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I decided to drive straight through and arrived in Boise, Idaho, before dark. I’m visiting my friend, Noel, and helping with some cool projects around the house and at the family owned shop, “Classic Design Studios“. The Webers make signs and will fabricate just about anything you send their way – they have the tools and ingenuity to do it.

I arrived just in time for the weekend! Noel had a trip planned for Saturday morning in the foothills of Idaho City. He and dad were foraging for morel mushrooms and invited me along.

I hate mushrooms.

That’s harsh… I will eat anything and have the appetite to back it all up, but I’ve never been a fan of the fungi. I love gathering my own food and I loved morel mushrooms (especially in a butter bath).


Noel and I spent the next few days bopping around town and planning the built-in pantry he had been envisioning since my impending visit, 6 months ago. He salvaged some gorgeous slabs of 2 inch (+) thick, hard maple – aged for over 2 years and milled flat for countertops. So exciting!



Noel’s shop has a computer numerical control (CNC) machine. These machines read computer drawings and operate tools to exact replicas in the desired material. This machine moves on x, y and z axis. I’m an old-fashioned gal with an arsenal of dead hobbyist’s tools of the 50s and 60’s. I was the last person to use email. I had my doubts.

We had about a dozen sheets of plywood that needed to be cut down and machined for the assembly of pantry cabinets in Noel Jr’s house and a wall of bookcases for the parents’ (Noel’s and Lucy’s) house. We started by mapping out all of the pieces on the computer to get the best yield on the sheet goods.


Normally, I draw a bunch of cartoons with my measurements and drop it off at my lumber yard for them to cut everything down for me. 50 cents a cut saves my back and my nerves. It’s a real pain getting large materials into my basement shop. Once I have the parts cut, I can machine them for assembly. With Noel’s fancy machine, you barely have to touch the material – technology does it all.




My lasting impression of this tool is that it is completely awesome if you are doing lots of intricate machining (signs) or if you have multiples of a single pattern to machine. For this job, I could have done it faster and with equal precision, but I’m getting old and tired 😉 I bow to the mighty machine.

Here are some photos of the project from start to middle. I’m taking a brief vacation to meet Kelly in Seattle, WA. She’s returning to Boise with me and will fly back to Boston after we spend some time at the Miracle Hot Springs of Buhl, ID. I need to rejuvenate before completing my work in Boise and continuing on with my west coast tour…






  1. Thank you for stopping by Goose Ridge Estate Winery.


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