Archive for the ‘handmade’ Tag

I Call Them Large Serving Pieces   Leave a comment

When I started making these, everyone called them surfboards.

They aren’t really shaped like surfboards, but they have a certain curvy shape that takes people there.

But, then I started making actual surfboard-shaped serving pieces or cutting boards (you choose how to use them!). I needed to rename these pieces, so … well, I am known for my creativity (well, sometimes).

Large Serving Piece was the perfect name. Name the thing what it is, that’s what I think. Creativity can only confuse people at this point.

The LSPs are made with cove cuts on all 4 sides. Cove cuts are made taking the piece across the front edge of the table saw blade, moving sideways – not through the blade with a straight cut. This makes a large sweeping curve which is unique to this piece.

And making those cove cuts spews sawdust everywhere. Saw blades are made to capture sawdust between the saw teeth, and return it to below the table of the table saw for dust collection. The sideways movement of this cut interrupts that flow … and I’m left with a fine sawdust over the entire shop as well as an 1″ of sawdust under foot after making these pieces.

Once the cove cuts are done, then the piece gets the signature oval-ish shape cut on the band saw, and then the LSP is smoothed with 2x different random orbital sanders. 4x non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws complete the piece, which floats lightly on the table.

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Buying a Large Serving Piece

Cutting Boards – 9 New Ones   Leave a comment

I make cutting boards in a mostly traditional way. Some of my choices, though, are often not traditional.

  • Cutting Boards that come from the Woodshop are generally for one-sided use … they have non-skid rubber feet so the boards do not move while you use them. I am not a fan of moving targets when you have a knife in your hand.
  • When I do make a 2-sided board – like the Carnivore Boards – then the boards come with a non-skid silicon mat. Both the mat and the aforementioned feet hold the boards in place, and, importantly, provide an air gap so the bottom of the boards never just sit in water on the counter. That would be bad.
  • All boards are made from quality hardwoods, selected for their beauty and particular characteristics that make them good cutting board woods.

Last week, a pair of large cutting boards I barely remembered making – 6 years ago! – came back to me for refinishing. That is a service I do for free, by the way, but I digress.

The boards were 6 years old but were truly in fabulous condition. They had been well-used (every day, the owners proudly told me), and they had some knife marks as well as a scorch on one of the boards from where some hot pan had been set on the board for too long. I sanded the boards smooth, got the scorch mark as well as about 98% of the knife marks out, and re-oiled the boards. It took about 15 minutes all told, and the owners were thrilled with their like-new boards.

Did I mention they ordered 2 more large boards for gifts? I was pretty thrilled, too.

In preparation for last week’s event, I finished several cutting boards to add to my display. Here is what the really-new boards look like.

Posted March 10, 2022 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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The Board Chronicles: Fresno Home & Garden Show 2022   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.

Remember me? Remember how I used to write things?

I’m back.

I’ve done the Fresno H&G a few times, and it’s time to crank it up in 2022.

Finally.

Read about my past experiences here: 2019, 2018 and 2017. Interesting that 2017 was my first solo event, ever. Now, I don’t know how to act if Mrs M shows up … and she hasn’t made soap in quite a while. Don’t bother her, she has a wedding to help plan.

But back to going a-vendoring.

New Ideas

  • I got moved to a new building this time … because my old building was undergoing renovations and was unavailable. I did not receive word from the promoter until late, well after I was paid in full and most booths were booked. We had a, uh, disagreement about what should happen to my booth. I didn’t respond well to the pressure sales tactics, which stated that they would not charge me for moving my booth to a new location.
  • Note to sales reps, everywhere: beware trying to pressure an old sales manager. It will not end well for you.
  • I finally stated I would move to a building that met these criteria: 1) not near another woodworker, 2) not near dogs up for adoption and 3) not near loud, amplified-selling “sideshow barker” type presentations.
  • My sales reps’ recommendation failed on point 2. Completely.
  • So, I, uh, suggested that she not book that location and then I suggested a location near the craft cocktail booths (and an open bar, come to find out). My new home was building # 4 … which, in the time-honored tradition of the Fresno Home & Garden Show, was known as “MORE EXHIBITS.”

