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Woodworking is a fine hobby for people who are retiring….: The Stigma that is killing our talent

2. August 2018 11:27

By: Luke Barnett, Charimaker: Sam Beauford Woodshop Career Woodworking Institite 

The title of this article may be throwing you off a bit. We are not hobbyists, who spend our weekends making knick knacks for our family members. We are craftsmen and craftswomen who produce products that are comfortable, durable, and beautiful. We use our skill to the highest degree, while producing items that add value at an affordable cost.

Unfortunately the title of this blog is how our industry is viewed by 99% of the population. This is unacceptable. It is hurting our brand and it ruining the next generation of skilled woodworkers. When you say the word woodworking to someone, you will most likely get a response of “My grandpa was a woodworker, he used to have a really nice shop in his basement.” While I encourage everyone to be involved with woodworking, I must stress that this is not the kind of woodworking that I am referring to. I am talking about the type of woodworking that can give somebody a sustainable living. The type of woodworking that can provide a family with a house, food, music lessons, doctors appointments. Etc….

Our industry needs to change the way people view woodworking or all our future talent will go to other trades and/or college. Because of the hobbyist stigma, parents do not want their kids to pursue a career in woodworking. Our trade is the most ancient, it is prestigious, and it is lucrative. We just need to convince the parents of the next Orville Merrilat before they steer that kid in a different direction…….

 

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Designing for the build

2. August 2018 09:42

Now you’ve got that modern job, how do you ensure that the design considers all aspects of the project and also is able to be built as specified?
 
First of all your need to consider the materials required for the job.  It’s more than the cabinets; it includes the decorative hardware, countertop, sink and faucet, etc. Every aspect of the project needs to be determined at this time.  Knowing the requirements up front saves you time and frustration later on.
 
Then there’s the lighting aspect, which is a huge topic in and of itself.  The most important recommendation, though, is that you use a qualified electrician for many reasons, liability being one of them. Also, consider the color choices and how they may look in different types of lighting.  Some browns actually look red or pink under certain lighting.
 
As you design the layout of the kitchen, you also need to factor in the integration of appliances. This doesn’t refer to allowing for appropriate space for each appliance. Instead it is a total integration into the build.
 
Finally, there also needs to be considerable time spent considering all of the other aesthetics, to put it simply. Again, it’s important to recognize all of the project requirements and specifications before you begin the build, as they may impact the construction.
 
To learn more about the design process related to modern work, register to attend “Acing that modern job” during IWF.

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IWF 2018: Harnessing the Power of Social Media to Effectively Market Home and Building Products

2. August 2018 09:38

By: Amanda Eden, Stoner Bunting Advertising

The home and building products industry is filled with innovative products and brands aimed at everyone from middle-class consumers in suburbia, to the influential and powerful movers and shakers of the architecture and design world. Some of these brands and products are about as niche as niche gets. And on top of that, marketers are tasked with executing social media strategies for companies and organizations that have extremely narrow and hard-to-reach audiences. What are the keys to making it all work?

Honestly, it takes a combination of experience, planning, strategy and education.

Below are some tips and tricks from two influential industry blogs that align with our social media development strategy and offer helpful hints for home and building product companies out there looking to break through the onslaught of social media noise out there.

Think Like a Whizard

The folks at Whizard Strategy, who just so happen to also be experts in the building material industry, offer some great tips for implementing a social media strategy. The Internet is a big empty space after all and can be extremely intimidating for companies with little-to-no existing presence.

However, with effective, educational content tailored to the right audience, this space begins to shrink. If you are just starting out on social media, or are looking for a change of pace, follow these 6 steps to success:

1 | Set Up a Blog

Anyone can set up and start a blog a little or no cost.  It’s an easy process and there are more options than ever. The secret to having a successful blog — meaning one that pops up in search results — is posting content to it on a regular basis and making sure that you link your website to every post.

2 | Create Business Social Media Accounts

Remember, this is your business account, which represents your brand and should always be separate from a personal account. Making sure business social media accounts are separate from private ones ensures inappropriate party photos — or worse — don’t get mixed up with the company.

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3 | People Like Doing Business with a Real Person

Put someone in charge of all social media. No, it doesn’t have to be their only job, but they will become the “face” of your company. When they do post it will show up as “Josh, from Stoner Bunting,” not a nameless digital representative named “Author.”

