Thursday, December 15, 2016

Year in Review

It was another great year with a lot of fun projects and some challenging projects.  Business is going well, but did not make enough to fund this year.  I did not expect it to this year.  This year I added to my tool collection.  I purchased a sharpening system.  I realized not only, how dull my set of chisels was, but how cheap they are.  This year I had some trouble finishing some larger projects but that is now next year’s goal.  My Etsy shop is going well.  I cannot complain.  I have had some positive reviews and some things that I need to improve upon.
This year’s highlights included:
·         Finished the car carrier.  This is probably the biggest undertaking I have done with a toy.  There was a lot of scroll saw work and sanding.  I liked how they turned out and I had a couple of orders for them.  The commission pieces came out even better.  It was a good way to start out the year.
·         I purchased a sharpening system to sharpen my tools.  It does a great job sharpening knives.  I have also sharpened my chisels.  I sharpened a couple of plane irons but I don’t know how to setup a hand plane so I was getting frustrated.  I will wait until I can learn proper techniques before I completely give up.  There is value to learning how to use a hand plane.
·         Finished some modular toy cabinets.  These replaced my first project that I ever made.  It was a little different having a large project in the shop.  I kept it flat as long as possible.  These are also able to convert to desks as the kids grow older.  I really liked how they came out.
·         I think I had two major learning/accomplishment projects.  The first was the airplane.  It was small and seemed easy but there were a lot of issues that I needed to overcome.  The angled wings and the sequence of cuts were two of the major learning moments.  It was also on this project that I realized I need to take more pictures of the process.  The second stepping stone was the temple portrait.  This was the most detailed scroll work that I have done.  This was a confidence builder more than anything. 
Goals I had for this year:
·         I released about seven plans this year and will have another three to release early next year.  I am happy with the amount of projects I did this year.
·         I want to finish the camping boxes I started this year.  The carcass is complete.  I need to put in the shelves, hang the doors and finish all the internal storage.
·         I did not do as well on having more kids over to play with the toys.  Something to work on this year.
My favorite projects this year:
·         One of my favorite projects this year may be a surprise to people.  It was the planters.  It was an extremely simple project that did not require a lot of planning except for the activities of the day.  It was nice just to do something simple with the family.
·         The other project that I enjoyed was the scroll saw stand.  This was a simple project especially since most of it was done a CNC router.  It wasn’t the project that thrilled me; it was the design part of it and improving on a previous design.
·         As for toys it would be a tossup between the garbage truck and the skid loader.  The garbage truck because it was a difficult design that went through multiple iterations.  The skid loader because it was an improvement to another design.  I am happy how sturdy it came out.
·         I just finished this one before posting this.  The street sweeper, soon to be on the blog, is one that fired me up to complete before year’s end.  It was designed by my oldest and we worked together to get a working design.  The brushes even move with the friction of the carpet.  Can’t wait to see his face on Christmas.
Goals for this year:
·         This year the toys are going to be either for the younger group, 2-4 years old.  I also hope to do some toys that are traditionally for girls.  My wife and I discussed that our kids no longer have room for more toys so I am going to be making some that are better suited for a younger crowd.  I also know that I have a huge hole in my offering because I exclusively made toys that my kids wanted to play with.
·         I want to do at least one craft fair.  The Etsy shop is going as well as I hoped but I want to have the experience of a craft show.  I will probably go in with someone for help.
·         From a business stand point I want to make enough money to buy some sharper tools.  I need to maintain and replace some of my dull blades and bits.


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  2. You are awesome! I love the things your make!