Archive for the ‘Mr M’s Woodshop’ Tag

Trivets   Leave a comment

Last week, I was on a crash course to finish this batch of trivets. The inventory was too low for our big event this weekend, the California Strawberry Festival.

So, one crash later, I was done with 23 new trivets. I put them in a prominent position in the booth’s outside corner, on a temporary pile of containers and in a crate … which invites people to flip through the pieces as they look for the right ones.

I learned two things:

  1. Many people have no idea what a trivet is. The word doesn’t translate into Spanish, I’m told, so a large number of people with a Mexican or Central American heritage have no idea what the sign means when it says “Trivets.” Of course, there’s a large number of people that are Americanized that have no clue, as well. “Trivets.” A mystery. Who knew?
  2. People love flipping through a crate of trivets. Oh so many people did that on Saturday.

And that’s a good thing. Some of the flippers even bought one or two.

The flipping continues today at the California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard. Come and flip some, if you please. I would truly appreciate it: load out starts at 6:30pm, and I hope I have a lighter load to come home.

And that, of course, will begat a new crash course for next week … a problem for another day.

Cutting Boards And A Pair Of Serving Trays   Leave a comment

The 4th Annual Spring Fling is in full throttle and, yes, I’ve been busy.

Here’s a collection of cutting boards I’ve finished over the last few weeks. As you’ve seen, I’m making many other things, as well, but I need to make cutting boards all of the time, or I’ll have problems.

That’s particularly true of the end grain boards, since they take a minimum of 2 glue-ups, so they take twice as long to make as the edge grain boards (the “stripey” ones).

And, of course, the serving trays are all stripey. These 2 have been languishing in a cabinet for a couple of months waiting on me to take them over the finish line. Clearly, they were worth the effort. What took so long?

If you find yourself out and about in Southern California this weekend, you will find Mrs M and I at Oxnard’s 35th Annual California Strawberry Festival. It’s quite the thing, with crowds in excess of 50,000 annually. You’ll find the fine art & craft section has been moved to the other side of the festival … near the Green Gate. We are in booths 254 & 256.

Hope to see you there.

The Board Chronicles: Simi Valley Street Fair 2018   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.

I know this event is quirky.

Simi Valley is a bedroom community that’s very similar to Santa Clarita, and we’ve done their Street Fair twice before (2015, 2016).

You know how much I like going to the Street Fair.

But, this event is unusual. It’s put on by the Chamber of Commerce, and they have a “required” pre-meeting for vendors. That’s where you can get your booth number confirmed, and talk about how the event is set-up with the organizers. Since I’ve done 100+ events in multiple cities and now 2 states … I’m not enthusiastic about driving to their office to hear about their event. Or be reminded to wear comfortable shoes.

Write a good info packet and I’m ready to go. Every time.

Another quirk is they don’t let people drive onto the street to set up: they make you cart everything in for some reason that’s never been clear to me. In previous years, there was enough room on the street. This year’s street is tighter, but it’s still an unusual situation to require 100% of things to be carted in, as they have in years past.

We didn’t do this event last year as it is only a 1-day event, and there was a better 2-day event available. This year, though, the Sunday of the weekend was not only Mother’s Day, it was also our 40th wedding anniversary. We agreed to take the day off so we could celebrate … so this Saturday event fit the calendar perfectly.

Which is always important to me. So, it’s off to Simi….

New Ideas

  • The new location meant going to the mandatory meeting was a good idea, I thought, and I learned that I either had to cart everything in at 6:30am, hire their UTV/wagon driver to cart things in for me or I could drive onto the street with the trailer at 5am to unload right by the booth. That’s a no brainer for me. I don’t need to sleep.
  • This year I was told that the city required a business license from me if I was to sell at the event, which I learned at the vendor meeting. What I didn’t learn is that the city didn’t have a working website to do this on, so I had to drive back to Simi a second time in order to complete the paperwork and pay the most expensive fee yet for a city’s one-day business license: $57.
  • Mrs M opted out so she could stay home and prepare for MrsMowry’s 30th birthday (a good choice, that), so I got a double booth all to myself.

