Boots on The Ground

So, I'm officially in the bottle stopper business. I purchased the Ruth Niles starter kit and made a load of bottle stoppers. I have to say I'm rather pleased. The next question was, now that I've got close to $100 sunk into this how do I get it back?


Don't get me wrong, I like making them, but still. I mean to say I almost always look at life through the prism of capitalism. "How can I have fun AND make money!?" So I loaded up my bag with bottle stoppers and started my march to rejection.

Two weeks ago, I hit about eight local gift stores. Most encounters stared off the same.

"May I help you"

"I'm peddling," I'd say to break the ice. "Do you do consignment sales?"

"Yes...but"

And here the stories would differ. The owner is traveling, the owner isn't interested, the owner makes bowls (didn't quite understand that excuse myself). Of the eight shops only one took my card and only two actually looked at my product. It was a rather large bash to my ego.

I honestly let it get to me all week. I was a bit deflated, but last weekend I tried again.

This time I had a stopper in my hand as I walked through the door of the shop.

"Do you do consignment sales? I make these!" This time the response was much better. On the fourth shop I got a bite. I'm heading back there Friday to drop off the stoppers and a display I've been working. So begins my stopper sales. Luckily, being in the heart of wine country, bottle stoppers are pretty popular here. We'll see. Either way it feels good to get a bite!

Inside Out Vase

A fun afternoon project. It wasn't that difficult, though I would certainly do many things differently. Mainly the cutting away of the windows section...

Start with a four billets. Since I didn't have that I needed to make some cuts. I ripped a 2x4 in half, then crosscut it to equal lengths.

Next I jointed the edges with the table saw, a straight edge and some double sided tape. A very effective and simple method.

Next I taped all four sides together and took it to the lathe.

Mounted between centers I turned out the windows. I measured 4 inches from the outside and turned a teardrop shape (a bit larger than needed). I then sanded and finished with friction polish.

Next I separated the billets, flipped them all inside out and glued it together. Once dried I planed the ends, though looking back this might be an unneeded step. Either way it's nice to bring out the #5.

Mounted and turned to shape.

I then drilled out the end with a 1/2 bit and shaped and lips.


Sanded. Sanded, Sanded. Sanded. Friction polished, parted off and called it "good enough" and stuck a weed in it for its photo op!



There it is. A few hours and a pretty cool vase. For next time, I would make the windows smaller, use a more workable wood and a steady rest would be a HUGE assets!

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