Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Direction Change

Well, I think I will borrow a page from Google and change my direction. Well, I guess they are not changing their direction but, I am. I have decided to start a small woodworking business. So, over the next few months I will be very busy building and increasing my inventory. Hopefully, this will support itself for the first little bit and maybe it will end up supporting me too.

I have worked out pricing for most of my products and will be working on getting the store front up and going. I will also take this slowly and methodically, I don't want to rush this build like the last couple that flopped and died like a fish out of water.

So, I will be adding lots of products to the new venture. For those of you who have bought pens or pencils from me they will still be produced but that will be a small corner of my business. I think I may leave that under the High Voltage brand but I will also offer a few in the new store. My partner won't want tot let go of the brand so we will keep it but the new brand will be MJK Woodworks, under this brand I will be making kitchen utensils, end-grain cutting boards, wine goblets, etc. I am also looking into producing some jewelry; such as bangles, rings, earrings, and necklaces. The tag line is: Functional Household art!

I have a few shop builds I need to do before I stat producing stuff; for my safety and longevity I need to add a full dust collection system and I want better lighting in the shop. I will also need a vacuum stabilization chamber for some of my products but that will come at a later date. I also need to build a polishing wheel, a better photo tent and a few little shop builds for speed and efficiency.  I will try to keep all of you updated as to the progress of this venture.

Have a blessed day and hug your mom.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

All Pens

Good Sunday morning

Wow! Another week has become history and this one looks like it will be a busy one.

I received my order for pen parts from my supplier in Ontario and already have a good run on the pens I need to make. I have six bullets polished and mostly assembled, now I just need to polish six more and finish assembly. I may post a couple pictures when they are finished.

So, this week I will spend a lot of time in my shop I have the six pens to finish. I also picked up a couple new styles of pen to try out. I may take time from the commission to turn a new style just to flex my actual turning muscles again. You see, I make the bullet pens out of actual bullets, I buy them un-primed and empty. All I have to do is drill, polish, lacquer and assemble the pens. It doesn't seem like a lot of work but each pen takes an hour and a half, not counting dry times. This run is taking more time, I had a problem with my lacquer on the first three pens and had to remove and reapply it. I am still not sure what happened but it didn't cover a few places on the bullets. I cleaned them after the polishing like I usually do but maybe I missed some mineral oil on them. Either way it added a lot of time to the project. They seem to have covered nicely the second time around. I guess there is always some adventure to doing this, and I am still relatively new to this whole pen turning thing. I have only been at it for about four years now and definitely not full time. I have heard that it takes ten thousand hours to get good at something, well I have about 4,000 hours left!

I met up with my business partner on Friday night and we are planning a few new adventures. We have a vacuum chamber almost set up for casting our own blanks and he would like to branch out into polymer clay pens. I can hardly believe it's been two years since we started this little venture. We will also spend some time rebuilding our website after a server crash that wiped our site clean! That was very discouraging. It gives us an opportunity to improve on several places though, so all in all it should be much better, just seems to take so much time.

Well, this post wasn't what I was planning but I'm not sure there are any actual readers. I don't advertise it and I am getting page views from Russia. Not sure who in Russia would be that bored that they would intentionally click on a little unknown blog from Canada.

Anyhow, have a blessed week and hug a mom.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Quick Post

Good Sunday Afternoon,

I promised a blog today so a quick post just so I don't break a promise. We ended up going camping and I had no time or internet to post.

I also mentioned I would update you guys with a list of projects that are in the works. So really quickly I have a few projects that are half done like most people I know.

  • Antique rocking chair - just need to upholster it
  • Vintage steamer trunk - just need to repair the veneer on the lid
  • Antique china hutch - needs a complete rebuild
  • Crokinole board - needs a couple finishing touches then it's done
  • Several shop jigs - need to tweak so they work properly
  • Tool chest and cabinet - need to complete

So, just judging by the list of these I will be busy until the new year. I know it doesn't look like much but each one will require several hours of my time except the steamer truck, that one just needs some ambition. I also have an order for six pens and each one of those will take two hours. That is a commission job so it take priority over the other non-paying jobs. 

Have a blessed day and hug a mom. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Back Story

Good Sunday Morning,

I am going in a whole new direction with my wood working. I want to get more into hand tool or traditional woodworking. I have a few power tools I won't give up for a while if ever. So, I guess I will be a hybrid sawdust maker.

First off I will tell you the back story of my shop building. I am the proud owner of a 9' by 20' building that I got from my father-in-law. All I had to do was pay for the move! It is an old railroad office (think ATCO trailer) the first order of business was to strip it out and rewire it. It had two circuits for plugs and one for lights and only five plugs and two lights! I stripped it all and moved the panel to the west end of the shop, mostly because I'm cheap and didn't want to spend money on more large wire to connect it. The west end of the shop is closest to my house. Once the new service was installed I ran new wire for plugs and put in lots of plugs and circuits for those plugs. I now have a dedicated plug for my table saw, compressor, band saw, dust collection, two circuits on my bench and one circuit for lights. I also installed a 240v plug for my electric heater. I know your thinking, "Wait, you said you were cheap and didn't want to spend money on wire to connect the shop. What about the cost of the breakers?" Well, as an electrician I have acquired a few breakers over the years and the panel in the shop and the panels I usually use for houses are the same brand so, I had breakers for the shop. I know that none of my tools will ever trip a breaker even if I was able to use two or three at the same time but, you never know what will happen down the road.

I also boarded up a window on the north side. For two reasons, first, I needed a place to store my lumber, both sheet goods and dimensional lumber, the window was in the way of that. Second and almost as important, I have a very nosy neighbour on the north side of my property and he often stands on his deck and looks into my back yard, I didn't want him watching me work all the time. After I finished wiring the shop I rearranged the lights and added four more.

Now, there is still more work to be done in the shop, I still have to finish boarding the walls and I want to rip up the old flooring and put down new hardwood but that will have to wait for a bit. It is a working shop and I can't really afford to install new walls and flooring right now although I should plan on doing that soon as I need more light and the insulation is not helping with the light situation. I also have an antique exit light that I want to install over the exit, mostlyy because it is just gathering dust in my basement right now and I want to display it.

This post ended up being a lot longer then I had planned, so I will sign off now. I will be back next week and let you know about a few projects that I have started and a couple I have finished and what is on the horizon for me.

Until next time, have a blessed week and hug a mom.