Sunday, 27 December 2009

Another Hiatus Leads to More Brainstorming

Well, this year has been a slow one for us. I have tinkered around with a few ideas lately but haven't put anything into actual motion. So far, this year, we moved one playhouse, built a few laptop stands which are still sitting in storage and I built a desk for my son (see previous post).

However, I looked back at the idea of building a retro jukebox computer cabinet for my family room in the summer because I have always wanted a jukebox. Even though it would only play digital media files and not actual records, it still would've served it's purpose. The ironic part about all this is that I just recently stumbled across other craftsmen who are already building something that is similar to what I was designing (without prior knowledge of what they had been doing). The item I am talking about is something called a 'Mame' cabinet. 'Mame' is an acronym for a front-end program that allows you to play old school arcade games on your PC. There is also other front-end type programs that will give the PC an exact feel of an arcade machine if that is the sole purpose of that machine. The front-end software also doubles as a jukebox program which is what I was really trying to do in the first place.

Not only did I find the plans available for free to build the basic cabinet, there are also plenty of accessories available to add that finishing touch to your project including joysticks and coin slots. I ran the idea by Chris and he seemed very enthusiastic about the whole idea. During my Christmas holidays, I'm going to sit down and work out the details and see if this is a feasible project for the new year and if it would be something that people in Edmonton would be particularly interested in. If not, Chris and I would both like to build one for each of us and use them to show off our talents.

I'll update on this as things progress.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Installing a Desk Under an Existing Bunkbed

My oldest son had requested a desk for his room. Unfortunately, his room is not very big and that is even further hindered by his 'Loft' bed. What I had noticed about his bed was the potential to build underneath it. So, I decided to build a desk right into the bed frame itself, not only with the most minimal use of lumber, but to also utilize wasted space off the floor.

Basically, this project consisted of nothing more than a few cut pieces of 2X4's, a nice piece of laminated pine for the table surface and a couple of metal brackets to secure the whole thing together. The desk worked perfectly and my son couldn't have been happier. I even built him his own functioning computer out of parts I had in the garage. That's the one thing about computers, it's never too young to start teaching them about computers in this day and age. Just make sure you lock down the internet access like I did.

The Green Apple Playhouse

The Green Apple Playhouse was completed last week and the lady who bought it was very excited to receive it. It was a purchase for her year old granddaughter as a Christmas gift. She had nothing but amazing things to say about the unit and told me that I shouldn't give up on the concept. She thinks I could go far with it. I was just glad to have another satisfied customer.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Laptop Stands and Playhouses

I have been very busy working on some new design ideas, mostly in time for the Christmas holidays. Although sales of playhouses are much lower in the off-season, we are still selling units for birthdays and post-holiday gifts. It's just good to know that there is an interest in the units.

Some new projects for the fall are portable laptop stands, possibly a dollhouse design (loosely based on the large playhouse model) as well as a children's wooden bicycle concept. I hope to have the laptop stands moving before the back-to-school season starts. The rest of the new product ideas will hopefully be in production by October if things go as planned.

On a more ambitious project, I have been looking at larger scale amusement style designs, such as 'Skee Ball' tracks and 'Air Hockey' tables, but I am not sure about those two things.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Updates About RC Wood

Well, I haven't posted anything new in quite a while. Things have been very busy outside of the business.I have been out of town quite a bit lately for work and haven't had much time to work on anything. And when I am home, I'm trying to buy a new car and build a fence.

Chris has also been very busy with family and fence building as well.

However, that still hasn't stopped me from coming up with new and creative ideas. Recently, I built my oldest son a new desk for his Ikea bunk bed which is integrated underneath the frame. Ikea has left the bottom open for space to do with it as you will and my son has been asking for a desk for a long time. I basically used some 2x4's and a nice piece of pine for the table top. I'll post a picture when he cleans up his room.

I have also been working on a new tabletop laptop stand design. It's basically made out of MDF and is a 'one size fits all' kind of unit. It assembles and dissassembles in seconds making it completely portable. And it's small enough to fit in you laptop bag. I have decided to make them in different colours and designs to fit all tastes. It also lifts the laptop up to allow the vents underneath to breath. I have a photo of the design available below. Note that this is the unpainted version in the photos.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Jukebox Replica Computer Case Revisited.

