Monday, March 12, 2018

Journal, Legends of Sword Coast

I just added the journals to the shop about a month or two ago so I think this is the first one I've made for a client.  I wound up having to make the cover twice since it wound up warping too much the first time.  If that continues being an issue I might try switching to a milled veg for the cover so it stays nice and flexible.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Guitar Strap, Spider

The late guitarist for WHO, John Entwistle, had a pair of guitar straps that were fairly unique.  One had a skeleton arm stretching along its length and the other a white spider web on a black background. 

The client was hoping I could mimic either of those guitar straps.  It was hard finding photo references for either of them but I could see enough of the skeletal strap to determine that I probably couldn't practically replicate it.  I'd have to sculpt the bones, probably out of EVA, and that isn't a material I have enough experience with yet.  So we went with the spider strap. 

I didn't notice until late in the drafting that the original spider strap has a little spider sitting in the middle of its web.  It's hard to see as anything but a red dot in any of the photos so I made my own from scratch.  The bodies are 3D printed and then I sculted a little bit of latigo to give them some depth and color.  The lines were a bit trickier.  I'd go over them once and they'd look white then the paint would cure and they'd be grey.  It took 2-3 coats to get them to stay white.  It's a pretty neat effect though and one I hope I get to practice again sometime!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Yet another new printer

A little over a year ago my first printer, a M3D Micro, burned out.  That wasn't a huge surprise since M3D, at least in my experience, was running more a sham than a successful kickstarter program.  That first printer required a ton of maintenance and even then getting a successful, much less good, print was more luck than anything.  It failed even as a trial/introduction printer.

So I replaced it with another small printer to test it's applicability, MonoPrice's redundantly named Mini Select.  It was another cheap printer aimed at household use but it had the noteable advantage of being reliable.  You could give it the same print more than once and reasonably expect it to come out the same way.  I developed a lot of nifty things, notably the prop coins, on that little printer.  Then it too died a couple of weeks ago.  I was troubleshooting a sensor issue and in power cycling the printer there was a short that released the "magic smoke."  That would've been covered by the warranty but it'd expired a couple weeks earlier.

In any case, the MonoPrice definitely succeeded in helping me test how I could use a 3D printer for the shop.  I was able to print tools, tap-offs, and products as needed.  That gave me the information I needed to decide to invest in a full-size production printer.  After a bunch of research I picked a Lulzbot TAZ6.  I've been printing with it for about week now and I'm really happy with it.  The detail is a lot finer and more consistent than either of the previous printers.  And the build volume is about 11" cube.  It's huge! 

I'm looking forward to developing some really neat products with this thing.  In particular I think this'll let me bring back the old DM Toolboxes.  Those were a popular line I had to retire because they took too much labor with finicky results.  Thanks to this thing's huge build volume though I could print the entire structure of the box as one piece of plastic.  Wrap that in leather and it should be good to go!

Dice Cup, Yahtzee

This cup is meant to be a gift during a wedding next month so the wording is a little in joke between the client and the newlyweds.  I liked how the gold and brown work together but the odd thing about this order was it being the second or third heading to the UK this year.  I'd typically send 3-4 orders to the UK in a year and half-way through March I'm up to 6 UK-bound orders.  I'm quite happy to send products pretty much anywhere but it does make me curious...

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Map, Westeros

One of my earliest maps was a carving of Westeros, the continent where most of the events in Game of Thrones occur.  This map was like recreating that earlier map with everything I've figured out and improved on since then.  It's a bit larger, has the built-in frame, and I was able to pack a lot more detail into the carving than I was a few years ago.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dice Bag, Cyclades

This client has a greek-themed boardgame they're quite fond of and wanted a pouch to carry the pieces in.  It was a bit tricky duplicating the finer details of the emblems but I'm pretty happy with the final result.  I think this is the first time I used goatskin for the walls of a pouch (instead of suede) and it worked really well.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Binder, HYD

A 1" binder that's going to hold the client's new campaign notes.  I really like how the red and black set each other off.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Buckle, Storybrooke Sheriff

When the client sent me the image she wanted on her buckle I thought it looked familiar.  It took me a little while to remember that "Storybrooke, Maine" is the setting for most of "Once Upon A Time".  The show's filmed right around here so I might've remembered that a little earlier.  In any case, the buckle's on its way to Glasgow so it's a pretty wide-ranging fandom.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Map, Homebrew Arcadia

Now that the holiday crunch is over I've been trying to catch up with our campaign maps.  Everytime we finish a campaign I like to carve a map of that setting and hang it on the wall over our game table.  I'm just goofy that way.

My wife dreamed up Arcadia last year.  She'd never gotten around to naming it by the time we were playing it so it started out being called Aidan (which she wasn't a huge fan of) until one of the players recommended Arcadia.  We had a pretty weird troupe of characters exploring a "typical" fantasy world trying to prevent the arrival of Tiamat (because who wouldn't).  We had Tik, Kobold Barbarian Hero; Merrill, Half-Elf Bard from the Guild of Tongues; Oskar, a human teenager who thought he was a dwarf cleric; and Gunnolf, a spec ops veteran turned bounty hunter.  There was a fair bit of tension between some of the characters which eventually resulted in Gunnolf leaving the party late in the campaign and being replaced by Error, a Warforged Paladin of Bahamut.  We had some pretty hilarious times too, like when a Bullywug King tried to romance Merrill and followed him around until the end of the campaign.

This was the first of our personal maps that I've built a frame around.  I didn't leave myself enough overlap to conceal the stitching but it works pretty well in the shadow of the frame.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Scroll Case, Nordic Hnefatafl

Hnefatafl is one of those ancient boardgames that probably gets compared to chess a lot even if the rules don't have much in common.  The client wanted to carry their set in style so we came up with a case that should hold the whole thing.  The body is carved with a pair of nordic runes that should, albeit roughly, translate as something like "battle game".  I left a lot of the chop in the stain to give it that extra weathered look

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Drawstring pouch, Viola

The client wanted to mark their grandson's graduation this year with a gift of silver dollars.  Of course, the coins needed an appropriate vessel!  The grandson's quite the viola player so we used the decorative swirls on his instrument to make a monogram of his initials.  The stain came out a little lighter than I hoped but it's the same bottle I used for my early dice bags so I know it'll age really well!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Testimonial: Guitar Strap, Ontario

I received this message about the last guitar strap I shipped.  Just made my morning!

"My wife just gave me the guitar strap you made (The Hip, hockey stick, SRV, etc). I think it's probably the nicest thing I own. You did an outstanding job and I just wanted to thank you."

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Martingale Collar, Ky-oosh

I've just been waiting for an order like this one to come in so I could finish up the last bits on the pattern.  The collar I'd made for Max a couple years ago was a good start but had a "small" flaw in that the screw holding everything together proved weaker than a half-husky's enthusiasm.  This time there's no screws at all, just laminated leather that outta stand up to just about anything.  And it's always a good project when I get to mix together some more "Federation Blue".  There's a big, poofy fluffer in Ontario who's going to be pretty styling by the end of the week!  Meanwhile the martingale collars now have a dedicated listing on the shop!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Giant Scroll Tube

I've been selling a fair few of these map cases lately, mostly for things other than maps.  I think it's great that the pattern's proven so flexible.  I'm not entirely sure what this one was meant to carry (didn't ask) but apparently it's 4" wide and 19" long.  Makes for a pretty big tube and a weird frankenbox to ship it in.