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So you want to start a business?

Over the past couple of weeks we've been selling quite a few cutting boards to Realtors as closing gifts...more boards than we had in our inventory, actually!

So it was time to re-stock! Easy enough, right? Apparently not...

You've probably watched some of our past videos where we batched out a ton of boards (if not, check them out!) and it was a fairly seamless process. We have an entire checklist written up of how to buy, mill, cut, glue, sand, and finish the wood for the we've pretty much gotten it down to a science!

We really only need 3 days to go from rough sawn lumber to finished cutting boards ready to be placed in the Glowforge.

We start with long boards, cut them down to 18" blanks, join 1 side and 1 face, cut 1 1/2" strips on the bandsaw, then glue all of the strips in the proper patterns. After that, we plane, sand, and drill holes where the rubber feet will go on the bottom. It's a VERY repeatable process and is easy to follow along with in a checklist!

...As long as all of your tools work...

This week, all of our tools did NOT work!! There were screws falling out of our bandsaw, the fence was wobbly, and our cuts quite literally looked like waves on the ocean. It was VERY frustrating! This meant that we were going to lose SO much material when we went to join the wavy side of the strips! We may have been able to avoid this problem if we had longer to spend on the initial bandsaw setup, but we had bought, unboxed, and set up this saw in about 1 day. We were still living in Mississippi and had a single weekend to finish a client we needed it immediately in the moment.

This is a picture of a bad cut on the bandsaw. It's wavy and not at all straight.
Look at how terrible that bottom cut looks!

So we decided to stop. We didn't make any more cuts.

We just left the blanks sitting on the workbench while we went inside and ordered new bandsaw blades. We had lost an entire 2 days waiting on new blades. It ended up working out because we were out of town for our Air Force jobs while they shipped, but that' s definitely a pretty big set back in production.

After troubleshooting everything from bearings to knobs - we figured out where the screws came from and how to fix the wobbly fence. But the game changer was the new skip tooth blades we bought!! They cut like BUTTER. These strips were now almost perfectly straight and required very little additional milling. We were losing almost NO material! Some of these boards were exactly 1 1/2" thick...which is pretty massive when we're used to them only being about 1-1 1/4" thick.

This was SO GREAT! Now that we don't have to waste so much material...we can get a higher yield every time we batch these boards out! We can cut thinner strips and probably get 50+ boards every time.

We were able to make about 55 boards from one batch of cherry and maple boards.
The shop was FILLED with boards!

So we found a pretty quick solution to the "fire" that popped up this week, but we know for a fact this won't be the last unexpected fire that pops up this month! We've learned that when running a business...there's ALWAYS some sort of fire about every week or so. A couple weeks ago it was the bank that was giving us problems, this week it was the bandsaw. Next week it will be something else. That's just how running a business works...and as the're responsible for EVERY aspect of it. Including the fires.

You're basically adding firefighter to your business title. "Hi, I'm Jennie - Head of Sales and Business Firefighting".

So what's the best method to put out inevitable fires? Fix your schedule. Give yourself time every week to solve a problem you know is coming, but you haven't seen yet.

Yeah, we lost 2 days of production....but we made sure not to stack so many jobs into this last week that we would be dead in the water if something went wrong. We had time to solve the problem and still meet deadlines.

My favorite sign that I have hanging in our studio sums it up perfectly:

"Life comes at us in waves. We can't predict or control those waves, but we can learn to swim."

"Scheduled" fires are no longer "unexpected" fires.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

This post may contain affiliate links for products we used to create this project! If you’d like to check them out, we do get a small percentage of the sale and they are of no extra cost to you! It all goes towards supporting the content creation of Jennie and Davis. BUT – we do not take tool sponsorships and there were no tool endorsements. Just our honest opinions!

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