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Goings on at the Because We Cannery

March 10th 2011 EatFoodTalkShop - Because We Can's monthly open house / BBQ

Wait, it's March already? Indeed, so let's get together for food and talking shop!

You'd think that the fact that we're now officially a Corporation we'd be a little more formal about our events. But then what sort of corporation does what we do? Come see our latest projects, everything from a geek's dream of a TARDIS to a whole subdivision of houses in San Diego. Or just come to hang out with other designers, artists, big thinkers, and fabricators.

To our local friends, we'd love to see you, and to our NYC friends, we'll see you soon!

Catch up with us now, for next week we'll be in NYC bopping about. We'll have food and drink and lots to talk about, so please come by!

Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words. You have been warned!

Thursday, March 10th 2011

6:30PM - 9:30PMish

2500 Kirkham St

Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

Hope to see you here!

Lost? Lonely? Want to hear more than you'll ever want to know about the TARDIS? BWC help line: 510-922-8846

Jeffrey McGrew
We use only Waterborne finish

We've used waterborne finish on all of our products for years. It is easy clean up, and way less toxic to humans and the environment than traditional oil finishes. We used off-the-shelf brands when we were first starting out, but once we discovered Target Coatings we looked no further. Mostly we use their waterborne laquer finish. It is incredibly durable, and very pretty! The super low VOC of these products means no off-gassing for our clients. Our clients tend to like that!

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The emissions chart on their products is way below what california requires (which is a good thing). California being one of the stricter states on the emissions laws, that is really saying something.

They've used our images a couple times on their website and newsletter to promote their products, most recently using images from a conference table we made for Penny Arcade

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They recently gave us a shout out, so we're giving one back! You can buy different quantities and have them shipped. Being water-borne also means it's not flammable. Hooray!

Jillian Northrup
Home library loft

We are in the process of finishing up a library loft for a residential client.They have very tall ceilings, so we've created a 2nd level with a cool spiral staircase. A railing goes in next.

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The lower level has a fold down desk with rolling storage bench.

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The spiral stairs are made for display and storage (complete with a hidden secret panel!)

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And the large closet to the right holds even yet more storage.

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The railing that goes in next will be made of aluminum and dark stained Maple. Check in again soon for final photos! But for now.. here's a progress shot:

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Jillian Northrup
February 10th 2011 EatFoodTalkShop - Because We Can's monthly open house / BBQ

The weather is warming up, and it's February! So let's have a crab boil and talk shop.

It's our first EatFoodTalkShop of 2011, and we're excited for the new year! We've got lots going on, and would love to catch up with you. We're doing it in style this month with a big crab boil. We'll have some live crab on hand, you should bring one to share, or some other goodies, and we'll break into the pumpkin homebrew.

Come by and see our stunning new meeting lounge & library!

We've been busy redoing our digs, and have turned the downstairs entry space into a cozy and relaxing 'meeting library / lounge' complete with lovely new bookshelf benches. We've also recently redone our website, and are turning ourselves into a corporation so that we can offer up more Architectural services. Lots to show and talk about.

Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words. You have been warned!

Thursday, February 10th 2011

6:30PM - 9:30PM

2500 Kirkham St

Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

Hope to see you here!

Lost? Lonely? Want someone to go to lunch with? BWC help line: 510-922-8846

Jeffrey McGrew
Baby door and other room accents

We recently finished up some additions to this little room in San Francisco.Shelves to the ceiling with a built in desk, and now with a built in baby door!

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This baby door has a shelf on top, and an adorable little door for the little tyke.

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Serving its purpose to keep your little one in the room, and doing it in a stylish manner.

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No end of fun with peek-a-boo games!

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The little door opens up a grand adventure! IMG_3395

For dining time and crafts, we made this table with a sturdy butcher block top and decorative legs. The fun chairs have a Lincoln head and a deer head carved in the backs.

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We also helped reconfigure this stage backer we made for their wedding to work on the wall...

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But the little door seems to be the biggest hit with the smallest man of the house! IMG_3404

Jillian Northrup
Wikipedia 10 year party.... cake!

For their 10th Anniversary, Wikipedia held meet-up parties all over the world.We were lucky enough to go to the one in San Francisco, where they had this:

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A cake modeled off of the wall logo we made for their office!

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Except when you remove the pieces of the cake, they don't come back...

Happy Anniversary Wikipedia!

