August 25 - 28, 2020

Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA | USA

Check the latest article for IWF atlanta users

Tooling Up for a New CNC Router

by Editor 2. August 2018 09:36

Chris Dehmer, owner of Dark Horse Woodworks in Atlanta and a board member of the Cabinet Makers Association, recently answered our questions about transitioning from outsourcing CNC work to having his own CNC router. Before a live audience of about 150 CMA members at the CMA’s 20th-anniversary conference in Denver, Dehmer talked about many issues including how he deals with tooling on the new machine. Here’s a transcript of that part of the interview, edited for length.
Will Sampson: What were your decisions on tooling and tool holders?
Chris Dehmer: Because we had been using someone else’s machine, I had a pretty good idea of the tools we were using that we needed for that. We actually use a lot more now than we did then, just because it’s easy for me to do. We also have a 10-position tool changer, so we can put more in it. Despite universally pretty much everybody telling me I should have bought a drill bank, I didn’t. Some of that was money. Some of it was, “Do I really need that – $10,000 to be able to drill those holes a little faster?” I will admit when I’m watching that thing do this (makes up-and-down drilling motion) it gets a little bit maybe I should have bought that, but we’re just not a production enough shop to where it’s not a big deal to walk off and do something else while it does that.
Sampson: What kind of tools are you having in your tool library that you can use on the machine? For guys starting out, what’s the kind of basic tool kit that you’ve got to have?
Dehmer: Well, it probably varies for everybody, depending on what you do. We do a qualified blind dado. We predrill. I’ve had issues in the past with guys who would screw – we do plant-on backs – we’ll have guys that will put one screw in each side and think that’s good. We’ll have other guys who will put, you know, 35 screws in. Somewhere along the line I said, “OK, I’m going to put a hole where I want a screw, and you’re going to put a screw in it.”
Read more from the interview:
If you are interested in learning more about Chris’s decision to buy his CNC router, register to attend “Buying that Big Machine” during IWF.


How a Tax Free Asset Becomes Taxable

by Editor 1. August 2018 09:41

(Part 5 of 6)
Life Insurance Payouts are always Tax Free – Think Again 
A misconception of many successful business owners is that life insurance payouts are always tax free. They should be, but many times the death benefit can become taxable both on an income and estate tax level. Are you absolutely positive your life insurance benefits will be tax free? How do you know and what are you basing it on?

There are various reasons that cause life insurance benefits to be taxed substantially. Because of space restraints I will only mention one. It is directly tied into the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Specifically, if an entity (corporation, LLC, partnership, etc.)  owns life insurance on an employee (even the business owner) and an acknowledgement and consent was not signed prior to issue of the policy, the entire death benefit will become income taxable. A recent example is a new client of mine. While reviewing various legal documents and insurance contracts I came across corporate owned insurance policies that were acquired for business buyout purposes. The total insurance amount was $125 million. An acknowledgement and consent form wasn’t signed by any of the insureds – that means every dollar of the $125 million will ultimately be taxed. The only options to avoid unnecessarily paying legally avoidable taxes in the tens of millions of dollars is for the clients to scrap the insurance and start new. This problem cannot be corrected any other way.


How to choose the right finish for your shop

by Editor 1. August 2018 09:40

ATLANTA – The newest types of finishes will be discussed at the IWF Finishing Symposium, set for August 21, 2018 in the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, the day before IWF exhibits open.

Leslie H. Smith, market development manager Industrial Wood Group for Sherwin Williams Co., will discuss how to choose the right finish for your shop, also technology changes, how to reduce formaldehyde and VOCs, and what causes a shop to choose a certain type of finish.

The presentation will also cover low VOC, non-isocyanate and non-formaldehyde technologies in the coatings business, not just waterborne.

The full-day event will look at new technologies and best methods that finishers could use in their business. This symposium includes a number of presentations and an opportunity to talk to suppliers and finishing experts face-to-face with your questions.

The IWF Finishing Symposium is sponsored by Fuji Spray, Gemini Industries and Milesi Wood Coatings.


The cobots are coming

by Editor 1. August 2018 09:37

The Boston Consulting Group predicts that investment in industrial robots will grow 10% each year for the next ten years in the world's 25 biggest export nations, when the robots will take over 23% of the manufacturing jobs. So far, robots have taken over only 10% of the jobs that can be automated.

