Author Archives: pashley1916

iPhone made into a classic flip-number alarm clock!

If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, chances are you, or someone in your family had a clock radio with the flip-numbers.The numbers flipped down, changing the time, which I found, for some reason, to be fascinating. I guess it’s because I never saw a clock like that, only the standard analog type.

Then of course, is the faux wood grain and the basic radio and alarm.

So I was watching the movie “Groundhog Day” recently when the waking up scene kept repeating over and over -there is one of those old clock radios in the scene.

So I thought I’d like to get one again – off eBay of course – just for old times sake, feeling a twang of nostalgia.

Then I was playing with my iPhone.

Then a few ideas started brewing in my head…could I make it all come together?

Every night – like tens of millions of Americans – I put the charger cable in my phone and set it on my nightstand, so it’ll be ready for tomorrow.

On a lark, I looked for an app that simulated the old clock radios – and not only did a find a few flip-number types but a very cool rectangular one as well.

Using my skills at SketchUp – a drafting program – I came up with a simple to make, yet very cool clock radio that harkens back to the days of classic clock radios, yet includes the new twist of a smartphone – and doubles as a charger as well!

There is info there on how to order the plans for this as well!
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Posted by on August 6, 2017 in SkunkWorks


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Ashley Craftsman Clock, #2

il_fullxfull-1079378373_qml9This new craftsman style mantle clock is almost 18″ high, and features a solid copper etched clock face. This piece also features a large selection of fine woods, including cherry, walnut, walnut burl, ebony and paduak. I designed this piece.

The tile inset is by the world famous Motawi tile works.

The clock movement is a standard battery operated quartz mechanism – but can be upgraded. Comes with brass pendulum.

Buy it on Etsy!


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Posted by on November 12, 2016 in Craftsman Clocks


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The Beatles and Me.

BeatlesSo, you’ve heard about this little group called “The Beatles” haven’t you? Four-man rock band out of Liverpool?

Who hasn’t…people continue to find out about them everyday, and each day, all the members make money for performances they gave as much as 50 years ago. Imagine that, work you did when you were a young man still making you money today.

That’s one tested way to make a fortune – making once, and selling many. It’s what the Beatles did, it’s what J.K. Rowling did with the Harry Potter series, made something once, and sold it a gazillion times.

I hate to break it to you, but it’s a long shot to get rich by doing woodworking – or any other work in which you make one, sell one, make one, sell one…rinse and repeat. Their are few exceptions of course; famous artists can create a piece and sell it right away for a ton of money – but that’s a million to one.

So how do we extrapolate this to woodworking? Production.

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Posted by on July 9, 2015 in BlogNotes


Craftsman Style Coffee Table

Limbert Coffee table


An elliptical top, arched legs, and decorative piercings add grace and beauty to this Craftsman-style table modeled after a library table by Charles Limbert. This scaled-down version preserves the original overall proportions, as well as elliptical top and shelf, gently curved legs, and decorative piercings in the stretchers. Bridle joints hold the legs and aprons together, and a notched bridle joint is used where the stretchers intersect. The legs and shelf are notched where they meet, and slip tenons join the stretchers to the legs.

Dimensions: Oval top is approx 3′ x 2′, table top is 20″ in height.

Material: all solid quarter-sawn white oak.

NOTE: Shipping is done by FedEx; it is the largest package they will take, short of it going freight. I have a custom, heavy-duty cardboard box custom made for this table. The shipping is $275 to any place in continental US.

Design: G Paolini

Cherry Limbert Coffee Table

Cherry version

Living room

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Posted by on June 1, 2015 in Furniture


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Craftsman style table, Limbert #240

limbert table$875

This Limbert table from the early 1900s features gentle curves on each edge and arched openings in the side panels provide access to the shelf.

Overall dimensions: 20″ wide, 20″ deep, by 29″ high, made of quarter-sawn white oak.








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Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Furniture


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Craftsman Round Table

Roundtop Craftsman Table


Take a look at this table, and I know you’ll find something to admire – whether it’s the highly figured quartersawn white oak, the decorative slots in the tapered legs, or the dramatic grain patterns of the round tabletop and the cross-shaped shelf.

Approx. 30″ tall, the top is 22″ round.Approx. 30″ tall, the top is 22″ round. NOTE: I also make a 24″ high version.

Craftsman Round TableCraftsman Round Table bottom
  IMG_7375-25%withtext IMG_7366-25%with text
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Posted by on May 2, 2015 in Furniture


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Lost Stickley Mission Style Table

Lost Stickley Table Dressed


This is the so-called “lost” Stickley Mission style table, which was prototyped, but never was in production. What makes it unique is the front and back splay of the legs. It’s this slight angle that gives this table more character than straight-legged versions that were mass produced.

