August 22 - 25, 2018

Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA| USA

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Your Email Should Have Just One Job

by Editor 10. May 2018 10:29

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

Emails often fail to deliver the results you are looking for simply because the message is unfocused. In an effective email campaign, your reader should immediately know what your message is about.

Each email you send should have one well-defined goal and one goal only. That’s because if you present your reader with too many choices, your message becomes unclear and your audience won’t understand what you want them to do. Worse, if they have too many options, they may become overwhelmed and take no action at all.

Some best practices to consider when creating your email message include:

  • Define the purpose of the email and set one clear action you wish your reader to take
  • Make sure you are sending the right message for this audience
  • Create a short, clear call to action (CTA) that grabs attention. Use clear, descriptive words and start with a verb “Download white paper”, “Join us today”, Register for the webinar”, “Buy now”, etc.
  • Don’t make your reader have to hunt for the call to action. Make it prominent by using a button or create a text link that is a contrasting color
  • Keep your content as brief and focused on your goal as possible. Any additional text should reinforce the main message

If your goal is to get people to sign up for an upcoming webinar, focus the email on that one task. Create a compelling message with links or buttons that lead only to the landing page for the webinar sign up.  You may also consider removing other links like your homepage and social media links as they may divert the reader’s focus.

Keep it short and to the point. Help your audience to understand what you want them to do and make it easy for them to take action. This will go a long way toward boosting the effectiveness of all your email campaigns.

Learn more about this during Ralph's session "Effective Email for Small Businesses" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

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WCA Skill Standards Can Develop Your In-house Training Program and Grow Your Skilled Workforce

by Editor 10. May 2018 10:15

By: Scott Nelson, Woodwork Career Alliance of North America

The Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) has developed industry based woodworking machine standards for the majority of the machines used in the secondary wood processing industry.   When paired with the manufacturers processes and production floor equipment the development of an in-house training and employee skill level evaluation program is a straight forward exercise.

WCA has training resources to compliment the Skill Standards and to assist companies with the development of their own training programs. Enrolling a company and its employees into the WCA credentialing process, will identify a true Career Path for existing and future employees.

Management must first determine what skills and product knowledge a new employee must obtain in the first 30 days, 60 days and 90 days.  This is extremely important to determine if the new hire has the skills to invest further training before that employee becomes permanent with full benefits.  “This sounds simple enough, but when asked the question most owners really do not have a definite answer nor do they have a written procedure to move the new employee forward,” says Scott Nelson, President of WCA.  

To learn more about this, check out the "Growing Your Skilled Workforce" session at the IWF 2018 Education Conference

 

 

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Hardwood Edging - Part 1

by Editor 9. May 2018 10:29

By Michael Fortune (Excerpt from Hardwood Edging and Inlay for Curved Tables by Scott Grove)

I’ve known and worked with Scott Grove for many years; he is a talented craftsman and teacher.

His ability to see, break down and describe complex operations into understandable steps is remarkable, and his students come away with new skills that allow them to create higher levels of work—impeccable craftsmanship, learned at a fast pace.

With this curved joinery and inlay demonstration, Scott has transformed the sometimes difficult task of adding a curved hardwood edge into easy to follow steps. He describes many nuances and alternate methods in detail along the way, as well as adding homemade jigs and low budget solutions for many of the processes. The crushed Mother of pearl from Easy Inlay he uses can replicate a wide variety of gem stones and solve many inlay problems.

The illustrated summary handout is a great map and reference guide. He uses many visual aids from photographs, drawings and 3D renderings, to depict each step clearly.

This class is a must for professionals and hobbyist woodworkers alike; he reveals many secrets and clears up all the grey areas for how to apply a hardwood edge and inlay to any type of curved table edge.

Join Scott to learn more at the IWF 2018 Education Conference: "Curved Joinery, Edges and Inlays" on Friday, August 24th from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

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Business Succession Planning Insights: Tales from the Trenches

by Editor 9. May 2018 09:48

By:  Terrance K. Resnick and Leon B. Resnick: Resnick Associates

(Part 2 of 6)

Inadvertently Disinheriting Your Children from Business Ownership

Yes, it happens – more often than business owners realize. Worse yet, is this trap snares many business owners that have actually implemented succession planning! There are many reasons how a business owner can disinherit his or her own child. Think it can’t happen to you? Think again.

