Saturday, May 9, 2015

Making it smooth! Harmony In Wood!

 First a really important story!  Our earliest toys were much more crudely made.  We had designed some neat stuff, but we didn't know much about the fine points of making our things smooth and polished!  Fortunately for me, one of my very first "sales" calls fixed that!  I had stopped in Pittsford, NY at a very nice shop called Harmony In Wood.  As I arrived with my cardboard box of toy samples, Carol and Marko - owners - were sitting on a bench in front of the store.  They were very sooty, dirty, thirsty, and obviously not in any mood to talk to a salesman! They were taking a break from cleaning up after a fire that had happened the night before! I tried to quietly take my leave, but Marko said that he would love to look at my toys!  I spread out my toys in the dirt driveway in front of the store, and Marko and Carol carefully examined them.  After some time, Marko began to talk, and in summary, he basically told me I had some great designs, but that my craftsmanship was terrible.  I remember him being a bit more graphic than "terrible".  However, to my everlasting wonder, Marko then proceeded to give me a short but well organized lesson in how to properly finish my work!  He told me about sanders like the ones shown in this post, and about the router shown in the next post, and about the mineral oil that I will tell you about later.  His encouragement about my designs gave me the courage to go on with this crazy enterprise, and his lessons in craftsmanship made our work truly good!  Marko and Carol, told me to go home and "finish" my work, and that they would buy it when I returned.  I did that, and they were as good as their word, and they often reinforced that early quality lesson, as they fairly regularly sent back pieces that we had not done up to their standards.  Carol and Marko were centrally responsible for the success of The Toycrafter, and Harmony In Wood was my longest steady customer.  I learned to make every toy to pass the Marko and Carol test!  Harmony In Wood went out of business recently, but they out lived The Toycrafter!

Above and below, Elizabeth carefully sands the sides and bottom of the Rolls Royce, and lightly "rolls" over the edge between the sides and bottom.
Below, Don uses the 1 inch wide vertical belt sander to work on the edges, making them smooth like Marko and Carol wanted them to be.  They were right - they looked a lot better! Just a side note that we used our income tax refund for that year to buy the $69 vertical belt sander!

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