The fact of the matter is that robots can be programmed much faster and more efficiently than humans can be retrained during manufacturing changeovers. Then only highly trained humans remain employed.

New advancement in robotic manufacturing technology now enables robot workers to be integrated into the labor force to increase productivity and efficiency, and more robotic systems are entering the realm previously occupied exclusively by humans.

In manufacturing, there is a growing need to integrate robots into the workforce in order to take advantage of the diverse strengths of both humans and robots. A "cobot", which is short for collaborative robot, works in tandem with a human worker. A cobot and a human can produce an end result better and faster than either could do working alone. These cobots are usually designed for an explicit task.

The manufacturing environment has a wide range of potential applications for cobots. However, in some manufacturing processes, there are applications where it makes sense for workers to perform a task manually. In other applications, the best option is overall automation. Cobots are practical for many of the tasks that fall somewhere in between. In these situations, a worker needs to see, feel and react as needed, but the cobot can handle certain physically taxing motions.

There are a variety of cobots from small table-top models to robots capable of moving heavy loads. Cobots are relatively light weight and can be moved from one work assignment to another. Most cobots are easy to program, using a smartphone or tablet. Just as a power saw is intended to help—not replace—the carpenter, the cobot is designed to assist the production worker. Collaborative robots are generally simpler than more traditional robots, which make them cheaper to buy, operate and maintain.

While the robots perform the repetitive jobs, human workers can be creative and improve the ways to carry out manufacturing. This can make manufacturing more efficient and cost-effective.

Because cobots are affordable, highly adaptable, and almost plug-and-play, small and medium-sized manufacturers are eager to take on this technology. This segment of robotics is projected to see substantial growth.

Learn more from John Park during “Robots in the small- to medium-sized shop”.



by Editor 31. July 2018 09:16

BY: Bill Boxer, Modern Finishing Products, Inc.

Over the past few months we’ve explored HVLP from a few different perspectives. We started with an overview of HVLP technology, explored HVLP turbine/turbospray systems and then HVLP spray guns with compressed air.

Today I’d like to touch upon the growth of HVLP technology through its history. You may ask “why is this important?” As with any technology times change and product grows. We tend to remember early times and early product entries but often neglect to see what’s new and how technology rapidly changes offering more options and possibilities to spray finishing technicians.

So, what’s changed with HVLP? First we had the discover period. This takes us back to the 1960’s and earlier when it was discovered that it was possible to atomize a low viscosity fluid with a high velocity or volume of air as produced by the exhaust outlet on a common household vacuum. In fact, early use of the technology had nothing to do with spray finishing at all but rather some household applications requiring misted fluids.

This atomizing concept led a few companies in Europe to further explore the possibilities of using a high volume of air to atomize actual products used to finish wood and metal. Early product entries were looked at skeptically even with good results using low viscosity coatings. As with anything new, acceptance was not easily forthcoming. There was yet to be concerns about environmental pollution, greater efficiency in the workplace along with product and cost savings given the visible reduced overspray and higher retention of product on the workpiece.

Historically there has always been a fear of change and learning new products and concepts. Turbospray technology, as it was known through the 60’s and 70’s continued to limp along finding its way to the USA in the early 1970’s and finally a serious attempt in the late 1970’s to establish the technology as a serious and viable product as an option or alternative to conventional compressed air spray finishing.

As with any product, a person of vision, belief in the product and the ability to communicate with the consumer finally brought turbospray technology to the forefront. It is generally recognized in the industry that this was a company known as Apollo Sprayers International, Inc, and its founder John B. Darroch. It was John B. Darroch who persevered and brought the technology to South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as a product that had the ability to reduce VOC emissions into the environment through a dramatically more efficient way to atomize a range of finishes and coatings. In fact Darroch had laboratory testing completed proving the high transfer efficiency of turbospray technology as opposed to conventional compressed air spray finishing. This is what led to Turbospray becoming HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) as named by SCAQMD along with developing a series of codes requiring various workplace applications to be compliant with the new rules.

Now into the 1980’s HVLP becomes a buzz word in the finishing world. While certainly not replacing conventional methods and other finishing technologies, HVLP begins its serious entry into the workplace. Of course given this early publicity you now start to have a few additional manufacturers enter the marketplace along with established spray gun manufacturers like Binks and DeVilbiss looking at ways to create spray guns that would comply with the new HVLP codes as opposed to the alternative independent turbospray systems that did not utilize compressed air but rather the blower type motor to produce the high air volume/low pressure as originally discovered back in the 1960’s.