A common example is a business that has two or more owners that happen to have their children actively working in the business with the intent of continuing the business well into the future. The problem arises when a succession plan doesn’t get updated. 

Many years ago siblings, Larry, Harry and Mary started a single lumberyard, as equal owners. The single lumberyard grew to five and the business was thriving. The siblings had the good foresight of establishing a funded buy-sell agreement that would make certain if one of the owners departed the business for any reason that there would be mechanisms in place for the owner’s business interest to be bought and the remaining owners would own the company 50/50. There were many components of the plan; however, the overriding objective was for the company to buy back the stock of an owner that departed the company for any reason. Sounds fairly straightforward, right? It was straightforward when the plan was implemented; however, as time went by Larry, Harry and Mary each had a son come into the business with the intention that their own sons would acquire their own parent’s shares. Again, a very common intention for many business owners. So what’s the problem? Harry unexpectedly passed away and the dream of having his son own his shares passed away as well. Remember, each of the owners’ business interest was structured to be bought by the company at their passing.  In this particular situation, Harry’s shares at his passing were purchased by the company. Harry’s son’s business ownership future – over and done.

 Learn more about this topic at the "Survive and Thrive - Assuring the Long-Term Success of Your Company" session at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

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Replacing the Annual Employee Evaluation

by Editor 7. May 2018 11:25

By: Mike Hill, Michael W. Hill Company

Recently I’ve read a couple articles, and I’ve even had some friends and business acquaintances send me articles, with titles like: “Companies Ditching the Annual Performance Review”! And annual reviews will no longer be given at many Fortune 500 or Inc. magazine top 500 companies. Knowing that I’m a strong advocate for employee performance evaluations, my friends who send me these articles they think they’re shocking me.

These business people fail to read past the attention-grabbing headlines. Many managers, like most of their employees, “hate” giving or receiving a review, so they think these articles with these titles give them good sound bushiness reasons to stop the review process all together.

I’m encouraging everyone to read past the “Shock and Awe Title.”

Once you get past the title you’ll see that yes, IBM, General Electric and SAP are dropping their annual reviews. But in actuality, what each company is doing is replacing the annual review with more frequent reviews. It’s an idea I’ve been advocating for years with the audiences I speak to and the executives I work with.

The annual review has fallen out of favor because the business world is changing too quickly, hence company goals and targets are changing weekly, monthly or at least quarterly. So, what the excellent companies are finding is that their employee evaluations need to be a continous performance management process.

The fact of the matter is, if you want to make your company as successful as possible, you need to evaluate your people and probably more often then you currently are.

Occasionally I’ll hear from a company owner: “Mike, we don’t evaluate our employees and we do just fine.” My response is always the same: If your goal is to be a company that does – just”fine” or is content to be “mediocre,” don’t do employee reviews. But if you want to be recognized as a leader in your field and a company that is more profitable and successful than “mediocre,” measure your employees.

Whenever you can, measure, and you’ll see results in the improved performance of everyone on your team.

 To learn more on this subject, check out Mike's session, "Using Measurable Data to Get Maximum Employee Performance" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

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Selection Processes Reduce Chances Of Poor Hires

by Editor 7. May 2018 11:18

By: Cyndi Gave, The Metiss Group

Select (verb) – To choose in preference to another or others; pick out (Random House Dictionary).

Process (noun) – A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result (Random House Dictionary).

A selection process should consist of a series of actions to bring about an ideal choice of candidates.  Many leaders rely on intuition, gut instinct, or some haphazard interview approach when choosing among candidates.  The best hiring managers use a defined, repeatable process for selecting talent.

The selection process should include three phases:

  1. Job and ideal candidate definition;
  2. Candidate screening;
  3. Candidate evaluation.

Define the job and ideal candidate in the definition phase clarifying what is expected of the job and what the ideal candidate will look like.  The screening phase should include consistent behavior-based questioning and assessments that tie back to the job and candidate definitions.  The evaluation phase should analyze gaps and discrepancies between observed candidate behavior and job and candidate requirements.

Hiring managers should define the steps in the selection process, stick to them, and empower those in the selection process for success.

