Archive for the ‘serving piece’ Tag

Large Cheese & Cracker Servers   Leave a comment

That’s what I call them.

Most people see them, and say, “Those look like surfboards!” While that may be true, now that I make boards with actual surfboard shapes, it seems wrong to call these pieces surfboards.

Because they’re not.

In my personal lexicon, though, I call them large surfboards, because that’s less cumbersome than Large Cheese & Cracker Servers.

Which is more accurate. As if that matters. If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck….

You call them what you like. These pieces are a unique design that I’ve developed. The underside of each piece has massive “cove cuts,” which are made on the table saw by running the board not through the blade, but across the blade at an oblique angle. The curves underneath the boards, therefore, are the shape of the saw blade as it passes through the wood.

These cove cuts allow the piece to sit very lightly on the table. Combining the oval shape with the curved handles underneath result in curves going in multiple directions with this piece; it’s very pleasing to the touch.

All of these serving pieces are 12″ x 20″ x 1-1/4″. As with all of the pieces I make, the finish is food safe: mineral oil and board butter, which is mineral oil mixed with locally-harvested beeswax. All have rubber feet, held on with stainless steel screws.

The first one shown, and the last two shown, all sold in their first showing.

Trays To Serve   2 comments

I’m calling this a win.

I started out making 3 serving trays, as a reaction to my failure as a teen-aged woodworker. You can read that story, here.

Those 3 serving trays sold at 2 events. That’s a fairly good result for a serving piece … especially a serving piece made by someone with a checkered past making a serving tray, like yours truly.

So, there was nothing to do but go back to the shop and make some more and see if I could replicate the success. These 10 serving trays were the result. Now, I have 2 different styles of handles and a wide, wide range of woods featured in these 10 boards. There are woods from 5 continents being used!

I’m enjoying making these serving trays, and I’m hopeful that the teen-aged me didn’t make an appearance when I was making these in the shop. If that happened, the result could be less than ideal.

Somehow, I’m not worried.

If any of these catch your fancy, you’ll find all of them this weekend at Santa Clarita’s Fine Craft Show in Old Orchard Park. Hours are 10a – 5p on Saturday, and 10a – 3p on Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Special Orders Caught Up!   1 comment

I have this love/hate relationship with special orders.

I love being a part of weddings. Making a handmade wedding gift for a client is truly fulfilling in a unique way. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of some couple’s oh-so-special day?

On the other hand, I hate the time pressure that’s inevitable with special orders. Even if people don’t specify an impossible deadline, I always have a date in mind that I tell them the board should be done by …

And it’s always too soon.

Well, it seems that way, in any event.

The reality of my situation is that I have so much to do, there’s never time to not be doing.

It’s a wonderful problem to have!

So, with these special orders, I’m about as caught up as I ever am. Still in the shop are 2 more that just need feet attached to be done. There are 4 more awaiting construction, one restoration to finish … and then there are the 2 big corporate orders to complete in October. And don’t forget, 2 of our biggest events of the year are in October.

So, yes, I’ve got more to do … even as I celebrate some of what I’ve done.

Big, Small & Cheesy   Leave a comment

Yes, these are cutting boards. Or they can be.

Yes, these are serving pieces. Or they can be.

The big boards are great cutting boards, or course … the Hickory board is particularly fetching, I think. Great cutting board. The dark, squarish board with Pau Ferro didn’t photograph well, but it’s subtlety is not lost in direct light.

And then there are the smaller boards that I call cheese boards. They all can be cutting boards, though they are small if you intend to do more than slice a tomato or cut a lemon. For some, they are perfect for cutting boards. I’m told.

So, adults get to choose in my booth. I will tell them what I call a piece … and then they tell me what they call them.

That’s the thing about being an adult. You get a vote.

The 200th Cutting Board, Again   1 comment

Back again.