Observations

  • This is event # 6 of 10 in our 4th Annual Spring Fling. Miles to go before we sleep.
  • As I drove to the event in the dark, it was misting. That turned into a heavy mist. That turned in to, “Oh, hell no, it’s not going to rain, is it?”
  • It didn’t, but it did get a little wet once during the event. No big thing, but it was a cloudy, cool day. Perfect for a Spring Fling event.
  • Plenty of volunteers – at 5 in the morning – to help me unload. A volunteer assured me they would be there to help me load as well … and they were. This event gets an A+ for having volunteers to help. The volunteers I had, though – adults and teenagers – knew nothing about event spaces, but were good to move the heavy stuff.
  • The event gets a D for how they marked booth spaces – chalk numbers faintly written on the top of the curbs. In the dark, you had to turn on a flashlight and be right on top of the numbers before they were legible. There were no marks for the boundaries of the booth: not left/right, nor front/back. I was the first in my area, so I placed my canopies centered on the booth #s. I moved a foot or so out of the gutter (nothing good comes from being in the gutter), which put the front of my booth up to the dividing line between lanes on the street. Looked good to me. No one ever commented, so I must have been OK. It wasn’t until 3 hours later that I noticed some random lines on the street that might have been booth space dividing lines, placed out of the gutter on the solid white line marking the edge of the driving lane and beginning of the gutter. Don’t know what those lines were.
  • The big issue about no front border for the booths became an issue later, unfortunately.
  • With a 5am unload, I had plenty of time to set up my double booth. Who needs Mrs M anyway?
  • I worked straight through, got set up, and did have time to sit down and have my breakfast (bagels/cream cheese from home). While I was eating, a guy walked into my booth and went straight to my chess set. “It’s $140 for the set? I want it. But I only have $4. Here, you take the money until I can get to the bank. I’ll be right back.” So, I put the chess set on lay away for $4.
  • This first sale was long before the event started at 9am. A good beginning, this.
  • Early in the day, a guy came to the booth and said he wanted to buy a cutting board. That had one of my boards, he said, but it was lost when their house burned to the ground. He wanted to get a new board, and he would bring his wife by later, he said. He did, and that was my first $200 sale of the day.
  • Not long after they left, another couple was standing by the board I had just put on display, replacing the one just purchased. I did my standard greeting, “Let me know if I can answer any questions,” I said. “Can we buy a cutting board?” he said. That’s what we in the professional sales business call a “buying signal.”
  • I launched into my standard spiel. Size. Color. I then asked, “What size are you thinking of?” He said, “Can we buy this board?” That’s what we in the professional sales business call a “shut up and take their money signal.” So, I did. In about 10 minutes, I had two different $200 sales.
  • Good, this is.
  • I was busy all day. Business wasn’t over the top, but I was on my feet, talking, working. All good. Busy is good.
  • You can’t choose your neighbors, though. Mine were annoying. And, the promoters get an F on controlling vendors.
  • On the left, I had a professional politician with an army of volunteers soliciting votes & handing out balloons. He was running for Supervisor, and he had a brigade (their word) of volunteers in front of the booth all day long. When they moved to in front of my booth, I complained, and they pretty much kept to the front of their booth – not IN their booth, but IN FRONT of their booth. They were 100% working the crowd in the center aisle. They never, ever let someone go by without stopping them. They typically had 5 volunteers in front of their booth and 3 volunteers inside of their booth – plus the candidate. No way should they have been allowed to only buy a 10×10 booth.

The balloons were given out by members of the politician’s horde … they never stood in the booth, as the rules said they should.

  • I actually heard one of the organizers of the effort say, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” When that is the philosophy of management, what they’re really saying is “the other vendors are too stupid to do what we’re doing, and the organizers don’t care if we take advantage.”
  • I. Hate. That.
  • On my right, I had a professional buy/sell vendor with leather purses & such. He set his canopy up 1′ in front of mine, and then did a waterfall display off of his grid wall that was 1′ in front of his canopy. The result: he had a 2′ corner jutting out in front of my booth. He also had tables set up back to the gutter and boxes on the planter behind, so he had about a 16′ deep booth going.

The 2′ corner in front of my booth. I actually had one lady come into my booth wanting to buy a purse.

