Diemen Design
Tasmania, with its unique geographical location and environment, produces some of the best cool climate timber species, along with speciality hardwood and softwood plantations. Tasmanian Blackwood (Acacia Melanoxylon), a Wattle Species, is a perfect timber for fine furniture, and often comes with spectacular grain and features, grows in most conditions and is found in most places of Tasmania, and can grow to 50 metres in height in ideal conditions. Celery Top Pine (Phyllocladus Aspeniifolious), a Native Conifer, is a durable and tough timber, providing a hard wearing surface with a fine-grained appearance. Celery Top Pine mainly grows in the West of Tasmania, and some isolated areas on the East Coast of Tasmania where the climate is much dryer. Celery Top grows to an average height between 15 and 40 metres, with the bark being a reddish brown grey colour with a knobbly surface. The leathery foliage has a distinctive celery like appearance, lending this species it's name. Celery Top is a pale white to yellow colour when cut turning a golden hue once dried. The oldest known Celery Tops are around 800 years old. Leatherwood (Eucrphia Lucida), can be found in the wetter valleys and rugged western regions with high rainfall (more than 250ml). Leatherwood can grow to 30 metres high, with most found being closer to 15 metres, and can live for about 250 years, alongside Sassafras, Blackwood and Myrtles, and can be found growing as an under storey species in the Tall Eucalypt Forest of Tasmania. It is the same tree that Bee's produce Leatherwood Honey, and used often used for furniture, pulpwood, which can be easily bent, and produces beautiful Burl Wood, which is rare and highly prized, and has also been known to produce excellent Fiddle-back grain. Tasmanian Myrtle (Nothofagus Cunninghamii), is a striking timber that is often used as a veneer or finishing timber, or used in high-quality furniture, or skirting boards in homes, and flourishes in the cool temperate rain forests of Tasmania, and can be found growing in other area throughout Tasmania, being found more frequently in the west and north west area's. Myrtle is a slow growing species reaching a maximum of about 30 or 40 metres, living for about 500 years. Tasmanian Myrtle is not related, nor resembles the European Myrtle. Sassafras (Atherospema Moschatum), comes in two major groups, the Golden and Blackheart, with Blackheart Sassafras being the more popular amongst artisans. Sassafras is an under story evergreen tree usually found throughout the cooler temperate rain forests of Tasmania, and generally grow to 45 metre's and 1 metre in diameter in ideal conditions, and can live for around 200 years. Huon Pine (Lagarostrobos Franklinii), a Rare Timber, the prince, and most sought out of the Tasmanian Timbers. From it's richness of its golden hues to it's highly prized figured grain, it is easy to work with, making it the world's most desirably used timber for furniture and crafts. It is an ancient conifer, that has been dated at over two thousands years of age making the species one of the oldest living trees on the planet. Huon Pine trees still growing in Tasmanian rain forests could possibly be older than 5 thousands years of age. Huon Pine can grow to 20 or 30 metres in height, though it is believed some may reach more than 40 metres. Huon Pine only grows in the rain forests of Tasmania, has no sap, with an essential oil (Methyl Eugenol) keeps the wood durable for hundreds of years, and makes the tree highly resistant to fungal diseases and insect attack, which also lends the timber it's colour and aroma. Native Musk (Olearia Argophylla), is an under story species, found in rain forests and wetter regions of Tasmania, typically along river banks, and grows to a height between 5 and 15 metres. It has a musk scent, lending to it's name. The produced is a soft creamy brown, with the most prized timber coming from the base of the tree, with the grain from the base area usually being twisted and motley, akin to being Burl like. It is also a difficult timber to season without it checking or splitting. Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus Globulus), the Floral Emblem of Tasmania, the Blue Gum gets its name from the blue-grey colouring of it's foliage when young. The Blue Gum has the potential to reach 70 metres in height, but is generally found around 15 - 25 metres. Ti Tree (Leptospermum Lanigerum), quite a large species of tree, there are about 80 known species of Ti Tree in Australia. Usually a shrub that grows to 3 metres, and favours a damp environment, often forming thickets with small diameter stems, though it can grow to a height of around 18 metres in Tasmania as a tall, thin tree. Silver Wattle (Acacia Dealbata), a Wattle Species, that can grow to over 30 metres, and is widely found throughout Tasmania. Growing quite rapidly, it is a major under storey species. The timber varies in colour from soft pink to light brown with lighter colour highlights. Black Wattle (Acacia Meansii), a Wattle Species, is related to Silver Wattle, but requires less moisture than Silver Wattle, but can often be found growing together, although Black Wattle does not like to grow in very wet area's. King Billy Pine (Athrotaxis Selaginoides), a Rare Timber, is an endemic softwood species to Tasmania. Growing to between 25 and 30 metres, it is a medium sized slow growing tree with a fibrous bark and is furrowed, found in the wetter and mountainous areas of Tasmania.
