We've been working on some great projects around the shop lately and truthfully we were so busy in 2020 and leading into 2021 that there's little time to catch our breath.
2020 was a year that we'll never forget from both a personal as well as a small business standpoint. We want to give a huge thanks to those who supported us during this time and especially those who brought to life some amazing new combinations of woods, stains, and products.
Some projects and highlights from 2020 are discussed below. Please reach out if you have any interest in learning more about the products or woods featured in this post.
The Old Globe 300+ Year Old Eastern White Pine has an extraordinary history and more information can be found in the links below.
To date we've created a ClimaCab Grand, a Horizontal Climacase | Rectangle, and several traditional Climacase | Rectangle models with a variety of surface preparations. One version is the wood "in the rough", which means we complete very light debris removal and prepare the surface as minimally as possible to retain the centuries old patina and saw marks on the board. We've also had great luck with planing both sides of the board and applying some vintage looking stains, such as Seely and Harvest from the WoodWright catalog. The planed down surface preparation still retains the nail holes, but removes the saw marks on the boards.
In mid February 2021, we received approximately 2,400 board feet of this wood which will be used for the next few ClimaCabs on the build list as well as for future use.
We teamed up with Kamuela Hardwoods, who specializes in reclaiming wind fall lumber and utilizing other sustainable harvesting guidelines to produce quality lumber, to bring some new species from Hawaii to Wisconsin and build the AR Wood Catalog.
In addition to the Koa, we have Guanacaste (aka Earpod), Raintree (aka Monkey Pod), and Curly Mango ClimaCases/ClimaStands which will be ready for photography in about two to four weeks. Keep an eye out for other blog posts that will feature these amazing species.
The real challenge is to find these woods in the correct length that we need to produce our products. In addition, due to the fact much of this wood was reclaimed, there is the possibility that some of the board exhibits rot, checking, cupping, or twisting. We always carefully inspect and select the woods prior to production to ensure a quality end product.
We were commissioned to build a Koa Rectangle ClimaCase w/ Glass sides to house a very special hollow body electric guitar. We will be posting some photos and discussing this project in more detail once the photos arrive back from the customer, but for now here's a nice peak into what this beautiful wood from the Big Island of Hawaii and the gorgeous hollow body by Paul Languedoc.
We also created this amazing Koa/Wenge/African Padauk Glass Sided ClimaStand. The union of these three woods in such a detailed fashion really highlights the amazing craftsmanship coming out of Hickory Ridge Woodworking. We are working on another custom ClimaStand for the same customer currently that is discussed in a later section.
We don't build too many Ukulele ClimaCases/ClimaStands, but when we do they don't look as good as this one! This particular customer wanted something special to match the Koa ukulele he ordered from Snowshoe Ukuleles in Massachusetts. In addition, these size cases can also store mandolins comfortably, so if you're into the 4 string or 8 string strumming then your instruments are in good hands.
We were first approached by a customer looking to store their guitar which was previously owned by none other than BB King himself. This owner was wanting to display this Gibson guitar in a horizontal fashion instead of the typical vertical. As it turns out, he ended up ordering a second in the standard vertical configuration for an additional guitar he was looking to display/protect. These particular cases were made from the Old Globe 300+ Year Old Eastern White Pine previously discussed in this post. In this particular instance, the exterior surface was left rough to show the true vintage aspects of this spectacular relic of our past.
In addition, we created another version from Red Oak that was used to store an old banjo that was restored after being in grandpa's collection for many years. The case will serve as a lasting memory to their loved one and will remain protected so it will be preserved as well.
All of the horizontal hung cases, feature an innovative bout rest system that allows the user to move the two wedges closer or further apart depending on the boat size of the instrument being stored. On the underside of the wedges, we embed a high-strength neodymium magnet that attracts to a black powder coated rail fastened to the bottom of the case.
At the other end of the case, we use a String Swing hanger that safely cradles the neck of the instrument and positions it at a 45° angle in the case.
Along the top edge of the door frame, the piano hinge provides adequate strength to support the weight of the door frame and the glass. On the underside of the case, we use our nickel spring loaded latches to pull the door frame tight to the neoprene gasket and create the airtight seal.
In 2020, we had at least five projects that included incorporating a different wood into the back of the case or stand. This provided our customers with an interesting array of possibilities to either match interiors of homes, offices, or studios. It’s also a great way to complement or contrast instruments. For example, if the instrument has a lighter top then the back in a darker wood will allow for it to pop more.
These projects also provided us with a new way to build with more than one wood in the case or stand, which is always fun!
We drove deep into the catalog from Woodwright to explore several new stains that hadn't been used before. When applied to the variety of wood species we offer, the possibilities almost become endless as far as getting a custom color solution across our entire product line.
A common practice for us is to provide small samples of all of the stains on various wood types to our customers as they're making decisions. This helps to hold an actual piece of wood in your hand and compare it with other items within the room that the product will eventually be used in.
Based on demand, we created several new ClimaCab sizes including Petite+, Traditional+, and Grand+. These ClimaCabs fit right in the middle of our three standard sizes when we launched the multi-instrument cabinets in late 2018. In addition, we created the first modular ClimaCab with the ClimaCab Connect. This system incorporates face frame material between independent cabinets with a long bolt and nut system. The beauty in our design is that the two cabinets operate completely independent of one another from a humidification standpoint. Simply remove the matching connection piece and move the cabinets to different locations in your home.
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