  • The net result of all of this was that customers were directed by my neighbors to walk away from my booth. I did push back against the politician’s minions when they were standing IN FRONT OF MY BOOTH, but, overall, I was confident that my 20′ of frontage (which neither of my neighbors had) got me the attention that I had paid for. Had I had only 10′ of frontage – if Mrs M would have been there – then we would have had trouble. I would have become “that guy.” I would have insisted the organizers step in.
  • Oh, and that $57 business license I had to buy? No one ever checked. I’m going to bet my buy/sell neighbor didn’t have it. Following rules may be frustrating at times, but I have to live with me.
  • The final hour came, and my sales picked up. Once again, the final hour of the event was very, very good to me.
  • Requests were for a 6″ Lazy Susan (it was an archery thing, I was told), more chess sets (AARRGGHH!!), a horsey wall hanging, skateboard decks (x2), something in a golf theme and an actual pastry board with side walls and bread hooks.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Birthday cake with MrsMowry, as she celebrated her 6th 5th birthday. Of course!

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 218
  • Booth cost: $350 + $57
  • Food cost: $0
  • Travel cost: $113
  • Total sales: $1,735
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $1,215
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 0
  • Saturday alarm: 3:50am
  • # transactions: 20
  • # soap & lotion vendors: no clue
  • # woodworking vendors: no clue
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 22:2
  • Returning next year? Probably not

Boards sold: 24

4x Trivets

3x Magic Bottle Openers

3x Cutting Boards

2x Medium Surfboards

2x Lazy Susans

2x Custom Orders

1x Chess Set

1x CNC Wall Plaque

1x Cheese Board

1x Serving Tray

1x Heart

1x Word Block

1x Small Board

1x Pig

 

The Coasters   Leave a comment

This one appears to be working.

I started making coasters at the end of last year, and sold a few immediately. Then I went to Fresno, and sold them all.

Funny, that.

Coasters are a bit of a pain to make, really. Lots of steps. Lots of sawdust (that’s the fun part). And, anytime you decide you’re going to make 80 of something, it’s a significant undertaking. Especially since, in addition to the 80 coasters, I also made 20 holders.

We’ve said it for years: go big or go home. And, apparently, I’m going big.

Because, this Saturday, I’m not at home. If you’re in need of some coasters, come see me at the Simi Valley Street Fair. It’s in a new location this year, on Simi Town Center Way.

More

The Board Chronicles: Sylmar Women’s Club Spring 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.

Do gooders. We need more of’em.

The Sylmar Women’s Club hosts a couple of luncheons a year, and invites vendors to help with their fund raising. The purpose of the event is to raise money for scholarships offered to Sylmar High seniors to go to college.

I’m a fan.

Add that to the idea that the President is a good friend, and I’m all in.

We’re always busy on the weekends of the events, though, so we’ve never been able to do one of these luncheons. The calendar fell right this time. Time to see what all of the fuss is about.

New Ideas

  • It’s a one day event, and a table top event. They provide an 8′ table. I’m breaking rules here: this will be the only one of these I do this year.

Observations

  • This is event # 5 of 10 in our 4th Annual Spring Fling.
  • I’m solo: Mrs M stayed home. Plus, the promoter only allows one table per vendor to accentuate product diversity in a limited space.
  • Setup was cake. I rolled the product in on the cart, and put it on the table. I could get used to doing easy events like this.
  • The event hours were 10 – 3. Pretty much nothing happened while the ladies were at lunch, so there was shopping 10 – 12, and a bit more on the exit at 2:45.
  • Lots of vendor friends at this event. Love that.
  • The ladies were very engaged as they strolled around the room, looking at raffle prizes & the vendor tables. I gave away a lot of business cards, which is always a good thing.
  • This event has only a limited number of vendors, so it’s often not easy to get in. I was fortunate that they had a table when I had a free date on the calendar.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Chicken Marsala was served for lunch. I must be living right.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 38
  • Booth cost: $35
  • Food cost: $35
  • Travel cost: $20
  • Total sales: $73 + 2 special orders still in process
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): TBD
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: many
  • Saturday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 2 + ?
  • # soap & lotion vendors: none
  • # woodworking vendors: just me
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 4:0
  • Returning next year? Doubtful, as the calendar rarely cooperates

Boards sold: 4

4x Trivets

From The Shop: Replacing a Table Saw Motor, Craftsman 152.221240   2 comments

The saw has certainly earned its keep. After I purchased what was then the most expensive tool that I’d ever purchased – at about $1,000 – I’ve built everything on this saw from our kitchen cabinets to my office desk to, oh, a few thousand cutting boards.

