There is no fate

At least not till next year, as the school fete has come to an end.  After 8 or so hours, a bit weary, but it was fun.

Quite an interesting learning curve – got a lot right enough, but there is always more than can be refined, if I ever intend to do this again!  I do have one other planned fete coming up in November, but that is about it.

Fun seeing the kids’ reactions.

The display stand with the black cloth covering it, is the Centipede XL which I just got back after lending it at the start of the year.  It is perfect for this sort of thing.  I made a top from 6 panels of MDF which were cable-tied together to create one overall top.  This allows me to take the top off and fold it up for storage/transportation.  I made it from 3mm MDF as that is what I had to hand, but 6mm or 9mm MDF would have been better.  As the MDF only has a few holes drilled right at the extremities for the cable ties, I can still then use the pieces on the CNC machine 🙂  It worked very well – easy to transport, easy to set up, and stable.  (Does that make it a stable table?).  In comparison the vacuum-formed tables are reasonably easy to transport (they weight quite a bit more but have much less surface area) and quicker to set up (if you factor in attaching the top).

That gets me thinking – I could come up with a segmented top for the Centipede, which engages with the holes in the leg caps.  That would remove the need for cable ties and make a really rigid (crossbraced) system.  Make a good way to use it as a workbench as well.  Alternately, I could recess out the area where the top of the leg touches the top, so the whole top piece can still be stored perfectly flat.  I’ll work on that, and let you know what I come up with!

Sales were ok, not unreasonable, not as high as I would have expected.  I did a quick gender comparison – ie assuming some models would appeal to one gender more than the other (and those that would appeal more to both).  It is a really rough tool – for example, I chose a swan to be oriented towards girls, and a cobra to be something that would appeal more to boys, and a turtle to be neutrally biased.  That might infuriate some people, but the reality is that if you got a bunch of primary school students and gave them the choice (with no observers, or chance that classmates etc would ever know the choice made), that certain toys would be selected disproportionally higher for one gender over the other.

The analysis is very loose – I did not record the gender of who was making the purchases, or who they were purchasing for, so already there is a lot of interpretation built into these stats.

Toy Variety

Girls liked a lot less variety than boys in the toys chosen.

Of the total variety of girl-oriented toys, sales were concentrated around 41% of the range available.
Of the neutral toys, 53% of the variety available were purchased.
For boys, 75% of the range had at least one sale made.

Kits vs Preassembled models

This data is not very relevant, as the models were only able to be collected at the end of the day, whereas kits taken straight away.  Additionally, there was only one of each type assembled, and between 0 and 10 kits available.

Girls’ purchases were 71% kits
Neutral purchases were 53% kits
Boys’ purchases were 78% kits

Total Sales

Of all the purchases available:

Total sales of girls-oriented models: 20%
Total sales of neutral-oriented models: 23%
Total sales of boy-oriented models: 56%

As very few types sold out completely, this data was not heavily influenced by particular models becoming unavailable.

Other interesting observations – quite a few people looking (kids and adults) – “Wow, these are really cool”, then after checking the price “Wow, these are really cheap” (the vast majority being around the $5-$7.50 mark).  However even after uttering both those comments, the person looking around would then wander off.  Interesting that something that is regarded as “cool and affordable” still does not necessarily result in a sale.

I would have sold more if there was no restrictions on whether the person could buy and take the pre-assembled model, so having two or three of the most popular kits pre-assembled would be beneficial.

It may also be better if there was less variety of kits available, and so people could select the ones they want for purchase, rather than having to ask for them.  While this makes perfect sense (and is how we shop most of the time), it is a lot harder to do this in a market-like scenario with limited space.  Especially with bulky products that have a degree of fragility to them.  Again, if I was doing this on a regular basis, I would be able to justify the additional investment in the multiple storage containers needed to keep everything sorted.  For a one (or two) off, that is less practical.

All in all though, it was a fun evolution, and I’d do it again.


