Once a Tree

Cherry Blanks

Cherry Blanks

The title of this post comes from a cute little shop my wife and I came across during our many visits to Maine. It’s located on Route 1 running through the heart of Camden. Upon entering the shop you soon realize why the name. Nearly everything in the shop is made by highly skilled local artisans and made from wood. My kind of shop! If you are ever in Camden Maine be sure to check it out. Here’s a link to their website: Once a Tree This is their Facebook page: Once a Tree on Facebook

It amazes me the number of people who don’t seem to understand where things come from, or the process needed to produce a finished product. It reminds me of the clip from the Tonight Show where they ask people on the street where steak comes from and the answer was “the grocery store”. In this post I’ll walk you through the process needed to end up with a finished product, specifically one of my cutting boards.

Obviously from the title of the post, it all starts with a tree. In this case it was a Cherry tree with a trunk diameter of nearly 3 feet. The log taken from the tree was 12 feet long. A portable band-saw mill was brought in and the log was sawn up into 5/4 boards which were then stacked in my barn and allowed to air dry for over 5 years. From here the boards are taken to the chop saw and cut to the appropriate length then off to the band saw to be cut 4 to 5 inches in width. The stack shown in the photo is the result of processing 6 boards in this manner and will yield about 15 cutting boards.

From here each board will be run through the jointer to flatten one side and square one edge. Then it’s off to the planer where each board will be planed down to a thickness of 7/8″. The next stop is the table saw where the other edge is trimmed parallel. The boards are now ready for the glue-up. Three to four boards are selected for best grain match and then edge glued forming a 15″ wide board. Once the glue has set and the excess scrapped off it’s back to the planer where the final thickness of 3/4″ is achieved. One more trip to the table saw and the ends are trimmed to a final length of 18″. We now have a cutting board blank, which are then stored awaiting a customer’s order.

USA Cutting Board

USA Cutting Board

When an order is received a blank is selected and placed into the CNC router where the final profile is cut. The cutting board is then hand sanded and the finished applied. Once packaged, it’s off to the customer.

I hope you have enjoyed this little journey, and that you now have a better understanding of the processes needed to produce a finished product. If you have any questions or wish to comment feel free, just click the “leave a comment” link at the top of the post. Until next time…


OVWG Turning 2013 Symposium

Glenn Lucas demo at the OVWG "Turning 2013" symposium.

Glenn Lucas demo at the OVWG “Turning 2013” symposium.

I spent last weekend at the biennial Ohio Valley Woodturner Guild’s “Turning 2013”. The line-up of presenters was quite impressive. Glenn Lucas, Ray Key, Nick Agar, Michael Hosaluk, Cynthia & Michael Gibson, and Steven Kennard were the main attractions. The guest presenter line-up was equally impressive.

The rotation schedule was very well planned out for the 3 day event. With some careful planning an attendee would be able to sit-in on most if not all the different demos. I talked with several new wood-turners who found themselves overwhelmed with the variety of choices available. The beginning to intermediate level woodturners did have an amazing level of skill sets to choose from. The Instant Gallery was an equally impressive collection of work from all skill levels. The vendors area was a plethora of items ranging from sandpaper, wood, and hand-tools, all the way up to the latest and greatest wood lathes. One could certainly drop a few coins here! Things are very different today compared to 20 plus years ago when I started out. The hobby / business of wood-turning has certainly matured.

If I were to offer any constructive criticism, it would be the rotation times at 1.5 hours each appeared to be too short for the subject matter attempting to be taught. Many of the presenters seemed to have trouble finishing in the allotted time.

The OVWG has to be congratulated on putting together this event. The amount of planning and work involved is mind blowing. If you are just starting out in the hobby you should plan on attending the next OVWG symposium in 2015. While you won’t gain the in-depth instruction that an individual weekend class setting would provide, it will certainly expose you to the many facets of this wonderful hobby.

We’re growing

State of Ohio Cherry Cutting BoardAs we mentioned in our last post we are excited about several new product lines we have in the pipeline. We have launched the first of these with the “State series” cutting boards. Made from beautiful premium Cherry hardwood and finished with my blend of mineral oil. beeswax, and Carnuba wax to seal and protect the board for years of use.

They are available in the shapes of all 50 states, and one of the contiguous 48 states. They are priced at a modest $42 each plus shipping, making them very affordable to give as gifts for just about any occasion.

Click the image to take you to my store to place your order, or use the “Contact Us” link to ask any questions you may have. Each board is custom made for your specific order. Please allow 5 to 7 days after your order for your board to be crafted. We ship via USPS Priority Mail which typically takes 2 to 3 business days for delivery.

The Holiday season is fast upon us. Get your order in early to avoid the last minute rush!

Can one be too excited?

