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Thread: On urning a living

  1. #1
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    On urning a living

    It took a little while, but I finally sold the last of the first group of urns I made. I also learned a few things along the way. I had to play with the price point a bit to find a sweet spot. I also got some feedback from one of my wholesale customers about what his customers were looking for. He likes the style and sturdiness, but he felt his customers gravitated more towards "wild grain". As the style was essentially Greene & Greene, I had made the first few in mahogany. Too plain, it seems, for the uninitiated.

    The next crop will be in several different woods. The purist in me is rebelling, but I need to always remind myself I'm not building these for me. So, I'm building a few in each - bubunga, ambrosia maple, jotoba, and walnut.
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    Here's the jig I made to handle the finger joints. This is a step up from my original as it allows easier adjustments and can also be reconfigured for other projects.
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    I also hit on a way to shave some labor time off the hundreds of square holes needed for the ebony plugs. Initially I would have laid out one and set up my mortiser with a fence and stops to mark the four corners, then used my handy-dandy Lee Valley square punch set to drill them out and chisel them square. Then, using a 1/4 chisel, go in and clean them all out.

    What I do now is set up a fence and stops on the drill press and, using a 5/16" forstner bit, drill all the locations for the holes. This gives me a flat bottom hole which will minimize splitting when I fasten it all together with #6 pocket hole screws. The other method used a twist bit and left a concave hole.

    Once the holes are done, I duplicate the fence/stop configuration on the mortiser and, using only the chisel with no bit, press the chisel in and square up the hole. Then its back to the drill press to clean out the waste. Cleaning these out with a 1/4" chisel was always dangerous as it was easy to split out the end grain near the hole. DAMHIKT
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    This run should last a little while and give me several photos for a planned brochure. In a few weeks I'll start building a group in a different style.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

  2. #2
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    Delton, Michigan
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    glad yur getting back to being rich again rennie
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    glad yur getting back to being rich again rennie


    Never was, may never be. In money, at least.

    Now, in friends and family, that's another story.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

  4. #4
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    Rennie,
    Wise of you to make them for the end user. Your tastes are yours, they know what they're looking for however, and it sounds like they are looking for that 'wow factor'. congrats on the sale!
    -Ned

  5. #5
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    May 2007
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    Looking good, Rennie! I can see your urns looking good in western red cedar with its contrast of grain. Sounds like your wholesaler is suggesting something along that line.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  6. #6
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    Looking good Rennie. That Shop Notes version of David O. Wade's finger jig had me intrigued. I planned to make one before my next G&G piece to give it a try. Looks like the proof is in the pudding, your fingers came out great. I think the expansion of wood types is a good idea as far as appealing to others. Is it just the lighting or did you paint the jig white? Urns should be a likely business opportunity. Folks are dying to try them . . . I know, I know, that stunk but, considering the thread title I thought it was game-on in the pun department
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Looking good Rennie. That Shop Notes version of David O. Wade's finger jig had me intrigued. I planned to make one before my next G&G piece to give it a try. Looks like the proof is in the pudding, your fingers came out great. I think the expansion of wood types is a good idea as far as appealing to others. Is it just the lighting or did you paint the jig white? Urns should be a likely business opportunity. Folks are dying to try them . . . I know, I know, that stunk but, considering the thread title I thought it was game-on in the pun department
    I painted the jig white, yes. The fingers on the jig are Corian left over from our kitchen remodel. Having the ease of adjust-ability is great. I needed to ad a piece of paper between two fingers and all I had to do was loosen a screw, insert, and re-tighten.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

  8. #8
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    Aug 2007
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    Reno NV
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    Any thoughts of branching out and doing pet sized versions?
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  9. #9
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    Jul 2011
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    I assume you're "gang profiling" the fingers for a whole bunch at once? Any observable variation due to the guides flexing?

    The two part pass for the flat bottomed square hole is a good idea! Thanks for sharing that. I'm not as convinced on the third step of going back to the dp for cleanup but without trying it I'm willing to take your word for it

  10. #10
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    Nov 2006
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    Delton, Michigan
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    yeah as i saw ryan he could just cut his square hole with the mortiser and be done with it.. they will never see the screws anyway they are plugged right?
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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