Thursday, August 27, 2009

Moving on?

With the box basically done the scrap I had been saving just in case fed a fire shared by a couple of close friends. I do not have photos of the project yet because I haven't found adequate light AND the last finishing touch has not been made because the store doesn't have the correct carving chisel in stock... yep.
Anyway while relaxing, staring at the fire, and sipping on some delicious local brews I was looking forward to moving on. This was accompanied by a bit of angst because from here it's for business. Is there an audience for the craft here? Can I find a venue for it? Where can I get materials? Can I finish these projects in a reasonable amount of time? I need to spend even more money to build these and I need to start making bigger payments to my over-head.

I've spent some time working on a shop made X-Y table for my D&W mortiser and I've spent time working on mock-ups.

Here are 2 of 3 table mock ups. A side table on the right and a pedestal on the left. A coffee table will join them. You might say hey those look pretty plain... what gives? Well...

They both get stretchers on all four sides. Now, you may be saying well yeah but they are still pretty ... I don't know they are still kind of plain? I would say exactly; they are quiet and they are relatively simple. This is what I want. One reason being they are for small production, I'm starting with 4 units at a time. The fact of economy is that the simple structure makes life easier. However a thing doesn't have to be full of "fantasy" to be interesting. These are to be pieces of subtleties and sensitive details. Pieces that one can pass and hardly notice... it's a strange kind of compliment sometimes, the piece just seems to be right with the world and belong. On the same hand if one cares to look they ought be drawn closer and closer inviting one's fingers to feel the edges, steps, surfaces, and look over every square inch.
My aim for these tables is for them to be a way of "education" of the craft to the audience of my area. There are plenty of woodworkers in the Minneapolis area but I can hardly even find any what I would call "proper" stock around here. There are no big specialty lumber yards selling fine woods of the world and dedicated reps that speak the same language of lumber. The few yards around cut and dry for "efficiency". Anyway that's another topic but the material is the start of it all.
One of the reasons of doing the production is to lower the cost of the products thereby hopefully reaching a wider audience. The keys are the same though... proportions, grain graphics, wood choice, color pairing, friendliness, subtle lines, surface prep, finishes... Overall, intimacy and sensitivity of eye, hand, heart, and this lovely material. I want to perhaps introduce some lesser known species and maybe give a different angle on common ones.
Some people have started to take notice on either coast but I don't know that it has seeped into the Midwest quite yet (the lack of material can be evidence of a certain kind).
If I build it, will they come? ha


Nick Brygidyr said...

the way i see it, your production items are bread and butter items, stuff thats easy to make and can be sold at a more reasonable price.

then you got your one off pieces that you really get to play around with and have fun and try to sell.

kinda like what Ian is doing with his chairs. im totally making a coffee table next, very simple and veneered, maybe have an option with a drawer in it.

and i feel you on the wood thing, my place has some nice wood, but not enough of it, they cater more to the industry than the artisan, but still i saw a flitch of cherry, so much drool.

Anonymous said...

You broke me Nick.


Nick Brygidyr said...

wow you made jason make a blog? kudos!

hey nick i wanted to ask you something, where did you get those stop hinges for your crazy cruved dovetailed box? i checked lee valley and couldnt find any...

na.nelson said...

I think they are the Brusso hinges. Lee Valley has them here...,41241,41243&ap=1

johnjoiner said...

Hi Nick.

Do you dislike Youngblood ( ) or Forest Products ( ) because of the way their wood is dried? I usually hear good things about both. But I don't use exotic woods.

In case you're not already aware, two of the places to check out some of the higher end work being done around here are:

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