Observations

  • I arrived at the Fairgrounds at about noon on Thursday, with 8 hours to set up the booth. I asked directions to building # 4, and parked the trailer with pretty good access to my new home.
  • Set up began as soon as I checked in at Building # 2, I think it was (AKA “MORE EXHIBITS”). I had discovered a problem as I unloaded the trailer … table cloths had not made it into the trailer. They were at home, over 3 hours away. And in 2022 gas, that would be …
  • Luckily, Exhibitor Services fixed me right up with hotel banquet-table-style plastic tops & skirting for all 10 of my tables. And it was def def definitely cheaper than the gas would have been to go home.
  • My spiffy wooden name tag is missing. No clue where it got to.
  • The vendor behind me was a rock n’ roll hair salon, selling hair care products (Hair dryers & such. The prices were way more than I expected. Like, way more. Don’t buy hair dryers at home & garden shows is my recommendation.)
  • I am pleased to report the rock ‘n roll hair salon turned down their music. And I didn’t even have to sic music licensing agencies such as ASCAP or BMI on them. Something I was contemplating, to be honest.
  • Fresno is an agricultural area, so it’s inevitable that I am approached by well-meaning ranchers that want to give me their trees. Not lumber, which I might be able to use, but their trees. Sorry, not set up for that. I turned down old Oak and a Black Walnut stump. Unfortunately.
  • Fridays at home & garden shows are known for 2 things: not much traffic, and lots of senior citizens that are there for exercise and to pick up free stuff. Oh, and rain was forecast. My Friday was dead slow, until I finally sold something at 2:30pm. And then I had someone in line to give me more money while I was wrapping up purchase #1.
  • When it rains, it pours. HA. Weather humor.
  • Rain was again forecast for Saturday, but there wasn’t really much moisture in the air. It was a little wet, attendance was probably down, and it was just cold & wet all day. Temp was in the 50s. I kept my jacket on all day.
  • This is the 2nd event that I had Deviled Egg Platters for sale … but I only had one made. I asked Mrs M if I could borrow her personal DEP to promote special orders. She said yes … and I sold 2x “just like this one.”
  • Interestingly, she had a retirement party at the house for a loved colleague a few weeks ago … and I got orders for 2x large cutting boards “just like hers.”
  • Maybe I should try to not sell more of her stuff.
  • Sold my whiskey sign about Grant … it was going to be a wedding present someone in the whiskey business. If you know about General Grant, you know that is appropriate.
  • Had a lady that wanted to buy an oval Lazy Susan. An oval Lazy Susan. She saw nothing wrong with the idea, and I couldn’t explain the problem with a rotating oval in the middle of a dinner table in a way that she could understand. No sale there. Thankfully.
  • Once again, I was amazed at the people that saw crackers on my display … and decided they were free food. One guy asked if it was OK, I said no, they are stale! … and he took one anyway. That was a first.
  • Strollers are getting bigger. One family had dad pushing a stroller with baby, and mom pushing a foldable wagon with a toddler. That family procession was about 15′ long.
  • My favorite transaction of the weekend was with a group that didn’t dress like me. Mothers all had scarves or hats or something on their head. They spoke with an accent I couldn’t identify. But one of the Moms loved one of my big end grain boards, and we talked about it … but the price was too much.
  • An hour later, her daughter was back and wanted to see if I would sell it to her tomorrow, after she talked to her siblings about sharing the cost for their mother … as a birthday present, just 2 days away.
  • Sunday afternoon, the daughter was back with crisp hundred dollar bills in her hand to buy the board for momma.
  • I’m a sucker for that, so I gave her an unexpectedly large amount of change back. Come to find out, this is an immigrant community that had moved from Russia to Armenia to America several decades ago, and now has at least 3 culturally significant communities on the west coast. Who knew? It was nice getting to know a bit about them, and I am glad I put a smile on these American faces.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Nope, not this event. This is Fresno, and I’m all about saving money. I had frozen dinners and left overs from home in the hotel room each night. But, Mrs M’s cooking is WONDERFUL. That’s what I meant. Mrs M for the win.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 440
  • Booth cost: $1,000 for a double booth, 10×20
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: I talked to four different people, but no names were exchanged. No personal touches here.
  • Visits in the booth by a promoter’s representative: Only when they were leaving info to solicit me to come back for the smaller fall show that conflicts with much bigger events I do in October. Nope.
  • Competitors: sure, though none that I found did exactly what I did. As always.
  • # transactions: 21 sales in 20 hours
  • Returning next year? Unclear to me at this point. I believe this is the best show available to me IN MARCH. I made a few dollars … literally, a few dollars. Already have one follow-up sale, though, so perhaps…. Well, Liza sang it, “What good is sitting alone in your room?” I would never compare the Fresno Home & Garden Show to a cabaret … but will I return? I simply don’t know. If gas triples in price, no.

