A. If I send you an item, will you woodburn it for me?
The projects that I woodburn on are usually things I’ve made myself, and so if anything goes wrong, I just build another and don’t have any lingering guilt for ruining someone else’s beautiful work. I have taken on custom woodburning in the past, and I am happy to consider it again, provided two criteria are met:
1. You must be in Canada.
This is simply because mail gets lost, and I can only track and insure Canada Post parcels with any certainty. It’s not worth the risk of losing a unique, sentimental, or expensive piece to the great void that is the global mail system.
2. The wooden piece must be unfinished.
I cannot burn anything that has been stained, lacquered, oiled, etc. I don’t have a fume box to handle the toxic gasses that result from burning finishes. In addition, sometimes the products burst into flames. Yikes.
B. I got my product, and the wood-burned lines are uneven, not uniform thickness or colour, and sometimes messy. This isn’t a question, I am just surprised.
Pyrography is a hand craft, and as such computer-controlled, laser precision is impossible. Wood also has a mind of its own, so you might plan a line in one place, but the grain of the wood takes the burning tool and steers it another direction.
I usually describe woodburning as “rustic” in look and feel, and there are actually many benefits to a hand-burned piece!
1. Quality and Value. You know that your hand-burned piece required a heck of a lot of time and skill to produce.
2. Distinction. You know that your hand-burned piece is totally unique and un-reproducible.
3. Beauty. Pyrography often leaves a textured surface that adds tactile appeal to your personal piece.
C. I haven’t received my product. It’s been … a long time.
I only ship parcels with tracking. This means that you will be provided with a tracking number, and the ability to track to your heart’s content on CanadaPost.ca. If your parcel hasn’t arrived yet, a few things may apply:
1. In Canada. If you are in Canada, and the parcel has been marked as “delivered” by Canada Post, there’s nothing I can do from my side. You will have to open a case with Canada Post, and hopefully they can find your parcel for you. My experiences with this have been fairly positive.
2. In Canada. If you are in Canada, and the parcel has not been marked “delivered” by Canada Post, then you will also have to open a case with Canada Post. I will do my best to follow up with them as well (I would hate for anyone to think I’m just being lazy!) but there is simply no better system for locating lost parcels than for the receiver to open a case with Canada Post.
3. Abroad. If you are not in Canada, the above is also true once a package crosses the Canadian border and has been handed over to your federal/local postal service. I cannot track or follow up on a parcel that has landed in another country.
4. Abroad. If you are not in Canada, and the parcel has not crossed the border, or it’s unclear whether it has crossed the border, I will follow up with Canada Post until it’s determined that the parcel has been handed over to your federal/local postal service.
D. Did you wrap my purchase in used packing materials?
I sure did. I use recycled materials whenever possible. This not only reduces the amount of waste created by my business, but it also reduces the cost of shipping for you. Don’t worry, I don’t use dirty or obviously abused materials, just used ones – usually in the form of protective filling, tissue wrap, plastic bags, etc. that I receive from suppliers.
If your purchase is a gift, please let me know, and I’d be happy to wrap everything up in new material, so it looks all fresh and new for your giftee.
E. I am thinking of commissioning an Aska box; are there regulations in the US or Canada around what I can request?
I wondered this too, and I was surprised to discover that there are almost no federal, state, or provincial regulations around what can be used as a cremation urn. There are industry standards to ensure that buyers are protected, but these are largely self-imposed, so shop carefully. Keep in mind:
1. Cemeteries. If the box is to be interred in the ground or a columbarium wall, each cemetery will have its own list of requirements, and these should be acquired before the design process has begun.
2. Airlines. If the box needs to travel, there are airline regulations, and these should also be acquired before the design process has begun. Each airline will have federal regulations, as well as their own regulations, depending on whether the box will be travelling in the hold or in the cabin.
3. Shipping. The US Postal Service and Canada Post also have their own list of requirements if the box needs to be shipped. I already have these lists and keep them updated.
4. Your Rights. Both the US and Canada have regulations surrounding the goods and services that you purchase as part of funeral or memorial planning, intended to protect the consumer. For example, a funeral home cannot require you to purchase a casket when you have ordered cremation services. You are allowed to buy an urn online and have it shipped to the funeral home directly, if you choose. The funeral home is not permitted to refuse to handle the urn you bought or require you to be present when it arrives.
My Aska boxes are made to fulfill your unique requirements, with any of these criteria also in mind. This is a process we can go through together when the time comes to discuss your specific needs.