Tuesday - Friday | August 25-28, 2020

Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA | USA

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Apprenticeship Explained - Part 1

5. June 2018 10:36

By: Urs, Buehlmann, Virginia Tech

The shortfall of skilled labor for advanced manufacturing operations has been discussed at length and one often-named solution to the problem is an increase in apprentices in all types of industries throughout the nation.  If nations with strong apprenticeship programs, such as Austria, Germany, or Switzerland are any guide, such apprenticeship programs indeed can provide advanced manufacturing industries a steady source of high quality employees possessing skills in high demand.  At the same time, it offers graduates of such programs a path to higher paying, steady jobs.

The "Apprenticeships explained" workshop will explain the European understanding of Apprenticeships, how the system works, and what outcomes it generates.  The speakers, some of who started their career as apprentices in Europe, will share their personal insights and contrast it with the American system.  The workshop will also feature a company (Blum, Inc.), which has a highly successful apprenticeship program and a highly successful traditional educational program (Pittsburg State University).


Hardwood Edging - Part 2

5. June 2018 10:32

By: Scott Grove, Furniture Designer

Applying a hardwood edge to an organic or complex curved table can be a challenge. When the curve is a French serpentine curve, it can be a test in patience and craftsmanship to precisely match up the hardwood to the curved table edge.

In this demonstration, I will show you how to apply a hardwood edge to a curved table top edge by using a set of large, offset template guides that are installed on a router base. When used properly, they will accurately match a hardwood edge to any curve. The same template system from Imaginewoodworking.com also lets you cut seam inlays quickly and cut perfect parallel outside edges that match an inner seam.

I initially developed this system for an oval demilune table which had a graceful French curve. A French curve is not a simple one-dimensional radius; the radius slowly transitions, so I couldn’t use a simple single axis, one length, radius swing arm on my router to cut the curve. Hence, I came up with this system, which allows me to mate the French curve with a hardwood edge perfectly.

Since then I have used it for various complex curves, large and small, graceful and squiggly. I demonstrate the system on a small asymmetrical heart-shaped table which illustrates most variations that the system can perform. I also use a few students’ projects for various odd details and quirky alternatives.

Join me to learn more at IWF: Curved Joinery, Edges and Inlays on Friday, August 24th from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM


Start with Why

31. May 2018 12:35

When you are competing for a modern job, or any project for that matter, you need to focus on what sets you apart from the competition, what makes you different. Joe Knobbe of Exclusive Woodworking (Waukegan, IL) has said that at Exclusive they don’t sell a product, but rather they sell their experience and reputation.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why” or listened to his TED talk about the same subject, I strongly encourage you to do so. It will motivate you to rethink your sales process – in a good way.  Sinek shared a concept called “The Golden Circle”, which is graphically represented as a target with three rings: the outer ring is WHAT, the middle ring is HOW, and the bullseye is WHY.

Any company can explain WHAT it does; some can explain HOW they do it; but very few can articulate WHY they do what they do. It’s no doubt that you know WHAT you do. These are products you sell or the services you offer. Perhaps you even know HOW you do it: what makes you special or sets you apart from the competition. But do you know WHY you do what you do? WHY is not about making money. That’s a result. WHY is a purpose, cause, or belief. It’s the very reason your company exists.

In his opening keynote address at the CMA’s 20th Anniversary Conference, Paul Downs criticized the typical shop’s website for focusing on phrases like “family-owned” or “in business for XX years”. Paul was blunt and told the audience that essentially no one cares about these things.  He didn’t refer to Simon Sinek’s concept of The Golden Circle, but hopefully you now recognize that these things are simply the WHAT. When describing your business, you may get into the HOW with phrases like “hand-crafted” or “using the latest technology” but even those things are not meaningful to your prospective customers. You need to dig deeper and focus on the WHY.

When people start with WHY they are then able to inspire others and achieve remarkable things. They command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike. They are more successful and are also able to repeat their successes over and over. They become more innovative, and ultimately, more profitable.

Once you figure out what your WHY is, then refer to it like crazy. Make sure your employees understand it and embrace it. Use it to promote your company: put it on your home page, create a tag line, add it to your email signature, update your advertising and marketing materials. Get the word out.