The actual growth through the 80’s and 90’s brought to the market better designed and performing spray guns for both the HVLP turbine/turbospray systems as well as HVLP spray guns for compressed air. At the same time, new blower motor technology improved with the demand for HVLP with more powerful motors that increased nozzle pressure allowing higher viscosities to be applied.

Growth continued into and through the new century with more innovation further closing the gap between other technologies while offering the many benefits offered by the HVLP technologies discussed in previous articles.

If your personal history goes back to the 1980’s and memories of some performance limitations and you dismissed HVLP as not relevant for an application you may have desired, let me encourage you to look again and see the performance growth along with precision spray guns that have much to offer not only the wood and woodworking industries but other high performance finishing applications as well.

 Learn more about this subject during Bill's session "HVLP Turbospray Technology, Past-Present-Future" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.




Finishing expert speaking at IWF trains industry regularly

by Editor 31. July 2018 09:12

ATLANTA – Phil Stevenson of AWFI, a leading finishing consultant, will talk about knowledge power versus tribal knowledge in creating a finishing system at the IWF Finishing Symposium, August 21, 2018 in the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, the day before IWF exhibits open.

AWFI regularly holds Industrial Wood Finishing and Advanced Industrial Wood Finishing training courses.

Industrial Wood Finishing is a two-day workshop AWFI holds that is designed to provide the essentials of fine wood finishing and give valuable hands-on experience in solving challenging wood finishing problems.

Advanced Industrial Wood Finishing applies to finishing foreman. AWFI can provide training for a foreman in this comprehensive learning experience. This seminar covers all the elements of wood finishing to position an employee to oversee a finishing department with confidence.

At the IWF Finishing Symposium, Phil Stevenson will discuss establishing a finishing system in your company, setting up finishing standards, performance measurements and developing training.
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.

This symposium includes a number of presentations and an opportunity to talk to suppliers and finishing experts face-to-face with your questions.

The IWF Finishing Symposium is sponsored by Fuji Spray, Gemini Industries and Milesi Wood Coatings.


Technology and the Human Hand: Are We Losing Touch? - Part 3

by Editor 31. July 2018 09:05

By: Scott Grove, Furniture Designer:

My question is, if I cut a perfect dovetail by hand, then is using a machine instead okay? Am I still a fine craftsman? Possibly more important questions are: Is machine-quality better than handmade quality? Do our patrons care? Does the public appreciate handmade work? Are they losing touch with real craftsmanship? What is more valuable (and/or satisfying)? A perfectly hand cut mortise joint or a perfectly machined one? A symmetrically hand-carved texture or a similar one created by a machine?

More than ever it seems to me that true craftsmen are responsible for educating our clients on how pieces are made. But how much hands-on is handmade anyhow? I can have a machine spit out all my parts and I simply glue them together with some hand sanding and a little futzing, say 10% handwork. Is it still handmade? 

Obviously there are more questions than clear answers here. But one thing is for sure: Technology is here to stay and will keep advancing, helping us to become faster and more accurate, work more quickly and more cost effectively. The technological craftsman is a reality and our trade is splintering in two.

The dilemma is: How to use technology without losing touch with our craftsmanship? Or is that just cheating?  Be a part of the conversation at the IWF Conference on Wednesday, August 22nd from 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM.

For a 9 minute TedX talk overview of this discussion, please visit

Scott Grove,


Take it Outside!

by Editor 30. July 2018 08:43

By: Ralph Bagnall, Woodworking Consultant, Author and TV Host: Consulting

You want to shoot quality, compelling video to help market your products or business, but let’s face it, your shop is not a studio. It can be tough in a working facility to stage shots that frame the subject well and provide proper lighting. Taking it outside can be an option!

Nothing is better for shooting video than natural light, it is what all the expensive lights and filters are trying to replicate. And cloudy days are actually better than strong sunlight because the light is diffused and shadows are greatly reduced. The outdoors can often provide a pleasant background too. Flowers or trees in bloom, hedges and even just a lawn can help frame your subject and make your video shine. Note the complete lack of shadows in this photo. Keeping the dripping water from the steam box out of the shop is just a bonus added to a great photo that required no electric lights at all.

