Wyrmwood gaming table

April 25th, 2023

So, I finally decided to purchased a gaming table. After spending a lot of time designing and planning out my own table with all the bells and whistles, I decided I could not make a table of the same quality. The company that makes the table is Wyrmwood. You can learn everything about the table from their site: https://wyrmwoodgaming.com/.

I decided to purchase a medium sized table (6-8 people) in Maple. Most of my house is maple, so this is a good fit. I really wanted black walnut, but the cost of the wood upgrade was too high for me to justify. I ended up buying a few of their accessories (cup holders, hobby shelfs, hobby vault, etc…). It is my intention to learn to make them on my own and maybe come up with some new accessories. I have done some math on the process and materials and I know I can’t do it cheaper, but I want to learn how to do it. This will include learning to program a CNC device for wood routing.

This table was a kickstarter project that offered build slots. My slot isn’t until April of 2024. So I have a while to wait. I plan to do a full set of videos from delivery to assembly and use. Look out for that next year.

Some photos of the table build

Wyrmwood accessories and why products cost what they cost.

April 19th, 2023

I decided to write this post because I saw a posting on Kickstarter that triggered me.

This is the comment made. I won’t post the user because only backers can see it so I didn’t want to call out the person:

The pricing of accessories is shocking. All I wanted was 2 more cup holders. This will likely be the last Wyrmwood products we buy.

As an amature woodworker, weaver (fiber and metal) and all around craftsman I see and hear this all the time. I hear people look at hand crafted stuff and say, “That’s too expensive”, “I can buy it for less than half the cost on Amazon or Walmart.” The reality is, “No, you can not. The product you buy will be far inferior and not last more than a few years”. In addition, it’s made overseas under questionable conditions and material quality.

So who/what is Wyrmwood? Wyrmwood is a US based wood product manufacturer. They made their name in the TTRPG world for making some great dice vaults and dice towers. They developed a modular gaming table with a playing vault. Not a unique idea, but their implementation is one of the best I have seen. You can learn all about their product on their website. https://wyrmwoodgaming.com/modular-gaming-table/

I thought I would do a little education on crafting hardwood products. The example I am going to use is based on a single item I picked, but it can be extended to any product they make. Note: I have not seen any of these product physically so I have not done exact measurements. I do plan to order a table with accessories, but this example is not confirmed by Wyrmwood. It’s based on my estimates from what I know and what they have said in their video on YouTube

The item I am using as an example is the small cup holders in solid maple wood. I choose maple because that is one of the most popular and easiest hardwoods to find in the US, so the cost is going to be the lowest for this example. Other hardwoods, will vary in price but all the other prices should remain the same. My estimates do not include the cost of wood working equipment or power and space to operate them.

Maple wood on average is retailing for about $4.50 a board foot. This price is based on at least a 6′-8′ board foot (BF). You can’t just go in and buy 1-BF and expect that price. So the cost to make just 1 accessory will be MUCH higher. To measure a BF use this formula: Board Footage= Thickness (in.) x Width (in.) x Length (in.)

From postings on their website and YouTube videos, it looks like the small cup holder is approximately: 5.25″ wide by 7″ deep by .75″ thick. Once I get my accessory I will update this measurement. This equates to 5.25*7*.75 which equals 27.5625 (inches cubed) then divide by 144 equals .19 BF.

As stated by the company, they operate with a 40% waste factor. so they can only use 60% of a board. This is calculated by using this formula (.19 * 100/60) which equals .316 BF. Note: a shop will buy the cheapest piece of wood which may be a random inch wide or long or thick and you cut out as many strips as you can use and the rest is waste.

So a .316 piece of wood will cost (4.50 * .316) which equals $1.42

They stated the metal inserts are dishwasher safe, so they are probably stainless steel. A quick google shows that these are running about $10 but those are probably not the same quality as what they are shipping. Once I get my hands on one, I will update my comments.

They use mostly CNC machines (which cost in the millions per machine) so I have no easy way to figure out how much that costs their company to run. We will leave that out for now, but keep that in mind when you understand the other costs of goods. Labor to sand and seal based on their video, this looks to be all manual labor at this time. And in my opinion, craftspeople can do it better and faster by hand.

In Massachusetts (where they are located) the minimum wage is: $15/hour. From indeed.com, they are paying $18-$20/hour for apprentice (entry level). This is the type of work you start an apprentice on. Yeah! for Wyrmwood for paying up to 1/3 more than minimum wage for entry level positions. So, people with 0-3 years experience are probably making $20/hour. So I will use that for the baseline.

Additionally, company’s have something called fringe that they add to employee’s salaries when they determine the total cost of an employee. They may pay the employee $20/hour, but they have to pay the company’s portion of taxes, along with benefits, time off, utilities for the employee (break rooms, heating/cooling, etc…). In my experience, this is usually a factor of 2.5 (disclaimer: I am not an expert). Wyrmwood has not publicized this number (nor would I expect them to) but 2.5 is a safe middle number. There could be less or more. So, that means an employee who is paid $20/hour is costing the company $50/hour.

