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Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Tools for working smarter

Sometimes, when you learn how to make a new thing, it just takes as long as it takes. That's OK most of the time, but when you have need to reproduce an item, sometimes you have to develop new tools to make the job flow a little faster.
For the last few years we have been making more and more of our Oak and Acorn pieces and we make them in a tedious way. We collect actual Oak leaves from trees we come across and trace them. Then apply them to the pieces and sculpt them onto the surface adding the details in a very individual way. Actual leaves will only last so long, so one of the first things we do is make and  keep a ceramic leaf from the first generation of leaves in each size to use as a template. This gets tedious...really tedious. So we needed a solution.

Initially, we wistfully looked at cookie cutters, but cookie cutters are not so individual, they are mass produced by machines in the thousands. Everyone can have the exact same one. We rejected the notion, but still needed a solution.

Eventually we decided that a mass manufactured cutter wouldn't do but maybe we could find a place to make some that are exactly, and I really mean exactly like the leaves. bumps, curves and all. I didn't have too much hope for such precision, but we started searching the internet and finally came across a guy who seemed to be able to do what we needed.

So we found Frank and Frankencutters LLC It looked like Frank was doing the small detailed kind of work we were looking for, so we sent him drawings, he gave us a quote and we sent him a check. 2 weeks later, we got these in the mail.

They're strong, have handles and are spot on. We couldn't be happier, and it should make the Oak and Acorn line much easier to make without sacrificing any of the details we want to include in each piece.
We're going to get started this week :)