4 | Find the Right LinkedIn Groups for your Business and Join Them

For building material marketers, they can reach many of their channel customers through LinkedIn groups such as the Roofing Contractor or Kitchen Dealer or Architect groups. Individuals can join these groups while companies cannot.

5 | Establish the Process and Boundaries for your Social Media Program

You can take an active or passive approach to social media. With an active approach, the lead person is online frequently making comments and responding to others. With a passive approach everything you do is planned and has time for approvals, if required. An example of a passive approach is to post to your blog once a week. These posts can be written in advance and then posted.

Learning from Established Brands
While Whizard Strategy offers great tips for establishing a social media presence and creating specific social media campaigns for product launches, sometimes it is best to take inspiration from larger, more established brands with a strong digital presence.

Social Media Today published an article discussing how startups and new brands can learn and absorb from the expertise and social know-how of proven companies. The author provides four ways to emulate the successes of industry giants:

First, steadily scale your social media marketing efforts. New businesses are often eager to find the right tools for developing a successful marketing strategy. Fortunately, social media provides the opportunity to market broadly with minimal cost — but there are many different networks to choose from.

Take a look at how the established brands within your startup’s industry are growing on social and try to set that pace for your business. Too much, too soon can spam the social scene with unimportant posts or result in sudden lack of content. Quality is more important than quantity, so identify which platform is best to start with and grow from there at a pace that is comfortable for your own business.

Second, you should both recognize and use social media as a customer service tool, not just a dumping ground for photos. Providing customer service is an impactful way for startups to utilize social media. Customers expect instant replies, and monitoring and responding through your social accounts is a great way to meet that demand and help turn customers into brand advocates.

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Larger brands do well with this, as they usually form teams responsible for responding to social inquiries. Just because your startup is smaller, it doesn’t mean you can’t have this type of dedicated team or team member ready and waiting to reply. However, since two-way conversations on social networks are critical customer service gateways, whoever is charged with responding must remain committed to the task.

Third, it’s also important to select the right social media platforms for your business. Not every company needs a Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ account. For example, visual social networks like Instagram and Pinterest are particularly effective for the fashion industry, whereas the technology community often gravitates toward Twitter for brand-building.

Established brands already have a clear overview of which platforms are most effective in getting their content and message across. Look to others (even fellow startups) in your industry and identify which platforms are most relevant for promoting what your business has to offer. This will help to define your startup’s social media presence more strategically and achieve your overall goal of brand awareness.

Fourth, maximize social media as a recruitment tool. The entrepreneurial startup spirit is increasingly more attractive these days to both recent graduates and established professionals. Social media is the perfect way to tap into the pool of available talent, but it can be a challenge to promote job vacancies on Twitter or Facebook, successfully. Take a look at larger brands’ recruitment posts to see how they are reaching out for job openings. Is one platform more successful than another? Big companies have mastered the art of identifying top talent and knowing who to bring into the company.

Want to Know More?

Learn how to harness the power of social media for marketing home and building product brands by attending the Closets Symposium at IWF Atlanta, Tuesday, August 21.

Stoner Bunting has been building relationships in the home and building products industry since 1984. Our insights into what excites audiences at every stage of the design and construction process – and our access to the people and publications that influence them – make your marketing smarter, so it works harder.

 

 

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Tooling Up for a New CNC Router

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: https://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/best-practices-guide/panel-processing/tooling-new-cnc
 
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.

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How a Tax Free Asset Becomes Taxable

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.

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How to choose the right finish for your shop

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.

https://registration.experientevent.com/ShowIWF181/Flow/ATTFLOW#/registrant//Dashboard/

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

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The cobots are coming

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”.

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THE GROWTH OF HVLP TECHNOLOGY

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.

 

 

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Finishing expert speaking at IWF trains industry regularly

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.

https://registration.experientevent.com/ShowIWF181/Flow/ATTFLOW#/registrant//Dashboard/

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

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

31. July 2018 09:05

By: Scott Grove, Furniture Designer: ScottGrove.com

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 https://imaginegrove.com/

Scott Grove, ScottGrove.com ImagineGrove.com

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