Learn more about this subject during Cyndi's session, "I Hired Workers but Human Beings Showed Up" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

 

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Create Better with PaperStone Labs

by Editor 7. May 2018 11:13

By: Kim Loftis, Caragreen

 Mar 06, 2018  - Hoquiam, Washington

 PaperStone has launched its latest venture, PaperStone Labs, to help designers, architects and innovators get a sneak peek into what really goes on behind the scenes at its Washington think tank. PaperStone Labs is a place to go if you have an idea that you would like to collaborate on and help bring to market. Want a new color? Ask PaperStone Labs. Is there a textured finish you would love to see? Ask PaperStone labs. Need a specific resin made for your application? Ask our scientists.

Long thought to be just a countertop, PaperStone is much more. The proprietary resin developed by PaperStone is tweaked and modified for a myriad of applications including pool tables, guitar parts, knives, and more. Behind the scenes, PaperStone collaborates with OEM manufacturers to make the perfect material for their applications.

One of the recent innovations that have come out of PaperStone Labs include GatorSkins, the most durable, least-wearing skate ramp material on the market. Competing against large skate ramp suppliers, skaters prefer GatorSkins small company feel and the handholding throughout the process and ease of getting the material.

Another creation, CharredStone, is a textured vertical panel that can be used to emulate charred timber without the wear and durability issues of the burned wood itself. CharredStone has the durability of PaperStone but is lightweight and very cost effective.

Our Labs released PaperStone Cladding, an exterior product comprised of a PaperStone core, but incorporating a more UV stable cap sheet to ensure fading is kept to a minimum and performance and durability are unmatched.

Long forced into organic neutral colors as a result of the base resin, PaperStone Labs came up with an innovative technique to create lighter colors which are incredibly stable and show very little wear over time.

Have an idea for PaperStone Labs? Share it with us. We want to give innovators a place to speak their minds and work with our material scientists and chemists to create better.

To learn more about this topic, check out the "Innovation in Composite Materials" session at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

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It is not the team with the most talent that succeeds….it is the most talented team”

by Editor 1. May 2018 15:32

By: Gary Vitale, GFV Business Advisory

We all strive to hire the best individuals for positions in our company; and we evaluate these individuals on an annual basis.  But how often do we evaluate them as a team?  How often do we really sit back and look at the talent gaps that are keeping us from reaching maximum performance as a company?   We can learn a lot from professional sports teams that evaluate talent gaps all the time.

Sports teams recognize that to succeed they need players that complement each other’s strengths.  Done correctly, this is powerful and gives the team a slight edge that can mean the difference between a win or a loss, or getting into post season tournaments verses watching from home.

Unfortunately for businesses, we do not have the luxury of observing or “scouting” candidates in game situations like professional sports teams.  We must rely on other tools; interviews, references, and professional assessments.  And just like a sports team, when these tools are used correctly, it gives you a powerful edge over the competition.

The best way to give yourself that slight edge over the competition is to know your strengths and the strengths of your team.  The first step is to learn all you can about yourself and your team using interviews and professional assessments.  You’ll be surprised to see how much easier it is to manage through crisis and challenges when you understand your strengths and those of your team members and can match them to address specific situations.

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Compressor vs. HVLP Turbine System

by Editor 1. May 2018 15:28

By: Jim Larin, Fuji Spray

Which is Better: A Compressor System or an HVLP Turbine System?

When it comes to spray equipment, different systems, such as a compressor system or HVLP turbine system, have different capacities. Depending on the type of outcome you’re looking for, you may use one system over the other. Each has their advantages and drawbacks, and knowing which one to use can improve your operations and save you both time and money.

Here’s what you need to know when choosing which system is best for you and your spraying needs:

A compressor system offers a faster speed of application

A compressor sprayer applies material with more power and at a higher speed. An HVLP system must spray material at lower air pressure levels (below 10 psi), while compressor systems spray material at higher air pressure levels (20-90 psi, depending on the specific system). We find that for production workshops and manufacturing facilities working with a high number of products or larger surface areas, the speed of a compressor sprayer is advantageous.

An HVLP turbine system is more environmentally friendly

While a compressor system operates at a faster speed, the HVLP sprayer’s slower, more precise application also offers benefits. For example, an HVLP turbine system’s application results in less overspray and ‘bounce-back,’ as paint and finish particles are less likely to rebound into the air. In fact, in certain areas of the United States, such as Southern California, you’ll find that high-pressure compression systems are prohibited entirely. As a result, compressor spray systems require higher safety standards, including a well-ventilated spray area or even a spray booth.