Jillian Northrup
New HelloLucky crafty weddings book

Our friends over at Hello!Lucky just released their new book : Handmade Weddings filled with fun crafting projects for weddings and parties. These guys are always filled with great ideas for decorating, and they have such a wonderful unique style! The video below was made to promote the book, and our own Jillian is in the short film! (spot her in the pink dress!)

Jillian Northrup
The travel-size Wikipedia globes we had 3D printed are up on the Wikipedia thank you page!

So you may remember the wall-hung 3D Wikipedia logo we made a while ago when we were helping them out with redoing their offices. Well, we took that same 3D model (done in Blender!) and we 3D printed small, round versions as well. They came out great!

Wikipedia has a picture of one up on their thank you page right now. Check it out!

We were really happy how they came out. Thanks to Ideate for the local printing services.

Jeffrey McGrew
New year, new website, new company!

Happy new year everyone! I'd like to take a moment to let you know about two big changes. First, a new website (theme) for the new year. Great to finally launch this, we've certainly been working on it long enough. Take a poke around and let us know what you think!

Secondly, a new (to us) company. Because We Can, LLC is no more, now it's just Because We Can. We've incorporated! This is so that we can expand our services into the bold world of Architecture and better take care of our client's needs.

Very excited for 2011, and looking forward to working together to make it the best year yet!

Jeffrey McGrew
Christmas Trees of Because We Can

One last splash before the New Year, a collection of photos of BWC trees in action! IMG_9416 BWC xmas party 2009, get your picture with the tree! Hi Dennis!

IMG_2892 How to decorate your little tree, with all the decorations from your big tree!

IMG_0023_a.jpg It's the very first one! from 2006!

IMG_4925.JPG Little green trees!

IMG_4677.JPG Trees in a fancy hotel.

IMG_8663 Fancy photo shoot trees!

IMG_2385.JPG Food drive tree in Ghirardelli Square, SF

IMG_7761 Prototype tree design.

IMG_2910 Jillian & Jeffrey's personal house tree.

IMG_2905 The BWC office tree, 2010!

IMG_5685 Fancy flower tree, in christmas style.

IMG_5681 And finally, little christmas tree, little christmas balls. Happy New Year everyone! Let's make it a great one!

Jillian Northrup
December 2010 EatFoodTalkShop Holiday Party

We love the holidays! Well... mostly because of all the parties.

So let's party!

We will be serving up hot cider, tasty pie, and showing off our holiday spirit by giving out a special gift to anyone who stops by!

We've decorated for the season, we have our tree up, and Frank is in a giving mood. He's a little big to be considered an elf, but he's working hard for the holidays anyways and will have little presents for all. So swing by and say hello. We'd love to see you!

Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words. You have been warned!

Thursday, December 9th 2010

6:30PM - 9:30PM

2500 Kirkham St

Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

Hope to see you here!

Lost? Lonely? Need a killer gift idea? BWC help line: 510-922-8846

Jeffrey McGrew
Prototype Sale!

It's that time again.... time to get rid of these prototypes taking up space in our shop!! First off... the 1/2 scale rolling kiosk! It's a club house? It's a lemonade stand? It's your next tiny project! It stands about 5ft tall. $50 IMG_1851

And it even folds up for safe keeping! IMG_1855

Next, a small sized table. Perfect for those small sized occasions... About 2ft tall - $20 IMG_2399

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Finally, a tiny table, with flip up sides! About 14" tall - $15 IMG_0964

How very interesting... they flip up! IMG_0966

Local sales only, must pick up from our shop location. Because We Can 2500 Kirkham St Oakland, CA 94607 Email us for pick up times

Jillian Northrup
November 11 2010 EatFoodTalkShop - Fall (is) Back!

Please join us for a happy fall evening

It's time for our regular 2nd-Thursday-of-the-month open house / project salon / OMGBBQWTF called EatFoodTalkShop! This time we're just grateful to be happy, healthy, and with plenty to do!

Please come! We'd love to see you.

Please drop by and help us eat food, drink libations, and share project stories. We'll be showing off some big new exciting projects we're up to. Frank will strut his stuff as well with a few demos.

Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words.

Thursday, November 11th 2010

6:30PM - 9:30PM

Please note that we've moved!

2500 Kirkham St

Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

Hope to see you there!

