Archive for the ‘wood’ 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.

New: Coasters   2 comments

I use coasters. Don’t you?

I’ve seen other woodworkers make them, but they always bugged me. I think a wooden coaster should do 3 things:

  1. Protect the table underneath.
  2. Catch the condensation from the glass.
  3. Sit there, look pretty.

Many coasters, in my estimation, fail in at least one of these goals. With that in mind, these coasters were designed somewhat differently than my traditional cutting board & serving piece offerings.

For one, the finish on these coasters is a urethane, which could be used on wooden counters or tables. It’s food grade – but not cutting board grade. It does provide more moisture protection for the wood. Because, you know, condensation.

Secondly, I’ve added another wood to these coasters that’s very soft: cork. The round cork inserts provide a soft landing pad for your glass, and the small well around them will contain a few drops of moisture as well. Because, you know, condensation.

These coasters are not small: they are 5″ square, with the cork insert being 4″ round. They are the perfect size for the large drink containers that many favor these days.

I’m offering these coasters in sets of 4, and Mrs M and I have a disagreement about that. She insists that I only sell them in matched sets, but I believe that’s a mistake. Given that I made them, I get the final vote. (For the record, she gets the final vote … on her side of the booth.) I’ll be fine with anyone that wants a matched set of 4 … but I’ll also be fine if they want 4 different wood designs in their set.

Each coaster is $10. Buy 4, and you get a bonus coaster holder. Those holders are currently made from Black Walnut or Jatoba. There are 7 sets plus 3 single coasters in this first batch. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this new product, made possible by my CNC!

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.

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