Jeffrey McGrew's blog

Jeffrey McGrew is now a California Licensed Architect

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We're proud to announce that Jeffrey (finally) got his paper from the state. While I passed my final Oral Exams a while ago, the paperwork took a bit (as always).

So say hello to Architect Number 32623 (a palindrome! Awesome!).

This is a big deal to me, for you're not allowed to call yourself an Architect and have anything to do with the building industry unless you're licensed. You're also not allowed to do anything other than houses, some interiors, and furniture, for you can't stamp the drawings for permits.

You may have cleverly noticed that those three things I just mentioned are the majority of what our company does. Now you know why! With this licence, we're hoping it will open us up to a whole new market (and not just new lawsuits! ;-) )

The California licence is the hardest to get, covers the most ground, and transfers to other states more than any other. I hear rumor that they are changing the Orals into a written test or something, so I'll also get proper bragging rights that I had to do it 'the hard way back in my day'.

Business Talk at reMake Lounge as part of Make:SF meetup tonight

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We're giving a repeat of our Maker Faire small business talk "Turning Pro: Becoming a Professional Maker" at The Remake Lounge tonight as part of the monthly SF:Make meetup.

The talk was a hit at Maker Faire, for it's all about basic business lessons we've learned from the perspective of a professional Maker.

Come check it out, and hope to see you tonight!

July 8th 2010 EatFoodTalkShop

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Please join us for a night of project sharing, summertime story swapping, and some CNC demonstrations!

It's time for our regular 2nd-Thursday-of-the-month open house / project salon / OMGBBQWTF called EatFoodTalkShop! We're going to get these going again from their brief hiatus due to moving. So count on a monthly show-and-tell for Makers! Bring a project, or a story, or just curiosity and questions.

Please drop by and help us eat food, drink libations, and share project stories. We'll be showing off our recently finished projects for Wikipedia and Bookrenter. Frank will strut his stuff as well with a few demos.

We'll have some food and drink, you bring some more and your friends! Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words.

Thursday, July 8th 2010

6:30PM - 9:30PM

Please note that we've moved!

2500 Kirkham St

Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

Hope to see you there!

Lost? Lonely? BWC help line: 510-922-8846

Business Talk at Techliminal as part of Make:SF meetup tonight

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We're giving a repeat of our Maker Faire small business talk "Turning Pro: Becoming a Professional Maker" at Tech Liminal (an Oakland technology salon) tonight as part of the SF:Make meetup.

The talk was a hit at Maker Faire, for it's all about basic business lessons we've learned from the perspective of a professional Maker.

We'll be giving it again later this month in San Francisco as well.

Come check it out, and hope to see you tonight!

Woven Twist Coffee Table

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Twist coffee table

Woven Twist Coffee Table. Sustainable Maple and Walnut ribs weave together into this modern yet organic base. Another custom piece design for an office interior in San Francisco that we're working on.

Twist coffee table

The two opposing spirals create a delightful visual tension (and give the form strength) while the frosted top adds mystery to the 'fingers' holding it aloft. Let us know if you'd like something simular!

Eat Food Talk Shop June 18th - Our first big open house at our new location!

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Eat Food Talk Shop June 18th, 6:30PM-9:30PM. Our first big open house at our new location! Lots to celebrate...

Please join us for our first open house at our new location. We've got lots to celebrate!

From finally finishing up our big move, to our great new fabrication studio & offices, to Jeffrey's passing his orals for his Architect license, to this fine hot summer that seems to finally have arrived... Boy we have so much to celebrate we're bursting at the seams!

So please drop by and help us eat food, drink libations, and share project stories. We'll be showing off our recently finished project: our new digs! Frank's got upgrades, our new office rocks, and the fabrication studio is all setup for fast production.

We'll have food and drink, you bring the friends! Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words.

You can find us at our new digs:

Because We Can
2500 Kirkham St
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 922-8846

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Banquette design of many (many) drawers for an office lobby

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We're in the middle of helping a San Francisco Financial company make their offices awesome. The overall chosen direction is a 'modern victorian' feel, where warm and ornate meets clean and uncluttered.

One idea we developed is this wunderkammer banquette for the lobby. A semi-random assortment (59 in fact!) of properly golden-mean proportioned drawers adorn this modern take on a curio cabinet or card catalog of old. Some of the drawers as also false, instead being doors to A/V equipment cubbies.

Rendered in sustainable walnut and maple, it has a delightful character, enticing waiting guests to explore it's many secrets. Complete with vintage cast-iron styled drawer label / pulls, we're thinking it would be full of various small treasures and surprises, lovingly cataloged away.

We're really happy with how this one turned out. Let us know if you'd be interested in something similar!

Frank gets some new mods

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Quick update on how Frank is doing! While we got him back online right quick after the move, the move did give us a chance to address several small gremlins and design flaws in his old base design. Nothing too dramatic, but he's more square and solid than ever now. After that came getting the vacuum system back online:

IMG_0493

Again, slight changes. We went from a setup of progressively smaller zones, with the smallest being about the size of a sheet of paper near the X/Y zero. We found we never used the smaller zones by themselves, and that our system doesn't have the pressure to hold things that small anyways. So this time we went with eight big square zones, and it's working wonderfully. Also Frank's gotten some new stickers. Someday we should give him a flame job! Next up are a new system of adjustable stops:

IMG_0502

These adjustable stops allow you to setup Frank so that you can simply push a sheet of plywood onto him from the in-feed table, and it's stopped in the same place every time as well as held in place. These in combo with the vacuum system make production cutting a snap, such that we made twenty-four desks in two days.

IMG_0523

But by far the best recent upgrade is our new spindle! A spindle is a special cutting head used by CNC machines. It's a motor (a huge servo motor, kinda-sorta) that can turn at very precise speeds (even very slow speeds) with lots of torque. It's also got a neat trick: it hooks to Frank's brain, allowing Frank to control it's speed and power. This will not only make for cleaner and faster cuts, it will also let us cut aluminum and other metals much more easily than before. But it's greatest feature is that it's much, much quieter than our old router, making the shop a much better work environment!

We'll be showing off the improved Frank next month at our forthcoming June open house. Still planning the exact date, but keep mid-June open!

We got a mention on NPR's Forum with Michael Krasny on Friday

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As part of the news on the wonderful Maker Faire that happened this weekend, several of the core Make: people were invited onto KQED's Forum. It was a great interview, talking about Make: Magazine, the Maker Faire, the lack of hands-on learning within (and outside of) schools, and a lot more. It's a great listen, and you should check it out here.

However the conversation turned towards products and business that have spun out of the Maker movement, and we got a shout-out! Very exciting to get on a radio program we listen to all the time!

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