Archive for the ‘Los Angeles’ Tag

Company Gifts   1 comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeI’ve got a growing number of corporate clients that buy boards as presents for their customers or team members. Some have company logos engraved, and some have clients names and information engraved.

One client wanted 8 different boards to give to their executives, so that’s what they got. Another wanted 3 different designs & sizes so they could choose which to give to each client.

You know my answer: No Problem.

Different designs? One design? There’s no wrong answer, really, it’s just what will best communicate your message to your recipient?

Several of my clients work in real estate, and gift a board to clients after they close on their house. For these clients, I make unique designs that are not duplicated with any other client.

Gifts should be personal, and they should be unique. I’m doing my best to help!

Here’s an array of boards that I made recently to help my clients communicate the “right” message to their clients, partners & employees.

Personalizing A Board   Leave a comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeAny board can be engraved … indeed, I engrave my logo onto the back of everything I make.

As people have warmed to the idea, I’ve begun doing more and more personalizations on just about every kind of board that I make.

My only recommendation is that personalizations be done on light-colored wood; engraving on dark woods tends to get lost. Further, engraving across different species/colors of woods makes for poor legibility. The best engravings, in my opinion, are done on a single color of wood. Hard Maple is the lightest color and works best, but Cherry and even Yellowheart engravings work very well.

On cutting boards, engraving on the work surface is not recommended. Engraving on the very edge is possible, but any engraving on the face of the board results in a small workspace as well as a decorative element that you have to remember to avoid … because who wants to cut up their name? The better option for cutting boards, I feel, is to engrave the board on the back.

Yes, a board can be personalized after it’s oiled & waxed, though most of my engraving is done before the board is oiled. Here’s a collection of cutting boards, serving pieces and even Magic Bottle Openers that I’ve personalized for people in the past several months.

Restoring A Board   6 comments

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeIt’s January, when everything feels new. Well, except for those scratched-up cutting boards that need help recovering from those holiday f├¬tes.

Once a year, I restore Mrs M’s cutting board to pristine condition. This year, I got 2 other boards from the family. The pictures below show the results, which, quite frankly, are easily attained. Here’s what I do:

  1. Clean the board to get as much oil & such off of it. That will make the sanding easier.
  2. Remove the non-skid rubber feet so you don’t have to sand around them.
  3. If the board has any cracks (as one of these boards did), then those have to be cut apart and re-glued before sanding begins. Cracks are not good on a cutting board; they will harbor bits of food and bacteria.
  4. Use a random orbital sander to sand each board through 5 grits (just as I do with new boards): 80, 120, 180, 220, 320. The oily, damaged wood that you’re removing will clog up the sanding disk rather quickly but that’s OK: you only need about 1 minute per grit per board.
  5. Honest.
  6. Saturate the smooth board with mineral oil. I typically apply about 3 or 4 coats; one every couple of hours. I always let it soak overnight, and then apply one more coat of mineral oil in the morning.
  7. After the oil has soaked in, apply a top coat of board butter, and then remove the excess.
  8. You’re done … in about 24 hours, start to finish.

Here’s a photo gallery that shows all of the boards, the damage that they came to the shop with, and the result of my restoration. Click on the photos to open them and read the photo captions, if you’re unable to see them automatically on your screen.


Cutting Boards: Restoration

Christmas Boards   1 comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeI’m always amazed as I look back to see what I’ve made … and how quickly they are gone!

These are the last few boards I made this month for pre-Christmas delivery. All are now with their new owners. I’ll have another post in the next few days, as well as an update to my other site (Mr M’s Woodshop), to show the personalization that I’ve done on many boards also sold & delivered over the last few days. It’s become a thing!

As the year draws to a close, I am so appreciative of good delivery services! I only hand-delivered one of these, bringing my annual total to 3 boards that had to be delivered by me, or else I would have disappointed some people that deserved better. I’m sometimes slower than I would like, which a few of my customers definitely agree with this time of year!

Today, I only have 3 more boards to finish this year (!), and then I’ll have a nap. And then, see a movie. Eat some popcorn, too.

I think.

Then the new 2017 energy will come into play, and I’m going to make a whole lot of new stuff.

Next year.


City Cats   Leave a comment

Partly within the Los Angeles city limits, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California is home to a small population of mountain lions. National Park Service researchers have monitored more than 50 mountain lions in the park since 2002. Roaming freely, these big cats face unique challenges living so closely to urban areas. Photo by National Park Service. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 11/23/16.

Partly within the Los Angeles city limits, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California is home to a small population of mountain lions. National Park Service researchers have monitored more than 50 mountain lions in the park since 2002. Roaming freely, these big cats face unique challenges living so closely to urban areas. Photo by National Park Service. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 11/23/16.


Mountain Lion: Puma concolor

Posted December 15, 2016 by henrymowry in California, Photography

Tagged with , ,

Large Boards To Cut On   Leave a comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeAs we reach the end of the year, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garage woodshop to get enough boards ready to fill out the inventory for the holiday season.

Here, for your consideration:

  • 2 different 14″ x 18″ edge grain boards … simple, relatively light boards that are big enough to do just about anything.
  • 3 different large end grain cutting boards, which are actually my favorite boards to make. These are generational boards: with proper care, they will last for decades. My job is to make sure that they’ll look good doing it, too!