The wood in your newly turned item has taken many decades to grow and mature. With special care it can be enjoyed for decades to come! Nothing lasts forever though, but wood is tough stuff. Proper wood care will keep things looking good indefinitely, and they can improve with age. Wooden kitchenware has been used for centuries, and people value antique bowls and wood items for their aged appearance. Something to note, is that wood is never fully cured, only stabilised to the environment it's in. For e.g. if you live in a humid area, the timber will only lose moisture relative to that environment. If you move to a drier area, you may notice that some of your wood items dry out, and possibly crack, esp. if the move is sudden. So it's wise to remember that moving to another area where the humidity is different, to allow your wood items to acclimate by keeping them in a dry, cool spot for a few weeks, to allow the wood to take on, or lose moisture slowly, reducing the chances of your wonderful pieces from moving too much and possibly developing cracks and changing shape. Your newly turned product may have been finished with a number of different finishes, depending on it's intended use. OB Shine Juice (mainly Shellac and Boiled Linseed Oil), for items that may be handled, but mainly used as a talking piece. Shellac, for items that are mainly for display, and that hardly get handled. Shellac, while it has a wonderfully smooth finish, can be fragile and easily damaged, especially if alcohol based liquids are spilled or used on the item. We use a modified French Polish technique, where we use Sheep Wool rather than cotton for the Pad. The Lanolin in the Sheep Wool helps with lubrication along with the Boiled Linseed Oil which also helps with the lustre, bringing out the Chattoyance in the grain of most items. Shellac with a Spray-on Clear Lacquer top coat, is usually used for items that will be handled a lot, and may come in contact with food. The Shellac process we use is explained above. The lacquer is used to provide as much as Lacquer can, a water proof finish. We most commonly use this type of finish on the Timber Pens and other items that would be handled often. To wash your wood item, simply clean it with mild dish washing soap and and warm water. Rinse and dry immediately. Never submerge your wooden item in water. Do not put your wood item in the dishwasher. Do not put it in the microwave or oven. Do no refrigerate. Do not leave in direct sunlight, as this can cause the timber to change colour over time due to the UV in sunlight. Forcefully stacking wooden items and in particular bowls could result in them cracking, warping or chipping. Take care with over-ripened fruit as it will create permanent stains over time. I find using a paper towel or wax paper can help as a barrier, and prevent staining. Clean your item when your finished using it for food, leaving it without cleaning it will more than likely damage the finish, and possibly the timber the finish is protecting.
