Some musings on quality…

Fischer Price

I was in my parents basement this morning when I came across the above Fisher Price Toy.  It’s a Printing kit, judging by some of the paper I found inside the box, I got this when I was 4 years old, making this toy over 30 years old.  I have always loved crafty things like this and I grabbed it thinking my five year old would love it as well.  As I left I was thinking how I’d need to find a new ink pad likely, and hopefully my daughter would be patient while I figured out if any of it still worked.

 

To my surprise, the well used toy was complete, and everything still worked.  The original ink pad still had ink and the refill bottle was still half full (there was even a form to mail away for extra refills).  We had an awesome afternoon playing with it, but I couldn’t help but be blown away that this 30+ year old toy still worked perfectly, and would likely work for another 30 years.  This sort of quality is rare these days, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about with my products.

 

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My bird houses for instance, while they look fragile, they are very durable and weather proof.  I hung up a pair of them on my back shed for an entire year before I decided to start selling the design.  After a year I was satisfied that they were high enough quality.  Now going on 3 years, the pair still hangs on the shed, and with no maintenance, they are a bit more grey than before, but still keeps the elements off my feathered friends.

 

I often get questions about care for my various chopping boards.  I always tell people to wipe them with a damp/soapy cloth, reapply mineral oil if they look dry, the usual things for cutting boards.  This is certainly playing it safe, and they will never come to any harm with this regimen, but is it really necessary?  That’s what I plan to find out.  I’m making a couple of mini boards, one maple with colour block and a second plain walnut.  I’ll prepare them just as I do all my other boards, but these two are going to take a trip in the dishwasher, in fact 10 trips to be precise.  Have I gone mad? Maybe, but if these boards can survive 10 trips through the dishwasher, then they can survive just about anything. Stay tuned…

Busy Week!

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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

Purple Heart Wood comb

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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.tmp_20140324223615_1-877745839

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honestly I make other stuff besides cutting boards…

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So I do make other things besides cutting boards, just seems like that’s what gets posted most often.  The bottom two boards were Anniversary/Christmas presents for my parents and in-laws.  They were both well received, and unfortunately are rarely used “because they’re just too nice”.  The top board was meant to be the same as the bottom two, but since the glue up wasn’t as flat as it could have been, I had a few exciting passes through the planer (read “projectile cutting board”).  Anyways, the rectangular board got smaller and smaller, until it became a square board.  Worked out in the end.

All boards are made from maple and walnut, food safe glue, and some colourful acrylic accent paint.  Finished with food-safe mineral oil.  The small one was put on Etsy and sold a few weeks ago!