To learn more about the sales process related to modern work, register to attend “Acing that modern job” during IWF this summer.


IWF Finishing Symposium 2018

31. May 2018 12:29

It has been estimated that 25 percent of manufacturing cost is in finishing, but it can increase the value of the finished product by 50 percent or more.

The IWF Finishing Symposium will be held August 21, 2018 in the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, the day before IWF exhibits open on the show floor.

The full-day event will look at new technologies and best methods that finishers could use in their business. Newer finishes such as polyester, polyurethane and UV finishes will be discussed, along with water-borne and low-emission products.

For the first time, there will be a presentation describing digital printing and staining, an emerging technology more wood products manufacturers are considering.

Final and detailed descriptions of presentations are not yet available. Here are some general subjects that will be part of the program.

What's new with waterborne coatings, and the many advantages of that finish, will be covered, as well as finishes that many shops have not yet adopted, such as polyester, two-component polyurethane and some UV products.

New technology in application equipment will be discussed, including light curtains, robots in finishing, and advanced controls and automation. Higher volume processes and flatline finishing systems will also be discussed.

Looking at the sanding process, and tracking the cost of quality will also be discussed.

Planned speakers will represent the Advanced Wood Processing at University of British Columbia, Sames-Kremlin, Sherwin-Williams, Gemini, Cefla, and North American Plywood.

See http://iwfatlanta.com/Education/FIN for more information.


Health vs. Wealth

30. May 2018 10:52

By: Jessica McNaughton, CaraGreen

The biggest change to come to the building industry in a long time is putting people first.  Traditional construction mentality has been “How do we achieve the owner’s goals while also meeting the budget and putting more money in my pocket?” 

The new way of thinking is “How do I make sure the occupants have a pleasant experience in this space?”  This is evidenced by the new WELL Building Standard.  Occupant health and productivity are the main objectives of the standard. It is gaining momentum as a complementary and competing standard to LEED.  While LEED focused on building systems and operation, with some elements of occupant health being considered, you could have a LEED certified building with no evidence of any consideration for the well-being of the occupants.  With WELL, every design element is evident and its purpose is clear.  Organic fruit provided in the kitchen, an herb garden, flexible seating and daylighting are all clear implementations of the WELL standard.  And while LEED is a complicated acronym that tries to tie the environment in with design, WELL means just that: WELL.  Design well and your employees should be well. That is the whole premise.

Biophilic design is a hot topic in the design world, addressing the innate human need to be part of nature.  As we deprive ourselves and our children of more and more time outside, we are creating a gap between our need to be with nature and the actual time we spend around these natural elements.  An easy solution for that is to incorporate these natural elements into the built space.  There are many techniques one can implement to do that, many of which are spelled out in the principles of Biophilic design.  These techniques are much of the underpinning of the WELL Standard.

I know, I know- not another building standard.  LEED was hard to stomach the first time around, and then with the v4 revisions it was shunned by many.  Where was my ROI? What is this going to cost me?  Show me some actual data- I want facts to drive my hard work and money.  And there was none to show because it was so new.

The WELL Standard and Biophilic Design were created based on data compiled as early as 2013.  Data that shows patients have shorter hospital stays and use less medication when exposed to Biophilic techniques.  Data that shows employees are substantially more productive.  Students and Teachers are much less absent when they are in an environment that incorporates nature views and proper daylighting.

How does this tie into building materials? 

Product manufacturers have struggled for years trying to be “green’ and find their path to market.  Because they were more costly, they were either not considered or the first to go during the value engineering process.  Recycled content was not enough to get them in the door. 

But now the path is becoming clearer for those that have survived.

Incorporating color is a factor in Biophilic Design, (picture vibrant greens, earthy browns) extensive studies show color can stimulate the mind.  Warm, organic surfaces or textured surfaces are more engaging than cold and smooth.  Wood grains evoke nature, and reclaimed and textured wood surfaces are playful, inviting.  Acoustic treatments with shapes or vibrant colors can not only liven up a space, but they can make it more pleasant for employees by dampening sound.  

