Archive for the ‘serving piece’ Tag

Keeping My Assistant Busy   3 comments

One of the challenges in a 1-man shop is how you can get more efficient. When it’s just you against the world, you can’t afford to waste time.

I decided some time ago that I would not hire an assistant … so I bought one.

My CNC router is a computer-controlled carving machine that will do what I tell it to do, generally. It will work on one project while I’m doing other tasks. I’m now doing some processes for many of my products on the CNC. Magic Bottle Openers, Trivets, Coasters and Pigs all go through the CNC now.

And in this case, “more is better” is definitely a true statement. I’m slowly adding more products. Wall plaques are now happening, along with some 3D carving. As I gain more skills there, you’ll see Cribbage Boards (I promise!) and new Cheese Slicers make it to the finish line.

For now, here are some of the ideas I have delivered sing the CNC.

Hearts   Leave a comment

I enjoy making these hearts.

Can they be cutting boards? Of course.

Most people, however, view them as either display pieces or cheese servers. Works for me.

What I know is that every heart has Bloodwood in it (wouldn’t you?) and no heart ever has Yellowheart or Black Walnut in it (because those do not belong in hearts).

I trust that you’ll agree that those are good decisions to make a nice heart.

If you’re out and about this weekend, come see us – Mrs M is finally joining me! – at the Montrose Arts & Crafts Festival. We’ll be there 10-6 on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Trivets   3 comments

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.

I Keep Making New Stuff   Leave a comment

This is a pot pourri of recent boards that made it to the finish line.

The first cutting board was a special order, and it’s the first piece I’m completed that uses Mesquite. Further down in this group is a Lazy Susan that better showcases this wood that’s uncommon in Southern California.

At the bottom of this group are a pair of “Family” signs that are the first of the true 3D carving signs that I’ve gotten to the finish line. Both of these are made from Hard Maple, though one of them is made from a dark wood that’s got some curly figure in it … unusual for Maple.

I got disorganized enough that a few pieces made it out of the shop and to last week’s event … and were sold before I got their pictures. That has not happened before!

I’ve got 4 more Lazy Susans in the shop that just might be finished for this weekend’s event … but I’ve got several custom orders that will be my focus this week.

We All Need More Heart   1 comment

I know these are a good idea … but you can add them to the long list of good ideas that seldom make it out of the garage woodshop.

I have been sold out of hearts for a year – a year! – but I finally found the time to make more.

These hearts each have Bloodwood in them (naturally). They are about 11″ across  and 3/4″ thick. They’re made for 2-sided use; no feet on these.

Because they are hearts.

When you’re making, you have to know what you’re making. And then … make it in a way that is true.

That’s the philosophy.

Here are the hearts.

 

 

 

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)

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