I've been seeing a lot of people asking and offering DIY (Do It Yourself) recipe's for common Timber Finishes. These can vary slightly from country to country and even be regional depending on the ingredients available. I am not trying to take work or product away from those that sell finishes, on the contrary, if you would prefer to purchase a particular finish and support those making large quantities I wholeheartedly endorse you doing that and in turn support someones business and family. Before I start listing popular finishes, let me first endorse and link those businesses and brands that you can try out if you don't wish to go to the effort of making your own: Hampshire Sheen by Martin Sabban-Smith Yorkshire Grit Ack's Wood Paste Just Shellac. What is Shellac? How do I use Shellac? Shellac has to be one of the, if not the most versatile of finishes, even when used as a Sealer/Sanding Sealer. Shellac is processed from the hard Resin produced by the Lac Bug that it uses to lay it's young in, and comes in Waxed (Natural), DeWaxed (slightly processed to remove the Wax). To make up the product we use for finishing, require's an alcohol based liquid, such as Methylated Spirits (Metho), also known as Denatured Alcohol (DA), which is used to dissolve the Shellac Flakes into the desired quantities, known as Pound Cuts. 1 Pound Cut = 12gramms of Shellac Flakes to 100ml of Metho. 2 Pound Cut = 24gramms of Shellac Flakes to 100ml of Metho. I think you see where this is going. Generally to apply Shellac myself, I sand up to 240 grit, then clean out the sanding dust using Straight Metho (this also raises the knapp of the timber). Then I apply a 1 Pound Cut of Shellac and rub it into the Timber to try and force the Shellac down into the grain. I let that dry off for a few minutes, then continue sanding up to a higher grit, depending on the look of finish I'm after, obviously for a super shiny or French Polish look I'll sand past 600 grit, cleaning the sanding dust off between grits using compressed air.Once I'm ready to start applying the Finish, I use a modified French Polish technique.Using some white cotton (old t-shirt's work well), and balled up cotton wool (I use Sheep's Wool from our Sheep as it contains Lanolin and helps with lubrication during application and is the traditional way to do French Polish). The cotton wool ball is placed into the centre of a square of material about 100mm x 100mm square with the corners pulled up to the centre, held with the fingers, then twisted a couple of times to make a pad. You can either charge the cotton wool before folding up the corners to make the pad, or apply the Shellac to the outside, allowing the Shellac to soak into the wool inside which acts as a reservoir for the Shellac.Boiled Linseed Oil can also be used to help lubricate the pad as you apply the finish to the timber by dabbing the pad into a small container holding the Boiled Linseed Oil.When applying the Shellac, I like to use small circular spirals, working the Shellac into the Timber, and moving across the surface of the Timber. It's best to do many light coat's, rather than less heavy coat's, and slowly building up the layers of the Shellac, which helps gives more depth and shine to the finish. Keep applying more layers, changing direction of your circles to help with coverage. That's pretty much all there is to applying a Shellac Finish, well, at least how I do it. I don't do the full French Polish with using Pumice, as I've found for Wood Turned Items it isn't necessary.I've also had success with the above technique using OB Shine Juice (explanation on how to make it below), and using the pad to apply the finish. How do I make OB Shine Juice? This recipe I got from one of Capt'Eddie Casteline's YouTube videos. It's pretty simple, made up of 1/3 equal quantities of 2 Pound Cut Shellac, Methylated Spirits/Denatured Alcohol, and Boiled Linseed Oil. Simply wiped on, and rubbed in, it gives a good shine, and durable finish that can be enhanced easily by adding a fresh coat. How do I make Frenchy's Shine Juice? This recipe was taken from the WoodChuckers Facebook Group by Allen Mayles. I'm pretty sure I've also heard Kim Tippin on YouTube mention a similar recipe. Frenchy's shine juice. 10%BLO, 30% Metho/Denatured Alcohol, and 60%shellac. Faster build up. How do I make Yorkshire Grit? This recipe was taken from the Wood Turning Basics Facebook Group by Butters von Buttersworth. For anyone that needs it, here is my recipe and process for making York Shire Grit. By volume 1 part mineral oil. 1 part bees wax, 1 part diatomaceous earth (food grade). Measurements do NOT need to be exact. Melt the bees wax in the mineral oil stirring till it’s all dissolved. Then add the diatomaceous earth (DME) stirring constantly till it firms up. If you don’t, the DME will settle. A few tips that I have picked up. An old large tin can works great for making and storing this stuff. I bring about 2” if water to a boil on the stove. I pour the mineral oil into the tin can and set the can in the boiling water to make a double boiler. I then add the wax and allow it to melt, stirring occasionally. When it’s melted, add the DME. Then I get a big bowl of ice water and move the tin can from the boiler to the bowl of ice water. This greatly accelerates the cooling process. But, you