Journal

Use this section to provide a description of your blog.

Aftermath: The state of my workshop

Posted by Bill McBeth on

The other day I was sitting in my workshop reflecting on the past year and thinking about what the future holds for me and this hobby that continues to seduce me with its siren song.  Most of my life I have enjoyed doing something that involved wood of some sort, whether it was banging nails into a 2” x 4” in my grandpas workshop when I was a kid, building my first workbench using scrap wood from a house being built across the street when I was twelve, finishing the basement in my first house or making items to sell.  This year I accomplished a goal that I set for myself and that was to finally start taking this hobby and turn into a business.  I recently had my second craft show, it was a small venue but I actually did much better than my first one which was a rather large venue.  I made a few sales, I gave out a lot of business cards, I spent the day with my wife helping me man the booth and I got to talk to a lot of folks about my work.  I can yammer on and on about the experience of doing craft shows and I am sure that in future posts I will.  However, like I said I am sitting in my workshop reflecting on the experience but I keep getting interrupted by the complete and utter mess that my workshop is in.  My once cleaned and organized workshop is now in chaos…..again!  There is sawdust everywhere, tools scattered all over, bits and pieces of sandpaper strewn about.  So now I am reflecting on what was working in my shop and what isn’t working. 

What’s working for me?

My workshop like many who dabble in this hobby is in the garage of my home.  I am lucky enough to have a three car garage and a very understanding wife who doesn’t complain too much when I take up the entire garage with my projects.  I have a fantastic albeit old Powermatic table saw, it is a model 63 Artisan contractor saw with a 50” table. A large assembly table and ample workbench space.  This year I picked up a Performax 16-32 drum sander, this tool has been a godsend when finishing my cutting boards and has saved me countless hours of sanding.  I also picked up a Rigid Oscillating belt/spindle sander, i don’t know how I lived without this tool as well.  I also have quite a bit of cabinet space in my shop to store my odds and ends. 

What’s not working?

I recently cleaned up and organized my workshop before I got started on getting items ready for the craft shows.  There is nothing like actually having to work in your shop to tell you what is working and what isn’t working.  I did a lot of turnings on my lathe, I was churning out pens, ornaments and bottle stoppers; my Delta Midi lathe was sitting on top of my workbench; after my 7th bottle stopper and several blank blowouts my shoulders and back were absolutely killing me.  I finally determined that my workbench was way too high to comfortably wield the lathe tools and was also causing me to ruin many blanks.  I moved my lathe to the assembly table and that fixed the fatigue issues but now was taking up space on my assembly table that doubles as my outfeed table for the table saw and interfered with my needs on the assembly table. 

Power is the other big issue in my workshop.  I have two outlets that are 15 amp on one circuit that comes into the garage and I have two more 15 amp outlets on another circuit that powers my lights and garage doors.  On numerous occasions I have tripped the breakers  when running my shop vac and my table saw or drum sander.  This not only causes me to have to go into the basement to reset the breaker but it also causes a safety hazard if I didn’t get the tool off in the dark.  This also puts a hold on adding in a dust collection system into the workshop. 

I recently built a large mobile wood rack that stores my sheet goods and lumber, this is nothing but a catch all and storing my lumber flat makes it difficult to get to the pieces that I want.  I also have a workflow issue in the shop, transitioning from tools to workspaces is a real pain in the butt.   I also have no drawers and I can tell you, a work shop needs drawers. 

 What’s Next?

There is a lot of work to do and I don’t have much time to get it done before I have to get ready for my next round of Craft shows which the season begins in March of 2017. 

Here is a list of what I am going to get done to upgrade the workshop which will make my life easier. 