As a distributor, we at CaraGreen have amassed the brands that we have found to be good environmental stewards, while bringing beautiful materials to market.  We have also found that this leads to cultivating a suite of materials that encompass the Biophilic Principles. 

“People first” is not a passing trend, nor is our need to be part of nature.  There are real measured phenomena that make our lives better.  Our health should not be overlooked to save a few dollars.  The associated benefits of enhanced employee well-being, through increased productivity and loyalty, also backed by numerous counts of data and reports, is just another reason to follow these revolutionary design principles.  Employees and occupants will not only be healthier, but will also perform better in a variety of situations.  Through the WELL standard and Biophilic Design there is finally a path to market for these amazing materials that have been waiting for their opportunity to contribute to human health.   Our health is our biggest asset, and building owners are starting to take note by putting less in their pocket for a healthier, more productive workforce. 

 Learn more about this topic during the "Wood Products and Biophilic Design" session at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

Original content from CaraGreen©.




30. May 2018 10:46

By:The Urban Wood Network

Add the Virginia Urban Forest Council to the growing list of organizations upping their game to promote the creation of local urban wood networks. The VUFC recently created the Virginia Urban Wood Group and developed an Urban Wood and Small Woodlot Forestry Business Directory for its website virginiatrees.org.

The directory allows businesses throughout the state to list their products and services including custom milling, drying kiln, lumber sales and custom-made furniture. Users of the guide can search for specific products services either state wide or narrow their search to a single city to find a local source.

The Virginia Urban Wood Group was created to promote the improved marketing and utilization of urban and small acreage trees as a viable part of Virginia’s forest products economy. Goals of the Virginia Urban Wood Group include:

  • Utilizing outreach, education and innovative workforce development to assist in the development of small acreage service providers which can fill a contractor void between the arborist and the traditional production logger.
  • Improving the utilization of Virginia’s urban and small woodlot forest resources via enhanced marketing opportunities.
  • Seeking opportunities to fulfill the interest and management needs of small property landowners who have concerns over issues such as forest health, fire danger and the proper management of their woods, with the ultimate goal of aesthetically managing their small forested property.

Access the Urban Wood Business Directory.

A representative of the Virginia Urban Wood Group will be among the presenters of a free IWF seminar: The Urban Wood Revolution Is NOW! Come Join the Movement, scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, August 24. Learn more and register.



How do you make connections?

29. May 2018 16:14

How do you make connections?

As an employer, how do you find potential employees while they are in school?

Do you know the names of the woodworking instructors?

Do you know the names of the woodworking instructors’ supervisors?

How do you find this information?

Start with what you know!

Step 1: Locate the school nearest your business.

Use the internet to determine the name of the principal. It is always a good idea to start here. As a business owner, you don’t want outside people contacting your employees without your knowledge, so an educational setting is no different.

Ask the principal if the school has a woodworking program, and, if so, what is the name of the person or people who teach the course. Ask if you can speak with them and about the best way to contact them.

What if your local school doesn’t have a woodworking program? Ask the principal if they know of a school that does. Generally speaking, school administrators know each other and are a valuable source for information about other schools and their programs. They are probably very familiar with the schools within their district or conference and the resources those schools have. 

Step 2: Ask the right questions.

Once you have established who to speak with, what do you ask?

Here’s one approach you could use:

“Hi, my name is ___________ and I own/manage ___________.  I understand that you teach a woodworking program at _________ school.  Our company makes ___________ product and I would like to speak with you about what we need our starting employees to know. Can we talk?”

 This starts the conversation. You can now ask about equipment at the school, materials used, processes taught, instructor experience, and, most importantly, “HOW CAN I HELP!?”

 Education and industry is a two-way street. Both parties need each other to be successful.

Do your part to help education help you.

To learn more about this topic, check out the session "How to Develop a Relationship with Local Educational Facilities for Potential Employees" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.



Are you looking to maximize profits without jeopardizing your current standards?

29. May 2018 16:07

By: Diane Shattuck, Gemini Coatings

Have you wanted to get the jobs done faster without having to give up quality or durability?

