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My Incredible Staycation   Leave a comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeThe Facts

Injuries: NONE. Well, I don’t count the ONE splinter! I also got a little scratch on my arm from opening a band saw blade incorrectly, but it was made all better by Mrs M’s new Boo Boo Balm. (Best name ever!)

Sparks flew from a tool: Twice. Once from the drum sander, when a piece of bird’s eye maple was found to have a metal brad in the end for no good reason. That grooved & killed a sanding belt … luckily not my drum sander’s aluminum drum. The second time sparks flew was from my underpowered, benchtop belt sander; that was no big deal. But exciting.

# boxes of sandpaper used, 50 disks/box: 5. That’s about $80.

# sandpaper belts used: 8. 7 were for the drum sander, and 1 was for the belt sander. That’s about $90.

Bags of sawdust: 5 more. Want any?

Broken tools: 1. My “good” random orbital sander (ROS) must have heard me talking about how I need a better one that captures the generated sawdust  instead of spewing it … in any event, my formerly best ROS came apart when I still had another 2 days of sanding ahead of me.

The Results

Last year, I took a Staycation to build cheese boards for the coming holiday season. It was a good idea … I just didn’t build enough. Still, the 51 projects I finished during last year’s Staycation was a personal record.

Which I obliterated this year.

I started building projects a few weeks before my Staycation, with the intent that I could finish the glued-up blanks when I had more time. It was a productive plan. Here’s what I worked on during my Staycation:

  • 19 Cheese Boards
  • 17 Large Surfboards
  • 15 Lazy Susans
  • 13 Small Sous Chef Boards
  • 7 Large Cutting Boards
  • 7 Pigs
  • 6 Large Sous Chef Boards
  • 6 Cutting Boards
  • 4 Small Boards
  • 3 Bread Boards
  • 3 Custom Boards
  • 1 Medium Surfboard

And 5 new products made it to the finish line (Humor! Coming at you!), just in time for this weekend’s 3 big events:

  • 13 Building Block Sets
  • 1 Recipe Board
  • 1 Clipboard
  • 1 Magic Bottle Opener
  • 1 Bear

The Events

Come see us this weekend!

  • 10/7, Saturday, Grace Baptist Church MOPS Holiday Boutique, with the 2 Mrs M’s.
  • 10/7 & 8, Saturday & Sunday, Saugus High School Boutique Fantastique, with Mr M and Miss M on Saturday, and the elder Mrs M joining Miss M on Sunday.
  • 10/8, Sunday, Canyon High School Shop For A Cause Holiday Boutique, with Mr M insanely manning a double booth solo. It will either be fabulous or completely out of control….


2014 – Staycation: Day 1

2014 – Staycation: Day 2

2014 – Staycation: Day 3

2014 – Staycation: Day 4

2014 – Staycation: Day 5

2014 – Staycation: Day 6

2014 – What I Did On My Staycation

Staycation: Day 6   4 comments

So, if you’ve stayed with me through my 6 day staycation, perhaps you’re wondering WHY on earth did I subvert to this diary format about woodworking? Two reasons, really:

1. At last weekend’s little boutique, I sold 9 boards. While doing so, I had 2 different people ask me how long it takes me to make a board. I told them the truth (something that I do): “I have no idea.” After this week … I have an idea.

2. This weekend (hopefully as you are reading this!) is the Saugus High School Boutique Fantastique, featuring over a 100 vendors including, you guessed it, Mrs M’s Handmade. This event is in its 25th year, and is noteworthy for 2 reaons: it’s the biggest holiday boutique in our area, and in spite of living in our Saugus home for 24 years and putting 3 kids through Saugus High, we’ve never attended. That will change on Saturday. The Mrs M’s have been making lotions, balms, sprays & scrubs for weeks (New holiday scents! New manly scents!). And since I’m the hired muscle and will be there no matter what … I needed some boards to sell. Hopefully, a lot of them.Boutique FantastiqueSo, I needed a staycation.

Time to see what Day 6 will bring me.Staycation 60

8:08a: in the shop. Sanding 180 grit.Staycation 61


9:27a: done with 180, time for 220.Staycation 62

10:25a: 220 is done.