  • Upgrade the power: I am going to run a sub panel to the garage that will allow me to run my tools and put in a dust collection system.
  • Build mobile carts for my Lathe, Sander, and Drum Sander.  The drum sander is on a mobile base but it can be more sturdy and I want all the mobile bases to match. 
  • Lower and rebuild current workbench, it is currently in an L shape and I will be moving it a straight work bench, with lots of drawers and will sport dust collection built in and a down draft area.
  • Dedicated outfeed table:  This will allow me to use my assembly table for assembly. 
  • Drill holes in the assembly table to allow for bench dogs.  I have a couple jigs that I am thinking of to help in cutting board glue ups that utilize bench dogs.
  • Find a better way to store my lumber.  
  • Build clamp storage

Read more

Aftermath: The state of my workshop

Posted by Bill McBeth on

The other day I was sitting in my workshop reflecting on the past year and thinking about what the future holds for me and this hobby that continues to seduce me with its siren song.  Most of my life I have enjoyed doing something that involved wood of some sort, whether it was banging nails into a 2” x 4” in my grandpas workshop when I was a kid, building my first workbench using scrap wood from a house being built across the street when I was twelve, finishing the basement in my first house or making items to sell.  This year I accomplished a goal that I set for myself and that was to finally start taking this hobby and turn into a business.  I recently had my second craft show, it was a small venue but I actually did much better than my first one which was a rather large venue.  I made a few sales, I gave out a lot of business cards, I spent the day with my wife helping me man the booth and I got to talk to a lot of folks about my work.  I can yammer on and on about the experience of doing craft shows and I am sure that in future posts I will.  However, like I said I am sitting in my workshop reflecting on the experience but I keep getting interrupted by the complete and utter mess that my workshop is in.  My once cleaned and organized workshop is now in chaos…..again!  There is sawdust everywhere, tools scattered all over, bits and pieces of sandpaper strewn about.  So now I am reflecting on what was working in my shop and what isn’t working. 

What’s working for me?

My workshop like many who dabble in this hobby is in the garage of my home.  I am lucky enough to have a three car garage and a very understanding wife who doesn’t complain too much when I take up the entire garage with my projects.  I have a fantastic albeit old Powermatic table saw, it is a model 63 Artisan contractor saw with a 50” table. A large assembly table and ample workbench space.  This year I picked up a Performax 16-32 drum sander, this tool has been a godsend when finishing my cutting boards and has saved me countless hours of sanding.  I also picked up a Rigid Oscillating belt/spindle sander, i don’t know how I lived without this tool as well.  I also have quite a bit of cabinet space in my shop to store my odds and ends. 

What’s not working?

I recently cleaned up and organized my workshop before I got started on getting items ready for the craft shows.  There is nothing like actually having to work in your shop to tell you what is working and what isn’t working.  I did a lot of turnings on my lathe, I was churning out pens, ornaments and bottle stoppers; my Delta Midi lathe was sitting on top of my workbench; after my 7th bottle stopper and several blank blowouts my shoulders and back were absolutely killing me.  I finally determined that my workbench was way too high to comfortably wield the lathe tools and was also causing me to ruin many blanks.  I moved my lathe to the assembly table and that fixed the fatigue issues but now was taking up space on my assembly table that doubles as my outfeed table for the table saw and interfered with my needs on the assembly table. 

Power is the other big issue in my workshop.  I have two outlets that are 15 amp on one circuit that comes into the garage and I have two more 15 amp outlets on another circuit that powers my lights and garage doors.  On numerous occasions I have tripped the breakers  when running my shop vac and my table saw or drum sander.  This not only causes me to have to go into the basement to reset the breaker but it also causes a safety hazard if I didn’t get the tool off in the dark.  This also puts a hold on adding in a dust collection system into the workshop. 

I recently built a large mobile wood rack that stores my sheet goods and lumber, this is nothing but a catch all and storing my lumber flat makes it difficult to get to the pieces that I want.  I also have a workflow issue in the shop, transitioning from tools to workspaces is a real pain in the butt.   I also have no drawers and I can tell you, a work shop needs drawers. 

 What’s Next?

There is a lot of work to do and I don’t have much time to get it done before I have to get ready for my next round of Craft shows which the season begins in March of 2017. 

