple of vendors came over after closing and picked up smaller boards. That’s what did it.

Best. Santa. Clarita. Event. Ever.

  • By $4. We beat last year by $4.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Lunches at this event were from the food trucks that KHTS brings in, and they do well. There were 10 trucks, so there was lots of choices. Definitely recommended.
  • Honorable Mention: I had to go out early Sunday morning to buy groceries (!), so I stopped at Jimmy Dean’s for a breakfast burrito. Delish.
  • Worst Meal: We tried to go to Marston’s at 8p on Sunday … but they closed early due to lack of business (the manager said that!), so we ended up at Wolf Creek. I was very disappointed … the pasta I had was Oh So Bland. We may not be back … until the next Sunday 8p dinner. Options are limited at that time, we’ve found.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 18
  • Total sales: $2,690
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 3
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: many
  • Saturday alarm: 4:45a
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 49
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there were 5, which is too many for an event this size. One soaper came by & told Mrs M that Mrs M’s display last year is what inspired her to get serious about making soap!
  • # woodworking vendors: Several. Everyone does different types of work, though.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 20:2
  • Returning next year? Yes

Boards sold: 22

  • Special Orders: 4
  • Hearts: 3
  • Cutting Boards: 3
  • Surfboards: 2
  • Trivets: 2
  • Coaster Sets: 2
  • CNC Sign: 1
  • Small Board: 1
  • Cheese Board: 1
  • Large Serving Piece: 1

The Return Of LSPs   1 comment

It’s been almost a year since I made Large Serving Pieces, or LSPs. I sold out of them months ago, of course, but I never quite got around to making more.

The set-up to make these is unique, and the nibbling away at the underside of the board to make the cove cuts that I’m so happy with … well, it takes awhile. And, today, it’s probably the dirtiest job I do in the shop. I made 15 of these LSPs this time. It took most of a day to do the primary shaping, and I covered the shop in dust.

Detail of Large Serving Piece 18 – 05.

The cove cuts are done by taking the work piece across the blade at an oblique angle … and that launches the dust to the left of the blade before the dust collector has much of a chance to get it. Further, these are open-faced cuts, so the above-the-table dust collection that I’ve recently added is disconnected. This cut that can only be done with the blade fully exposed.

Dust flies. A lot of dust flies.

That’s just a hazard of what I do. While making the cove cuts, I used a very large pushing device to keep my hand away from the cutting edge. I wore hearing protection and eye protection … next time, I’ll add a dust mask, too.

Because, you see, there will be a next time. I really enjoy making these unique pieces – even though birthing that unique design creates a bit of disruption on the shop!

All LSPs come with non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws. They have a food-ready finish: mineral oil + board butter, which is made with locally harvested beeswax.

I Love Making Big Ones   1 comment

Big cutting boards are a challenge … and the most satisfying when I reach the finish line.

Every cook needs a good cutting board, and these are the best. Here’s why:

  • End grain boards are like butcher’s blocks – a design that has been used for centuries. These boards are harder than edge grain boards (where you cut on the sides of the boards, actually scoring wood fibers). Here, you cut on the ends of the boards, with the grain pointing up.
  • End grain boards show less wear. And, when you oil these, they self heal. These boards look great sitting out on a counter.
  • Juice grooves are an option for these boards. It’s a philosophical question, really … so some have grooves, and some don’t. You’re an adult, you get to choose.
  • All boards have non-skid rubber feet, held on with stainless steel screws.
  • All boards have routed finger holds so they’re easy to pick up and move around.

The first board is one of my favorite “colorific” designs. I’ve now made this board twice, though each iteration had a different wood design. That’s normal for me: there are very few designs that I do repeatedly. Two designs here that I am repeating are the “Basic Cutting Board,” which is the simple Hard Maple/Black Walnut/Cherry design that there are 2 versions of, below. I try to always have that classic design on hand.

The other design that I’ve come to really like is is the third board, Cutting Board 19 – 303, which is Black Walnut, Hard Maple, Jatoba & Mesquite. I love the color blend on the edge, and the top notch work surface of Hard Maple in the center. Of course, I’m now out of Mesquite, so ….