still need to stir it till it’s firmed up. Once it’s hardened up, you’re ready to rock. Super cheap and takes about 45 minutes total to make. No guarantee that the above is correct, use at your own discretion. How do I use CA Glue as a Finish? Usually used for Pens and smaller items, CA (Cyano Acryolate) Glue produces a durable plastic finish. By simply sanding the project to be finished to the desired grit, several coats of CA Glue can be wiped on and left to harden, or an activator used to reduce time between coats. Then after several coats, most turners then use micro-mesh sanding pads to produce a high-gloss finish. Alternatively, turners may want a satin look, and here's how I achieve that look. Sand the project up to 240grit, then use Methylated Spirits/Denatured Alcohol to clean up dust and raise the Knapp (fibre's of the timber). Then using a piece of paper towel place a few drops of Thin CA on the towel, and a few drops of BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil) directly on the CA, then with the project spinning at a slow speed rub the CA/BLO into the timber until it starts to become tacky from the friction. I then allow that to harden without using activator (I Usually leave between 15-20 minutes, good excuse to make a cup of tea). What this does is gets the CA into and beside the grain deeper into the pores, and helps with stability, and also brings out more of the Chatoyance in the timber. I then continue sanding, cleaning the dust between each grit, up to at least 600 grit which I find adequate for most timbers. I then start applying the Medium CA finish, I don't use activator myself, but there is no reason not too if you wish to speed the process up. I usually apply between 5-10 coats depending on how things look, then use micro-mesh to remove any scratch's or unusual unevenness that can occur when apply the finish.   What do I do when I run out of Activator, or the lack of it? There are various alternatives to using Activator, which I'll list below so if you find yourself without it, or can't acquire it and need to get that project done. Glen 20 - Can leave a cloudy look to a finish. Might ok if the glue isn't visible, obviously no good if using as a finish. Bi-Carb Soda - This has been used for decades esp. by model makers in the film industry as explained by Adam Savage, as not only does it accelerate the drying process, it also acts as filler making joints stronger. Adam also mentions using Bi-Carb Soda in his book "Every Tools a Hammer". I have also seen suggestions of dissolving Bi-Carb Soda in water and using it in a spray bottle as an accelerator. BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil) - Used directly, it's not as fast as actual accelerator, but it does work. RC Nitro Fuel (without Caster Oil) - I'd like more information about this one. How do I use Mineral Oil as a finish? Quite often on various Woodworking and Turning Groups on Facebook, or Forums, the question of using Food Safe Finishes for Timber is asked, and most often the answers given is to use Mineral Oil. Personally, I don't like to use Mineral Oil as a Food Safe Finish, and there is a lot of contention with most thinking towards Mineral Oil being Food Safe. So, what is Mineral Oil made from? Despite its name, mineral oil doesn’t actually contain anything healthy. Nor is it the slightest bit natural. Mineral Oil is made from Petroleum. The crude oil is processed to remove impurities – this is why food-grade mineral oil is clear and odourless. However, this doesn’t make it healthy or eco-friendly. Also, not all mineral oil is food-safe. Personally, I prefer not to risk it with my product finishes, that are likely to come into contact with food. There are a few issues with mineral oil you should be aware of before using it in the home. If you’re using it on food surfaces, you’re potentially ingesting small amounts of petroleum. One thing you can do to help protect your food if you use mineral oil is to apply a coat of beeswax over the mineral oil after it dries. Mineral oil that isn’t heavily refined will contain impurities, which can be harmful to your health. Even moderately refined mineral oils are classed as carcinogens and are not something you want in your body. You’ll have to reapply mineral oil regularly – it’s not a long-lasting wood product like oil finishing products that are designed for wood protection are. Mineral oil does have a few advantages: It’s relatively stable and won’t spoil when exposed to warm temperatures. When applied to wood, mineral oil leaves a clear finish, making it a practical choice when you want a natural look. Petroleum-based, highly refined mineral oil is considered to be non-toxic. Refined mineral oil won’t give off any foul odours. The majority, if not all of the above finishes are used on Wood Turning Projects, but this doesn't mean they can't be used on other types of Wood Working. I'll update and add more as time permits, or if you have suggestions or recipe's you would like to share, please comment, or contact us. Happy Finishing
