Archive for the ‘handcrafted by Henry Mowry’ Tag

The Cleverest Waitress In The World   2 comments

George III mahogany Lazy Susan, circa 1780, sold for about $3,900 by Christie's in London in 2010. Photo credit: Christies.

George III mahogany Lazy Susan, circa 1780, sold for about $3,900 by Christie’s in London in 2010. Photo credit: Christies.

We don’t know. We just don’t know.

The origin of the term “Lazy Susan” was probably in the 20th century … it was used to promote Ovington’s $8.50 mahogany “Revolving Server or Lazy Susan” in a 1917 Vanity Fair ad. That ad also stated that the device was “the cleverest waitress in the world.”

That points to the probable origin of the device, which was first observed in Europe in the 17th century … probably as a replacement for servants. That same ad says the price of $8.50 is “an impossibly low wage for a good servant.”

Some people have tried to say Thomas Jefferson invented them … but that isn’t true. He did not use them at Monticello. These revolving devices were certainly used in the 1700s in Europe and the US, but they were called “dumb waiters.”

A dumb waiter because they could not speak?

A lazy Susan because servants were generically known as “Susan?”

No clue.

What I do know is that I had 3 orders to make them for Christmas presents, and those were delivered today. No clue what the recipients will call them. All 5 are Black Walnut and about 15″ in diameter.


WorldWideWords: Lazy Susan

Wikipedia: Lazy Susan

LA Times: Who Was Susan And Was She Truly Lazy?

Building More Boards In 2014   Leave a comment

Handcrafted ByI can see the light at the end of the tunnel … but I’m not there yet.

I never understood how many cutting boards and cheese boards I’d be making this year when I hopped on this merry-go-round. With success … comes work. Here are some of the latest boards I’ve built … and there’s more to come. 2014 is not done, not by a long shot.

Some of these boards were built to fulfill Xmas orders. Some were built for our final events of the year, taking place this weekend. I built all of these because I thought they’d be pretty.

Hope you agree!


Buying A Board From Mr M’s Woodshop

The Mid-Size Boards   4 comments

Handcrafted ByI noticed that when I made what I consider to be a mid-sized board, they sold almost immediately. Me being a little slow on the uptake at times, I eventually decided to see what would happen if I made several mid-size boards.

Want to find out with me? Today, I’m making a rare solo appearance without the Mrs M’s at the Holiday Arts & Crafts Faire sponsored by the Carpinteria Valley Museum of History. It’s located at 956 Maple Avenue in Carpinteria, 10a – 3p, … and you can see me, and these new boards, if you come to Carpinteria today!


How To Buy A Board From Mr M’s Woodshop

What I Did On My Staycation   1 comment

Staycation 66Thank goodness MrsMowry came back to us for yesterday’s post after her first 12 weeks in the classroom! I needed a break from the diary format … as I am sure you did, too.

So, the staycation is over and now its time to share the photos of all of the lovely things I did on my staycation.

51 boards.

You love seeing photos of what other people do for fun, yes?

Good. Happy to share.

Click on the photos for enlargements, and note that the measurements offered are approximations only. I was too tired to be more accurate. Good thing I was through in the shop … for a day or three, anyway.


Cheese Boards … Or What Do You Think They Are?   2 comments

Handcrafted ByI freaked out last weekend after selling several cheese boards … and I had to make more for our next big event.

Well, I call them cheese boards. You may think they’re perfect cutting boards for your small kitchen, RV, for cutting a sandwich, or whatever. To each his own. I’ll keep making them as long as people like them!

Today, Mrs. M’s Handmade is at the Thousand Oaks Street Fair. Come see us … and you’ll get to see these boards, up close and personal.

I’m working with some new woods here … and trying some new techniques in the shop, too. Please share your thoughts; would love to hear what you think of these new boards.


The Trouble With Success

Cheese Boards That Think That They Are Cutting Boards

Cheese & Cracker Servers

New Cutting Boards … And One Like New   4 comments

One last batch of cutting boards finished before the 4th quarter craft fairs begin. These, and many others, will be at Mrs M’s booth this weekend.

If you’re out and about in Santa Clarita on Saturday, please join Mrs Ms Handmade at the LA Sheriff’s Department’s Annual Fun In The Sun Chili Cook-Off at the Equestrian Center in Castaic. The address is 26983 Tapia Canyon Road.

If you’re not so fortunate as to be out in the heat with us on Saturday, then write me on the Contact Us form and tell me what you would like!


Mrs Ms Handmade

Cutting Boards: What Kind Do You Want?

Cutting Boards: Care & Cleaning

Cutting Boards: Restoration

Cheese Boards That Think They Are Cutting Boards   3 comments

My latest cycle of woodworking passion resulted in 13 cutting boards and cheese boards … and some that are whatever you think they are.

Small cutting boards are perfect for slicing a tomato or an onion … or for serving cheese & crackers. Therefore, I’m not going to define them. That will be up to their owners!

With that disclaimer, here are the new boards.