Red Hill

Had a good day wandering around the Red Hill market down on the peninsula.  It is a market that is yet to be overly corrupted by Chinese imports (although there were a few stands where it was evident that the products were not locally made).  The majority was product and produce, made or grown in the area.

Picked up a couple of wrought iron items – a paper towel holder for the kitchen, and a fishing rod holder for surfcasting, with a side holder for a stubby.

There were a few woodwork stands – a couple of skillful woodturners, and a whole raft of chopping boards.  What is it with chopping boards?  Take a piece of wood (often camphor laurel), flatten it, round over the edge, drill a hole at one end and call it a chopping board (and charge $50)  No thought, no skill, no effort, and next to no value-add. Some managed to go a little further, and only one was end-grain.

I did see an interesting outdoor setting that the roving reporter would love (given his preference for CL)

IMG_4264They had a bar to match too.

Still, lots to look at, and it only gets busier as Xmas approaches.

Eumundi Market

There is a great market at Eumundi (in Queensland, near Noosa). There are a lot of crafts and locally produced food) which are the backbones of a great market). Some imported crap which is always sad to see – there are plenty of markets (and $2 shops) for that.

Of course, I am always particularly interested in what woodworking (and similar crafts) are around. I was almost expecting Lazy Larry to be there, but there are plenty of markets closer to home I’m sure!

Saw some pretty average woodworking, which goes to show pretty much anything can sell when it is made from timber.

Saw some interesting stuff as well.

Bush Blocks was one. Kitchen benches made out of recycled timber, and natural edge timber slab tops. Some unusual inclusions on the front- door knobs and old door locks.

Bush Blocks Bench

Bush Blocks Bench

Bush Blocks Bench

Bush Blocks Bench

There were chairs made by Ross Annels, which seemed to be advertising more the woodworking behind the chairs (courses or something) on offer. Would have gotten more detail, but couldn’t get the staff on the stall to get her head out of her mobile phone!

Ross Annels

Ross Annels

Either that, or she was a tourist and thought the chairs were just somewhere for her to sit and text or Facebook/Tweet/whatever!

Ross Annels chairs

Ross Annels chairs

Interesting chairs.

The Ey Family had a pen stall

Pen stall

Pen stall

There were also the most amazing metal, laser cut mobiles that were quite mesmorising.

Laser cut mobiles

Laser cut mobiles

I saw one place who’s turned bowls were… rather chunky, which is not my preference.

However, the work by Peter Farkas is very nice, imaginative, and very affordably priced to boot. Some was traditionally turned, other pieces both turned and carved (using an Arbortech cutter). A few pieces were turned quite thin, and that combined with a heavy oiling made them quite translucent. Peter talked a bit about it, and the various pine timbers were particularly suitable. The pieces on display were hoop pine, which also is a very nice timber in its own right.

He uses tung oil (or similar) to really saturate the timber, then finishes with a harder oil to leave a durable surface. The particular bowls that were treated in this way are at the back (or back right) in the two photos.

Peter Farkas bowls

Peter Farkas bowls

Peter Farkas bowls

Peter Farkas bowls

So all in all, a good day.

A Real Market

I was up Gisborne-way over the weekend, one of those weddings that tried to miss the AFL Grand Final, and was caught out by the once-in-33 year draw the weekend prior (congratulations to Murray and Emma btw).  We chose to stay overnight, rather than drive back late and in the morning had breakfast in the township.

There was quite a market running in the town, so took a wander through, and found it to be an unusual one, in that it was full of excellent crafts, products, produce, and no Chinese crap to be found – that which has become the norm of many markets around Melbourne.  So a real market for once, and one really worth a bit of a trip to see.  If I wanted cheap Chinese junk, I’d visit a $2 shop……or Bunnings.

There were plenty of woodworkers selling their wares, and some quality looking products too – well finished, and not just mass-produced crapiata items either (if it was pine, it was at least finished properly).

So a really enjoyable impromptu market visit, and one that really showed off the local region well.

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