This simple wood bowl was turned out of Macrocarpa, it is 190mm wide, 52mm high, with 45mm internal depth, it has had Boiled Linseed Oil burnished into the grain during the sanding process up to 240grit leaving a smooth finish that shows off the grain and wood feel of the material.Below is a photographic workflow of the turning process with some brief explanations. Figure 1: Blank of Macrocarpa mounted onto the Lathe using a Worm Screw. Figure 2: Rounding the blank, working out the diameter and starting to shape the outside of the bowl. Figure 3: Continuing to shape the outside of the bowl. Figure 4: Creating the recess for turning the bowl around to mount for turning using the Dovetail Jaws. Figure 5: Shape done, recess made with a centre flourish, and starting to sand from 40grit and working up to 120grit. Figure 6: Waiting for Methylated Spirits to dry, which raises the Knapp allowing the next process to take up the Boiled Linseed Oil. Figure 7: After coating with Boiled Linseed Oil and rubbing in using friction until the paper stops removing oil. Figure 8: Turned around and mounted on the chuck. The centre hole is from the worm screw. Figure 9: Removing the bowl material starting from the outside to remove the outside weight. This helps to keep the piece balanced. Figure 10: Starting to remove material from the centre. Because of the shape of the Bowl Gouge, it is necessary to remove material further in to avoid catches. Figure 11: An action shot taken by my 10yr old daughter, trying to catch the motion of the shavings flying out of the bowl as it's being cut. Figure 12: Using the same process as the outside of the bowl, sanding from 80grit to 120grit then using Methylated Spirits to clean the grain and raise the Knapp then Boiled Linseed Oil burnished in, then sanded up to 240grit. Figure 13: The bowl was finished with a clear satin lacquer to retain the natural wood feel. Figure 14: Another angle of the bowl. Figure 15: Bottom of the bowl, showing the outside shape and flourish in the recess. Figure 15: Width of the bowl, 190mm. Figure 16: Height of the bowl, 52mm.
This is an article describing my process of making Woodturned Pens to show what goes into making them. For this guide, I'll be using the Rollerball SN kit supplied by Timberbits. The process is pretty much the same for the majority of pens kits, the sizing and number of wood turned parts may change depending on the kit and pen style.After deciding on the pen kit to use, timber selection needs to take place. Sizing will again depend on the pen kit, but generally, you want to make sure that blanks are square and have some interesting figure. Figure 1, shows the timber I selected to make several pens in one session. Picture from the top, the Pen kits as they come packaged from the supplier. The timber from the top, Huon Pine, Macrocarpa, Chestnut Burl, and Tasmanian Myrtle. Also shown to the left are the bushings needed to mount these kits on the Mandrel that each pen will be mounted on to be turned.Also shown on the timber is the marking out I did for the lengths of the brass tubes that will be glued into the blanks once they are cut to size and drilled to accept the brass tubes supplied in the kits. Figure 1: After selecting some nice figured wood I lay out the sizes of the pen tubes. Figure 2 below shows the marked out timber before being cut into lengths. You will notice that each is numbered for each kit, "T" and "B" indicate top or bottom of the pen. And the short mark that is parallel to the length of the blank indicates the orientation to help orientate the blanks for lining up the grain. Figure 2: Close up details of the marked out blanks before being cut to length. Figure 3 shows how the short parallel mark helps to orientate the blanks for lining up the grain. Numbering also helps if the blanks get mixed up, so they can be sorted. Especially helpful when using the same timber species with similar colouring. Figure 3: The blanks cut to size. Figure 4 is a close up of the marking out, and the interesting grain in Huon Pine. Figure 4: Close up of the marking out. Figure 5 shows the marked centre for drilling so the brass tubes can be inserted. As you can see with the bottom blanks (Tasmanian Myrtle), the marks are purposely off-centre to avoid the split in the timber which would produce a not so nice pen. Figure 5: Before Drilling the blanks, mark and centre punch. Figure 6: All the blanks ready to be drilled. Figure 7: About to drill a pilot hole. Figure 8: About to drill out the brass tube size for the top or cap. Figure 9: About to drill out the bottom for the pen section of the kit. Figure 10 shows gathering the swarf and shavings comes in handy for fixing chip out, or can be used for other projects that have inlay designs. Figure 10: I like to keep and gather the swarf to grind into powder for filling gaps or other projects that have inlay. Figure 11: Making use of old pen kit packaging. Testing fitting the tubes before gluing in as in Figure 12 helps to avoid issues once the blanks are mounted on the mandrel. Figure 12: Making sure the tubes fit correctly, before gluing in. Roughing up the surface like in Figure 13 helps to the glue to key and adhere to the inside of the timber blank. Figure 13: Before gluing I like to rough up the surface to help adhering the brass to the timber. Figure 14: Cyano Acrylate (CA) glue that I use, this is medium thickness. Figure 15: I use the end of the larger drill bit as it's end is machined down, and the larger tube fits, making it easier to push the tube into the blank. Figure 16: Tube glued in. Figure 17: All