Boards sold: 29

  • Signs: 6x
  • Cheese Slicer: 6x
  • Cheese Board: 4x
  • Trivets: 4x
  • Handled Board: 3x
  • Dip Server: 2x
  • Deviled Egg Platter: 2x
  • Large Cutting Board: 2x
  • Lazy Susan: 2x
  • Bread Saw: 1x (SOLD OUT)
  • Ampersand Board: 1x
  • Magic Bottle Opener: 1x
  • Heart: 1x

New: Deviled Egg Platters   1 comment

I love Deviled Eggs. Love ’em.

When I was an itty bitty, if you can imagine such a thing, I was allergic to eggs. They gave me a rash. But, good news, whenever we went to a pot luck dinner at the lodge, or a family gathering, or whatever … someone would always bring deviled eggs.

And I would always sneak 1 or 3 when Mom wasn’t looking.

So I ate my way out of the allergy. Built up a tolerance, I did.

Deviled Eggs: a savory treat from a wicked chicken. Love ’em.

So, I knew that as I built out my offerings of serving pieces, I would be making Deviled Egg Platters. The world needs great serving pieces, and I am happy to help. And if Deviled Eggs just happen to get made by more people more often, well, life will be better for us all.

You’re welcome.

It took 2 years to design these platters, which each hold 24 Deviled Eggs. I worked with a designer in the Philippines who had more skills in 3D design … and less affinity for Deviled Eggs, come to find out. The design is exactly what I wanted, though. These are shaped on the CNC, as you might expect, and each platter takes 9 hours to carve. These are a labor of love; I make them to make the world a better place.

The platters are 14″ across, and 7/8″ thick. They are made for 2 sided use: the back is plain, and would allow you to serve appetizers, charcuterie, or whatever you might like on the flat surface.

Not that I understand why anyone would do this, when they could make more Deviled Eggs.

Personally, I prefer the Platters made with white/yellow/red woods (to match the Deviled Eggs), so I use a lot of Bloodwood, Hard Maple, Osage Orange, Canarywood, Yellowheart, Bubinga and Makore. Your mileage may vary, of course, so I will make others with a more varied color palatte. Eventually.

I made 7x of these last last year, and 4x were given to family. That left 3x to take to my final event of the year, Santa’s Art Shop … and all 3x were sold in 90 minutes. Time after time, I heard the exclamation, “OH, my friend/cousin/Aunt/Mother/Friend always makes Deviled Eggs, and she would LOVE ONE OF THESE.

Happy to be of service. They will be back in stock in February. Meanwhile, you are welcome to order one, here.

Assembling A Soap Drying Rack   Leave a comment

Once you purchase a Soap Drying Rack, 2 big boxes will soon land on your front step.

Really big boxes. Together, they weigh about 75 pounds.

These are your instructions on how to insert the 8x bolts to assemble each unit. If you are stacking 2 units, then you’ll also have 4 bolts to attach the units together. That is all that is required!

One Soap Drying Rack, on wheels, assembled and ready for some serious saponification.

Here is how you assemble your Soap Drying Rack(s).

  1. Open the boxes and lay out the top, bottom, sides, 8x trays and bags of hardware. If you bought a double rack, only open the boxes (that are labeled) with the bottom rack. No need to confuse yourself with more parts.
  2. Put the bottom on a flat surface. If you bought the Rack with wheels, then turn the bottom upside down so the wheels are facing up. Use your hands to press the tab down towards the wood and unlock the wheels. This will be much trickier after the unit is assembled, so unlock the wheels first. Note wheels are shipped in different colors, so I can’t always control which color is on your unit.

3. Flip the bottom back over, so it rests on the unlocked wheels.

4. Look for the letters that are handwritten on the outside of the boards mounted to the bottom. Now, find the side that has matching letters. When you place the side directly next to the mounted board, the 2x holes that are drilled beside the letters will line up. Use the 2-1/2″ bolts – the long ones. Put a single washer on the bolt, and then insert it from the outside of the unit so the bolt sticks through to the inside of the unit. Then, place another washer, split washer and nut back on to the bolt and make them finger tight.

5. Repeat with the other hole.

6. Repeat with the other side. Note: I always label every unit differently, so you must assemble the sides with the tops and bottoms as labeled and explained, below. It’s the only way it works!

7. Place the top of the unit on the sides so the letters match, and the holes will line up.

8. Insert bolts from the outside with one washer, then put the other washer, split washer and nut on the inside, finger tight.