Lost? Lonely? BWC help line: 510-922-8846

Jeffrey McGrew
Flip Top Standing Whiteboard Table

Is teh cool! We just finished making and delivered this victorian - inspired table made of hardwood with an aluminum core to a downtown San Francisco client. We purchased the chairs to go with it. IMG_2171

The top surface is a white board laminate... IMG_2176

The top flips up on hydraulic lifts that keep it in place in the down and up positions. IMG_2178

It's a standing white board, and a white board table! With storage for pens and erasers on the inside. IMG_2185

The hardwood with an aluminum core is a striking look, and makes it super sturdy! IMG_2187

Jillian Northrup
BWC paid internships - now open!

It's always a good time for a fun internship! Because We Can has two internship positions open. Both are paid internships for 4 month periods. The time frame is negotiable.

Internship 1: For Architectural students who are currently working with Revit, have an interest in Interior design, Green Building design, and CNC fabrication. Must have Revit experience and be willing to occasionally work in a wood-shop setting. Attention to detail and a design sense is mandatory.

Internship 2: This position is for someone interested in CNC fabrication and working in a wood-shop with automated tools. This is an industrial setting where you will learn how to use all the tools in the shop, both automated and hand tools. Must have previous fabrication experience, either in school or professionally. Attention to detail and a design sense is mandatory.

Interested??

Email us!

Jillian Northrup
Frank is Five

Although we really did not start doing professional work full swing with Because We Can until 2007, we technically have had Frank, our CNC machine, for 5 years this October. It has been 5 years since he was assembled! So we celebrated his 5th Birthday at our open house last Thursday. He blew out his own candles!

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And did the honor of cutting the cake into perfect squares!

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Happy Birthday Frank! And many more!

Jillian Northrup
Business books

A couple weeks ago we gave a talk at World Maker Faire in New York called "Makers going Pro". It was a short talk about a few things we have learned about starting a business. We get asked for advice on how to start a business fairly often. Sometimes it is from people who are just feeling out the waters, and sometimes it is from people who are full on running the show.

The first piece of advice we have learned is that you can never get too much advice. That doesn't mean you have to take all of it. But you should listen to any and all advice you can get. Because when you really need it, good advice is expensive and difficult to find.

We are not business experts, we just happen to run one. We started out knowing nothing, and we are no where near knowing everything. Over the years we have read tons of business books that have helped us out. We shared the ever growing list of books the end of our Maker Faire talk, and we said we would post it here too.... so here it is:

First off, get thee to Nolo

Nolo is a publisher that specializes in all things legal. Starting a business means filing legal documents with the local and national government. These guys are great for helping you decide what kind of business you'll want to start and why. They have all the answers to how to hire your first employee, how to change your business name, and anything else you may want to do that the government needs to know about.

But honestly, whatever it is you're doing Nolo has a book for it. Working for yourself? Book. Buying a house? Book. Writing a Will? Book. It's totally awesome. And, if you go to the main store in Berkeley everything's 30% off or more, and they also have lots of other non-Nolo business books there.

Secondly, here are some great specific business books that have helped us out:

How Firms Succeed: A Field Guide to Design Management is specifically for a creative service based business. It talks about everything from marketing to billing to customer relations. It is very nuts and bolts, and very helpful if you are in the middle of running your own firm, or just working at one.

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers This book is great if you are trying to figure out the ebb and flow of how your business runs (or can run). It has very easy to use diagrams that explain what business models are, and how to apply them to what you are doing.

The Four Steps to the Epiphany - From the stanford MBA program, this book focuses on lean startups and product design. This is a dense read and not for the meek, but filled with great information.

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement A good book for businesses producing goods of any kind. This one focuses on process and how to define and get rid of bottlenecks. And it is a pretty easy read with it's fictional story underlining the thought process.

Last, here are some inspirational books that we've found helpful. These are great fast reads that will keep your spirits up, and offer up short priceless tidbits of advice:

It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book This book and Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite are great inspirational handbooks to pick up when you need a thought change. Each page is filled with large text of one thought provoking idea that you'll be thinking about for days.

Rework is written by the guys who made Basecamp, and is also large text filled with one idea for every few pages. This one is very specifically about running a business, and has a wonderful, inspirational outlook.

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us is about social networking, marketing, and so much more. And it is written by Seth Godin, which is always a good read.

That's all for now. Good Luck out there!