27″ high, 22″ deep, 16″ wide. Solid quarter sawn oak. (can also be made of cherry)

“We ordered two Stickley bedside tables from Patrick and could not be happier. He took such extraordinary care in the craftsmanship and the pieces are simply beautiful.” – Wendy K., Manhattan


Lost Stickley Table CloseLost Stickley Table



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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Furniture


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Which Cake Tastes Better – and Your Woodworking

cakeSo what does chocolate cake have to do with woodworking?

Just about nothing – just about.

Pricing has often been a topic I’ve tackled on BlogNotes because it’s such a big issue for us – how much do we charge for our work? Obviously, we want the most we can get for our hard work, but when do you price so high that people start telling you to go pound salt?

One clue is this: if you have something people want – really want – price becomes less and less of a consideration. That might be the “must have” latest handbag for a lady, or hot car for a guy. You don’t NEED those things – but sometimes you really want them, even if you can’t really afford them. You have a perception of that product that changes the actual value of it – in your mind. Part of that calculation is the price of that product.

Enter chocolate cake.

Last night, I was watching Brain Games,  a show about psychology, basically. They play out different psychological experiments, and make it interesting to a general audience.

In last night’s episode, they said up a booth in a busy city center in summer. The set-up was they were an upstart bakery, and they wanted to know which chocolate cake tasted better – the cake that was $15, or the one for $55, and why it tasted better. A market research kinda thing. So, people came by, and sampled each one – which looked just like the picture shown here, one round, the other square. Samplers generally described the $15 cake as being dry, and the frosting not too sweet. The $55 cake, however, was nice and moist, the frosting just sweet enough, in general tasted wonderful. They even remarked, that yes, they would even buy the more expensive cake.

Both cakes were from the same cake mix, using the same ingredients, baked at the same time in the same oven in the same molds; they were identical except for shape.

No, the take-away here isn’t shape – but price. People thought the more expensive cake was better, and worth the price. Price subconsciously tells us the value of a product. I mean, if it costs more, it must be better, right? We’ve been conditioned all our lives to believe that. A first class airline ticket is about three times more costly than an economy ticket – but both get you to the same destination at the same time. Only you have a bigger seat, and some better service. A more expensive watch is better than a cheap one, an expensive car better than a cheap one, and so on.

So, just price your work higher than mine, and you’ll sell more, right?

Oh, if only it was that easy.

That pricing strategy falls apart when people can clearly see what the product is made of. A cutting board, for example – if you make the exact cutting board that I’ve made – people aren’t going to buy yours more than my less expensive board. Why? They did it with the cake!

Because there is no ambiguity. People didn’t know exactly what was in the cake – sure, they may have known about sugar, eggs, flour, chocolate – but beyond that, no. There was an ambiguity about the product that they couldn’t discern, which left them open to allowing for a higher price. If I build a side table with the same plans you used, and used the same wood, yet I priced higher, I believe I would do better in sales than you. Why? Because people think that I have better skills at assembly, finishing and fitting than you did. Having said that, if a potential buyer examined both our pieces side by side, and could find no visible differences, they would more likely be inclined to buy yours. Still though, the mystique of a higher price might make the sale for me.

So what’s the take-away here? If you price low – trying to beat a competitor on price – you’re slitting your own throat, if it’s a product that has ambiguity to it. Higher prices tell people – or at least gets them to ask themselves – that the product is worth more, better.

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Posted by on February 3, 2015 in BlogNotes


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How to Make Love to your Customers

seductive lookMetaphorically speaking of course.

I’ve noticed that a great customer transaction is very much like the making of good love. Moreover, a bad – even mediocre transaction- is as satisfying as a similar love experience. Here’s some observations I’ve made, so you can keep that “lover” coming back for more.

• Buildup / Foreplay – Like a great love experience, a great transaction starts with foreplay. In our field, you have to build up the excitement to a fever pitch, so that when the actual event occurs – the delivery of your piece – it’s even more satisfying to the customer. Look at it from a customer’s perspective – and this is assuming you are a contractor woodworker (you build to order, may get jobs on CustomMade or Etsy). The customer contacts you – “Can you build a table like this for me?” This is where the tango starts. Of course you can build that table for her – but you’re not going to build it – you’re going to craft it for her. You’ll draw up a design and get her input on it. You’ll ask questions because you care about her needs and opinions.

You’re creating anticipation, just as a good lover does.

Customers LOVE this. They love telling you exactly what they want. I mean, where else can you do that? A restaurant, maybe, but I can’t think of another retail situation where things are made to order. The more sexier you make this, the better the pay off later. Be friendly, professional. Get back to people ASAP. Keep them in the loop about what you are doing – “Jen, I’ll redesign that top for you, and get it to you tomorrow; I have a great idea I think you’ll love!” Customers really feel flattered that you are paying so much attention to them.

Just what I’ve cited above is reason enough for people to pay more for your product. It’s not JUST about the piece – but the experience, which costs you little, if anything, that satisfies the client.