Here is a list of what I am going to get done to upgrade the workshop which will make my life easier. 

  • Upgrade the power: I am going to run a sub panel to the garage that will allow me to run my tools and put in a dust collection system.
  • Build mobile carts for my Lathe, Sander, and Drum Sander.  The drum sander is on a mobile base but it can be more sturdy and I want all the mobile bases to match. 
  • Lower and rebuild current workbench, it is currently in an L shape and I will be moving it a straight work bench, with lots of drawers and will sport dust collection built in and a down draft area.
  • Dedicated outfeed table:  This will allow me to use my assembly table for assembly. 
  • Drill holes in the assembly table to allow for bench dogs.  I have a couple jigs that I am thinking of to help in cutting board glue ups that utilize bench dogs.
  • Find a better way to store my lumber.  
  • Build clamp storage

Read more


My First Craft Show

Posted by Bill McBeth on

I Did It! Wood Artisan made its first appearance at a craft show.

With my very first craft show behind me, all I can do is breath a sigh of relief that I did it and now I know what to expect for future shows.
I signed up for the show in May which gave me 6 months to get ready for the show.  However, I lost my job and went through some tough times and coupled with my tendency to procrastinate on my personal projects, I didn't really start getting crafts ready for the show until about October. I regret that the 5 months  I was out of work that I didn't do more in the workshop, but as the saying goes "hindsight is 20/20."

The Millard West Craft Show is a larger craft show in the area and they do it twice a year spring and fall. There were over 200 vendors and the show organizers were great and did a great job. The money goes to the High School baseball team and the baseball team helps the vendors carry in and take out their stuff. It was a great experience and a very smooth operation.

Of course, I had my reservations about doing the show. I thought it might be too big for my debut as a craft vendor.  So I decided to ask my Father In-Law if he wanted to share a booth with me. This ensured that I had someone to talk to and that we could at least sit together.  After-all he is one of my favorite people in my life and I enjoy the time I get to spend with him. I know that is not how most men feel about their In-Law's but I am all about not following the norm. The day of the show I was a little bit intimidated by the number of vendors and the two vendors in my area selling similar products, one of which is my Father In-Law's twin brother who make some of the most gorgeous cutting boards and segmented turnings. The whole night before I kept asking myself, "would I be able to pull it off?" "Did I even come close to making enough inventory?" "Are my crafts good enough to sell?" Luckily my wife stepped in and put together a gorgeous booth for me so that was one thing I didn't have to worry about.  She also had a shirt made with my logo on it.  She is such a wonderful gal!

Even with my reservations I knew this was the next step in taking the business to the next level and getting my name out there. This was not only a chance to showcase my work but to:

  • Promote my business
  • Meet and greet potential customers in my local area
  • Meet other vendors and crafters
  • Check out my competition
  • Get a feeling on how these things work

Unfortunately it wasn't may day. I made a lot of contacts, gave out a lot of business cards, and had some good conversations about my products. People were just not buying. I spoke with the other similar vendors and they were having the same luck as me. On the bright side I made enough to cover my booth fees and I went ahead and signed up for the spring show in March. I got a ton of positive feedback about my products and how gorgeous they were. Overall, I didn't make a ton of money, but I did get a ton of experience. Yes I was nervous, it was a new experience and I am very happy that I did it.

Some of the lessons that I learned:

  • Procrastination is my Achilles heel.
  • Add some products that I didn't that were on my list to get done in the first place.
  • New display for my Ornaments--they got lost in the tree and didn't stand out.
  • Add a little more color to my booth.

I have another craft show on December 3rd. It is a much smaller event and I am very much looking forward to the experience and maybe, just maybe, makes some sales. Thanks for reading.

Read more

My First Craft Show

Posted by Bill McBeth on

I Did It! Wood Artisan made its first appearance at a craft show.