It’s simply lovely to have a bit of shop time that lets me catch up. Inventory is once again over 200 pieces, if only for a short while. A bit of creativity can get sparked when I have shop time, thank goodness. And that’s when things can get pretty.

This board was a special order. I was tasked to make an in-counter replacement board, and it needed a splash of Bird’s Eye Maple in a field of brown. It was going to match another piece in its new home, I was told, and the board needed to be just right.

So, OK! I first had to find that perfect piece of Bird’s Eye, and then I had to design a board around it. I take what the wood gives me. And in this case, I’m happy to get this board to an owner who appreciates the uniqueness of the wood.

This is the front:

 

Cutting Board 17 – 129. Black Walnut, Padauk and Bird’s Eye Maple. 16″ x 20″ x 3/4″. Commissioned piece.

And this is the back:

Cutting Board 17 – 129. Detail of the back of the board, including my logo in the lower right corner.

 

When she picked it up, the new owner of the board said that it will never be cut on. With wood this pretty, I entirely support that decision!

More

The 250th Cutting Board (4/18/17)

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)

“I Start With Lumber.”   4 comments

The garage woodshop has been pretty crazy for the last few weeks.

  • Inventory is down – critically down – and our fall events begin NEXT WEEK.
  • Panic has set in.
  • The new tool is on order, and shop space has to be cleared for it. Unfortunately the shop is bursting at the seams right now with lumber. That’s a good thing … but it’s gotta go. I need to make stuff from the lumber, so I have space for the new tool.
  • Which is on order.
  • Tic. Tic. Tic.

Here are a few boards which made it to the finish line this week. There are oh so many more coming … and some new surprises, too! … but first things first.

Nine boards, humbly submitted for your consideration.

Simple Designs   2 comments

It was 14 months ago that I first discussed a special project for a restaurant that was in development. The manager found me at a craft fair, and wanted me to make some special serving pieces for him.

Well, OK then.

After following up with my contact immediately after the event and then again about 13 months ago, I assumed this idea would not move forward.

1 month ago, the phone rang. The restaurant was finally to the point that they almost knew what they wanted. After some design discussions, they gave me direction for 4 pieces … and I decided to make 8 different pieces on spec.

They offered to pay me for the work, but I know that if they don’t like the pieces, then someone else will. The ideas here are very simple – the food will be the star, I’m sure!

I meet with the managers this week, and I’ll let you know how it goes. Here’s what we will be discussing.

 

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.

It’s About The Wood   3 comments

“I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell.”

  • The Real Bruce Dickinson, as played by Christopher Walken on Saturday Night Live, April 8, 2000.

In this case, it’s about the wood, not the cowbell. Although I have played cowbell in my time, so I do understand that cure as well.

But back to the wood. This collection of 5 Lazy Susans was just completed for this weekend’s big event, the California Strawberry Festival.

Three of the Susans have Mahogany in them, which I was able to buy inexpensively because somebody made a big mistake. The lumberyard got an order for 2″ rough stock flooring, and they cut the order – 7 pallets of order – using Mahogany.

But the buyer didn’t want Mahogany.

So, I got the opportunity to buy a few pieces for pennies on the dollar. Wish I had more, but this is the end of my mistaken Mahogany.

The other 2 Susans both have Padauk in them, which is freshly surfaced in these pictures. And, yes, when Padauk is fresh, its color is pumpkin orange, just as these pictures show. Over time, though, that color will fade to a nice warm brown. Not as spectacular, perhaps, but more in keeping with most decors, I believe.

So, Mahogany may not always be cheap, and Padauk may not always be orange … but when you’ve got a fever,  more cowbell is the only cure. Just sayin’.

 

 

Too Pretty To Use?   Leave a comment

It’s the most common comment I hear when a new patron walks into our booth: “These are too pretty to use!”

They’re not, in my humble opinion. They’re made to be used. Since these boards are made out of very hard wood, they won’t mark in the same way that cheaper, softer cutting boards will.

So, please, use these boards. It’s what they’re intended to be: used.

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