Jillian Northrup
October 14 2010 EatFoodTalkShop - Frank the Robot's Fifth Birthday Party!

Please join us for a happy evening birthday celebration: Frank, our trusty CNC machine, is turning five!

It's time for our regular 2nd-Thursday-of-the-month open house / project salon / OMGBBQWTF called EatFoodTalkShop! We're celebrating the fifth birthday of the beloved robot that changed our lives, launched our business, and has made many wonderful things for us all. I don't know what five is in robot years, but he's well deserving of praise for reaching an important milestone. So we're getting him a cake, and letting him blow out the candles (but NOT cut it).

Please come! When was the last time you went to a birthday party for a robot?

Please drop by and help us eat food, drink libations, and share project stories. We'll be showing off some big new exciting projects we're up to. Frank will strut his stuff as well with a few demos.

Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words.

Thursday, October 14th 2010

6:30PM - 9:30PM

Please note that we've moved!

2500 Kirkham St

Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

Hope to see you there!

Lost? Lonely? BWC help line: 510-922-8846

Jeffrey McGrew
ComBots - Oct. 23-24th - discount tickets for our blog readers!

So we're pretty crazy about robots. But not as crazy as our good friends Dave & Simone! They organize all sorts of amazing robot events, and we're very excited to announce a special deal they are doing for our blog readers: a 20% discount on advanced tickets for their next event! Robot combat is way fun, it's too bad our robot is a Maker, not a fighter.

Here's the lowdown from Dave:

ComBots invites all BecauseWeCan readers to discounted tickets to "ComBots Cup V", the fifth annual heavyweight robot combat championship. This event highlights the best combat robot teams in America and their 220 pound flame-throwing, blade-spinning, titanium shearing robots of destruction! This year's event is Saturday/Sunday, October 23-24th from 2-7pm at the San Mateo Event Center.

Whether you're a sports fan or techno geek, ComBots puts on the best robot events in the world! If you missed seeing fighting robots at Maker Faire this year, or are longing for RoboGames, here's your chance to see them again. Full details at http://combots.net

ComBots is pleased to offer BecauseWeCan readers a 20% discount on ticket prices (adults normally $20, kids $15). Coupon is only valid for advanced purchases until Oct 20th. Buy tickets at http://combots.net/buy-cc.php and use the coupon code below for your discount when you check-out!

super-sekret robot code: BecauseWeCan

Jeffrey McGrew
What's in a number?

So my Dad's an engineer, an extractive metallurgist. He's a huge influence on me and my more technical, geeky nature. When I recently got my Architect's licence he sent me this wonderful note on the palindromic nature of my licence number. I loved it, and wanted to share it with everyone. Enjoy!

23632

There is a lot more to this number than just a palindrome. There are three prime factors 2 – or 2 taken 4 times, 7 (cooler yet) and 211 (amazingly cool). As you know, primes follow Benford’s Law. Briefly, Benford’s Law states that the first digit in many series of numbers reflecting natural phenomena decrease in frequency logarithmically as the first digit increases. Large prime numbers occurring as prime factors in large numbers have intrigued thinkers for years. If you take all the factors of 23632 you will find that there are 17, also a prime number with a cool 7 in it (this is only true if you join the mathematical argument that 1 is prime, I am in that school because 1 meets the simplified definition of being divisible by only 1 and itself).

Now if you take the prime factors – 2, 7, and 211, you will see that they can also be arranged into palindromes 21712 or 12721. Is that yet even cooler yet? It is so statistically improbable that I suggest that you immediately change all passwords on your accounts, IT stuff and also some of your lifetime objectives to one of the two numbers. I prefer 12721 because HOLY CRAP!!!! IT IS ALSO PRIME.

Maybe I just discovered McGrew’s law!

Now here is some fatherly wisdom – set some lifetime objectives with this number in mind. Earn 12,721,000 dollars in your life’s work. Touch 12,721,000 people’s lives – you are already on a good pathway to do that. Shed 12,721,000 worries in your lifetime that really don’t deserve your attention. Experience 12,721,000 joys and don’t be ashamed of the 12,721,000 tears that go along with the sad things that accompany them. Make objectives for yourself that are challenging but reasonable. Perhaps you would keep this frivolous Suggestion # 23632 to heart, write down those objectives and then take them out and read them after you retire!

Jeffrey McGrew