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I noticed a couple of weeks ago that a millwork company had moved in to a factory about 3 buildings up from mine. I started to pay closer attention when I saw them setting up a dust collector outside that was bigger than my truck!

I finally had a good opportunity to stop by and ask for permission to raid their dumpster, and I got lucky. The guy I walked up to just happened to be the owner. I told him I was just a hobbyist looking for some small off cut scraps, which lead to about a half hour shop tour of his facility. He showed me their massive 12" jointer, moulders, powermatic wide belt sander (37" at least), 24" bandsaw, a few table saws (regular and sliding) planers, lathes for turning spindles, lathes for turning columns, and the list goes on.

He showed me their trash pile (which looked like the bottom shelf of my wood rack at home) and their offcut/inevitable trash pile (which looked like the top shelf of my wood rack). He said he hates throwing away offcut material because he knows someone could still use it...

I was introduced to the shop foreman who was just as nice as the owner. He even mentioned that he had some exotic wood at home he might bring in for me and mentioned canary wood. While the three of us were chatting, the shop owner said those few words that were music to my ears. "If you ever need to use any of the machines, you are more than welcome to." Obviously I won't get free reign over their shop, but it's nice to know that I now have access to these incredible machines if it is needed.

The shop owner had a fairly thick accent from what I'm guess is somewhere in the middle east. I told him I didn't want to bother him in any way and that I would even be willing to pay him for any material that they could get me (they use a lot of Sapele or African Mahogany - normally $10 bf and they buy it for $5). He said he would consider it, but believed that it pays to help people when you can because it all comes back around which is what I believe also.

He let me grab a few short scraps of Sapele from the trash pile, and told me to wait a week or so to see what else they have to get rid of. I left him my card and told him to keep me in mind whenever they are getting rid of scraps.

Sorry for the rambling, but I just wanted to share my experience so that others might find the time to stop in to a shop in their area. It seems like most of these shop owners are just as passionate about this stuff as we are.

Any ideas on what I could do that thank them?

Sean
 

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Sawdust Creator
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You officially suck!!! That's pretty cool though. Find out how many guys are in the shop and if it's a small number send a pizza or two over from time to time at lunch?
 

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ryan50hrl said:
You officially suck!!! That's pretty cool though. Find out how many guys are in the shop and if it's a small number send a pizza or two over from time to time at lunch?
Good idea.... You've struck gold.... I'm jealous !!!

Sent to y'all offen' a iPad thing......
 

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You officially suck!!! That's pretty cool though. Find out how many guys are in the shop and if it's a small number send a pizza or two over from time to time at lunch?
I know I know. I swear this was not meant to be a gloat! I like the pizza idea. I was also thinking about taking a piece of the sapele and scrolling out their logo. Only problem is I cant find an image of it, nor can I copy it from their website.
 

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Do a screen capture of their website and then blow it up so you can make a stencil of their logo. On windows, screen caps are ctrl+alt+"Print scrn" to get only the window you want. If you want the whole screen it's alt+"print scrn".

On mac OS X it's command+shift+3 for the whole screen or command+shift+4 to select an area for capturing.
 

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Thats awesome!! Just knowing they will let you use that monster wide belt sander could come in real handy some day!

I like the pizza idea too.
 

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Sean,
If they have a front office, take some of that exotic scrap and make a few business card holders.

A business card holder on a desk or counter in the lobby / reception area is always an asset to making a customer feel welcome. How many times have you noticed the business cards and asked to take one?
 
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You lucky son of a B. Just when I started thinking what a nice guy you were you pull off this stunt!

Seriously, that's a great way to find wood and friends.

By all means send the pizza. I also like the business card holder idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sean,
If they have a front office, take some of that exotic scrap and make a few business card holders.

A business card holder on a desk or counter in the lobby / reception area is always an asset to making a customer feel welcome. How many times have you noticed the business cards and asked to take one?
This idea also crossed my mind, as I have been wanting to make one for myself. The office space was still pretty much empty when I stopped by, so this could be a future project.

You lucky son of a B. Just when I started thinking what a nice guy you were you pull off this stunt!

Seriously, that's a great way to find wood and friends.

By all means send the pizza. I also like the business card holder idea.
I swear I'm still a nice guy (for the most part) and won't let this new friendship go to my head. My WWT friends will always come first!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, I finished the scrolling on their logo last night....... and I think I hate it.
MW Millworks.jpg MW Millworks scroll.jpg

I had to leave off some of the details on the letters because the radii were way to tight and I kept screwing them up. I printed out a few copies of the logo and I have another piece of the Sapele (the bookmatched piece of this one) that I may take another stab at.

I'm also unsure if I should lose the border and glue this to a poplar backer, or keep the border and glue the piece upright on a small pedestal of sorts. Any advice?
 

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Well, I finished the scrolling on their logo last night....... and I think I hate it.
View attachment 89762 View attachment 89763

I had to leave off some of the details on the letters because the radii were way to tight and I kept screwing them up. I printed out a few copies of the logo and I have another piece of the Sapele (the bookmatched piece of this one) that I may take another stab at.

I'm also unsure if I should lose the border and glue this to a poplar backer, or keep the border and glue the piece upright on a small pedestal of sorts. Any advice?
Could you just pre-drill where the radii are too tight?
 

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Pizza is a good idea. We used to like it when outsiders would treat us to sausage biscuits or donuts on occasion.
 

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I finished the scrolling over the weekend. I cut off the borders, thinned it down a bit, and glued it to a thin piece of poplar that I had chamfered the edges of.
MW Millworks scroll finished.jpg

I finally had time to go by there yesterday afternoon on my way home and drop it off. They had a small desk in the rather large lobby that just had a few MW pens, and a cheap plastic 6 cavity business card holder. The wheels immediately started spinning on what to make them next.

The owner came out of his office in the back, and I said "Hey" before asking if he remembered me. He said, "yeah, you're the 'wood guy' from down the street." I told him that I was very appreciative for the wood he gave me last time, and that I had made him something to say "thank you." I gave him the scrolling, and a big smile came across his face.

He complimented the piece, and then asked me a question that made my day/week. "Did you do this with a CNC or by hand? It's hard to tell" He may have just been being polite, but I'll take it either way. He showed it to his business partner in another office (who I hadn't met, and seemed a little confused as to what I was doing there) and then asked if I wanted to grab some more wood. He brought the piece out to the shop to show the shop manager and a few other people. I grabbed some scraps, and talked with the two of them for a few minutes.

The shop manager said he had set a few pieces of the canary wood and some wenge on his bench at home, and had just keeps forgetting to bring them in but that he'll get them to me when he can. On our way back through the office before I left. The owner took the scrolling and propped it up on the desk in the lobby. I branded my "hand crafted by (my name)" on the back of it, but I'll respond to "the wood guy" if it means I get to keep picking through their scrap piles!

Here are the few pieces I was able to grab yesterday. He said that he should have a lot more when the weather warms up, and he isn't taking so much home to burn in his fireplace.
Lumber score.jpg

A few pieces of Sapele, most of which are about 1 1/2" thick, and the wide ones are right around 6".
 

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Nice. Your scroll work came out great. It sounds like you might have the start of a good relationship. I noticed you mentioned a cheap business card holder -- are you planning on making them a nicer one down the road as another thank you?
 
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