I have finally come back to the old design I had in mind of building a media computer system in a custom case that looked like an old fashioned jukebox. I pulled out the old plans and reworked a few numbers here and there to see what needed improvement. I also picked up most of the lumber I needed to start building the unit.

I am taking on this project as a separate thing completely. RC Wood is actually not connected to this as a partnership project. However, if this winds up being a successful product, RC Wood may adopt the design for future duplication if there is any sort of demand for it. This is something I intend to pick away at all through the summer months when I am not busy building other projects.

I will most definitely post photos of my progress as I go along. I have no photos as of yet because I spent today mostly building some 'awesome' new sawhorses out of 2 by 4's (and I mean awesome).

Here is a picture of the cabinet I plan to design from. It's a Gabel and I really like the look of it.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Belated Updates

Well, we built the puppet theatre and it sold at auction for about $70.00, which isn't too bad considering the turnout for the event was only about half of the people that had come the year before. It still went to a good home and that's just fine with me. The event still raised about $500.00 overall.

I had mentioned a little while back that I was going to try to restore an old camper trailer and update the interior to give it a new life. Well, it didn't happen. Unfortunately, the more digging I did into the trailer's innards, the more problems I continued to find. After working out the numbers on what it was going to cost to fix it, it wasn't worth it. However, someone else picked it up off of me and is going to give it a go. I wish him good luck and hope he has a better go than I did. I was just glad to get my driveway back.

I have also pulled out my old plans for that computer cabinet that looks like a jukebox I had been working on a while back. I've decided to tackle that project throughout the summer and take my time with it. I want it to look as sharp as it possibly can. I'll keep the blog updated on the progress with that project.

Other than that, it's been a quiet month at 'RC'. A shameless plug I have is that I have opened a new blog site unrelated to this one called 'Alberta Found' which I hope will be a success. In all my travels in my professional career, I tend to find a lot of old buildings or cars and so forth and decided to start documenting them for the entertainment value. Most times, the lots I am working on have these old landmarks on them that will probably soon be demolished to make way for new things. So, check it out if you have time.

Monday, 6 April 2009

A New Website!

Well, Chris and I have finally put a new website online. I just used one of those predetermined free web services that are available to make it easier to get our feet wet. The new website link is:

We have also changed the name of our business from the 'RC Wood Creations' to 'Against the Grain' Custom Wood Creations. But I probably won't make that adjustment on our Blogger site to keep it from getting confusing.

We have also finished assembling our first puppet theatre for the silent auction this weekend. I will post a picture of it as soon as I take one. The paint is still drying as we speak and I still have to put the curtain in. I suspect that it is going to be a very successful item at this year's auction. We figure, if this works out, we'll make sure that we continue to donate units when we can to other charity auctions in the future.

Well, we have finally had some nice 10 degree celcius weather this week and it doesn't look like it is going to change anytime soon. The snow is melting faster than I would ever had expected. I think this is definitely going to be a great summer for us.

Till we blog again.....

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Better Late Than Never!

Wow! We have been very busy lately, which is typical for both Chris and myself. But as the title says, better late than never! We have had a few projects on the go as of lately. I have finally started renovating the interior of my old trailer to give it a much needed upgrade. The wiring was all bad (old aluminum) and some of the ceiling has suffered hidden rot. So it will take time. Chris and I have already started building a new privacy wall inside, not only to upgrade the original design, but to esthetically reinforce the ceiling. I'll post some pictures on here when the unit looks more presentable.

Old RV trailers weren't the only thing on the agenda. We have been busy building more pre-designed playhouses just in time for spring. And we are also working on our first, foldable puppet theatre stage which will get it's unveiling at a local charity function as the grand prize. We couldn't think of a better way to introduce ourselves to the public than to donate our first puppet theatre to a charity function (silent auction). We will make sure we keep everyone posted on how much money it helped raise and maybe some information about the children who win it if possible.

Everyone stay healthy and safe during these tough economic times. We know that they can't last forever!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Positive Site Adjustments

Just wanted to let everyone know that we have been cleaning up and improving the RC Wood Blog site recently. You will probably continually notice little adjustments being made here and there over the next little while. Just bear with us through the changes. We are just starting to get our feet wet on redesigning this site.

Any feedback or comments are welcome, especially on how it is improving. Thank you for your patience.