I’ve used a lot of Hard Maple in these boards. I had made several darker boards without Hard Maple over the last few months, and I felt the itch to return to the classic. Hard Maple end grain boards are the traditional butcher blocks, and they’ve been in use for centuries. The FDA and almost all state laws actually state that commercial wooden cutting boards should be Hard Maple “or its equivalent,” and I deal a lot in the equivalents.

Today, though, I celebrate the original … with some nice colorful & decorative touches added in from Africa (Purpleheart & Padauk) and Central & South America (Bloodwood, Jatoba & Canarywood) .

The Mistake   3 comments

When I am given a custom order for a new board, I design it first.

It’s good to have a plan.

The plan is hatched on the computer, using an excellent program made … to make cutting boards. That’s the path I followed in November for a board that was recently completed and delivered before Thanksgiving:

Cutting Board 16 - End 044. Black Walnut, Bloodwood & Hickory. End Grain. 16" x 21" x 1-1/2". Commissioned Piece.

Cutting Board 16 – End 044. Black Walnut, Bloodwood & Hickory. End Grain. 16″ x 21″ x 1-1/2″. Commissioned Piece.

However, this post is not about that board. It’s about the mistake I made first.

I was under the gun, you see, and had no time to waste in completing this special order. I designed & got approval to make the board, I “picked and processed” the wood, meaning I got the wood cut to size, ready to glue, and then I glued up the board.

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeAnd it was wrong.

When I discovered my error, I saw that the board didn’t follow the approved design precisely. I had reversed the order of two boards (the adjacent Hickory & Bloodwood boards). The board had become too symmetrical, with a rectangular strip of hickory down the middle, flanked by rectangular strips of Black Walnut & Bloodwood. There was no offset between those rectangles, meaning that there were “4-way” corners on every strip of wood.

Not good.

Oh, the board would be OK, but it would definitely not be as strong as an end grain board is when the corners are “2-way,” with the joints getting the added support of solid wood on one side, as 2 pieces are joined on the other. Stronger = Better. I’m all about that. And this doesn’t even consider how the board no longer followed the approved design.

So, nothing to do but start the commissioned piece over, get it right, and put this mistake aside to be completed another day.


I offset the wood to eliminate the hard rectangle of Hickory; now the Bloodwood repeatedly extends into that expanse of American hardwood. The result is a stronger – though somewhat smaller – board. In my eye, the board is more attractive this way as well. I ended up having to cut off some of the Black Walnut on the edge of the board (the same amount was cut off as the amount of Bloodwood providing the new offset). That’s a lesson I’ve learned: when I make a mistake, the board gets smaller. Always.

But, small & strong will win the day over bigger & weaker … & uglier.

Cutting Board 16 - End 047. Black Walnut, Bloodwood & Hickory. End Grain. 15" x 18" x 1-1/2".

Cutting Board 16 – End 047. Black Walnut, Bloodwood & Hickory. End Grain. 15″ x 18″ x 1-1/2″.

Small Boards To Cut On   1 comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeI make boards to be of use. I’m not trying to make wall art: I’m trying to make cutting boards. Good cutting boards.

However, I can’t make people cut on these boards, even though that sounds like a pretty good idea to me. If they want them to display, then that’s what they will do. With my blessing, and my frustrations.

These mobile boards (I call them Small Sous Chef Boards) have a short handle and a work surface that’s about 9″ x 12″. The boards are 3/4″ thick, and intended for 2-sided use.

I’ve been struggling to keep these in stock all year, so I made 6 for December events … and I sold 3 before they even got price tags.

In November.

It’s a good problem, I know. I am really not complaining! But it’s now my plan to make a baker’s dozen of these with all new designs in the first quarter of next year. Wonder how many will make it to our first 2017 event?

New: Hearts   4 comments

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeMy “to do” list has had making hearts on it for a long time.

I finally made myself make time to do it.

These hearts are 11″ high, and about 12″ wide. They’re 3/4″ thick, and are intended for 2-sided use (so no non-skid rubber feet).

Each of these are different, of course … because no heart is the same. They do all have Bloodwood in them … because they’re hearts. I mean, what wood would you choose to put into a heart?

I also know I’ll never make a heart out of pure Black Walnut, because a heart should not be black.

I can’t wait for someone to ask me how much my heart costs.

Or if I have a bigger heart.

I believe these will be fun!

The World’s Full Of Cheese….   1 comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---Large… and I’m going to help everyone serve it.

That’s my plan, anyway!

Last year, we sold 20 cheese boards in the first December weekend. It proved to be our largest event of 2015: Santa’s Art Shop in Ridgecrest. The 2016 iteration of that event is this weekend, so I’ve been busy making sawdust to get ready.

A lot of sawdust.

There were 41 boards in this batch, but 5 of them sold before I could even get their picture.

That’s a great problem to have, but this time of year can be frustrating when boards fly out the door about as quickly as I can make them. I’m just happy that I have 36 of these left!

All cheese boards, in my definition, are about 8″ x 11″ x 3/4″, though these range from 8″ x 8″ to 12″ x 12″. All have non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws, along with routed handholds. Prices range from $35 to $50 depending on the exact size and the woods that are featured.

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