Our cutting board processes and checklists have been a success so far! We're super happy with how far we've come with those. But now it's time to shift our focus to charcuterie boards!
We essentially need to repeat our process for optimizing cutting boards....again!
We very quickly realized that the hardest part to make "repeatable" was going to be the handles of the boards! The rest of the process (cutting the lumber to size, milling, sanding, engraving) is pretty easy to write into a checklist! Especially because we're not cutting these boards into strips and gluing them up like the cutting boards! These will all be single, face grain boards.
But haven't we already made 100 boards?! And then 3 more prototypes of handles?! Why are we still working on these stupid charcuterie board handles?!
Because we're constantly improving!! There was no way we were going to build the most perfect charcuterie boards that could be 100% repeatable every time right out of the gate. We had to iterate.
By making our first batch of boards, we learned that we didn't want multiple different handle types! By prototyping 3 different handle types, we learned that we didn't want to start out with 3 handles! We just wanted to start with one, because optimizing and building a router jig template for 3 different handles would steal time away from actually SELLING these boards!
But the beauty of the iterative process is that you don't have to put an insane amount of pressure on yourself to do it perfectly the first time! You get a working process that you're running in the background while you're ALSO working to improve that same process! And if you've spent the time staying organized and documenting what you've done, you can insert your new and IMPROVED process into your existing process without having to completely halt your operations.
As business owners, we always want to be improving. We also want to remain flexible so that we can pivot with the changing times. But that requires an understanding that your first iteration of products and designs won't last you forever. A business that continues to grow requires iteration and a willingness to learn lessons from yourself.
However, the boards weren't the only things we had to iterate this week.
We needed to build a template to cut the handles with on our router table (using a flush cut trim bit). So we went to the internet to see how other makers were constructing their charcuterie handle jigs! But they weren't quite what we were looking for....
We wanted something more like a sled! Something you could just clamp the boards onto, cut the handle with, and then quickly unclamp to switch out boards. We knew that toggle clamps would probably be our best bet.
After sketching it out and coming up with the dimensions we needed, we built the first "template prototype". And it worked!! Really well! We were especially happy with the new bit we got to use with the template. It worked awesome. We were so shocked that we came up with a somewhat original idea for this template and that it produced a nice end product! This template is totally usable to create charcuterie boards that we can start selling. BUT!!
This template was not perfect.
It was good.
But not great......(yet).
It caused some pretty rough burn marks in the curved corners and the template handle was kind of wavy and not perfectly straight. This meant that we had to spend more time sanding the boards than we wanted to....
But that's the beauty of the iterative process!! We didn't get mad at ourselves for not building the most perfect template the first time around. We created a template that allows us to build sellable boards that looked great. And while we build and sell those boards, we can work on creating our next version of the template based on the lessons we learned from the first one!
By the time we get around to building a jig that employees will use, we'll know EXACTLY what we want and EXACTLY what we don't want because we've had a ton of experience.
Very rarely do people do something perfectly the first time around. The most successful people in industry today are the ones who are willing to constantly improve and not put themselves down or give up because they weren't perfect the first time around.
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