Certain materials require more preparation with HVLP turbine systems

The pressure settings of an HVLP system can be adjusted – but they cannot be increased beyond the maximum limit of 10 PSI, and this maximum limit is lower than that of compressor systems. So, in order for higher viscosity materials to be applied properly, they must be diluted.

HVLP turbine systems are portable, but compressor systems are not

Since turbine systems are light and compact, the entire system is portable. We find that being able to spray or do touch-ups on any job site can be very beneficial. Even having the option to move your unit indoors or outdoors can help when spraying specific projects. Compressor systems are not mobile, and this yields less flexibility and last-minute fixes.

Ultimately, both HVLP turbine systems and compressor systems will get the job done quicker and more effectively than using a paintbrush and rag or roller. The decision of which system to use largely depends on your operations, whether you’re a DIYer or an avid, professional sprayer. Contact the experts at Fuji Spray to learn more about the features of each system and to find out which one is right for you.

 Learn more about this at Jim's session, "Benefits of Portable Spray Finishing System in a Small to Medium Sized Production Shop Setting" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

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What exactly is “Modern Design” anyway?

by Editor 30. April 2018 10:54

By: Shelley Wehner, Cabinet Concepts by Design

Your prospective customer says they prefer a modern look, but you’re not quite sure what they mean. To put it simply, modern design focuses on minimalism, neutral colors, clean lines and environmentally-friendly materials. Modernism, at its core, rejects ornate flourishes of other design styles. Now that you understand the general meaning, specifically how would you implement modern design elements in the kitchen décor and other areas of the home?

Clean Straight Lines

Modern design is the antithesis of the previous design styles which used heavy textures, carvings and wood tones throughout the home. Because of this, most components of modern design from the furniture to the shape of the rooms include clean, straight lines with no additional detail. There are several different design types that fall into this category, particularly for furnishings, such as:

  • Mission style
  • Art Deco
  • Shaker

Any of these or other clean, spare furnishings are an integral part of modern interior design. Paired with the furnishings are things like:

  • Oversized tiles with rectified edges
  • Sanded wood floors that minimize the grain
  • Bookcases and shelves inset into walls, rather than protruding into the space
  • Open floor plans with few walls
  • Lack of moldings trimming windows, doors and walls

Use of Metal

Chrome and stainless steel make up a big part of modern design. Doing away with traditional metal details, like wrought iron for example, opens up the door for clean, polished metals to be used instead.

It's not uncommon to see chrome or stainless steel as part of the furniture, such as table legs or exposed portions of a chair's frame. Chrome is used extensively throughout the home seen in faucets, doorknobs, cabinet handles, lamps and railings. Polished chrome has a very high shine and a slightly blue undertone that makes it appear very cold, which helped it fit in well with modern design's mission for moving away with older, more "lived in" styles.

Minimalism

Minimalism plays an integral part in modern design, as well as contemporary modern design and contemporary design. The basics of minimalism include a "less is more" approach to designing a space. This means there are no superfluous details such as columns, moldings, cabinet trim, excessive use of color or excessive use of textiles.

Minimalist design can be thought of as sparse, but in reality it takes a lot of planning to ensure that what's included in the home is absolutely necessary. Minimalist homes are often far more comfortable than they appear, due to the way they are streamlined for efficiency.

Lack of Clutter

A lack of clutter ties into the minimalist approach to modern design. While clutter can mean many things to different people, in regards to modern design it refers primarily to accessories. This means no knick-knacks, vases, pottery, collections or excessive use of throw pillows, rugs or blankets. Any necessary items, including books, electronics and keepsakes are kept either out of sight inside a cabinet or closet, or are built into the home with built in shelves or hidden storage beneath benches or window seats.

Bold Accent Colors

The majority of homes decorated in modern styles use neutral colors and shades of black and white throughout the home. Bold, often primary, colors are only used as accents to help break up the neutrals and provide focal points. These colors are often introduced sparingly, and rarely used as an all-over wall color. Examples of how to use bold colors in modern design may include:

  • Abstract wall art
  • A single piece of furniture in a bold color like a red leather sofa or an orange plastic chair
  • A few bold-colored throw pillows
  • A single bold-colored throw rug

Learn more about modern design during a lively panel discussion during IWF called “Acing that modern job”. The panel features myself and two others who do modern work. We will explain our methods and tricks for executing award-winning modern cabinetry and millwork.

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