Reflections

The winter holiday season gives us the opportunity to reflect. During this short respite from the day to day battles of doing business, it’s good that we can gain some perspective on our business and our lives. Often we see things in a different light just by stopping our daily activity for a short period

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Design Development—An Overview

Unlike the artist who starts with a blank canvas, most of us woodworkers create objects that must meet certain criteria. Even those of us that design our own products know that we must fulfill the needs and satisfy the tastes of our clients. When we develop a design, we need to take into account the

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Opportunities Found within Custom Products

The manufacture of standard wood products in the United States has become something of an anomaly. Of course there are some furniture manufacturers and cabinet manufacturers that do have a standard product line but even there the trend is towards mass customization. So, what is the distinction between a standard, semi-custom, and a truly custom

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Crumbling Foundations

About a year ago, I took a teaching position in a technical school, teaching woodworking to adults.  Interestingly, the courses that I now teach are basically the same courses that I myself took 40 years ago at the same school. The purpose of the courses is to teach the basics of woodworking to adults who

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5-Axis CNC Routers

This year I went to IWF Atlanta with the same objective as I did two years ago. That is, to research the 5-axis routers offered for sale. While I think all of us have some familiarity with CNC routers, I’d like to briefly describe the operation of these remarkable machines. I’d also like to describe

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Automated Cut Listing Methods

Automated and semi-automated alternatives to manual cut listing depend on the nature of your products. The majority of wood products can be divided into units. Each separate box in kitchen cabinets can time-consuming as a unit. Doors and windows are usually discreet units. There will, of course, be miscellaneous parts that won’t be considered units

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Using Thick Veneers

A good part of my woodworking experience has been in the restoration of antique furniture. My specialty was in American furniture of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century where I often encountered thick veneers. The craftsmen of those days needed to use veneers when they wanted to show exotic figure such as crotch grain, burls,

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Cut Listing—The Manual Method

So, you’ve finished the shop drawings with approval from the customer, architect, designer, or whoever has the authority to tell you to proceed with fabrication. Now you need to start building your product. First, we’ll look at how the design information proceeds from drafting into production for a small to mid-sized custom shop. Communication is

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From Design to Fabrication—Crossing the Chasm

In custom manufacturing, there has been an enormous disconnect in getting design information into the fabrication process. Most industries have been working hard on closing this chasm in the past several decades and the computer has helped tremendously. The custom woodworking industry has lagged behind in some ways but we have the potential to remedy

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Reaping the Benefits of Your 3-D Model—Part 3

This will be my final article on the benefits building a simple cabinet using Rhino. Hopefully, some of you have made the effort to follow along with the previous series and actually build it. If so, you’ve seen that it’s really no more difficult than 2-D drafting. In fact, as you become more familiar with

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