Travels #2: An LJs Tale of 2 cities (YVR &SFO)- Part 2 – The ISO 9000 inspection of Ms Debbie’s work!

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Blog entry by Tony posted 02-04-2008 10:16 PM 2839 reads 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: An LJs Tale of 2 cities (YVR &SFO) - Part 1 – There and Back again! Part 2 of Travels series Part 3: An LJs Tale of 2 cities (YVR &SFO) - Part 3 - Rockler and Obi's Visit »

Sorry for the Delay in posting this part – just been so busy since my return – so here goes the penultimate part.

We can now reveal the real reason behind my visit the San Francisco. Forget about the 10 day skiing trip in a premier location, forget about travelling too one of the nicest places in the world that I have been, Forget about Californian Hospitality and Sunshine – The real reason behind this sham was to make a snap ISO 9000 inspection on the infamous Ms Debbie’s shop tours.

We had been receiving nothing but good reviews, nothing bad was ever said – this had to be too good to be true – so with international help in the form of Wayne C we decided to do a snap inspection (PS I’m sending LJ the whole bill for the trip) after much consultation with many LJs in TOP SECRET (the coffee lounge), we managed to lure one unsuspecting LJ into inviting us to his workshop.

Ms Debbie had previously undertaken a tour of this LJs workshop some two and half months ago, but we smelled a rat in the report (or was it just a wet Fur Hat?). The work shop was too clean and tidy – nothing out of place.

So here is the report.

Friday 18 January 2008 – the telephone rings and it is Special LJ Agent Wayne C – “I will pick you up in front of your Hotel in about an hour” – the phone goes dead. I wait in the shadows of the hotel lobby (to keep out of the sun), when a large SUV pulls up with darkened windows, I was hastened into the front passengers seat and with the squeal of tyres and smell of burning rubber Agent Wayne C has the pedal to the metal (actually about 25 mph, the traffic is a little heavy) and we are off on our secret assignment. Sitting in the back of the car, wearing dark glasses was Junior agent Tyler (Wayne C’s son), who was just along for the ride.

Whilst driving and weaving around traffic, Agent Wayne C outlines the plans of out mission over the next 36 hours – were heading south on I1.

Our Target ( ), who was aware of our coming, but not our ultimate intention, was not at the pre-arranged meeting place ( ) at the pre-assigned time. It was his day off and he had got delayed. So we took advantage to look around this LJs place of work (Day Job) – all we could see were lots and lots of second-hand tools. Some of them were in pretty good condition, but very few wood working tools, Agent WayneC and my self suspected that an inside influence (the mark) might have had something to do with lack of woodworking tools in this vast array of used power and hand tools (he later denied this allegation, saying “the boss wont let me”. And we do not think he was talking about his employer.).

Unfortunately the agent who was in charge of collecting visual information about this place (me) forgot to take the camera out (sorry!).

We waited only a short time, then the subject was in sight, driving one of those more sensible Pick-Up trucks (you know the one I mean, the one where the engine is less than 5000 CC and less than 5M Nm of torque) – here was the man who was going to make or break the myth of the great LJ inspector Ms Debbie.

Meeting Blake was great, a first time also for Wayne C, Blake then explained about how the business was running and what type of customers they had – I wish that we had stores like this here in Finland. So after about half an hour we were invited to visit the home and workshop of Blake, we picked up some sandwiches along the way and headed off into the countryside. Upon arrival we were welcomed into the house, where Blake explained the renovations he and his wife had been doing to there home, we then loaded the provisions we had bought plus the extra rations that had provided into our arms and headed down the path to the workshop, where we would see the truth.

Blake's Workshop 1

The workshop is set in a paddock about half an acre, bordering on a small stream/river and surrounded by tall trees and wilderness. This was an idyllic setting and would inspire any person too be so creative. The workshop was clean, but not too clean, not too large, but large enough for the type of work that was undertaking. There was plenty of natural light from the windows and ventilation was certainly not a problem!

Blakes Router Station

The first thing I noticed in the workshop, was not the table saw, but rather the new router station had recently built, complete with Incra fence system, it was awesome and well designed and built, any person would be proud to have this in there arsenal of tools.