11:13a: plugged in the branding iron.Staycation 65

Staycation 64

When the shop door is open, my little Hula Girl always puts a smile on my face.

11:23a: 320 grit is done.

Staycation 66

I’ve done marketing for all of my career … and this is what I call branding.

12:25p: branding is done. Clean the shop; load the Jeep.

1:17p: finish the prep.

1:36p: begin oiling.

2:13p: First oil is done. Lunch.

2:50p: Oil rub down on all boards … three times on the end grain boards.

3:30p: work on an upgrade on my second step unit.

4:36p: upgrade done. Oil is saturated on the boards. Take a break.

5:34p: Wax on.

7:08p: Wax off.

7:56p: Done with 14 boards, including non-skid feet and stainless steel screws.



Staycation: Day 1

Staycation: Day 2

Staycation: Day 3

Staycation: Day 4

Staycation: Day 5

Posted November 1, 2014 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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Staycation: Day 5   6 comments

Here’s the question: can I take the boards from the router to the sander to hand sanding to finish application today? Tomorrow morning would then be the beeswax/mineral oil topcoat, and tomorrow afternoon would be installing the non-skid feet with stainless steel screws, wrapping and labeling. Tomorrow evening … load the cars, and avoid the trick-or-treaters.

And I’m pretty sure the random orbital sander will die today.

Oh, and I have to build the display units in my spare time.


Yesterday’s funk has left me, which is good. I’m through the wall. Now, it’s all about taking my productivity up a notch and getting to the finish line. (HA. I kill me.)

8:20a: in the shop. Time to process the final glue-ups from yesterday and get going with sanding.

10:07a: Done with smoothing on the planer now … but that took too long.


10:20a: Router table now set up for edge rounding.Staycation 53

11:02a: 440 edges now rounded. Time to route the handles … but oh NO, the dust collector is full. Time for my dust mask & the worst job in the shop. The result: a 500 ml bag & a 33 gallon bag of sawdust (and no, I have no idea why I’m mixing my measurement systems).

Here are the old filters from the dust mask ... this is the stuff I didn't breathe.

Here are the old filters from the dust mask … this is the stuff I didn’t breathe.

12:15p: 110 handles routed.

12:33p: lunch and errands. I need to restock the ice cream and diet coke. Man does not live by woodworking alone.

2:34p: back to the shop; time to begin sanding. Corners will be rounded, and I’ll clean up the routed edges as well. That’s 220 corners and 440 edges, by the way.

3:43p: Rounding done and coughing begins. Break needed.

4:10p: Sanding with the random orbital sander begins. I start with 80 grit.

5:17p: I may never finish (HA. I kill me.).

7:28p: done with 80 grit. Break.

7:46p: Begin with 120 grit. All the boards, all over again. And I’ll do this with 5 different grits. Why? Because the # 2 comment made about my boards (after “Oooh, pretty”) is “Oooh, smooth.”

8:56p: Done with 120 grit. I’m giving up … and no, I didn’t break the sander, and I didn’t make the finish line today. That will have to wait for another day.

Good thing I have another day.

Staycation: day 5 results:

  • 55 boards now sanded through 120 grit
  • 12 boards now on hold “for next time”
  • zero boards cut for the new display units

Forecast for day 6: a good chance of rain, so whatever I get done tomorrow gets done in the shop. And, I have NO ROOM.


Staycation: Day 1

Staycation: Day 2

Staycation: Day 3

Staycation: Day 4

Posted October 31, 2014 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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Staycation: Day 3   5 comments

8:48a: enter the shop

9:08a: do a joint test. I snap an end cut. There’s only a 1/4″ glue joint … but it holds. The wood breaks. That’s a good thing: these boards will not be coming apart.

9:32a: first wood cascade of the day. I have NO ROOM.Staycation 35

9:48a: first glue-up done

Note to self: the next time Velda suggest you buy more clamps, say "Yes, Dear."

Note to self: the next time Velda suggests you buy more clamps, say “Yes, Dear.”

10:24a: first 2 boards picked & processed.

