Friday, February 13, 2009

My First Monday

There's this thing we have around north Texas. Various cities have Trade Days. "First Monday...", "Second Monday...", "Fifth President's Day...", whatever it is, they have them. I'm sure this isn't unique to north Texas.

Some members of Etsy Texas Crafters have proposed getting several booths in the same area at the First Monday Trade Days in Weatherford, Texas. The price for a booth is very reasonable, so I'm planning to go. This means I have about two weeks left to prepare.

I wish I could round up some members of Design Style Guide to go with me, but we're spread all over the globe. There are several of us in Texas, though, so maybe I can arrange something for the following month. It has been my experience that DSG members are both willing and able to help with just about any project.

Generally speaking, when I build items to sell at Etsy I can get away with producing four or five of a single design. When I sell out I can either produce more or design something new. The only real exceptions to that are bookends and wine rests; I have a large number of both of them in stock. So now I have to stock up for a big show, and I must build multiple numbers of several designs. With all the other things I have to do I'd better get my butt in gear.

I found a short length of Alowood Cherry and decided to make a few candle holders out of it. Alowood is a partially engineered product. They take some wood (Pine? Maple? Chinaberry? Who knows?) and run it through a process that both colors the wood whatever color they want so it looks like something more expensive and hardens it, making it more stable. It works like a softer maple, the color goes all the way through and the company claims they are preserving our hardwood forests by making this out of some unidentified lesser wood that is not in short supply. All I know is this chunk of wood looks good, didn't cost much, and it yielded six beautiful candle holders.

I came up with a different design for these. There are no feet on the bottom.  Instead, there is a single short pedestal positioned at a 45ยบ angle across the bottom of each fake cherry candle holder. I like this design because it takes less time to build and I can clamp up a whole bunch of them at the same time by securing them to the top of my bench. With the other design the four feet have to be clamped separately and I run out of clamps in a hurry.

I like this design so much I built ten more candle holders out of some scrap pine I had in the shop. They'll look great when I stain and finish them. My wife likes this design because she thinks it has a bit more elegance to it than the four-legged variety. She may be right. It will be interesting to see which design sells best when the customers can see them side-by-side.

Additionally, I have built ten new cherry candle holders and ten cedar candle holders in the regular style. I have a short piece of red heart I can use to make a couple more candles holders and a longer chunk of mesquite with which to do the same.

The majority of the pieces I take to this show will be made of pine. I can sell them for less than most hardwoods and they still look wonderful, so the customers should scoop them up in a hurry. I'd better stop typing and start making sawdust.


Diana said...

Gee you've been busy. They are gorgeous! Love the fake cherry. Good luck at the show.

Mystic Silks said...

Jay, your works in wood are always so beautiful!