As an amateur woodworker, I have some experience on what it takes to sand. It is a very tedious and slow process. You start with a power sander, then a block, then a piece of paper to get the ultimate smooth finish. The sanding is what gives you the feeling of smoothness, not the sealing. In fact, after sealing you have to sand again. “SO MUCH SANDING” 😀 Looking at the pieces, I could probably do 2-3 pieces per hour (on a good day). So I will use 3 as my number as someone trained to do it will get to peek efficiency quickly as the learning curve is steep, but short. That’s a cost for that employee’s time of $50/3 = $16.67.

So Let’s add this up:

$1.42 Wood materials (This does not including sand paper and sealing materials)

$10 for the cup insert (I am sure it’s less for them in bulk purchases, but a DIYer isn’t going to make 1000 of them)

$16.67 Employee labor. (Not including CNC time to cut and shape the piece)

So that’s a raw cost of $28.09 per piece.

A company cannot stay in business (long term) if they make less than 50% profit. This was also stated by their CEO in another YouTube video. So a small cup holder should be selling for no less than $56.18. Oh, and this doesn’t include the cost of the magnets. The CNC cost is minimal, but someone is manually screwing them into the piece. If I figure out that cost, I will include it.

They are selling the small cup holder for $45 and the nested cup holder $50 (which has more time to CNC out the curves and sanding on a curve takes a little longer than a straight edge.

This is a small example, but the math can be used to figure out rough costs. But, as stated in their videos, they shoot for 50% cost of goods sold. This is a very reasonable target for any product.

I believe  that Wyrmwood is able to lower some of their costs by using scraps from toppers and other projects. as they only need 7” boards for these. So that’s a really convenient size from scrap pieces from making the tables. 

So in conclusion, to those people who say “I can do it cheaper” or “I can buy it cheaper over there”, craftspeople look at you and say “that’s great, you do what makes you happy.” But, we know you cannot maintain the same quality. We are tired of trying to explain why hand crafted things are better and last longer. Oh, and many of us, undervalue our time so we don’t sell things for twice what they cost us, as we don’t include the hours it may have taken. Think about it, if an item takes an hour to make, how much are you making at your job? $20/h, $50/h? etc? Now, if you are self employed you have taxes insurance, etc. you have to pay for. Craftspeople don’t include all that in their costs and that’s why most do this out of the love for the craft.

Please remember that the next time you are at a crafts faire, browsing an etsy shop, or looking at a hand crafting company online like Wyrmwood.

DISCLAIMERS: I am an amature, not a professional woodworker or craftsperson and these are my opinions based on my personal experience. I am not affiliate with or paid by Wyrmwood for my opinion or review. I do plan to order a Wyrmwood table and a bunch of accessories. I do plan to reproduce them for my personal satisfaction. I expect it to cost twice as much to make because I don’t do this for a living, but I thrive on the experience of “I did a thing!”.

Drop down menus using CSS

November 18th, 2022

I was looking through some old sites and stumbled across this. This was a school project I did to create drop down menus without any javascript. They are all done inside CSS.

They are based on Steve Gibson’s GRC website (www.grc.com)


BBQ information and tips

November 10th, 2022

I was going through my old papers today and found some notes from the BBQ class I took from the BBQ Institute. Here are some notes, in no particular order:

Using Cayenne Pepper is “All Heat”.
Chipotle is better and has more flavor than just heat.
Use Granulated Garlic, NOT powder. Powder is the dust left over from granulating.
Using Montreal Steak Seasoning Bottles have the right size holes to shake your rub out onto the meat.
KC Masterpiece Garlic/Herb is good for Brisket
Tone’s Chipotle Rub is great for pork loin.

Brisket – it will dry out real fast, so cook, cut and serve immediately
Pork Shoulder (or Butt) – Good mean, but it’s a tough cut (like brisket)
When the meat breaks down the connective tissues, it will release its juices
Don’t use oil on your meat if you want smoke flavor. Oil will block the smoke. (I have verified this)
Pork Butt is NOT Ass. (Ham is)
In competition, butterflying a Butt is legal and provides more surface area to smoke and rub.

Water prevent heats. It will regulate the heat as the water boils
Fat dripping on coals causes carcinogens. So indirect cooking is safer.

Items to Have:
Nitrile Gloves from Costco
Flexible cutting boards from Walmart
A little Smokey Joe is good for small things, like chicken or meatballs.

BBQ Institute Basic Rub
Equal parts of the following ingredients:
Montreal Steak Seasoning
White Granulated Cane Sugar (C&H)
Kosher Salt (Diamond Crystal)
a pinch of Cayenne or Chipolte (per 2 Teaspoons of above, experiment with this, you can add heat, hard to take it out)

BBQ Institute Basic Brine
1 cup Kosher Salt (Diamond Crystal)
1 cup White Granulated Cane Sugar (C&H)
1/2 cup soy (I use coconut aminos)
1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Gallon of water (Or fil to 5 liter mark if using graduated container)

Mail cache bug in Apple Mail using Dovecot

June 7th, 2022

I ran into this bug today with Apple mail and Dovecot/Imap.

I was trying to delete a lot of email and it would go away and then a few seconds come right back. Sometimes it would stick, most times it would come back.

Digging deep into this, I discovered that dovecot creates a mail/.imap cache directory. Looking in the mail logs I noticed that there was a an error about index corruption on the cache.

The simple solution is to stop dovecot, deleted the entire .imap directory and restart dovecot.

This will require the client to re-sync the cache (so it might take awhile if you have a lot of mail or folders).

In my case, this appears to have resolved the problem.