11:32a: throwing things again. Earlier, today.

11:37a: my new plunge router arrives. Now, if I just had time to unpack it….

Love my new Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router (Variable Speed) . Thank you, Amazon Prime!

Love my new Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router (Variable Speed) . Thank you, Amazon Prime!

11:42a: a handle just fell off my table saw. Tool envy, no doubt.

11:55a: I lose at Jenga. As if that’s a surprise. I have NO ROOM.

12:23p: More cut-offs delivered to the curb for mulch. Note to Velda: this is pizza fire starter wood that we’re not using. More pizza is needed!

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

1:58p: 2nd glue-up of the day done

2:57p: time to dive for more Black Walnut.

3:47p: I’m now out of 8/4 Hard Maple … but my last custom order is ready for glue-up.

Take heart, Brian! Your board is progressing in the shop, honest!

Take heart, Brian! Your board is progressing in the shop, honest!

5:24p: last board is picked & processed.

6:10p: 3rd glue-up done.

6:17p: shop swept. Music off. Lights out.

Staycation: day 3 results:

  • 20 more boards picked and processed
  • 28 more boards glued up
  • 58 total boards now in production

I have NEVER produced like this!


Staycation: Day 1

Staycation: Day 2

Posted October 29, 2014 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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Staycation: Day 2   5 comments

4:42a: I wake up too early. I dream of the Mondrian-styled serving piece I’ll create today out of some quilted black walnut that I processed yesterday.

What? You don’t dream about vacations?Staycation 23

8:10a: enter the shop

9:09a: done with the first round of glue upsStaycation 21

9:41a: Mondrian board phase one is doneStaycation 24

10:30a: I realized the black walnut I have in rough stock would be great for a board I’m putting together … so I took all 10 pieces of the walnut I put in the rolling cart yesterday and took them out to be processed today. I’m losing my mind in this over-crowded shop.

10:54a: put together the first two boards of the day

11:37a: talked to Dennis, who’s installing the computer system for a broadcaster in Las Vegas, NM. He’s doing fine … but I dump my glue-infused water bowl while I’m talking to him. Clean up, workbench one.

12:12p: second glue up session done

New technique: I'm following the manufacturer's recommendation on how to clean up squeeze out from glue ups. It's a mess, but at least it's not using paper towels.

New technique: I’m following the manufacturer’s recommendation on how to clean up squeeze out from glue ups. It’s a mess, but at least it’s not using paper towels.

12:55p: my gosh, this ash is pretty. Why didn’t anyone tell me to work with ash before? And … it’s time for lunch.Staycation 29

2:18p: back to the shop

3:56p: I begin to throw things. This may not end well.

While I'm throwing things, I'm also amusing myself by playing a game of Jenga, stacking up new board set ups on a garbage can.

While I’m throwing things, I’m also amusing myself by playing a game of Jenga, stacking up new board set ups on a garbage can. I have NO ROOM.

5:31p: Third glue up session done.

5:37p: Sweep the shop & turn out the lights.Staycation 28

Results, staycation day 2:

  • 14 more cheese boards picked & processed
  • 23 more cheese boards glued up


Staycation: Day 1

Posted October 28, 2014 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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Staycation: Day 1   6 comments

7:30a: She: “Are you OK with breakfast in 5 minutes?”

He: “You mean you’re cooking?” Note to self: this could be a good day.

8:01a: With her breakfast burrito success thoroughly evaluated (and found exceptional), I confronted the chaos that is my garage current shop. Too much stuff in too little space. Staycation 01

8:25a: Stowed the Mrs M display pieces and Mr M inventory out of the way and began the real work of the day. I know the world has a lot of cheese. The world needs more cheese boards.

Staycation 03

8:45a: I start to turn on my saw, but realize the time. Too soon.

9:05a: Dust collection up. Saw on. I have a bunch of new lumber to process, and its going to be a rough ride. The lumber is common grade with a lot of checking (which are cracks in the boards). Cherry, black walnut and ash are all mixed in the pile. Lots of odd sizes. The process begins in earnest.Staycation 0210:22a: # 1 daughter-in-law and # 1 granddaughter arrive. I’m in my hearing protection with dust collection and table saw running, and Payton walks to the middle of the driveway and begins talking to me. I shut down and lose the ear muffs: I need to listen. Of course.

