Thursday, December 01, 2011

Crispin Fabrications first product

So, on Monday, I said that on Tuesday I would be posting a product that would be quick and easy for me to sell.

Since I slept through Tuesday, I figured it was time to post our first product up now.

Williams Sonoma, Pampered Chef, and a bunch of different "design houses" etc... all offer high end wood and metal pot racks.

They're not bad products, but I've never really liked any of them; plus, the big ones often run to $600 or more (some as much as $2,000). The little ones can be had for as little as $200 (or their east Asian and south American copies as little as $100), but what's the point of a little pot rack. You can only fit a couple of pots on the little ones.

Even worse, all of them, even the $2000 ones; use substandard hardware. They're scrap metal quality, with iffy finishes, and tropical woods no-one has ever heard of.

I just don't get the appeal frankly. I wouldn't buy one.

So, I decided I'd build my own, of solid oak, and high quality stainless.

I started off with an 8 foot length of 1x6 red oak. I trimmed it to six feet, and quarter round routed the edge; then finish sanded the whole piece.

After wiping it down, I hand rubbed three coats of a light "gunstock" stain, and then three coats of a thinned out hand rubbed poly. That gave it a nice neutral gold, semi-gloss finish; to nicely match my kitchen woodwork.

All that was in the shop, and unfortunately, I didn't have my camera out with me while I was doing it.

Then I brought the piece inside, to mount the hardware, and hang it:

I started out by setting the three screw-eyes I chose to use as hangars, in the top of the ledger.

I chose to attach them to the anchor eyes (same as the hangers) with a single threaded quicklink, because I didn't need much drop from the beam; but I could have used any length of chain I wanted, to set the drop as low as I needed to. I also could have used a simple set of hooks for about 1.5" less drop if I needed to (or opened the eyes up, hooked them together, and reclosed them for that matter).

The hooks themselves are a decent grade stainless, and rated for 600lbs each; so I'm not exactly worried about the load carrying capacity of the thing (unlike some of the commercial models, whose hardware leaves me doubting their capability to hold a full load of heavy stainless or cast iron pots and pans).

Continuing in that theme, I used four of the same eyes as the anchors and hangars for the suspension chain.

You can see there, I chose to tighten the chain with a center turnbuckle. This keeps the chain nice and tight, and allows for as much adjustment as necessary. I also chose to use quicklinks to anchor to the ends of the ledger, and to thread through the hangars.

This allows the chain to slide through the hangars up to about 1.5" on each side (more than enough to tighten the chain up) without binding up.

The point of using the chain, is to give you infinite flexibility on the number of pots, and their positions. Most of the commercial models are somewhat limited. I don't know about you, but I have a lot of different pots and pans of wildly different sizes and shapes, and I need that flexibility.

The pots themselves hang from heavy duty "S" hooks, which are inserted into the individual links.

I could have used a cable, or a steel rod (and several commercial models do); which would let you slide the hooks (and pots) up and down etc... but I like the fact that the chain holds the hooks into one position. You still get the flexibility of moving the pots wherever you want, but without having them move on their own if for example, one end of the rack were to fall (or one end of the cable or rod etc...).

The hooks at the ends are angled out to reduce swaying by the way.

I think it looks pretty good up there don't you? And at six feet long, it's got enough capacity for as many pots and pans as I could want (I put 18 hooks up there, but I don't think I'll use all of them).

I can build this design, a variant with a cable or rod instead of a chain; or a variant with individual hooks and eyes. I can build a variant with a broader ledger, and hooks or a chain etc... on both sides of the ledger.

For the ledger, I can use just about any wood you like; though the wood selected does have a structural impact. I can make the ledger deeper (higher as it were), thicker, shallower... I can even use square section wood.

I you like, I can change the form of the rack from a straight bar, to a mitered square, triangle, pentagon, hexagon, or octagon.

I can also make the rack out of solid or tubular (circular, square, rectangular, or triangular section) steel, aluminum, copper, brass, or wrought Iron; with the hardware either threaded or welded (or brazed or silver soldered) into the bar.

As to hardware, I can make it with stainless hardware, galvanized, plain steel, painted steel, powdercoated steel, or brass (understandably, brass will have a little less load carrying capacity). I can also add a utensil grid, or some baskets pretty easily.

If you'd like the piece decorated, I can carve or rout decorative designs or lettering into the wood, inlay contrasting woods (that would be a very large upcharge. Inlay work is slow and painstaking), woodburn designs or lettering, even paint or tint designs or lettering into the ledger.

And of course, I can make it any length you want; with any length of hangar hardware you want (though I recommend keeping to six feet or under, to avoid excess shipping charges).

These are true custom pieces, so I can't quote a stock price. Each piece will be made and sold on a materials plus labor basis.

I can tell you that at todays material prices, a linear red oak rack (from 2 to 8 feet long) with a plain hand rubbed finish, no additional decoration, heavy stainless hardware, and a heavy stainless chain, as pictured here; would run you about $200 (plus shipping and handling).

Excuse the quality of the pictures, but I took them in poor light, with a compact point and shoot. I'm going to take some better ones with my "real" camera when I get some good light.

So, if you're interested, drop us a line:

Crispin Fabrication 1-855-CrisEnt (1-855-274-7368) (I haven't set up the Crispin Fab email or website yet).