• The lovemaking – She’s committed to the project, and has sent you half down. Great! Now what? I always acknowledge the payment – “Michelle, just wanted to let you know that I did receive  your payment – thank you! I’ll be starting the table on Wednesday. I’ll send pics and updates often. Thanks again!”

And do just that – keep in touch. Can you imagine sending hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars to someone on the internet that you don’t know, for a product that doesn’t exist? Nerve racking! You owe it to them to show progress pics. You don’t need to go overboard, detailing every tenon, but just a pic or two so that customer has no anxiety about you running off with their money.

And, once again, you are still building up the tension of getting the product delivered. She’s watching it being created; she knows you care enough about her to send her updates, relieving any anxiety. Chances are, you’re her first, so to speak.

•The Climax – Now the project is done. I’ll ask the client if she would want a picture of the final outcome before sending. Some don’t. Some want that big surprise when they open the box. Some want to see it right away. Ask before sending a finished product pic. If they do want a pic, send them one with the piece in a nice setting, like in your living room, outdoors, whatever – but please, not a sheet draped over your table saw in fluorescent light! Ugh!

• The Afterglow – Ship it. I’d advise you to use a new box, and not one that you got your George Foreman grill in. I know you think it might be no big deal, but it is. It’s her first interaction with the piece. How’s it look if the box looks like an ape high on crack wrapped it? I mean, seriously. Show her you care enough to present it in a new box, with the tape fairly neatly applied. Have some pride, will ya? By the way, if you are shipping a larger piece, like a coffee table, and you don’t want the pain, cost and extra shipping cost of a crate, you can get heavy duty cardboard boxes, custom made to your size. Check out CustomMadeBoxes. By the time you buy wood for a crate, not to mention the time, you could have had a box made for you. I made a crate – ONCE.

Of course, you are going to package it extremely well. Another tip: Don’t buy bubble wrap at your local Staples, Office Max, etc. But it on eBay – MUCH cheaper, like 5x cheaper. Also, I buy this foam paneling cheap at Home Depot to pad the sides. I don’t use peanuts, they make a mess and are so expensive.

I recommend using FedEx, if possible. I’ve had nothing but great experiences with them, and their tracking is awesome. By the way, as soon as you ship, send the customer a note. “Jen, just wanted to let you know your clock is on it’s way! The FedEx tracking number is xxxxxxxx, and it should be there Friday”. Once again, building anticipation. Customers often remark to the effect “I can’t wait!”

They WANT to love what you make for them, they really do. There’s been a big build up, and now you have to deliver. They will even overlook minor things, as they wear rose colored glasses, much as people in love do, never seeing the little warts their lover has.

After all that love making, you should have a very satisfied customer, returning, hopefully for more!

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Posted by on August 7, 2014 in BlogNotes


Concord Mission Clock – Oak and Walnut version

Oak and Walnut mission clock$495



Simple sophistication with comforting tones is The Concord. A mighty presence, The Concord is not just about height, but a more evolved mission style. Embracing the traditional and dramatic quarter-sawn white oak, with it’s sparkling ray fleck, The Concord is perfectly matched with walnut.

The quarter-sawn white oak is fumed; this is the traditional method often used by Stickley and others early in the Arts and Crafts (or “Mission”) style. Fuming is the process of placing the piece in a confined space with industrial strength ammonia for about 2 hours, which causes a chemical reaction with the tannin in the wood, changing it’s color to an ashen gray. Once a top coat (a satin polyurethane, in this case) is applied, that beautiful, rich mission-brown color comes through. The color won’t fade or change at all, because it is a chemical reaction, and not a dye or stain. Even if it is sanded, the color is still there – up to 1/16th of an inch deep. Fuming also allows for a consistent color all over the piece – if all the pieces came from the same board(s). It can be a technically tricky finish to use, but the results are outstanding. Top coat is polyurethane, either satin or semi-gloss.

Inset is a complementary 4”x4” leaf ceramic tile, made by a local artist (style subject to availability; contact New Mission Workshop for more info). In the photo shown here, this is a copper clad ceramic tile the customer ordered from another vendor; it is still available from that vendor at this time of writing.

“Mr. Ashley’s clocks are literal works of art! The materials are of the highest grade and the workmanship is outstanding. Not only are the products of top quality, but the service provided by Mr. Ashley is unmatched. He truly cares about quality; both in material and service.” – Charles, Minneapolis, MN.

“There are not enough superlatives to describe how beautiful and wonderfully made this clock is and what a delight the artist is. And Patrick made this just for me! Such care and craftsmanship – it is truly a work of art. All materials are exceptional and the whole is a treasure for generations. I adore it and will be a repeat customer. Enjoyed the whole process. Thanks, Patrick!” – Karen in Georgia

Materials: Quarter-sawn white oak, with walnut embellishment; 4”x4” tile (varies)

Dimensions: Approximately 17“H x 9“W x 5“D

Finish: Amonnia fumed oak; Paduak; polyurethane, either satin or semi-gloss

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Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Craftsman Clocks


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