Here’s my office desk … can you tell that I’m a reader?

Busy, I am.

I bought the saw in 2004. All was well until a couple of months ago, when the saw started, uh, not starting.

I would hit the switch, and the saw would just sit there, hum, and blow the breaker.

For the uninitiated, when a major tool chooses to blow the breaker rather than starting the motor, it is a bad thing. A very bad thing.

Most of the time, the saw started, albeit slowly. (ed. note: I start slowly, these days, too. Just sayin’.) If the blade didn’t turn at all, I could quickly turn the saw off, rotate the blade by hand, turn the saw back on, and it would usually start. Eventually. It was in that condition that I limped along while I figured out what to do. I didn’t really want to buy a new table saw, not really. The new saw I had my eye on – which would be a huge upgrade – would require me to rewire the garage woodshop, and spend several times what my original saw cost on the new model. Great idea, but the bank account said now was not the time to spend that kind of money.

I reached out to some wise people, and they agreed that I probably needed a new motor for my saw, or at least a rebuilt one. No problem, there was a motor shop locally that was recommended … but they would not touch Craftsman tools.

No problem, I just went to SearsPartsDirect.com, and researched a replacement motor. Called customer service, who told me the motor was discontinued.

Sears Craftsman Professional Tablesaw, 152.221240.

I turned on the Google machine to search the interweb, and eventually found that this Sears “Craftsman Professional” Table saw, model 152.221240, was actually built by a company called Steel City. They were out of business.

Except, maybe they weren’t, as I continued my searches. Some indicated they were in business, but were operating out of Canada exclusively (and that’s out of business?). I called Steel City, and found that they had the replacement for my saw’s original motor in stock. Happy to ship. Fabulous!

So, $400 later, the new motor was on the way. I scheduled the Engineer to come help me do the install, and hoped the old motor would see me through in the meantime.

It did. The big day finally arrived, and I cleaned the shop in anticipation of some big doings.

The biggest problem was that we had no idea what we were doing. There were no instructions from Sears other than “discontinued.” Steel City had no instructions. You Tube. Google. You name it, no one had instructions on how to change the motor on this cabinet saw. There were plenty of videos for other saws, but this one … no.

I did reach out to a woodworker on one of the forums I monitor who had posted about replacing his motor, and asked if he had any tips, and he was most helpful. So, with the original owner’s manual describing the original assembly, and as much knowledge as I could gather from the web, we set off to install the new motor. Here are the step-by-step instructions, as accurate as I could make them. Your mileage may vary.

1. Unplug the saw from the power source. Unplug the saw motor from the power cord inside the cabinet.

2. Remove the blade, blade insert, blade guard, miter gauge and rip fence. Set them aside.

3. Set up a folding table so you have plenty of space to put the parts as you remove them from the table saw.

4. Get cups, plastic bags or whatever so you can place hardware into labeled containers so you can easily keep each set of screws, bolts, nuts & washers separate and identifiable. You will thank me later.

5. Remove the on/off switch from the front rail, and then remove the Guide Tube (it’s what you lock the rip fence to).

6. Remove the Outfeed Table.

7. Remove the Rear Rail. Be careful with the laminated “Accessory Biesemeyer Extension Table,” which is only held on by 2 bolts through each of the Rails.

8. Remove the Front Rail.

9. Remove the Extension Wings. Label them “Right Wing” and “Left Wing.” Avoid political discussions at this stage, though we did observe that we were Making the Table Saw Great Again.

10. Remove the Motor Cover (the big, red plastic thing on the right side of the saw).

11. Remove the “Table Surface,” as it’s referred to on page 15 of the Owner’s Manual. It’s the center table top. It’s held on by 4 bolts, 2 of which are outside of the cabinet on the left side, and 2 of which are the center-most just inside of the right side of the cabinet. BE CAREFUL. There are shims between the cabinet and the table surface that are easily misplaced. Save them in their original positions. Use masking tape to secure them so they don’t move.

12. The motor is mounted to a bracket on a spring-loaded hinge pivot. The weight of the motor keeps tension on the belt; you can lift the motor to remove the belt.

13. Lucky 13. You can now remove the motor from the cabinet. 4 bolts. We lifted the motor with ropes around both sides of the motor to take the weight, and then removed the bolts.