9. Check a tray to make sure it fits on the rails and slides into the rack easily. Remove the tray(s).

10. Tighten all bolts.

11. Note: the bottom tray does not fit on runners like the other 6x trays. The bottom tray slides on the boards mounted to the bottom of the unit. You have to insert the tray a bit carefully at first, but once you get the hang of it, the bottom tray goes in smoothly.

12. If you bought a 2nd unit for stacking, then open the other 2 boxes.

13. Attach the bottom of the top unit to the top of the bottom unit (got that?) by matching the letters on the top and bottom. When the letters match, the holes for the top & bottom will match.

14. Insert a 2″ bolt (the shorter, thicker ones) with a washer on the bolt from below, sticking up through the top and the bottom. You may find that using a hammer to tap the bolt gently through the tight hole is helpful. Put a washer, split washer & nut on the exposed bolt. Make it finger tight.

15. Repeat for the other 3x holes.

16. Repeat steps 4 – 10 for the top unit.

Yes, I ship you 8x trays. The 8th tray is a bonus … and insurance in case one tray breaks in shipping. Plus, it fills the box nicely for shipping.

Enjoy, and get to making soap!

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Click here to buy: Soap Drying Racks

Mrs M’s Original Soap Drying Rack

The Board Chronicles: Harvest Marketplace 2020 Pleasanton   2 comments

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.

This year is not turning out how ANYONE thought it would.

The biggest & best events for makers of handmade goods on the west coast have been the Harvest Festivals … for the last several decades. These are great events, and in fact my largest event in 2019 was a Harvest Festival.

But this is 2020, and California is locked down. Totally locked down in many counties, a bit looser in others. This event was in Pleasanton, which is in Alameda county. Fortunately, that county is a little bit open.

Open enough that the promoters found a way to stage a “Marketplace,” which is not a “Festival” or a “Boutique.”

Words matter, apparently.

Works for me. I was on my way to an event in California!

New Ideas

  • This was my first California event in 2020. I typically have been doing about 30 events a year … this year will be only 5. And, 3 of those will be in Arizona; 2 will be in California. I think.
  • I had my biggest and best inventory yet, with 900 pieces available. They all don’t fit in the trailer, but I now have a deep inventory in Cutting Boards, Serving Pieces, Cribbage Boards and Signs.
  • All booths were socially distanced, spread among 3 buildings in this county fairground. Hand sanitizer was available at every building entrance. Attendance was limited to 50% of capacity, but I don’t think that was ever an issue. The crowd was good but never large, the traffic was steady.
  • The fairgroun was happy to see us: they had not had many events in these buildings this year. Our promoters found a way, and that is a very good thing.
  • I now have so much inventory, I have to pick and choose what I’m taking to the event, and what I’m leaving at home. That’s a wonderful problem to have.

Observations

  • I’m out of practice, but I did pack everything I needed … except for the key to the cash drawer, which is attached to a tape measure. So, the cash drawer stayed in the trailer, and I headed to Home Depot to get a tape measure that now lives in my container of critical booth supplies that goes to every event. You know, things like tape. A hole punch. And business cards.
  • Two ladies came into the booth, and delivered the quote that all vendors at this event were waiting to hear: “We’ve been cooped up, dammit. Let us shop!”
  • I was happy to oblige the ladies.
  • The vendors were all happy to be there. These days, people are really happy to be just about anywhere but home, y’know?
  • Masks were required, and people were 100% compliant.
  • Requests were for an Aggravation board (coming, I promise!), pig cutting boards (left at home!) and a dough board (also left at home!).
  • She said … “Do you have this sign in a smaller and cheaper version?” She was pointing to my smallest sign, priced at $30. And, uh, no. Sorry.
  • Eating out has been one of the fun things for when I travel, even if only for a meal or 2. During the pandemic, though, eating out is either difficult or impossible. Having food delivered is like being pranked … the delivery person often knocks on your door and runs away before you even get the door open. As the song says, “The times, they are a-changing.” I’m not sure this is what Dillon meant when he wrote the song 56 years ago, though.
  • This was a very good event, and I give full credit to the promoters that FOUND A WAY TO PRODUCE AN EVENT. In this pandemic, that was no small task. At all. It was my pleasure to be a part of this all-too-rare 2020 shopping event for handmade goods.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Velda’s frozen spaghetti dinner for the win. I’m no fool.
  • Worst Meal: I went to have my “free” breakfast at the Best Western I was at, not realizing that the reality of “free” in the covid era is a brown bag with a granola bar, an apple, and a bottle of water. Oh, and a packaged muffin. To go, only. I almost started missing the hated plastic cheese omelettes.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 694
  • Booth cost: $1,590
  • Travel cost: $930
  • Total sales: $4,788
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • Friday alarm: 6a
  • Saturday alarm: 6:30a
  • Sunday alarm: 6:30a
  • # transactions: 56x
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There was one for sure. Maybe more.
  • # woodworking vendors: No direct competitors, but many people were there that use wood as their medium. But … no direct competitors.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 82:1
  • Returning next year? Absolutely

