• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

Hands-on education in wood leads to little organization


Mar 16, 2023

MOSES LAKE — A good cutting board can be a factor of wonderful beauty.

But that is no explanation to be gentle with the cutting boards produced by Samantha and her husband A.J. Simmonds and sold in their retailer A Plus Woodshop, the newest addition to the Downtown Moses Lake Association’s Obra Project organization incubator at 205 S. Division St.

“It’s hardwood,” Samantha Simmonds stated. “It’ll blunt the knife edge ahead of it scores the wood.”

The cutting board Simmonds holds up is practically a rainbow hue of colors — brown, tan, magenta, orange — all from the pretty exotic hardwoods the two have discovered to operate with more than the final many years.

“My preferred is blue mahoe, it is the national tree of Jamaica. It only grows there, and it grows so quickly, they use it for reforestation,” she stated. “It’s got some distinctive streaks of blue in it, and it is got blue, greens and grays. And so it tends to make a genuinely cool pattern to use in some of the styles.”

And that incorporates employing blue mahoe as an accent piece in cutting boards, like the 1 she is holding.

“It’s the only naturally blue wood with no absorbing minerals or colors. It provides it a small added,” she stated. “That’s why it is an exotic wood.”

Simmonds stated she discovered about wood more than the final handful of years merely by functioning with it and generating factors. She stated her husband began the organization ideal ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, wanting anything he could do at residence to care for her and their children whilst she dealt with bouts of Crohn’s Illness, a chronic inflammation of portions of the substantial intestine that can trigger discomfort and lead to infection.

As she recovered, Simmonds stated she began assisting her husband, straightforward factors at 1st. Sooner or later, he asked her to burn someone’s name onto a frame.

“I did, and I found I genuinely liked it. So I began carrying out art,” she stated.

Her shop space in the Obra Project is complete of factors she and her husband have produced — bookmarks, keychains, precision-carved earrings, puzzles, plant indicators, a handful of cutting boards, and other goods of their comprehensive residence woodshop. Simmonds stated their solution line grew more than the final couple of years as they purchased new tools, which includes a laptop-controlled cutter and a laser cutter.

Simmonds even holds up a laser carving she produced of a moose on the paddle of a moose antler

“The two of us have been quite eclectic about what we liked,” Simmonds stated. “We want to do new factors all of the time. … I run the laser, he runs the CNC. I do the wood burning, he does the woodworking.”

Till they opened the shop, nonetheless, they each did the retailing, taking their wares on the road to shows each weekend, Simmonds stated.

“This year we’re going to turn it back for the reason that we have a place,” she stated. “The 1st year, it was each weekend everywhere in Washington and Oregon that we could come across a show. Final year we toned it down and we only did shows inside two hours of us. So, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Coulee City, areas like that. But we have been carrying out them each weekend up till the weekend ahead of Christmas.”

Whilst Simmonds stated the earrings she carves with the laser are the ideal-promoting things, A Plus also does a quite brisk organization in rubber-band guns as nicely. Primarily based on a design and style her husband utilized to play with when he was a youngster, Simmonds stated they found the worth of the guns as a way of maintaining young children entertained 1 year at the Prosser Balloon Rally.

“The rubber band guns sell out, sold out each years. I imply, we brought 75 rubber band guns and had to go residence and make much more and bring them back the subsequent day,” she stated. “Once (most young children) watch the hot air balloons launch, that is it for them, it is no longer exciting. And it requires forever to fill the balloon, so they’re sitting there bored.”

Woodworking has turn into a complete-time endeavor for the whole household, Simmonds stated. They are teaching their teenager to operate the gear and their 5-year-old daughter tests all the toys to make sure they are sturdy and has discovered to recognize wood from all more than the globe.

“She knows much more about exotic hardwoods than lots of adults do,” Simmonds stated.

Even as she functions the retail finish, Simmonds stated she nevertheless likes wood burning and employing the laser to carve and produce earrings.

“My wood burning is sort of a zen factor for me. I like to pop in an audiobook and just start out going on it. And I can sit there all day and wood burn and really feel amazing carrying out it,” she stated. “And it is anything that even when I’m sick I can nevertheless do so that tends to make it even greater.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.