14. Note the position of the pulley on the motor shaft. Dimensions are important: the pulley most be directly parallel to the Arbor Pulley for the belt to track properly. Remove the hex set screw from the pulley. Gently pry the pulley off the motor shaft, and remove the key from the shaft.

15. Seize the moment and fully clean and lubricate the trunnions and gears that control the tilt and height of the blade.

16. Install the pulley on the new motor’s shaft using the key and hex set screw.

17. Install the motor on the bracket on the spring-loaded hinge pivot.

18. Install the belt. Check the alignment of the pulleys to ensure proper tracking. Adjust as necessary.

19. Re-install the Table Surface, making sure that the shims are in the proper place once the masking tape is removed.

20. Re-install the blade, blade insert, blade guard and miter gauge. Reconnect the motor to the switch and the saw to the power. Adjust the blade to be vertical from the table. Do a test cut to make sure the blade and table have the right orientation to each other.

21. Unplug the saw.

22. Reassemble the table saw, doing steps 10 – 5 in reverse order.

We got it right the first time, fortunately. Test cuts were perfect. The saw now sounds great. I can’t wait to rip some 8/4 Hard Maple to see how my famously under-powered table saw performs with its brand new motor.

 

The Board Chronicles: KHTS Home & Garden Show 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.

KHTS, my Hometown Radio Station (I do listen!), sponsors the city’s largest trade show every spring. In Santa Clarita, it’s a don’t miss event for any business that wants to appeal to homeowners.

The radio station partners with the city to highlight their Arbor Day celebration, and free trees are handed out to those attending the event. I’ve done this event for 4 years now; Mrs M has joined me for 3 of those years.

So – stay with me now – I get to do an event in my hometown, sleep in my own bed, and meet people that want to improve their home and, uh, garden.

You bet we wanted to be a part of this year’s event, the 9th Annual. Can we continue our hot streak and have another good event?

New Ideas

  • For only the 3rd time ever, we have a triple booth. It’s a funky L shape, with me getting a double end aisle (3 open sides), and Mrs M getting her typical 10×10. I get space to show everything I’ve got.
  • First event we’ve done in Santa Clarita in 4 months, and the first significant event we’ve done in 5. When we started, it seemed like every event was here, but not today!