As time was short, we decided that a working lunch, on the move lunch, was the best way forward. Blake explained that the layout was continually evolving with changes here and there as the projects being worked upon needed. He also outlined plans that he had or further improvements he wanted to make to the workshop.

I remembered to take the camera this time and decided to make a visual record of the shop, so we could analyse the results at a later time.

During our discussions the subject of chair building and finishing with wax came up – I promised that I will post two blogs on both subjects in the near, as soon as my current project is finalised (10 Chairs).

Blakes workshop 3

If I had to criticise Blake’s workshop and we did discuss this. Lumber storage! Blake does not have too much cut lumber, but what he does have is not stored in the most efficient manner and boards are just resting against the wall totally taking up one corner of the small workshop (look behind blake in the above picture). A redesign of this will not only get the lumber off the floor and give more valuable working space, but will also help to keep the lumber in a better condition. (Blake, as you have so much natural ventilation in the workshop, the humidity inside and outside workshop are probably not much different, you might consider freeing up this corner totally {more space for tools[Lathe]} and making a storage place, undercover,outside).

Blake showed us some of the smaller projects he was working on and some of the problems he was encountering, but more importantly how he was overcoming these problems. We finished off this meeting, which I guess was about 3 hours, by posing for some photographs – I wish I had had a longer to stay and work with Blake, I found him to be both inspirational and self motivated – he would be welcome to work with me at any time.

Blakes Workshop 4

Wayne C, Blake & Tony

Reluctantly, we walked back up the hill to where we had left the cars, and we reluctantly said our good byes and headed off back North or our next visit.
So in summary was our mission a failure or success, did Ms Debbie pass muster? We would have to say a resounding YES – Thank you Ms Debbie for all your work. Thank you Blake for sharing your home and time with us – It will never be forgotten.

On our way home in the “Rush Hour” the roads were all busy with people heading home, oblivious to the self-importance of the three of us.


So Wayne took a shortcut on the coast road, and this is where I saw my first Californian Sunset – I can now totally understand why people want to live here.

Wayne & Tyler - Californian Sunset

Wayne & Tyler (Wayne’s son)

As this blog went on a little longer than I expected, I will continue with day two on a separate entry.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

20 comments so far

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4598 days

#1 posted 02-04-2008 10:25 PM

Great story! Good times…

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Grumpy's profile


25623 posts in 4359 days

#2 posted 02-04-2008 10:28 PM

What a great setting for a workshop. Thanks for sharing fellas.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 4363 days

#3 posted 02-04-2008 11:11 PM

Looks like fun was had by all.
Where is part 3?

-- Still learning everything

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4669 days

#4 posted 02-04-2008 11:13 PM

I held my breath the whole time!! My reputation was on the line.. GULP.

What a wonderful time you had while on assignment.
LJ 007 and 8 and 9

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4669 days

#5 posted 02-04-2008 11:14 PM

oh and 9 1/2 :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4822 days

#6 posted 02-05-2008 12:12 AM

Great report…my faith be restored.

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4909 days

#7 posted 02-05-2008 12:37 AM

Great blog Tony. Glad a great time was had meeting Blake. Blake and I talked for about an hour one time and had a great conversation.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4496 days

#8 posted 02-05-2008 12:40 AM

Great story! I bet you won’t forget it.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4330 days

#9 posted 02-05-2008 12:43 AM

Tony, This is a fantastic story. Without question my faith in Debbie’s abilities has been vindicated.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4470 days

#10 posted 02-05-2008 12:44 AM

A great time. Wish I could have been there. Gee, I always thought Wayne was Black and White??!!

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4585 days

#11 posted 02-05-2008 01:16 AM

congrats on the sunset…the people…the good times….great story…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4605 days

#12 posted 02-05-2008 02:15 AM

Looking forward to the next inspection. Great write-up Sir.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4608 days

#13 posted 02-05-2008 02:30 AM

Boy am I jealous that you guys all got together. I want to meet more LJ’s!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4562 days

#14 posted 02-05-2008 03:04 AM

Super blog Tony and a great story! Thanks.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4559 days

#15 posted 02-05-2008 03:00 PM

Great story and well written.


-- Hope Never fails

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