Boards sold: 83

  • Trivets: 16
  • Cracker Things: 9
  • Handled Cutting Boards: 9
  • Signs: 9
  • Cheese Boards: 7
  • 5 Section Servers: 6
  • Garlic Dipping Boards: 5
  • Magic Bottle Openers: 5
  • Small Boards: 3
  • Large Serving Pieces: 3
  • Cheese Slicers: 3
  • Cribbage Boards: 2
  • Cutting Boards: 2
  • Dip Server: 1
  • Bread Saw: 1
  • Heart: 1
  • Lazy Susan: 1

New: Soap Drying Racks   Leave a comment

I blame Mrs M. Of course.

She had me make her the original Soap Drying Rack when she became a serious Soaper … and as soon as other Soapers saw the rack, I began to hear a clamor.

If you are a maker, then you know soap needs a drying rack. Until today, I’ve never offered racks for sale.

These racks have 7 removable, wooden slatted trays to allow for plenty of dry air circulation during the suponification process (I listen when Mrs M speaks!). The footprint of the piece is 23″ x 23″, and the rack stands about 30″ tall. Add the optional 4″, locking wheels if this will be on the floor, or no wheels if the Rack will sit on a table or counter.

Shelves are spaced to allow for bars as tall as 3.5″. Depending on how large your bars are – and if you dry them flat or on edge – total capacity for each unit is as much as 450 bars.

Buy a 2nd unit to double the storage capacity; units can stack 2 high. With wheels on the bottom unit, total height will be about 64″.

Construction is all wood, typically of Poplar, Pine & Baltic Birch Plywood. The wood is left raw: this is a soap maker’s tool, not a piece of furniture. All surfaces are sanded and splinter-free, but this is not a fine finish.

Each Rack ships in 2 boxes. There is a minimal amount of assembly required; all holes are pre-drilled and hardware is included. Instructions for the simple assembly are here.

NOTE: this piece is not always in stock, and does take a few days to build. If I’m already committed to other projects, delivery might take a few weeks. Email me first if you’re concerned about timing.

You can purchase these Soap Drying Racks directly on the upgraded Mr M’s Woodshop site. Here’s a direct link to the Soap Drying Rack page.

Pictured is the solid version of the 7 tray Rack, which could be picked up directly from the Woodshop. If I’m shipping to you, the joinery will change a bit, and those pictures are still not done.

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Click here to buy: Soap Drying Racks

Juicy Small Boards   Leave a comment

We are getting control of our home.

I am getting control of my business.

And, by doing that, I found these 17x boards. See? Organization is a good thing. You just have to embrace the pain!

The whole story is that, at long last, we’re remodeling our home. We’ve lived here over 30 years, so it’s simply time for changes to be made. The first floor is getting paint, flooring & lighting. Upstairs, the master bathroom is getting remodeled out to the studs: new shower, vanity, plumbing, mirror, etc. New. New. New.

For far too long, you see, we put up with the problems in our home because … well, it wasn’t a priority. Money was tight. We had no time. And, it all worked, in a fashion.

Now, though, the kids are gone and we had an opportunity to solve some long-standing problems with our home. Like, how it was always dark in the living room. And, storage for Mrs M & Mr M was a CHALLENGE that we had no real solution for. The result: storage containers of soaps, lotions, cutting boards & serving pieces lived in the downstairs hallway between events. House Beautiful, it was not. But we had a plan….

And that plan began with lighting being installed, and that meant all of the stuff being stored in the hallway had to move. Some went upstairs into the guest bedroom (a problem for another day, when we’re allowed to have guests!). Some went to our new, larger storage space. And some went to the Family Room until we got a bit more organized. All good.

Except, during the upheaval, a container of new small boards that were awaiting branding by my laser engraver got moved & misplaced. They moved to the Family Room at the bottom of a stack of containers and I didn’t find them until I moved that entire stack a few weeks later. Now, I’m happy to report, those boards have been branded, oiled, waxed & photographed.