Cheese & Cracker Servers   5 comments

Here are the new cheese & cracker servers just finished. Each have a cherry frame, with a cutting board insert made out of either hard maple or black walnut. Most of the cutting board inserts are end grain boards; one of the walnut boards is edge grain.

The servers are 10-1/2″ x 17-1/2″. The inserts are 6-3/4″ x 9-1/2″.

All will be at the SCV Junction this weekend. Come and see Mrs M’s Handmade at Heritage Junction, next to Hart Park. Or, if you don’t find your self in Santa Clarita, please check out the ladies’ site,, or use this site’s Contact Us form. We will get back to you!


From The Shop: Cheese & Cracker Server

Cutting Boards: Care & Cleaning   15 comments

Mahi Mahi 10So you’ve used your cutting board to cut food. What do you do now?

You clean it, of course!

Foods on cutting boards are often raw, and raw food can be contaminated. Once the board has been contaminated, it can cross-contaminate other food that is put on the board … until the board is cleaned.

Any raw food can be contaminated. Certainly chicken is always cited as a big carrier of bacteria until it is cooked; you never want to use a cutting board for raw chicken and then use the same board for other food without cleaning it. However, any raw food can be contaminated; there was a 2013 e. coli outbreak in 39 states caused by contaminated raw spinach.

Keep Your Board Dry

The best way to keep your board free of contaminants is to keep it dry. Bacteria needs moisture to grow, and a dry board is not a suitable host for bacterial contaminants. Leaving your board with a wet surface is always a bad idea: not only does it promote growth of contaminants, but water will also degrade a wooden board’s wood as well as the glue that holds it together.

Keep your boards dry as much as possible, and dry them after use. Store them upright whenever possible so that any moisture will drip off.

Cutting Board ScrubClean Your Cutting Board

Plastic cutting boards are often easily cleaned in the dishwasher. However, it has been shown that when a plastic cutting board becomes worn, with visible cuts and grooves in the surface of the board, then those cuts can harbor bacteria that are particularly difficult to remove. Worn boards should be discarded.

Both plastic and hard wood cutting boards should be cleaned after use, and between uses with different ingredients.

1. Clean with soap and water. Wipe off with a cloth.

2. Do not use a wire brush or metal scraper. Simply scrub with soap, rinse, and dry.

3. You can sanitize your board by rubbing kosher salt into it, and then wiping it off. If an odor is wafting from your board, rub the board with white vinegar and set it aside to dry. I’ve also seen lemon juice suggested as an anti-odor treatment.

4. Some recommend a bleach solution to sterilize your board on occasion, but I have seen no evidence that a dilute bleach solution will improve the cleanliness of the board. Soap, salt and vinegar are all proven cleansers that will deliver a food-ready board to your kitchen.


Do not submerge your board in dishwater in the sink.

Do not sand a plastic board (you’ll just create more places for bacteria to hide) … when a plastic board is worn, replace it.

Do not submerge a hard wood board in water, or put it in the dishwasher.

Do not use a wooden board that is clearly degrading … when pieces are coming off, then there are too many cracks and crevices for bacteria to hide.

The pool of mineral oil gives a hint of what colors are to come.

Oil Your Wooden Boards

Wooden boards need to resist water, and the best way to help your board do that is to apply mineral oil to your board about once a month (depending on usage … oil it whenever the wood becomes dry and loses its luster).

Only use mineral oil, which you can buy at any pharmacy. Do not use any sort of vegetable oil such as canola, olive or walnut oil. All of these organic oils can spoil in an aerobic environment. Mineral oil will not spoil.

Note that the oil is to help protect the wood from water: it has no anti-bacterial properties. In fact, treated and untreated wood has been shown to have equal anti-bacterial properties (read Cutting Boards: What Kind Do You Want?, as well as the links from that article, for more information).

When Boards Become Worn

Plastic boards: throw them away. Worn plastic boards are a haven for bacteria, and you can’t fix them.

Hard wood boards: sand them smooth, and then re-apply mineral oil and a board butter topcoat (I use Mrs. M’s, of course!). Do not coat cutting boards with “salad bowl finish,” as that is a varnish.

If your hard wood board is too degraded to sand smooth, replace it.

If your cutting board develops a crack, replace it.


Cutting Boards: What Kind Do You Want?

Cutting Boards: Restoration

USDA: Cutting Boards & Food Safety

Food Network: 5 Ways To Clean A Cutting Board

Fifteen Cutting Boards   8 comments

HandcraftedI have this problem. I have too much wood in my garage workshop.

There’s only one solution: make more stuff. So I did.

All cutting boards have routed hand holds on each end for easy handling. Non-skid rubber feet attach with stainless steel screws for long life. Finish is mineral oil, with a top coat of Mrs M’s special Board Butter that combines mineral oil with locally produced beeswax (and it smells like honey when I rub it in!).

These cutting boards are for Mrs M’s Handmade fall craft shows which begin in September. So now the only question is … how soon do I need to make more?


Three New Cutting Boards

Cutting Boards: The Third Round

Cutting Boards: The Next Set

I Had To Mention Cutting Boards

The Cutting Board

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