Here's what the last insane 24 hours looked like.
We finished coating the insides of the tankards early Sunday afternoon. Because we had to get them baked that evening (we force-cure the lining by baking the tankards at low temps for 1.5 hours), we had to get them dry as quick as possible.
So we tented the batch and put a space heater on them for several hours.
Late in the evening, we put the first batch of 30 pieces in the oven. Meanwhile we got the shipping boxes ready...
...while the girls spread open newspapers for wrapping each piece.
Don stayed up very very late Sunday night (well, Monday morning) and got three sets baked and tested. I got up at 4:30 am this morning to finish the last bake.
I put the remaining tankards in the oven and got them baking.
Meanwhile last night's tankards were still testing. We fill them with water and put them on newspaper to see if there are any leakers. (We can repair leakers.)
Here are the tankards which have been baked and tested so far.
Next step is to card each one.
What this means is each tankard gets a guarantee card with contact info, care and feeding instructions, and the woods found in that particular piece. The cards are tied to the tankards so they don't get separated.
At the special request of our booth managers, in this batch we included two "giants." These one-gallon-capacity monsters sell for $100. And who, you might wonder, would be dumb enough to buy a ridiculously expensive tankard that holds far too much for one person to drink and weighs a ton to boot? Well, as Don is fond of pointing out, never underestimate the power of tankard envy. Last week, two other giants sold at full price within an hour of the Faire's opening.
Here's a giant next to a standard next to a coffee-size.
Here's most of the batch, carded and organized according to style, ready to inventory and pack.
But first we have to repair a leaker. See the tape with the arrow? That's where the water came through.
A quick fix, another test, and it's ready to go.
Ready to start packing.
Each box is lined with heavy-duty bubble-wrap, and each tankard is wrapped in newspaper to keep them from damaging each other in transit. Tight packing also helps prevent damage.
A few extra layers of bubble-wrap on top...
Then we seal the boxes and put the labels on them. Almost done!
Here comes FedEx Ground. The boxes are about 45 lbs. each.
Bill, the driver, loads them up and takes them away.
Whoo-hoo! We're done! This is the official end of our busy season! Now we can start tackling the dozens of projects, large and small, that we've been postponing - and that includes battening down the farm and getting ready for winter.