Amidst all the Christmas craft shows, custom orders, and everything else going on in life, I applied for the One of a Kind Show in Toronto (Spring edition). I’m quite new to all these craft shows, but at the big Etsy sale in September I was approached by someone from the One of a Kind Show who raved about my stuff and said she would hound me until I applied for the show.
It was a very lengthy and thorough application, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been accepted for the spring show. So anyone in the GTA can come see me March 25-29, 2015. More info to follow as we get closer, now I’m off to the studio to make more products… I can sleep next year.
Had some fun this week making a little display for my next show. I take pride in the fact that my products are well designed with quality craftsmanship. But I also do my very best to limit the amount of waste from my studio. The above graphic is meant to show that off cuts are turned into new products, like end grain boards, and anything not big enough to re-use gets given to a friend of mine who heats her house with a wood stove. As for the sawdust, I compost some of it, but the majority goes to another friend who puts it in her chicken coop. I’ve even been known to reuse the handles off of old paint brushes, and even broken hockey sticks… Why throw it away when it can still serve a purpose?
Mike from BrokenStick.ca stopped by my shop the other day. We commiserated about the lack of available sticks for our projects. I’ve had to turn down far too many orders for hockey stick cutting boards due to lack of wood sticks. We soon also discovered we went to the same school years ago, small world!
Mike was kind enough to give me a couple of his hockey stick bottle openers. I used a similar design last holiday season for bottle openers but used scrap wood from other projects instead of hockey sticks. They were a great seller but a bit mind numbing to produce after a while…
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!
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…
A goal of mine this year is to make some things for our use. While I sold many cutting boards, salad servers and spoons last year, we use plastic junk versions ourselves. I much prefer mine, but at the end of the day, I’d rather sell something I made than keep it for myself. This attitude unfortunately means although I’m a furniture maker, our house is rather sparse in the furniture department, beds without frames, etc. etc. Below is a pic of our current coat rack situation. It’s basically a collection of hooks I had lying around that was added on to this piece of pine the previous owner had used as a coat rack. surprisingly it was only held onto the wall with a few brad nails…
yes, that’s a saw… doesn’t everyone keep a saw on their coat rack? So I had an idea for an antler coat rack, without having to take out a few Bambis…. I designed a new rack using a walnut back with 4 baltic birch “antlers”.
The finish is simple boiled linseed oil on the oil, and a few coats of polyurethane on the baltic birch.
The “antlers” are attached by a mortise and tenon joint, but I used epoxy to glue them in. Finally, the whole thing was attached to the wall using some keyhole hangers with screws attached to studs. Likely a better attachment than the old coat hanger… I might put up a few of these on Etsy in the future, time will tell.
A friend of ours had a baby a while back and we wanted to make somethings special for her baby shower. My wife had the idea to make a wooden mobile and this is what came of it. All pieces are cut from baltic birch and hung by twine with gold foil. The edges of the clouds are painted white while the raindrop is turquoise. I’m very pleased with how it turned out and the gift was very well received.
Due to the praise it received I have made and posted another mobile for sale on Etsy.
Was playing around with some scraps the other day. I’ve had an idea for how to cut the inside of a spoon for a while, but tried a few different designs for the outside shape. They are more work … Continue reading →