With my very first craft show behind me, all I can do is breath a sigh of relief that I did it and now I know what to expect for future shows.
I signed up for the show in May which gave me 6 months to get ready for the show.  However, I lost my job and went through some tough times and coupled with my tendency to procrastinate on my personal projects, I didn't really start getting crafts ready for the show until about October. I regret that the 5 months  I was out of work that I didn't do more in the workshop, but as the saying goes "hindsight is 20/20."

The Millard West Craft Show is a larger craft show in the area and they do it twice a year spring and fall. There were over 200 vendors and the show organizers were great and did a great job. The money goes to the High School baseball team and the baseball team helps the vendors carry in and take out their stuff. It was a great experience and a very smooth operation.

Of course, I had my reservations about doing the show. I thought it might be too big for my debut as a craft vendor.  So I decided to ask my Father In-Law if he wanted to share a booth with me. This ensured that I had someone to talk to and that we could at least sit together.  After-all he is one of my favorite people in my life and I enjoy the time I get to spend with him. I know that is not how most men feel about their In-Law's but I am all about not following the norm. The day of the show I was a little bit intimidated by the number of vendors and the two vendors in my area selling similar products, one of which is my Father In-Law's twin brother who make some of the most gorgeous cutting boards and segmented turnings. The whole night before I kept asking myself, "would I be able to pull it off?" "Did I even come close to making enough inventory?" "Are my crafts good enough to sell?" Luckily my wife stepped in and put together a gorgeous booth for me so that was one thing I didn't have to worry about.  She also had a shirt made with my logo on it.  She is such a wonderful gal!

Even with my reservations I knew this was the next step in taking the business to the next level and getting my name out there. This was not only a chance to showcase my work but to:

  • Promote my business
  • Meet and greet potential customers in my local area
  • Meet other vendors and crafters
  • Check out my competition
  • Get a feeling on how these things work

Unfortunately it wasn't may day. I made a lot of contacts, gave out a lot of business cards, and had some good conversations about my products. People were just not buying. I spoke with the other similar vendors and they were having the same luck as me. On the bright side I made enough to cover my booth fees and I went ahead and signed up for the spring show in March. I got a ton of positive feedback about my products and how gorgeous they were. Overall, I didn't make a ton of money, but I did get a ton of experience. Yes I was nervous, it was a new experience and I am very happy that I did it.

Some of the lessons that I learned:

  • Procrastination is my Achilles heel.
  • Add some products that I didn't that were on my list to get done in the first place.
  • New display for my Ornaments--they got lost in the tree and didn't stand out.
  • Add a little more color to my booth.

I have another craft show on December 3rd. It is a much smaller event and I am very much looking forward to the experience and maybe, just maybe, makes some sales. Thanks for reading.

Read more


WORKSHOP CLEANUP

Posted by Bill McBeth on

3 years ago we moved from Gardner Kansas to Omaha Nebraska; while we were looking for houses I had the requirement of a separate workshop or a much larger garage and the wife had a requirement of being able to park in the garage and not in the drive way since I have the tendency of taking over the garage. We settled on a house with a large three car garage, 12 foot ceilings and a large attic above the garage, although there are no stairs to the attic opening.

Travel back in time to when we were packing up and getting ready to move. We were moving in with my Father In-law until we could save up the down payment for the house. We knew we were going to have to have storage units to store our belongings in until we found our new home. Unfortunately we ended up needing two units and there was still not enough room for my benches, so I had to part with them all except one pre-built one from home depot. I also had to sell my large lathe and the nice bench that it was on…that was a sad day for me; I accepted that it had to be done packed up my remaining tools into large rubber maid tubs and we put everything into storage.

Several weeks after we moved to Omaha we got the wonderful news (not so wonderful then) that my wife was pregnant with our 3rd child, this really bumped up the pressure to get the money saved and find a new home. 4 months after we moved we found a 4000 sq foot home that was perfect for us. Large garage, lots of space for our growing family and in the school district we wanted. A few weeks after we moved in I threw together a bench that met my needs and allowed me to get some project underway. I had no storage for my tools so they had to stay in tubs for now and finding tools was tedious when I needed them.