Observations

  • This is event # 4 of 10 for our 4th Annual Spring Fling.
  • I love local.
  • Set up seemed to take forever Friday afternoon, but maybe that’s just because I was setting up a triple booth. I used the Trimline 10×20 along with an Undercover pop-up canopy, so there was plenty of work to do to get everything up.
  • Velda started Saturday with mismatched shoes … discovered before we left the house, thankfully. Still, she almost got the day off on the wrong foot.
  • I started Saturday by putting the awnings & banners up on the Trimline, which is absolutely my favorite setup for a large outdoor event. As people lined up to get their free trees and enjoy the opening ceremony with the local politicals representing, we were in the middle of it.
  • And then the wind came.
  • Across the aisle, in a protected location with neighbors on all sides and while facing away from the wind, a young lady setting up her canopy left it alone without securing it to terra firma. She went to get the weights, she said. In any event, moments later, her canopy was upside down and on top of a neighbor’s canopy. Fortunately, the only damage was to the flying canopy. It was destroyed. In a minute. It just takes one malicious gust … and that’s why she stood in the sun all day.
  • It sucks to be the windbreak. Or, perhaps I should say it blows. Doesn’t matter. When you are the one breaking the wind (which is very different from breaking wind, for the record), then it can be bad. That was our role at this event: we were in an unprotected, prominent position, with nothing between us and the wind sweeping across the valley. Wind was a steady 14-17 mph for about an hour … with a few gusts that were less pleasant. When the wind came, we got hit.
  • We survived … but there was one large gust (must have been 30-40 mph) that lifted the Trimline off the ground. Only an inch, mind you, but oh my goodness, it makes your heart stop. And yes, our big, heavy Trimline had additional weights attached to every leg. However, with the big canvas dome plus the 135 square feet of awning, that’s a lot of sail to catch the wind. And we did catch it.
  • I took the awnings down. I secured the Trimline to the cart with ratchet straps, adding several hundred pounds of weight to hold down the canopy. Be Prepared. There was no further incident, thank goodness.
  • The event finally got going at 10am, and there was a steady flow of people through the booth. Many commented that “they had some of my pieces,” or that “my work is beautiful.” Very artistic statements. I must be an artist.
  • I’m good with that. Finally.
  • Mrs M sold some soap; she quickly sold about half of one new batch that she had just labeled. New stuff sells … and it gets scary when your inventory is not deep. It’s a good problem to have, though!
  • Busy. We were busy. Love that.
  • I absolutely love to stand in my booth, point to the northwest and tell the shopper in front of me that I make the boards in our home about 3 miles that way. Local sells. There’s really nothing like selling what I love to make in my hometown, and several times during the day, buyers told me they love supporting local artists.
  • Thank goodness.
  • I didn’t have many transactions on Saturday, really, but activity was constant all day. Sales were steady. Fortunately, several sales were over $100. Sold a big cutting board. Sold another. Had a couple of people purchase multiple items. There were buyers in the crowd, and the crowd walking by at least looked at what we had to offer. Saturday was a very good day.
  • It’s important to wave the flag, especially when you’re local. It’s how you build a brand, and we build at this show.
  • But, you can’t choose your neighbors. Mrs M’s neighbor sold bamboo sheets, and spent all weekend telling every customer passing by, “50% off!”
  • Not our vibe.
  • More wind on Sunday, unfortunately. Not much, really – but it was enough. Mrs M is dealing with her PTSD as best she can, but there’s still that Flying Dry Soup Canopy to remember. This show, the booth behind and to the left of her booth (right behind the 50% off guy), launched at about 3pm. The owner had gone to pick up her daughter, leaving her booth unattended. It appeared the canopy was totally unweighted and unsecured. It launched, flipped, came down in our aisle, and rolled towards unsuspecting patrons sitting in the next booth over. Mrs M screamed at them to look out. No one was hurt. I ran to the canopy with many others, helped collapse it, and carried it back to its abandoned home.
  • Amateurs are dangerous.
  • The mistakes of amateurs not understanding that Wind. Blows. did mar an otherwise very pleasant weekend. Thankfully, no one was hurt. I don’t know if anyone gained wisdom from their experience or not.
  • Requests were for Cribbage Boards – 3 different requests! (I hear you, I just need more development time, and then more CNC time….), Coaster sets (I just sold out, and I need more shop time. See a pattern?), different colors of cheese & cracker servers (I NEED MORE TIME), and pizza peels (alright, alright, it’s on the list).
  • It’s not like I have anything else to do.
  • There just were not enough local crafters at this show. I know the show is viewed as being expensive – it’s not cheap! – but this is an essential Santa Clarita show. Highly recommended.
  • Sales analysis is a wonderful thing. It’s my thing. This is our 53rd event in Santa Clarita, which is 41% of our total of 130 events. As amazing as that is to me, here’s what’s more amazing: this was our best one yet.

Best. Santa. Clarita. Event. Ever.

  • Nothing like having a good weekend to improve your outlook on Monday.
  • Great being out in our hometown. I saw young & old friends that were soccer referees. Scouters. Vendors. School teachers. And, of course, customers. Great weekend!

The Food

  • Best Meal: Saturday dinner at Pho Shure. S5, hold the squid, please. Delightful. Parting shot: the host told me to have a wonder-pho day. Good meal, served with humor.
  • Worst Meal: We ate from the food trucks for lunches this weekend, and Saturday was a teriyaki bowl that was both overpriced and unsatisfying. Sunday’s Polish sausage was very good, thankfully.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 18
  • Booth cost: $525
  • Food cost: $105
  • Travel cost: $9
  • Total sales: $2,686
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $2,047
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 3
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Saturday alarm: 5:30a
  • Sunday alarm: Nope. Went to bed early (and tired), so I woke up early (but refreshed).
  • # transactions: 69
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There was one other soaper, and am essential oil person, I think. A few “soap and body products” people, but no one does soap like Mrs M does soap. IMHO.
  • # woodworking vendors: Only three that I found this year, and all do very different things. 2 are SCV artists that are well known to me. Good guys; one’s a scroll saw artist and the other does a lot of turning and makes home decor. The 3rd woodworker makes adjustable patio furniture out of redwood that’s really fantastic. All of them were in my booth chatting, and vice versa. Comradery is a good thing.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 23:1
  • Returning next year? Yup.