Come see these and others this weekend in Santa Clarita! Mrs M and I will be at the KHTS Home & Garden Show in Central Park, Saturday & Sunday. We’re right by the free plant giveaway (yes, free) in the middle of the outdoor exhibits. It’s all a part of Santa Clarita’s official Arbor Day celebration. Come say hi!

New: Cheese Slicers   4 comments


These have been in my head for 18 months.

Crowded, it was.

Finally, these have sprung to life after I sat on the hardware for way, way too long.

Painful, it was.

These cheese slicers are each 7″ x 11″ x 7/8″. The slicer is a stainless steel wire that sits in the slot until it’s called upon to guillotine the cheese. In the first use of these, we found that they were interactive: perfect entertainment for a 7 year old boy.

Fun, it was.

This first run features 2 colors of handles: black and chrome. Each of the slicers has non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws, as does just about everything I make.

Want to see these live? You’ll have to be in Lake Havasu City, AZ this weekend for Winterfest. I know I’ll be there. Come join me!

Variety Is The Key For Me   Leave a comment

If you’re looking for same old, same old … don’t come to me.

I hope.

I’ve seen that my sales grow when I offer an incredible variety of wood designs, shapes, sizes and approaches to the things I make. I know that some woodworkers that do what i do make the same thing over and over … and, simply, that’s not for me. I would find that boring … and I believe that my customers would, as well.

Variety it is.

Here are a collection of serving pieces and shaped boards. Some are for cutting, some aren’t … their new owners will get to choose what they use them for.

Hover your cursor over the photo while on your laptop and computer (or click on the image using any device), and you’ll see the file name. That tells you what I call the piece. You can call it anything you like.

Sometimes, Small Is Good   Leave a comment

I make small cutting boards. Some people use these just for cutting fruit. Or, maybe these boards end up as a dedicated garlic/onion board.

Maybe it’s as big a cutting board as you need.

All good! These may not be big enough to prepare a holiday meal for a large gathering, but they have proven to be one of my most enduring, popular products. Many people add one of these small boards as a 2nd board, a holiday gift … or even use them as I name the thinner version: a cheese board.

In my lexicon, a Cheese Boards is about 8″ x 11″ x 5/8″. A Small Board is thicker, and no larger than 12″ x 12″ x 1″.

The names, though, are really only important to me. These are small cutting boards. This post catches me up with all of this type of board made at the end of the year for holiday giving, Kickstarter supporters and more.

The first few pictures are of a new design of small board that I’m trying. Each is 11″ x 11″ x 7/8″, and have a juice groove for those that prefer that, even on these relatively small boards. Enjoy!

New: Magic Knife Holders   Leave a comment

When my Magic Bottle Openers (AKA MBOs) were introduced, people didn’t understand the magic.

I don’t understand invisible forces, either. I just know it’s magic when a cap is caught out of the air by a piece of wood.

Time will tell if these Magic Knife Holders (MKHs, naturally) will find their audience. Here are the first 4 out of the shop. All are 18″ long, and have loads o’ magic to capture knives & keep them stuck to the MKH.

Each MKH comes with 2 screws for mounting. Hardware is pre-installed. The provided screws will work on wallboard or in wood.

The 400th Cutting Board   2 comments

I make a wide variety of things now … but I love making cutting boards.

Having survived loved my wonderful cook of a wife for 40+ years now, I appreciate how a good kitchen tool can make all of the difference.

Happy wife, happy life.

I make cutting boards with her voice in my ear telling me what works & what doesn’t. I combine those, uh, suggestions with my love of color and symmetry to deliver cutting boards that will last you for decades.

In 2018, I ramped up production at the end of the year to have a wide variety of boards for the big, big events that preceded the holidays. This board was the 400th piece in my inventory – the first time ever that I’ve had that many things ready for sale at one time.

Rare air. It lasted for a weekend … and then inventory dove as the holiday season progressed. Back to the shop!

Cutting Board 18 – 747. Purpleheart, Hard Maple & Jatoba. End Grain. 14″ x 20″ x 1-1/2″.

More

The 350th Cutting Board (8/16/18)

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)

The Board Chronicles: California Avocado Festival 2018   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.

Their slogan is “Peace, Love & Guacamole.” Who can’t get behind that?

This was our 3rd trek to Carpinteria to enjoy the California Avocado Festival. It’s been a good event for us; you can read about previous successes in 2016 and 2017.