I threw up a peg board and put some of my regularly used tools on there as well as bought a couple metal cabinets off craigslist for storage. I still am without drawers or shelves and my tools are unorganized. This summer I decided to begin the workshop rebuild. I haven’t gotten far on the project, family, work and life take up most of my time and when I do get out there I feel overwhelmed on where to start. I can’t build anything right now because my table saw is covered with miscellaneous items as well as my bench, so unfortunately i am going to have to take my wife’s suggestion and put everything back into tubs so i can get it out of the way and get to my table saw; then I can build a few items that will allow me to get the tools out of the tubs.

The summer hasn’t been a complete waste, I did take down the old bench and rebuilt it to be much sturdier, I also took down the beg board and started to put of a french cleats, although I need to take the cleats down so i can trim about 2 inches off them I made them just way to wide.

Task List:

Workbench
Under Bench Drawers
Wood Storage System
Overhead Storage
Build Misc. Cleats to hang tools
Tool Organization and cleanup
Loft stairs (attic Access)

Doesn’t seem like much when I write it down, however, when I am out there I feel like it is an endless endeavor and will never get done. I have so many projects that I want to get started I can’t wait to be out there slinging sawdust again….until then time to get cleanup process underway.

Read more

WORKSHOP CLEANUP

Posted by Bill McBeth on

3 years ago we moved from Gardner Kansas to Omaha Nebraska; while we were looking for houses I had the requirement of a separate workshop or a much larger garage and the wife had a requirement of being able to park in the garage and not in the drive way since I have the tendency of taking over the garage. We settled on a house with a large three car garage, 12 foot ceilings and a large attic above the garage, although there are no stairs to the attic opening.

Travel back in time to when we were packing up and getting ready to move. We were moving in with my Father In-law until we could save up the down payment for the house. We knew we were going to have to have storage units to store our belongings in until we found our new home. Unfortunately we ended up needing two units and there was still not enough room for my benches, so I had to part with them all except one pre-built one from home depot. I also had to sell my large lathe and the nice bench that it was on…that was a sad day for me; I accepted that it had to be done packed up my remaining tools into large rubber maid tubs and we put everything into storage.

Several weeks after we moved to Omaha we got the wonderful news (not so wonderful then) that my wife was pregnant with our 3rd child, this really bumped up the pressure to get the money saved and find a new home. 4 months after we moved we found a 4000 sq foot home that was perfect for us. Large garage, lots of space for our growing family and in the school district we wanted. A few weeks after we moved in I threw together a bench that met my needs and allowed me to get some project underway. I had no storage for my tools so they had to stay in tubs for now and finding tools was tedious when I needed them.

I threw up a peg board and put some of my regularly used tools on there as well as bought a couple metal cabinets off craigslist for storage. I still am without drawers or shelves and my tools are unorganized. This summer I decided to begin the workshop rebuild. I haven’t gotten far on the project, family, work and life take up most of my time and when I do get out there I feel overwhelmed on where to start. I can’t build anything right now because my table saw is covered with miscellaneous items as well as my bench, so unfortunately i am going to have to take my wife’s suggestion and put everything back into tubs so i can get it out of the way and get to my table saw; then I can build a few items that will allow me to get the tools out of the tubs.

The summer hasn’t been a complete waste, I did take down the old bench and rebuilt it to be much sturdier, I also took down the beg board and started to put of a french cleats, although I need to take the cleats down so i can trim about 2 inches off them I made them just way to wide.

Task List:

Workbench
Under Bench Drawers
Wood Storage System
Overhead Storage
Build Misc. Cleats to hang tools
Tool Organization and cleanup
Loft stairs (attic Access)

Doesn’t seem like much when I write it down, however, when I am out there I feel like it is an endless endeavor and will never get done. I have so many projects that I want to get started I can’t wait to be out there slinging sawdust again….until then time to get cleanup process underway.

Read more