10:37a: First cheese board lumber picked and processed.  Glue-ups could now begin … if there was a work surface available in the shop. There is not, nor will there be for a long time.

10:50a: Velda yells at me because she needs access to the garage refrigerator. To do that, she needs to cross into my garage woodshop. That woman has no boundaries.

11:000a: Little Girl arrives. She’s going to the Pumpkin Patch with Velda & Payton. And my camera.

12:43p: I lay out the 12th board of the day, which is dubbed the USC board, as it has purpleheart and yellowheart as the principal woods. It hurts me a little to make a board for the anti-Bruins … but it’s OK. I’ll just charge them more.

1:08p: The 16th board is also for USC fans. It’ll be end grain. And have a stiffer Trojan tax. I love it when prices go up.

1:23p: I discover that I’m much more out of control than I thought. After a few hours in the shop processing rough lumber, I glance at the dust collector, and see that not only is the lower bag full, it has now overflowed into the upper bag, which stands 50% full. This is a very, very bad thing.

See The Worst Job In The Shop. When I wrote that piece, the dust collector upper bag was perhaps 10% full. And that was bad.

This is worse.

I’m going to get really dirty … after lunch. Good plan. After lunch.

So, no dust collection until after lunch. I can still use the table saw and planer … but the dust will have to, uh, collect on its own.

1:45p: The ladies return with orange squash in hand. I am not offered my camera back.

1:53p: The 20th new cheese board is picked and processed, awaiting glue-up.

2:02p: Lunch. Thank goodness.

2:30p: I am invited to a Mrs M’s Handmade executive session to present the plan for this weekend’s big event: the Saugus High Boutique Fantastique. We have rented a double booth, 10’x20′, which is our biggest ever. We need a plan. We need more tables. We need more stuff.

3:03p: We review the plan, we review the calendar. We have a shopping list and tasks to complete.

3:12p: The ladies decide that Alley is the boss of me. In their complicated female logic, it’s found that Velda is not the boss of me (they got that one right), but Alley is. I do not comment on their conclusion. That is evidence of increased wisdom due to my experience in handling living with being around … sorry. I am mistaken. Alley is the boss of me, and I should just accept that without comment. Done.

3:24p: The ladies approve me to purchase a plunge router. I need that tool to make good juice grooves for cutting boards, and that is now in my future.

Because I need more stuff in my shop.

Oh, and prices will go up. I love it when prices go up.

3:29p: Back to the shop. And the worst job in the shop.

4:03p: Velda yells at me because I have lumber stacked in front of her freezer. No surprise there: I have lumber stacked everywhere at this point.

4:17p: I discover a rats nest buried behind the lumber behind the dust collector. And a dead rat. The. Worst. Job. In. The. Shop.

4:48p: Finish cleaning up the dust collector. One big bag of sawdust and five medium bags of sawdust are removed from the shop. Oh, and the dead thing, too.

5:03p: Reassemble the dust collector. Thank goodness.

5:22p: Empty the rolling cut-off bin where I put, uh, cut-offs. This stock is 2′ to 5′ long.  I remove the softwoods that I no longer have room to store here, and organize the hardwood. I find some great hard maple and a piece of teak that’ll be used tomorrow. I fill the bin with the common stock walnut and the new cut-offs from today. The cut-offs from the last 3 months will continue to be wherever I can stick them.

5:45p: Little Girl and Miss P go to the hockey game to watch E play. Side note: when Auntie Lauren was watching the Kings game this afternoon, Payton asked which of the players was E. Adorable.

5:50p: Christopher arrives. He begins to search for a tool I don’t use. Hahahahahahaha. He doesn’t find it.

6:15p: First glue-up complete.

6:40p: Shop shut down. Time for a shower.

Results, staycation day 1:

  • 20 cheese boards picked & processed
  • 5 cheese boards glued up




Posted October 27, 2014 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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