These Juicy Small Boards are all 11-1/2″ x 11-1/2″ x 7/8″, with a juice groove that’s 1/2″ wide and 1/4″ deep. More of a crumb catcher, really … but also perfect for you to corral your juicy food while you serve a ribeye, slice a tomato or deliver a sandwich for an after school snack.

You’re an adult, you get to choose. These Juicy Small Boards are a perfect complement to your larger counter top board that’s central to meal prep. As with all of my cutting boards, these boards have non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws, along with routed fingerholds so they are easy to move to wherever you need them.

If you like what you see, you can purchase these on the upgraded Mr M’s Woodshop site. Just hover your mouse, or click on a photo & get the file name of the one(s) that you like. The file name will be in the format, “Small Board 20 – 2xx.” Put those numbers in the notes section of your order, and I’ll choose those for you if they are still available. And, yes, I recently upgraded MrMsWoodshop.com so you can buy directly and easily. Here’s a direct link to the Juicy Small Board page, and here are the latest boards that have made it to the finish line:

The Board Chronicles: Prescott Faire On the Square 2020   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.

An event! I have an event!

That’s about all I could think about in August, as I finally, FINALLY prepared to do an event that had been on my schedule for months. This Labor Day weekend event in Prescott, AZ has proven to be a solid one for me; this was my third year there. You can read about my previous efforts in 2019 and 2018.

This time, I had picked the spot I wanted facing Montezuma Avenue, AKA Whiskey Row, across from the legendary Palace Restaurant & Saloon. The Palace, the oldest business operating in Arizona, was once frequented by Doc Holliday and his buddies, Virgil & Wyatt Earp.

Whiskey Row? I’m your huckleberry.

Gotta do the easy ones. C’mon.

But, this is 2020. Nothing will be easy during this pandemic. I’ll get transported back to the wild west for a bit. But, at least the whiskey was good….

New Ideas

  • Vendors must wear masks. Vendors must certify they are healthy. Vendors must sign a hold harmless with the Chamber of Commerce that means no one gets sued if they get sick.
  • I left the chess boards, card boxes and other lesser products at home this trip. I have so many cutting boards & serving pieces, I only brought those, plus the cribbage boards & signs. I only had a 10×20 (!), and I had to fill it with the right stuff.
  • I arrived at the booth shortly after 6am on Saturday with only minimal setup still required. I got the last 2 details done: set up the cribbage boards, and price all of the signs. Once that was done, the walls were rolled up and securely stored, the banner went up … and I took pictures of the booth. This was all done by 8:30am. That was almost unprecedented!