tubes glued, then left overnight to allow the glue to fully cure. Figure 18: Pen Mill Cutter for removing timber down to the tubes to give the exact length of the pen. Figure 19: About to Mill and square up the timber to the brass tube. Figure 20: This is the result of Milling the blank down to the tube. Figure 21: Blanks for the first pen mounted with it's bushing that fit into the brass tube. Figure 22: Turned down to the bushings. Figure 23: First coat of CA Glue used as the finish. Figure 24: After several coats of CA Glue. Figure 25: After being water sanded. Figure 26: Pen parts before being assembled, showing the order of the parts. Figure 27: How I push the parts into the brass tube. Figure 28: Second part about to be pushed in. Figure 29: Orienting the lid part of the pen kit before pushing the next part in. Figure 30: Pushing the aligned part into the lid part of the pen. Figure 31: Pushing the clip part of the kit into the lid. Figure 32: About to insert the ink refill into the body of the pen. Figure 33: The finished pen.
This article is a Work In Progress, but I am making it available to help potential client's along. It may be beneficial to come back now and then and see if there have been changes. Or as I make updates, I will more than likely reshare the article on various social media services. After reading many horror stories on Reddit, and remembering some of my own experiences, I thought I would put together an article outlining for client's what designer's or developers require, whether they communicate requirements or not, and possibly add some ideas for clients and designers or developers that may not have realised what they should be communicating to clients. I've been building websites for a long time now, and have had a lot of good and bad experiences with clients, some of which my fault, and a lot where the client simply didn't understand what was required of them to proceed or complete work. I'd like to make something clear at this point, and that is the difference between "Designers" and "Developers". This is a term that is often blurred and confusing to clients and makes understanding what those roles are a problem for clients to understand what may be required from each. A "Designer" is someone that creates the layout of what the website will look like and may in some cases produce the HTML code that gets used or implemented by a Developer who makes the design work. At times some Designers may do some of the websites pages layouts inside an editor that may be built into the chosen Content Management System, or pass the layout onto the Developer to do. A "Developer" is someone that creates or modifies the underlying code that makes the website work. Whether that is a static website or a website that uses a Content Management System. A Developer may also set up and install the necessary software, services, or plugins required to make the website work and function appropriately. A Developer may also do the design process, but does the extra steps that a designer doesn't do to make a website work.In this article, I will most likely use the term "designer", but I am meaning both terms for the sake of brevity. I have found that in most cases with client's where relationships have broken down, and from stories from others, the main issue is communication between both parties. By this, I mean communication on things like who enters the website content, or the time needed for a feature to be implemented. Beside's communication, there is often a misunderstanding on the technical aspects, and what those mean exactly. As a Designer or Developer, we need to be mindful that client's will more than likely not understand different technical aspects of what they require, or what web technologies can be utilised. And in some cases what isn't possible. I remember a prospective client from my early days, where the client wanted to have their website do things that were not technically possible. It was very hard to explain to them and have them understand that what they wanted to do was impossible, and thinking about it while writing this, what they wanted is still not possible. And this is something that both parties need to be clear about as well.That said, though, as designers we need to listen, and document what a client's requirements, suggestions, and what they think is required to have their Website work for their business while keeping in mind to advise the client how visitors will interact with their business, and work out a public-facing interface that allows visitors to become customers. If the Website is hard to use, and understand what the business is offering, they'll simply go somewhere else.Some things to discuss with the designer, or they should bring up with the client what the Website should do may include:- Get more inbound leads / quote requests/ phone enquiries / bookings? Increase brand awareness? Educate visitors? Encourage sales? Collect visitor information to build a list for newsletters or chasing up leads? Encourage onsite or social media interaction? Rarely does the discussion of contracts come up as the first topic of discussion, but is something that is required before any work is undertaken or paid for. Without an agreed-upon contract covering what work will be done, a timeline for tasks to be completed, and a