Though we have enjoyed this event, it is not without its challenges. The event is expensive, for one: a 10×10 is $450 (corner is $550). Plus, they take a $100 cleaning deposit to ensure you leave the asphalt in the middle of the street as clean as you found it.

Seriously.

Finding an affordable hotel in Santa Barbara County is also a challenge. This year, we’re opting for an AirBnB which is still pricey, but when you are a bit north of an hour from home, it’s difficult to drive home after a hard day of vendoring.

Mrs M got her avocado soap made, and my inventory is in pretty good shape these days. Let’s see what is in store for us in Carpinteria.

New Ideas

  • After being off for 7 weeks, Mrs M had nearly forgotten how to go a-vendoring. We both took too long to set up … it was almost 4 hours. Not. Good.
  • Cribbage boards are not completely finished, but I have a dozen to take to the event. This will be the first time I’ve shown the options with, uh, options.

Observations

  • Getting to our AirBnB proved to be an adventure. We followed my old, portable GPS which led us to a washed out bridge on a twisty overgrown mountain road. Good times. I then *read the directions* from our hostess, got back on the freeway and drove to our home for the weekend without further incident. Thank goodness.
  • I know inventory is expanding. I have 6 containers of signs. 2 containers of cribbage boards. 3 containers of cheese boards, and I have no idea how many cutting boards. No wonder setup takes 4 hours.
  • The sign making business is a competitive one, and I note that a lot of people are taking pictures of my signs … many without asking permission. Some artists put up “No Pictures, Please” signs. Some just say “No Pictures!” I think the signs are ineffective (I have signs displayed on an outer wall … am i supposed to get up and police people throughout the day?), but I wonder if I should do that. My signs are popular; should I let people copy what I do without even asking for my permission?
  • So far, my answer is to follow Elsa’s advice: “Let it go.”
  • Carpinteria is 66 miles away … and this event is a good getaway from Santa Clarita, apparently. At one point, someone asked where I lived in Santa Clarita, and 3 groups in my booth at the same time were all from Santa Clarita … and didn’t know each other!
  • Best moment of the day was when a very young lady solemnly passed her ZooSoapia turtle to me so that we could wrap it up for her. She was very focused on not hurting her turtle. Total cuteness, in the booth.
  • At the end of the event, I did ask our event representative what the official policy was on “handmade” in our handmade section. He called over some other guy on the 2-way, and the other guy said everything should be 100% handmade.
  • Uh, no.
  • I think a good clue is that my neighbor for the last 3 years brought merchandise in a box labeled “Made in China.” That’s a clue, right?
  • Both load in and load out were extremely tight. A double row of booths is in the center of the street, and a row of parked cars and a driving lane is on each side. Very tight. During load out, a vendor driving a U-Haul van hit our canopy with her mirror.
  • She got to meet Frenzied Velda. As Geena Davis said in The Fly, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
  • After Frenzied Velda came out, the organizer apologized to us several times.
  • This event has been very good for us … but in our 3rd year, we were down from our 2nd year … which was down from our fantastic 1st year. It’s still a good event, but it’s also a very high cost event. There are alternatives that we must consider for 2019.
  • Requests were for custom signs (at least 6x!), a kitchen counter and a Go board. Time will tell if any actual orders follow, which will affect how we look at this event.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Breakfast at Esau’s, which is half a block from our booth. It’s an annual treat.
  • Honorable Mention: Dinner at Clementine’s, another annual treat … with blackberry pie to go.
  • Worst Meal: A getaway chicken sandwich at Carl’s Jr after teardown. The fries weren’t edible … and I didn’t want to eat, really. I wanted to go home. But, ya gotta eat, y’know?

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 175
  • Booth cost: $950
  • Food cost: $181
  • Travel cost: $423
  • Total sales: $3,047
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $1,453
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: Several
  • Saturday alarm: 4:45a
  • Sunday alarm: 5:45a
  • # transactions: 115
  • # soap & lotion vendors: At least 5
  • # woodworking vendors: There were several; one does work similar to mine
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 25:2
  • Returning next year? Maybe

Boards sold: 27

Signs: 11x

Cribbage Boards: 4x

Cutting Boards: 3x

Cheese Boards: 2x

Trivets: 2x

Large Serving Piece: 2x

Coasters: 2x

Small Board: 1x

 

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