My last round of paddle making got quite the reception on Facebook, so much so that I ended up teaming up with a local kids charity that was running a canoe fundraiser. I decided to make them a custom paddle with their logo on it to be auctioned off. The paddle is made from poplar with walnut strips.
I laminated the the shaft and wrapped the blade in a way that it looks like the walnut runs right down the centre of the glad and shaft. A died epoxy tip was added to protect the end of the blade.
I painted the entire paddle with a thin coat of epoxy for protection, then a coat of poly to protect from the UV rays. The paddle was a huge hit and raise them a bunch of money for their camp programs, it was a great fit for both of us!
A month ago I ordered a custom brand from Heavy Industry. I found them on Etsy where I also have a shop. They were absolutely awesome to work with. I sent them my logo in jpg format, asked about what size would work best for the font, and presto, here’s my awesome new brand. I splurged for the electric branding iron, didn’t want to have to mess around with a propane torch trying to get it to the right temperature. I’m really pleased with the brand, and I think it helps developing an identity, plus it looks pretty cool. I’ve put it on a few items so far, including the business card holder seen above.
Last week I finished off this coffee cart for Patisserie la Toque. They wanted a modern looking coffee cart with a bit of an industrial feel. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to try my hand at a concrete counter top! The cart is 3/4″ Baltic Birch plywood and a 2″ thick concrete top. I put it all on casters so they can move it around for cleaning purposes. The cart + coffee maker must weigh in at around 200 lbs. so it’s quite sturdy. Already they have had lots of comments from their customers and it might lead to a few outdoor concrete table orders.
I took a great paddle making class a few years ago, but haven’t had the time since to make another one. My 4 year old keeps growing so she was due for another paddle. She is in love with the colour purple so I grabbed a bit of purple heart along with some poplar and walnut and made her a little paddle for our adventures.
The second paddle was a present to my wife, after many years she was still using some junky old paddle lying around the garage. Her’s is also in the picture above, it’s made from walnut and butternut and is very light. Mainly used hand tools to plane down the blades and shape the shafts, worked out great. Both paddles were finished with spar varnish, wasn’t happy with the product and it smelt awful. I’ve read many people say that poly is better as it is harder, and you don’t really need the uv protection for the limited amount of time it is outside, so on the next one I’ll use some poly instead.
Up next I’m making a paddle for a local kids charity to use for their silent auction. Hopefully it brings in some big bucks for the organization, it will be auctioned off at a canoe fundraiser so hopefully it’s a good fit.
It’s been a busy week in the Studio. I’ve had many prototype ideas going through my head for ages, and I finally had some time to experiment. It’s always a bit tough for me to try out prototypes as I hate to waste the materials if it isn’t going to work out, and if they aren’t perfect, what to do with it?
First up was a production run of toy cameras. Made from Walnut for the body, and maple for the lens, these were a copy of a prototype I made (and gave away to my daughter). I love the simplicity of these, just the basics of a real camera, viewfinder-lens-shutter button. They are finished with a light coat of mineral oil, and are for sale in my Etsy Store, as well as in Patisserie La Toque in Wakefield, Quebec.
Next up, a mid-century modern inspired chair. Made from Baltic Birch plywood with padauk wedges in the through tenons. I curved the back using bent lamination and the seat is covered with an upholstery grade corduroy. I’d like to make these adult size, but for the prototype I decided to build it for a child so as to not use as much materials. It’s now my daughters favourite chair! After seeing me taking pictures of it, she yelled at me, “You’re not going to sell my chair are you???!!!”. She’s hard to please, but I clearly won her over on this one. These chairs will be custom order only as I don’t have the space to store finished chairs, and this will allow people to choose their upholstery colours.
Last up was a pyramid shaped macaron tower. Requested by Patisserie La Toque, how hard could a pyramid be to make? Turns out this was the hardest project of the week. Lots of angles made this very tricky, but with some glue, and a ton of brad nails and filler, it got completed on time and made the customer very happy. Might think twice before making another pyramid though…
Next week I’ve got some canoe paddles on the go as well as a few more prototypes to try out, stay tuned!
Taking a little break from work and finally got around to processing my rolls of black and white film… I’m embarrassed to say that most of them are from two years ago. I’ve been busy, but really, this only took me an hour or so, and its hard too believe I haven’t had an hour of free time over the last two years… It was exciting to see the negatives come out, but a bit bittersweet when I came across the roll where my Xpan died half way through. I have resolved to spend the next bit of woodworking earnings on having it repaired so I can once again enjoy it!
I had some spare time last week and I had just read someone’s post about wooden combs and how good they were and how they helped untangle his 4 year olds hair. Well, I have a four year old, and she has tangled hair, so this seemed like a great project.
I bought some purple heart especially for the project, I like to try new woods and my daughter loves purple, so this seemed like a perfect match. I was amazed at how hard the wood was, and the sanding left a purple mess! In the end, I was quite happy with how it turned out, and so is my daughter. I won’t be making any of these for sale as I wouldn’t be able to charge enough. A fun little project.
I’ve learnt a lot about Etsy over the last few years. I read up as much as I can about ways to increase traffic, how to draw people to your store, etc. But sometimes I think it’s just dumb luck. In the last week I have had a ridiculous number of likes and views. I’m getting more views per day than I would normally get per week. I’ve had more likes in the last week than all of last year. The view to like ratio seems to be about 3:1 (ie. for every three views someone likes at least one thing they see).
While I’m excited about all the traffic, and I’m glad people “like” my stuff, it hasn’t led to a single sale….. yet. I’m certainly not an Etsy expert, and it’s week’s like this one that leave me thinking I know far less than I once thought I did about the online craft market place.
I’ll be adding a few more items later this week to Etsy, stay tuned…