Are you currently having problems or bottleneck in your finishing department?

We understand this is a real problem in real time, happening to real people. Today’s world is changing so fast that it is sometimes too hard to keep up. The days of saying “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” are gone, because the truth of the matter is if you don’t change how you do things to the more modern ways you just may be “broke” and end up spending additional precious time and profits fixing what “used” to work.

Technology has taken us to new levels of finishes and finishing practices. Giving us more durable, faster drying, higher solids, clearer finishes that can reach our end goal faster, all while also being more cost effective, better than our previous systems and best of all putting profits in our pockets. Join us in our seminar “How to Reduce Problems and Maximize Profits using 2K polyurethanes and waterborne finishes”. We will help you explore the differences, advantages and know what to watch out for when transitioning into a newer method of technology.

Learn more about this topic at the "How to Reduct Problems and Maximize Profits Using Two-Component Polyurethane and Waterborne Finishes" session at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.


Strong Leadership is Essential - Top Management’s Role in a Lean Manufacturing Transformation

23. May 2018 11:39

By: Larry O'Keefe, LJ OKeefe,Inc.

I remember my first coach from Toyota explaining that by implementing TPS (Lean Manufacturing) we could expect outstanding results. Productivity should double, inventory and floor space requirements would be cut in half. At the time this seemed an outrageous claim.

Three years later and our operation had more than doubled our net profit after tax to about 15% of sales, inventory turns increased from 13 to 42, a planned plant expansion was cancelled, overtime was virtually eliminated.

Subsequent implementations would sometimes see very similar results but some would barely experience any improvement.

The technical tools used were the same in every instance. Skill levels and motivation (and lack of motivation) were not significantly different in any of these operations. Some of the best results were actually seen in union shops.

The difference was in how top management attempted to embrace and implement the change. Some leaders were hands off but very supportive with strong change agents, others were very hands on and led by example. The plants that failed had leaders that delegated to people that already had full time responsibilities but expected them to take on the additional role of transforming the organization without adequate resources and support. The most spectacular failures occurred when leadership expected some type of improvement without any direction, support or resources to get the job done.

Implementing Lean Manufacturing can appear to be very simple, like losing weight. All you have to do is eat right and exercise. Simple concepts, easy to grasp, it should be simple. Yet after all these years there are many more failed attempts than successful examples.

How is this possible, given that Toyota freely shares the method upon which ‘lean manufacturing’ is built (even with General Motors at NUMMI, a joint venture)? And yet, GM failed to learn from this venture even though many GM employees went to NUMMI to study and learn.

Much is required of top management, they have many roles and responsibilities that demand their attention. Every new management philosophy or ‘flavor of the month’ that claims to be capable of delivering outstanding results claims to need the full attention of top management. It seems an impossible task. Somehow top management at Toyota seems to be able to keep moving forward after many decades of implementing TPS.

Some of the items I will be discussing at IWF 2018 include:

  • Challenge the organization to the ideal condition
    • Highlighting or creating the need to change
    • Respond to the need
      • Short term and long term
      • Performance indicators/measures
      • Support structures
      • Breaking down obstacles
      • Encouraging through organizational culture
  • Create an environment where the shop floor can manage itself
    • Visual factory
    • People development
    • Decisions made on shop floor

Learn more about this subject during Larry's session, "Leading Change, Top Management's Role in a Lean Manufacturing Transformation" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.


Are You Afraid of Concrete Countertops?

21. May 2018 13:24

By: Jeff Girard, The Concrete Countertop Institute

You may have heard the following about concrete countertops:

- They're high maintenance and stain prone.

- They must be thick and heavy.

- They sell for cheap because concrete is cheap.

- They are suitable only for modern or industrial design.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Concrete is the hottest new surface, and it is high end, custom and opens up endless design possibilities. High quality concrete can be refined or rustic, as thin as 3/4" or as thick as desired, flat countertops or 3-dimensional creations.

The possibilities are endless with concrete countertops, and I'll show you myriad examples as well as give you fundamental practical knowledge in "Leapfrog from Laminate to High End Concrete" on Friday, August 24th from 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM. Join me, and learn to love concrete countertops!