I have a small shop and have dedicated it to filming as much as woodworking. But there have been many times when my “studio” set up simply does not have the room needed to shoot a large piece. Take it outside and suddenly your studio is literally as big as all outdoors. Chances are pretty good that your production facility does not easily lend itself to stunning video shoots. A walk outdoors and a bit of imagination may make all the difference.

Learn more during Ralph's session "Video that Works" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.


#Shelfie: Floating Shelves for Modern Style & Open Organization

by Editor 30. July 2018 08:29

With the popularity of airy, open spaces, floating shelves have proven themselves as a go-to option for open storage & display. Floating shelves are the perfect component for keeping office supplies within arm’s reach, for displaying your favorite wine glasses in a wet bar, or for making walk-in closet wall art out of your favorite heels. Floating gracefully (pun intended!) between storage and style, floating shelves add modern flair to any space.

Floating shelves can come in a variety of materials with many different mounting options. Northern Contours floating shelves have a miter folded construction for strong, modern lines and an internal bracket that’s hidden when mounted. Available in our 3D Laminate, Wood Veneer and High Gloss Wired materials, there are dozens of colors and finish options to choose from. Floating shelf accessories may match or contrast adjacent cabinetry, and both design options are popular choices for Home Organization spaces.

When choosing floating shelves for display or utility, it’s important to keep manufacturer specifications in mind when it comes to weight and installation of the shelves. For safety and the integrity of the shelves, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation in wall studs with the proper anchors, and take note of the recommended load per lineal foot.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of decorative or display shelves! In a wet bar, use floating shelves to display your favorite glasses and utilize the countertop for ice bucket and heavier bottles of spirits. In a walk-in closet, display your favorite handbags, heels, and hats, and save the ski gear for the closet. By finding the right balance of style and organization, you’ll get the most out of your floating shelves.

Join Michele Weitzel for her presentation “What’s Trending in Colors and Textures” at the IWF 2018 Closets Symposium to learn more about Floating Shelves from Northern Contours.

About Northern Contours

Northern Contours is a cabinet door and components manufacturer with over 25 years of industry experience. We serve a variety of customers on a custom and volume basis in Kitchen & Bath, Home Organization, Commercial Furniture, and Refacing markets. Manufacturing expertise in membrane pressing, miter folding, laminating & edgebanding, machining & routing, and 5-piece door assembly. We operate six facilities throughout the US and Canada for full coverage of North America.



Free Urban Wood Seminar Set for IWF 2018

by Editor 30. July 2018 08:26

The urban wood movement is preparing to charge into Atlanta for an encore performance at the International Woodworking Fair.

The newly formed Urban Wood Network is organizing a free 90-minute seminar, “The Urban Wood Movement Is Now! Come Join the Movement,” 1:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Wood-Mizer, a leading manufacturer of portable sawmills and other wood processing equipment, is the major sponsor of this unique program.

More than 130 people registered for the first urban wood utilization seminar held during IWF 2016. This year’s session will highlight the national momentum of the urban wood movement by bringing together representatives of newly formed groups in the Southeast, Midwest and West Coast.

Each of the presenters will discuss his or her personal passions and experiences of creating products and profits by utilizing landscape and other urban forest trees felled by disease, storm damage, old age and other causes. Each of the presentations will shed light on opportunities to repurpose urban wood otherwise destined for the chipper or landfill to make high-quality lumber, slabs, furniture, flooring and other wood products.

Attendees of this free session will learn:

• The unique source local/buy local marketing appeal of urban wood products and the interesting stories they tell.
• The environmental advantages of
utilizing urban wood.
• How to find local sources of urban wood.
• How to join or start a local urban wood network.
• An opportunity to get answers to your questions from our expert panel.

Panelists include:
Jennifer Alger is CEO of Far West Forest Products of Sheridan, CA, a family-owned business that actively works to promote the use of local native species and underutilized logs including reclaimed urban wood. For almost two decades she has been a regional representative for Wood-Mizer portable sawmills. She has presented at several urban log and lumber utilization workshops and seminars focused on marketing, growing and operating a small sawmill business. Most recently Jennifer has formed and is the president of Urban Salvaged and Reclaimed Woods Inc., the West Coast’s first urban lumber trade network