Wednesday, May 31

CD End Table - Stock Prep

Yesterday I spent the day surfacing the boards I'd pulled into the shop to acclimate. The rough-sawn surface makes it difficult to see the grain patterns, so planning the boards just a bit to reveal the surface makes it easier to decide which boards will become which parts. Today I will begin cutting the boards into rough-cut parts blanks. Being Month-End, I had to take some time this morning to run statements on our web site maintenance customers. This evening I will close out the books for May and run the needed reports. In addition to this we are projected to have another record high temperature this afternoon which may drive me out of the shop again, we'll see. I'll stick it out as long as I can. Marie bought a dorm-size refrigerator at a yard sale and put it in the shop so we can keep cold bottled water and Gatorade on hand. That helps. I'm posting this morning instead of at the end of the day because I'll probably forget again. I've gotten out of the habit lately. I'll have to work on that. Till tomorrow...


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Thursday, May 18

Tea Chest & Stuff

This past weekend was the first annual Pickn' Plantn' & Plowin' festival at Treasures of Appalachia (serves as our storefront as well as an outlet for the works of almost 50 other artists) and that consumed most of last week and all weekend. Now that it's over I can get back to work.

During the festival one of our two drawer tea chests (in hickory) was auctioned off via e-bay and the Treasures web site as a fund raiser for Treasures, which is a non-profit corporation. It sold for a disappointingly low amount, but that's life on the auction block I guess.

We are also building another two drawer tea chest, this one in walnut for Lauren. It's almost done now. I haven't been taking and posting photos partly because we've already done that with a previous chest and partly because I just don't want to take the time to do it again.

Between rebuilding the new Treasures web site ( which crashed a while back, destroying the database that drives the product catalog, and working on the new version of the Smoky Mountain Woodworks website AND building furniture I don't have much time to spare. But it's going well and we're getting great comments on the Treasures web site. The new SMW site will be a while yet before it's ready to go live -- VERY complex and needs quite a bit of custom programming.

It is my goal to get this new SMW site to a point where it will allow our visitors to play 'what-if' with our products. By this I mean that as they select the various options like type of wood, hardware choices, stain/no stain, the site will offer updated pricing based on the cost of the materials involved. By tying this function into our materials inventory database we can automatically keep the pricing on each product accurately updated. This should ease the number of e-mails we get from people saying, "I like this piece. The price you show is for oak, how much is it in cherry?" etc.

Of course we will still be dealing with the folks who find us listed in a directory somewhere, never bother to look at the web site but e-mail us with a flurry of questions -- most of which are answered by the web site. But that's life.

Till next time...


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Wednesday, May 3

Eng Gdn Bench Day 16

Work day begins: 5:30 AM I do apologize for being so remiss on my note keeping over the past few days. Many things have been going on, and I simply run out of time before it all gets done. Construction on the first bench is now complete and I will begin the finishing stage today. If you check the construction article (Title link above) you will be able to see what the steps to this point have been. This morning we sand. It’s not exciting or glamorous or even particularly interesting to watch, so don’t expect lots of pictures. There were a couple gaps that I decided to fill before oiling, just to be sure rain water doesn’t work it’s way into the wood and promote decay. While the filler was drying I took care of some office chores. Lunch Time All the finish sanding is done. I didn’t have to go real far with this piece – just to 120 grit – because the oil finish we’ll be applying needs to penetrate the wood. If we sand it too fine, the pores clog up with sanding dust and prevents the oil form soaking in. Besides, we’re not going for a high gloss shine anyway. Workshop closes: 4:00 PM I spent the afternoon hand applying the oil to all surfaces and working it thoroughly into all the corners and crevasses where rain water might want to collect. After the whole thing was covered with oil (which required rolling the bench over to get the bottom side) I went back over it with a pad made from soft cloth and buffed the whole thing. This picks up any excess fluid which may have pooled up or started a run, and spreads it out to any spots that may be a bit thirsty yet. Now it has to sit for 18 to 24 hours for the oil to cure. One coat is all it needs for now, we can apply another in 30 days if we feel it needs it, but we’ll have to go fetch the benches out of the churche's therapy garden to do so. They are anxious to get the benches in place. I spent some time cleaning up the shop, cleaning and putting away the finishing equipment and tools. This is not billable time and is not counted in the figures below. Nor is time spent waiting for stuff to dry. Now that this one is completed, we will deliver it so I have space in the shop to assemble the other one. It will be the same process, so I won’t bother to post a blow-by-blow account. I will post again when it’s done and we’re ready to get started on the next project. Billable Man Hours: 1.75 Billable Materials: ½ quart outdoor oil. To view the detailed construction article on this piece, click this entry’s title above. If you enjoy this Daily Shop Notes blog, you will also want to look at our Doug Bob blog, .which is available from my profile page.