Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mini-Journal: Fan Blade Commission (Pt. 1)

Last summer, I stumbled into some commission work making ceiling fan blades for a company in New York City. It was a pretty nice bit of work to pick up, and it helped us buy our first tankful of heating oil for the cooler weather. Unfortunately, the economy soon turned crappy, and I had to reconcile myself to the fact that no more fan blade work was forthcoming.

CT Wood Group Hardwood Outlet - My Kind of Lumber Shop!
Connecticut Wood Group Hardwood Outlet - my favorite lumber shop!

Come March of this year however, I decided to place a call to the company and see how things were going. As luck would have it, I was told I've got good timing! Woo hoo!! I was asked if I could make up another ten sets of fan blades for them in mahogany. It's a small order, relatively speaking, but everything helps, right?

No sooner than I had my materials for making up the ten sets of blades, and I received a new purchase order for more blades. I thought at first that the purchasing manager there had sent me a duplicate P.O., but when I looked more closely at it, I realized that they were asking me for another 46 sets of blades!!!

Smile Moon Woodworks: Sighting Down the Mahogany
Sighting down a piece of mahogany to make sure it's straight

Well, I'm currently wrapping up the smaller order of ten sets of blades, but I decided to head up to my favorite lumber yard and grab the material for the next order. It helps for wood to acclimate itself to the temperature and humidity in the workshop prior to working with it, to prevent warping and cupping when resawing it to the thinness required by this kind of work.

Smile Moon Woodworks: Driving My Wood Home
Ever seen $1000 worth of lumber? Look behind me!

I now have about $1000 worth of mahogany, quarter-sawn white oak, maple, and lacewood sitting on my shop's floor waiting for me to finish up the current work so I can dive into the next batch. Well, not all of it. The maple and lacewood I picked up for projects I haven't designed yet. I figure the inspiration will jump out at me if I look at the lacewood long enough. It'll probably make some very pretty box tops!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mrs SmileMoon

This past week was an adventure at our house. Most weeks are an adventure at our house, with all these kids tearing the place up, but this past week stands out for me, and it's taken this long for me to wrap my hands around it sufficiently to talk about it.

Our First Apple Blossoms
Our first apple blossoms

Last Tuesday, the school board in town decided to close down all the schools in our hometown of East Haddam, CT, due to a swine flu scare and the fact that two of our local students had been with a family that had just returned from a trip to Mexico and were ill. The students themselves weren't ill, but the school decided that if there was going to be any kind of too-strong reaction, that it was better to err on the side of caution. So, they closed the schools for Wednesday and Thursday.

All day Wednesday, our 16-year-old daughter had a case of the squits, and so was pretty much confined to quarters. At the end of the day, however, she made it known that she wanted to go out with friends. She was told that wasn't a good idea since she hadn't felt well all day and hadn't even eaten anything. As Mrs SmileMoon and I were upstairs putting the little ones to bed, she snuck out of the house. Long story short, she finally sauntered back home at 3:30 the following afternoon, on Mrs SmileMoon's birthday. An hour-long heated discussion that night didn't resolve much, unfortunately.

Then our 11-year old son woke up at 11:30 that same night and got ill all over his bed, the bedroom floor, the hallway, the bathroom floor, and - what was left - in the toilet. Ugh. Happy birthday, Mrs SmileMoon. Poor thing.

Friday was surprisingly non-eventful, relatively speaking.

Saturday we got our new pup for the Guiding Eyes for the Blind program we're part of. I'm going to co-raise him with my lovely young bride this time. He's a bit older than the usual ones we've gotten (usually 6 to 8 weeks old) - apparently, he'd had some trouble with his previous raiser (actually we haven't found anything exceedingly horrible with him yet, but I'll write more about him later) so we're taking over his training til he gets to be "of age".

Finally, on Sunday morning, Mrs SmileMoon took me for a little stroll through the grounds of the Smilemoon estate and showed me that one of our apple trees is in bloom. This marks the first time in about 7 years that any of our apple trees have had any blossoms on them. They're late bloomers, apparently - kinda like yours truly!

Brunch with Mrs SmileMoon
Mrs SmileMoon enjoying a breather between courses at this weekend's brunch

Afterward, I took Mrs SmileMoon out for a breakfast brunch at Waters Edge Resort in Westbrook, CT for a make-up birthday brunch. The spread was incredible, and well worth what we paid for the privilege of enjoying the scenery along Long Island Sound on a fog-enshrouded Sunday. It was beautiful spread; delicious food; impeccably prepared; and delightfully presented. Who could ask for more? Needless to say, by the time we were done, we just about had to be rolled out, and neither of us was hungry for anything the whole rest of the day. Now THAT was something to make up for the rest of the week.