payment schedule, both parties are open to serious problems that can occur. A properly written contract will outline and make clear what is expected of both parties, and can also outline legal responsibilities if either part breaks or can't agree upon changes that may occur during the process of the contract. Part of the process is agreeing upon a design. In most cases, a client with an already established business will already have a brand that makes their business unique. It is not a good idea for a designer to recommend tampering with that brand, something, that the client will already have invested money in creating. For the client, it most helpful for the designer if the client can hand over not only design idea's, but also documentation that should include a guideline that outlines logo graphics, variations, colours, fonts used, and include files that may have been produced or licensed by the concept designer that developed the brand. Once the design, and what will be worked on is agreed upon, outlining to the client what Content Management System will be used and whether the client or someone else is going to be entering the content, such as articles, services, or products. I've had some clients be confused with this, believing it was my responsibility to produce content, even though I was sure I had made it clear to them that the content wasn't up to me. Without content, a website is pretty much useless and doesn't help the business grow via their website. There are options for clients who don't wish to produce content, and that is to hire a Copywriter who will write content for the client and hopefully do so in a manner that positively affects the Websites SERP (Search Engine Rank Position). SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is another subject that is very important to discuss. From choosing an appropriate Domain Name (if one hasn't already been registered), to deciding if the client is going to do their own SEO, or hire someone to do it for them. In some cases, a Copywriter will also specialise in SEO. Outlining how SEO is to be implemented on the website is also important. By this I mean, how the different aspects of SEO will be utilised, from ad-dons that will be installed, or like in the case of AuroraCMS, if it's built-in already, and how necessary fields can be edited.Where exactly the website will be hosted is a concern for some businesses. I've been made aware recently and depending on the type of business, that some business insurances can dictate where a business website is hosted. For e.g. a financial-based business in Australia is required to be hosted on Australian services. While the location isn't a factor for SEO anymore, it is a factor for legal reasons depending on the type of business. Ownership of content and materials should be outlined clearly as there is often confusion about this. Generally, while the design of the website is being developed, and if the designer is creating materials and graphic content for the website, those are usually owned by the designer until full payment and handover of the website are made to the client. If the client hands materials over to the designer, which usually aren't altered apart from resizing, those materials are owned by the client, the client should also indicate any legal permissions and whether the material was sourced from another service which may make altering or using material difficult from a legal standpoint, and whether permissions are required or forthcoming. The budget should be determined whether the designer works at an hourly rate or a one time fee and if a deposit is required before undertaking any work. A client's budget should also be taken into account with payment options where work will commence once a set amount is agreed upon, and how much work will be completed in a set time period for that amount. Incomplete payments should be outlined in the contract, and the consequences for both parties if those are not met. I've been caught with this in the past, where the client was unable to finalise payments to complete agreed-upon work. In those cases, I usually kept any completed work that I had undertaken but handed over material that was provided by the client, as I didn't own the rights to that material, but was able to protect the work I had completed by not having to legally hand that material over to the client. In some cases, it's better for both parties to come to an arrangement amicably rather than dragging the issue through the legal system. Ongoing costs should be outlined, and options discussed, which usually involve design changes over time or if requirements come up as technology changes, as well as ongoing hosting, and domain registration. Hosting can be done a few different ways, with the most common being that the designer hosts the client's website and either includes a time period of hosting within the design costs, or changes per month, annually, or whatever is agreed upon. Domain registration is much like car registration where it is most commonly year by year, multi-year, or can be paid for years in advance. Sometimes this is left up to the client, but in my experience mostly by the designer, where the designer invoices the client when the ongoing registration is due, and they will have an account with a preferred Domain Registrar.