I don’t think so! It’s what keeps you moving forward. There are some very exciting things happening here in the Tony Reynolds Design studio. No, I’m not going to totally spill the beans yet, but I will say we have some very cool new products coming on line very shortly! They will be out in plenty of time for the up-coming Holiday season, so stay tuned!!

It’s been a crazy summer so far. Kathy and I have traveled a fair amount with two trips to Michigan, one to New York (during the heat wave) and several trips to Cincinnati. The last several weeks have been spent in the studio getting ready for our next show at the end of the month. Kathy and I each will have a booth at the Riverfront Arts Festival in Columbus. It’s a three day show. Details can be found on the front page of this website. We hope many of our friends will stop by and say hello.

In mid-October I’ll be attending the Ohio Valley Woodturners Guild “Turning 2013” symposium. It’s a three day event that is held bi-annually. There will be wood turners from all over the world attending. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and meeting some new ones!

Then, in early November, Kathy and I are off to Chicago to visit Lindsey for a few days. Chicago is one of our favorite city’s. So many cool things to see and do. This trip is timed perfectly to allow us to attend the SOFA show. It will be my first time attending this show. Hopefully one of these days I’ll be invited to participate!

That’s it for now, back to work!

Are you working to improve your business?

TonyReynolds-Purity I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for, and reading about ways to improve my art/craft business. As a matter of fact, most days my wife and fellow artist Kathy Anderson and I discuss this over our morning coffee or in the evening over cocktails (we call them Scotch talks).

I’ve never been one who thinks I need to reinvent the wheel. I subscribe to the idea that the fastest way to success is to find someone who has done what you want to do and follow their path. To that end I suppose that is the reason I found this article in Crafts Reports Magazine by Bruce Baker so compelling. He has interviewed many different artist who are currently successful in their field then compiled their ideas into a well written and concise article.

Check it out and see what what you think. Do you have other ideas? Drop me a comment, we would love to hear them, maybe we’ll discus them over our coffee in the morning.


Commissions – A love hate relationship

gametable2Like most artists I’ve always taken on commission work. It tends to be my bread and butter. It’s exciting, someone thinks highly enough of my work that they want me to make a “special piece” just for them. Most of the time the work I’m asked to do has some element in it that stretches my skill set, which I enjoy. I love figuring out how to do something, and then executing it well. So, why is it that with almost every commission piece I do, in creeps this feeling of trepidation?

I think in my case it may stem back to my early days of making furniture. One of my first large builds was a king size headboard for an interior decorator. It incorporated lots of fancy layered moldings, and hand carved elements in the design. I quoted the project from a poor copy of a poorly photographed and faxed over image of a headboard someone had seen somewhere. The piece was to be built from Cherry, with a traditional dark Cherry finish. The price was agreed to (a substantial sum) and the deposit for materials paid. Off to work I went. When the time came to apply the finish I called my client to arrange for a viewing to approve the final color before applying the clear coats. Multiple attempts were made to arrange this meeting. I was finally told it would be fine, just finish it, as the deadline for installation was fast approaching. This was my BIG mistake! Upon delivery I was informed that the color was several shades off and the piece was totally unacceptable as is. Needless to say, I had nearly 8 weeks of work I was never paid for.

That was lots of pieces and many years ago. I learned a lot doing this build. Lots of new skills and techniques. Looking back, maybe one of the biggest lessons I learned (be it right or wrong) was to never work through a middleman. Since then, every piece I’ve made has been done working directly with the end customer. It really is kind of a shame this had to happen, as it does take some of the enjoyment out of the commission process. I just need to let go of it!

What has been your experience with commission work? Do you love it or hate it? Drop me a comment, I’d like to know.

ODC’s “Best of 2013”


Every year at this time Ohio Designer Craftsmen displays the juried results of their “Best of” show for that year at the Ohio Craft Museum located on West 5th Ave in Columbus Ohio.  Top artists and craft persons from around the country submit up to three of their works for consideration.

Michael W. Monroe was this year’s juror. Monroe has played a significant role in the contemporary American studio craft movement for over 40 years. Director Emeritus of the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington, Monroe has served as the executive director of the American Crafts Council and as president of the Peter Joseph Gallery in New York City. In 1974, he began working for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, first as Curator then as Curator-in-Charge. In 1993, Monroe was invited by President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton to organize a collection of contemporary American craft for the White House to commemorate “The Year of American Craft.”

The piece pictured here, titled “Affinity”, is my piece that I was honored to have selected for this year’s show. It stands 13″ tall and approximately 4″ in diameter at its widest point. It is made from a natural edge piece of Curly Maple. The stem or pedestal is Cherry that was dyed black.


Handmade Heirloom Quality Cutting Boards