19 March 2010Lab Time - Keychains!

I set aside some time for designing new products this week. I had been wanting to do keychains for a while, and had thought up some designs, so I got myself to work!

Strips of tire all prepped for assembly.

I made most of them with a simple d-ring for key attachment, some of the others have either a bolt snap or trigger snap if you wanted to remove the keys.

Assembly complete!

The design is a simple loop with a snap so you can attach it to pretty much anything. I use mine on my messenger bag shoulder strap. Karen uses hers on the strap of her shoulder bag. You can toss the whole thing in a bag and easily grab the loop to get it out. You can snap it around a belt and use one of the bolt snap or trigger snap ones to get your keys off, or use the bolt snap to attach it to a belt loop and keep your keys in the eye section of the snap. There are many possibilities!

My mass of keys.

I listed one in my Etsy shop and am bringing the rest to this weekend's Saturday Market. If there is some good response, I'll be making a lot more of them! Next week's lab time will be working on dog collars, that's right.

16 March 2010Tool of the Month: Wiss M1R Compound Action Snips

I meant to do this at the beginning of the month. I blame the tools. They were battling so fiercely to win me over that my fingers almost got caught in the scuffle.

 These guys have been through a lot.

I actually own two pairs of these since I end up doing maintenance on them fairly often. Maintenance on snips you ask? Yes. I break them down, clean everything up, and reapply Loctite to the main bolt, which tends to loosen after the kind of use I put them through.

 The main task I use these for is cutting the sidewalls off of the tires. I dremel the metal bead first, (I ruined my first pair of snips doing that part by hand) then go around each side of the tire to the desired belt width.

 Here I am doing just that.

You may have noticed the one gloved hand- this is not just for style. It keeps me from getting blisters. I've also added medical tape to the mix since that glove is getting kind of beat up. Even with all of that protective gear, I can still only manage about a half dozen tires at a time.

The snips also get used later on in the belt manufacturing. I use them to cut the slot for the buckle and to form a nice rounded end.

 Looking good!

Finally, when I am sizing a belt after it is sold, I round out the remaining end.

So that is why the snips are the tool of the month. I've made at least 500 belts at this point thanks to these.

09 March 2010Saturday Market Recap

Let's sell some belts!

This weekend's Saturday Market went very well. It was better than I expected, and about equal to what I was hoping. Saturday's great weather definitely helped - it was sunny and in the 60's. The waterfront was packed full of people happy to get out and enjoy the weather, and they were excited about the reopening of the market for the season. Sunday was overcast and not as warm, but it was still rather busy.

My able-bodied help.

Karen had sprained her ankle on Thursday bouldering at the rock gym, but she still came out for moral support. I think I may have sold some belts due to the pity factor. Luckily I don't have too much stuff or an elaborate display yet, so it didn't take me long to set up.

Fancy table display.

The cupcake tray from the wedding lives again.

Sized belts hanging up.

I had a lot of fun, and sold about 20 belts overall. My booth neighbors were all pretty awesome. The crowd is great, I met some interesting people, and handed out a lot of business cards. The half priced Rogue ale at the end of Sunday was excellent too, which could be the start of a weekly tradition.

03 March 2010Saturday Market Prep

Saturday Market starts in less than three days, so I decided it was time to try setting up the canopy tent I bought last week. It was accomplished with minimal fuss. Some modification to a leg was needed and I also took a break to see if I could fit inside the bag it comes in (I can).

The fruit of my labors.

It is a bit sparse, but I'll be having some more belts hanging on the right, also I will be in there. Eventually I'll make something for them to hang on instead of the frame. I'd also like to make a corner wall in the back right to hang artworks on. For now there is only one art and it is hanging in the upper left from a piece of spoke.

A hastily printed sign, and one of four sand-filled PVC tubes.

I should get some sort of stencil made and print the logo on wood.


 The cupcake tray relives as a belt tray.


It's not much for now, but I think it works!
My... art!