I met Alan Raycraft online about 9 years ago (2010) through a business that was listing and encouraging other businesses to work together on Facebook, mainly Work At Home Parent types, they had a Website that had one of those old school link exchange systems on their site (something that Google doesn't like, so don't think about using one). It turned out that Alan was the owner of Raycraft Computer Consultants, and after some back and forth and friendly banter, we learned that we had a lot of similar interests, particularly in the IT (Information Technology) field. Both of us have a history of performing customer services, such as computer repairs, building new systems, and general troubleshooting of hardware and software. It also happened that Alan was interested in updating his Website and his online presence. While Alan already had a Website, he was interested in something more robust, nicer looking, and something he could easily maintain. And this is where I came in. I was at the time, providing hosting services, and web design using my own custom-built Content Management System which has now evolved into AuroraCMS. Since then, I have hosted and designed with Alan's approval a design for his business, that I believe works well for him, and in that time we have helped each other out in different ways, on a personal and business level.We've both let off steam about issues (that I won't go into here) that we have and still struggle with on a personal level, and give each other advice, that has helped us both greatly, and come to an understanding that we are not the only ones who struggle in similar situations. We have both passed work onto each other during this time, benefitting us both in as far as being able to earn a little for each of our businesses. Alan now does the hosting of his and my client's websites, and he has also brought more website client's into the fold for me to design. During my time as a Web Developer, I have also been able to use Alan's Website to test Search Engine Techniques, which I'm happy to report have worked great and have benefitted Alan's Search Engine Rankings positively. And those findings will enable us both to pass that information learned onto current and future client's. In today's mad rush of a society, where it seems that everyone is out to make a quick buck, do everything on their own, and be in competition with similar businesses, it is refreshing to be able to work with someone who is not only like-minded, but is also not out to simply make a quick dollar at the detriment of lousy work, or not caring about client's needs. Getting to know Alan on a personal level, even though we've never met face to face, we've been able to watch (via social media) our families grow and evolve in the past 9 years, and I believe we've come to trust each other on a level that other businesses or people simply don't. That seems to be a rare thing these days. We need more of it, and we need more businesses to work together even in the same industry as one another. Collaborating with other businesses, regardless if they are in the same industry or not, can be beneficial not only to yours and their business but also the local economy. Working together is less stressful and much better for long term health, physically and the health of your business. Actively putting your business against others can also mean spending a lot of time doing so, and not working on your own to it and your detriment. A great example of collaboration could go like this. A local coffee shop could display an impressive arrangement of flowers on its counter, provided by a florist located locally. The coffee shop receives a beautiful addition to their décor, while the florist gets to reach out to potential customers in the area that may not have otherwise been aware of its services. In this way, both businesses benefit. In my case, there is a local artisan that may need a website to promote their products, which is something I use in my everyday life. After building their website, I add it to my portfolio with links back to their website, and a purchase code the customer can use when they purchase one or more products. That code, could give the customer a discount, and indicate to my client where that customer came from, and in turn, also gives me a discount on that product. This collaboration works in a number of ways, not just financially, but also helps both businesses with natural links to my client's website, helping theirs and my SEO, as well as passing on business to my client on an ongoing basis (obviously as long as customers are filtering through my website onto the clients). The client can also pass business back when asked who built their website, in turn benefitting my business. Those are just a couple of examples, there's a lot of ways businesses can work together. In the case of businesses in the same industry, there may be situations where each specialises in a particular part of the same industry, and each can pass on customers that need that specialised service. Well, I hope this article gives you the reader some ideas that can help improve your inter-business relationships, and you can prosper in this tough economy. Just remember, not everyone is your enemy.
The process of how I turn Bowls and Platters. This one is made from Macrocarpa Pine from an old burnt log that was on our property when we moved in, and I've been cutting bits from it every since. Music after the Introduction is Lords of Iron (Celtic Music) by Antti Martikainen Music, if you like his music please show you support by purchasing his album/s: Antti Martikaine
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