August 2018 and Swordfish is one year old! And, what a fun packed year it’s been. To celebrate, we thought we’d write a short blog to give a quick overview of what a year looks like at a Shoreditch based laser cutting company.
So let’s start with the essentials shall we – 5481 cups of tea and 2349 cups of coffee. PG Tips is our tea of choice and Kenco for coffee (although when feeling fancy a cafetiere is on hand). There’s also a wonderful stall here at Perseverance Works courtyard for when a hit of espresso is needed and nothing else will do. Along with this, 260 litres of semi skimmed milk and 20 cakes have been consumed. On the cake front chocolate is a favourite along with lemon drizzle and normally the birthday boy or girl has the choice on the day. Around Christmas time we were lucky enough to receive lots of chocolate and biscuits from suppliers and this kept us going through the winter months!
Lunch is normally obtained from the many wonderful eateries around Shoreditch, which can vary from the bagel shop on Brick Lane to the street food stalls at Spitalfields Market. Every Friday we all dine together for a good old catch-up, resulting in 49 lunches mainly at the Premises on Hackney Road, a favourite of ours where we know the staff really well.
We’re a small team here at Swordfish with one new employee recently joining the fold – a modelmaking graduate from Bournemouth who is learning the ropes on the machines and all about the various material properties. Over the last year we have also been lucky enough to be joined by four interns/students shadowing in our workshop over school holidays and term times. Not only is this great support for our production team but it also helps the students figure out what career paths they would like to take.
One great project that the students have produced is our laser cut A to Z display. By applying different finishes to each letter of the alphabet, the sign showcases all our different work techniques at a glance.
Within our team we have had two weddings (Italy and Ireland) and one engagement (at the top of a mountain in the UK), so on the personal side, quite an eventful year. Gifts made in-house by our staff have been the following: one walnut engagement ring box, an engraved whiskey barrel top for a birthday present, ply and Perspex Christmas cards and decorations, an engraved pet portrait and festive St Patrick’s day bunting.
So, what about business and projects we’ve worked on for the last year? Well here are some juicy snippets to give you an idea:
- We’ve used 174 sheets of 12mm MDF – (also used a lot of 2, 3, 6, 9, 15, 18, and 25mm MDF).
- We’ve given 1774 quotes for projects.
- Deliveries of completed projects to our clients have cost around £2,500 (both international and domestic).
- We have laser cut 1,000’s of letters – 1 in 3 projects involve font whether it’s for signage, way finding, accessories, art, illustration or graphic design.
- Every week we receive one or two deliveries from our Acrylic supplier and Timber Merchant
- Surprisingly, our most used tool is the trusty scalpel with Swann-Morton 10A blades as the blade of choice. While we are primarily a cutting service and use machinery to cut the majority of projects, hand skills are always required for setting up the jobs and finishing touches etc.
As well as all this activity going on we have had a new website designed which is consistently attracting new business enquiries and helps us communicate our work. 372 posts have been shared on social media across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and this is our 3rd blog (shame on us!).
Our most memorable project has to be producing 1208 decorations for Tatty Devine’s ‘Wintertime’ Christmas Trees, involving 85 red lobsters, 130 stars and 100 la luna. For completely different reasons the other ‘memorable’ project was when a client misplaced a vital component of their display and needed a replacement as a matter of urgency. We received the request at 9am one day and cut and dispatched the work to arrive in Spain the following day – all hands to the pump for a very quick turnaround indeed!
As far as materials are concerned, this year, 3mm clear acrylic has to be the most popular and seems to be the industry standard at the moment. It is cost effective, rigid, durable, easy to cut, finish and line bend. It’s a good alternative to glass and equates to one storey of a building at 1:1000 scale. But looking ahead we predict working more with new materials like 12mm Ecoboard which has superior workability, is made from natural fibres and because of its strength, is often used in applications for building and furniture structures. Another new material is rose gold acrylic mirror, a beautiful coloured material that is now available in the UK for the first time, making it very ‘on trend’ here in London.
Well, what more is there to say? A Happy ‘Paper’ Anniversary to Swordfish and we hope you’ll all stay with us on our journey towards ‘Cotton’.