Boards sold: 24

4x Cutting Boards

4x Cheese Boards

4x Hearts

2x Lazy Susans

2x Coasters

1x Wine Bottle Coaster

1x Large Cutting Board

1x Clipboard

1x Chess Board

1x Magic Bottle Opener

1x Small Sous Chef Board

1x Large Sous Chef Board

1x Custom Order

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KHTS Home & Garden Show, 2017

KHTS Home & Garden Show, 2016

KHTS Home & Garden Show, 2015 (for a good dose of humility!)

End Grain Is The Best   Leave a comment

End grain cutting boards are the best … as long as you don’t have some innate fixation on stripes, requiring your cutting boards to be edge grain. If you do, no worries, I make those as well.

But they’re not as hard as end grain boards. They will show more wear than end grain boards. And they’re just not as much fun. Your mileage may vary, of course.

I just finished a large batch of end grain boards, in time for the Spring Fling. This weekend is my first 2018 hometown event, sponsored by my hometown radio station: the KHTS Home & Garden Show.

Drop by, and you’ll find me in a double booth (1401 & 1438), right beside the Arbor Day free tree giveaway. Mrs M is beside me, of course, in 1402. We’ll be there on Saturday, 10-5, and Sunday, 10-4. Come see us, and you’ll see these brand new boards!

The 300th Cutting Board, 3rd Time ‘Round   Leave a comment

Here I go again, flirting with inventory growth. I’m back over 300 pieces in inventory – if only for a day or 2 – so it’s time to commemorate the best of the cutting boards I’ve just made.

Sometimes, simple is the best.

I’ve made this design for a few years now … but I never have them in stock. I make them about once a year for some unknown reason.

I’m an artist. I make what I want. Deal with it.

No one said I was in this for the money, or I’d be smarter about what I make. Maybe.

In any event, this board is made with basic American hardwoods: Black Walnut, Black Cherry (AKA American Cherry, or just Cherry), and Hard Maple.

This is a classic design. I think I need to make it more often!

Cutting Board 18 – 715. Cherry, Black Walnut & Hard Maple. End grain. 12″ x 17″ x 1-1/4″.

More

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)

From The Shop: Restoring A Cutting Board   Leave a comment

I say it at every event: yes, a steel knife will mark wood. That is true, even though I make boards out of hardwoods. My boards will not mark as easily as plastic or softwood boards that many people are used to. With proper care, my cutting boards will last for decades.

Also said at every event: restoring a cutting board takes me 5 minutes. In this case, though, it took me 8.

Here’s the board, as it looked when presented, Christmas ’13. This was one of the first 5 cutting boards I made:

Cutting Board 13 – 08. Goncalo Alves, Black Walnut, Jatoba, Cherry & Honey Locust. Edge Grain. 14″ x 21″ x 1-1/4″.

Here’s the board, as it was returned to me after a few years of use. This was the 2nd time the board has come back to me in 5 years:

So, nothing to do but get to it.

To restore a board, I use the same 5 grits of sandpaper that I used to smooth the board originally. I progress through each grit, removing the knife marks to reveal the smooth wood beneath. Each piece of sandpaper is ruined in the process, with the grit quickly clogging with the oil-laden wood that I’m removing. Typically, each grit gets about a minute of work … in this case, the first 2 grits got about 2 minutes due to the deep marks that I needed to remove.

The grits: 80, 120, 180, 220, 320.

And just like that, the hard work is done. I did use my 5″ sander, the lightweight Festool ETS EC 125/3 EQ Random Orbital Sander to clean up the 4 edges … THEN I was done. Brush off the sawdust that the dust extractor didn’t remove, and here’s what the almost-raw board now looks like:

 

Applying mineral oil to an unfinished board is about as close to pure joy as a woodworker can get. Finally revealed: the “new” board, looking glorious.

Once the oil has soaked in, only 3 steps remain:

  1. Apply a topcoat of Board Butter, which is my mix of locally-harvested beeswax and mineral oil, and
  2. Practice Mr Miyagi’s “wax on, wax off,” and
  3. Take a picture for posterity!

Cutting Board 13 – 08, as restored in 2018. 2nd restoration. It took 8 minutes.

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From The Shop: Just Like New

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