Observations

  • Mrs M packs the food when I go a-vendoring. Food’s her thing. When I was already at our friend’s home in Prescott, my BnB for the weekend, Mrs M announced that she forgot to pack the Everything Sprinkles for my daily breakfast: bagels & cream cheese.
  • I had no sprinkles. I was deprived.
  • I pack my clothing when I go a-vendoring. When I got dressed on Friday … I found that I had forgotten to pack socks. Ooops.
  • Note: I could not go buy bagel sprinkles in an unfamiliar city. I could go buy socks. My feet were not deprived; only my stomach.
  • We got advance warning that there was a BLM protest at 3pm on Friday … and our setup was 6pm on Friday. Vendors were told not to park on the Courthouse Square during the protest, as we might get towed. We were directed to meet at the off-site vendor parking lot, and hope that all remained calm.
  • Prescott is a remote area, and traditional values run deep here. That indicates a conservative viewpoint, of course. The stage was set.
  • I got to the area early so I could get to the correct parking spot before any craziness could affect traffic patterns. I planned on grabbing lunch at The Palace, visiting an ATM so I could pay my helpers after the 6pm setup, and relaxing a bit before the work started.
  • The Courthouse Square was packed. Packed. When I arrived at 2:30 or so, the sidewalks were teeming with locals that were openly carrying long guns and pistols. They were there to protect the area businesses from the protesters in case things got wonky.
  • I talked to one of those business owners … he has 3 large sheets of glass in his front windows, and he was very nervous that those windows would be broken if the protest took a wrong turn.
  • The protesters arrived at around 3p, and numbered about 100. College kids, perhaps. Out-of-towners, probably. They were there to exercise their first amendment rights.
  • I’m a fan of those rights. Peaceful protest? Fabulous.
  • Meanwhile, the locals were there to exercise THEIR constitutional rights, which includes the right to bear arms. Remember, I’m in an Old West town. By an Old West Saloon. I’m going to estimate there were 400 locals carrying guns.
  • Yes, that’s a lot of guns at a peaceful protest.
  • There were also lots of police … 50? 100? Not sure. They were pretty mobile, and I saw at least 3 kinds of uniforms. In the end, thank goodness, peace prevailed.
  • BLM protestors marched. They shouted slogans. They marched. Then, they went home.
  • The typical protester was 20-something, white, female, and carrying a sign. The typical counter-protestor was 60-something, white, male, and carrying a gun. There were also a bunch of younger guys driving Bro trucks with American flags flying that were circling the area during the event. Lots of activity. Lots of noise. Lots of people. Lots.
  • The counter protestors, the locals exercising their 2nd amendment rights, basically watched.
  • One final note on Friday’s prologue to my event: as the protestors were marching near my (future) booth location, one young lady was screaming “Black Lives Matter.” A 65 year old white guy sort of leaned towards her and screamed back, “All Lives Matter.” She, of course, screamed back “Black Lives Matter,” and that circle continued for about 45 seconds. Finally, her friends rescued her, yelled some more, and led her away from the conflict.
  • The old white guy, meanwhile, had done it all for sport. He laughed. He enjoyed taunting a young girl and her values. That moment of derision from the old white guy was the hardest moment for me to swallow, frankly. And, remember, it was all free speech. Protected free speech.
  • What does all of this have to do with going a-vendoring? Simple:
    • I was supposed to set up at 6pm. Would it be safe? I didn’t know until after the protest was over and all of the protestors and counter-protestors went home. In the end, it truly was a peaceful protest. Thankfully.
    • When conflict erupts in the street, no one wants to walk through the event to do shopping. I had an immigration protest ruin an event in 2018. I support peaceful protests … but when I pay money to be at an event that is ruined by other people protesting, it gets harder to swallow.
    • That, of course, is especially true now. This is only my third event this year. If a protest had ruined/canceled it, that would have hurt me.
  • “All’s well that ends well,” Shakespeare said.
  • And I had not yet begun to set up.
  • My crew arrived at 5:30, and we waited for the clock to tick for setup to officially begin at 6pm. I parked the trailer on Montezuma, and we got to it. We worked past dark, and got 90% set up before we buttoned up.
  • I posted my booth pictures on Facebook Saturday morning, and they got a huge number of likes and comments. It’s good to have support! And, finally, I was open for business.
  • I saw a truck circling the square each day. It was owned by a flat earther; it was painted with something about “NASA IS A HOAX.” It’s a big world out there.
  • Suggested sign: “CAUTION! Dog cannot hold his liquor.” Nope.
  • Suggested sign: “Absolutely no working during drinking hours.” Nope.
  • Saturday was an odd day of transactions. Business was good. Very good. But I had 4 different non-chip cards presented for payment. That’s odd these days. I haven’t had 4 non-chip cards at an event for a couple of years, much less on a single day.
  • One of the first Presidential wearables I saw on Saturday was a Biden facemask. I thought that was odd, so I decided to do a tally of all of the Presidential wearables I saw throughout the weekend. As I observed above, the locals are largely conservative. The tourist trade is from Phoenix & Las Vegas, though, and is much more progressive. It’ll be interesting to see where that ends up.
  • One serving piece I didn’t put out this time was an Ampersand board. I only had one (still on my worklist!) … so I thought it should stay under the table. I was wrong. It was requested by name, and sold early.
  • She said: “My husband isn’t with me this year, so I’m going to buy it. He told me I shouldn’t last year … but he’s not here now.”
  • The clown show came out Saturday morning. Two 20-something men, somewhat unkempt, walked the Courthouse Square with signs worthy of a homeless person yelling, “We are transexual bi-polar prostitutes for Trump! Let’s send our boys back to Iraq!” No clue what that was about, but they did seem to be having a good time. They definitely confused a lot of people.
  • One vendor did not comply with the mask mandate – that was announced well in advance of the event. That vendor refused to sign the paperwork, and was asked to leave. Police eventually evicted him from his rental property (the booths are on county property, the Courthouse Square). This blew up on social media in the vendor community. Bottom line for me: idiots are everywhere. The rules were announced in advance. Follow them … or stay home.
  • I was ‘whelmed at 2pm. People were literally waving money at me to get my attention. That got me to thinking … in how many professions do people literally wave money at you? And do I like it?
  • Things you don’t hear at most events:
    • Guy # 1: Are you left-handed?
    • Guy # 2: Uh … no. But why do you ask?
    • Guy # 1: Well, your holster is crooked, and I wondered why.
    • Guy # 2: Yeah, it keeps moving around. I just adjust it when I need to.
    • Note: yes, of course, Arizona is an open carry state. And this weekend, it was.
  • Suggested Sign: “Eating’s Cheating.” No, no it’s not. And no thank you.
  • Favorite t-shirt of the weekend looked like this:

6

4

+ 3

2

  • Can’t figure it out? I needed a hint. The shirt was worn by a baseball mom … and 6-4-3 is how you would fill out a scorecard for a typical double play: shortstop to 2nd base to 1st base. Had a fun conversation with the family, and they ended up buying a few pieces.
  • Suggested sign: “We Love Vegetarians. We Have One For Dinner Every Night.” Uh … nope. But I did laugh.
  • She read my sign, saying I’m from Valencia, CA:
    • She said: “You’re from California?”
    • I said: “Yes, Ma’am.”
    • She said: “I’m sorry!”
  • The next day, another She read my sign, and said, “You drove in from Cali?” When did “Cali” become a thing?
  • Another favorite t-shirt: “Surround Yourself With Positivity & Tacos.”
  • Requests were for an Ulu Board (a style of cutting board used by native Alaskans), a backgammon board (nope) and wooden spoons (hmmmmm).
  • Final tally on Presidential wearables: 53 for Trump, 2 for Biden. And no, that’s not a scientific survey.
  • Masks were everywhere at the event. There were many people, certainly, that did not wear a mask. I believe most did, however. For over a simple majority. 75%? Something like that. Mrs M’s Waterless Hand Spray sampler was very well received. And emptied. Sales of the Hand Spray, though were negligible. That’s OK: I’ll take clean hands for the win.
  • This became a great event for me. This is my 6th event in Arizona, and there will be a 7th and 8th in 2021!

The Food

  • Best Meal: I stayed with friends in Prescott who graciously opened their home to me … and cooked every night. Velda better mind her Ps & Qs … I found a home away from home that comes with chefs. Grilled Rib Eye for the win. A good day of sales should always be followed by Beef & Bourbon.
  • Honorable Mention: Pork Loin with yams is yummy after the conclusion of an event. The trailer was packed, I was relaxed. And hungry.
  • Worst Meal: I blame the pandemic. Honestly. I was headed out of town & wanted to visit my old friend, the Sausage Egg McMuffin. But, McD’s doors were locked & only the drive thru was open. I drove through with the trailer, and didn’t swing wide enough through the drive thru curve. I crunched my trailer fender on a post. My fault … because the pandemic made me do it. After that … breakfast was awful. And, it cost $200.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 1,016
  • Booth cost: $550
  • Food cost: $29
  • Travel cost:
  • Total sales: $
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost):
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 3
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 2
  • Saturday alarm: 5am
  • Sunday alarm: 6am
  • Monday alarm: nope
  • # transactions:
  • # woodworking vendors: There were several, including 3 direct competitors. None of the those 3 had the range or depth of inventory that I carry; I have no clue how successful they were. Just goes to show that more competition does not necessarily indicate less success.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain:
  • Returning next year? Absolutely

Boards sold: 59

First Question: What Size Cutting Board Do You Want?   Leave a comment

It’s the most basic question once someone tells me they want to buy a cutting board. OK, what size?

There’s no wrong answer here.

I’m now making boards as small as 6″ square, and counter-top boards as large as 17″ x 21″ x 1-1/2″. I’ve made even larger cutting boards … but I don’t carry them to & from events.

Carrying is a burden when the boards are large, you see.

“Cheese Boards” are what I call cutting boards that are less than 11″ in any dimension. They can be used for cutting, of course, but in my head, these are for serving cheese & crackers or other appetizers. I know many buyers love these small boards for one purpose uses, such as dicing fruit for after school snacks. The smallest of these are what I envision as “Bar Boards” for slicing lemons & limes. Dicing garlic or onions on a dedicated small board might make sense to some that like to separate the stinkin’ rose from other vegetables.

Here are the “Small Boards” that were just completed. These are all edge grain boards, meaning you cut on the edges of the lumber. They are all 11″ x 11″ x 7/8″, and have a juice groove. Routed fingerholds & non-skid rubber feet complete these boards (and all of the boards on this page) that can be cutting boards, serving pieces for ribeye steak … or you get to choose what to do with yours!

Finally, I get to my favorite cutting boards, which are end grain boards. These are the most difficult to make, show the least wear, and are the best for your knives. Made like the classic butcher blocks, these end grain boards are the centerpiece of any well-appointed kitchen. I seldom make these smaller than 13×17.

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