Tuesday - Friday | August 25-28, 2020

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1. August 2016 07:13

By: Eugene Wengert, President: The Wood Doctor's Rx, LLC

Quality loss due to machining issues can be very expensive.  In addition to the basics of machining, the defect causes and cures will be illustrated and discussed.  Quality programs that can be used in the plant will be illustrated.  In addition to traditional machining with heavy machines, we will also discuss sanding and sandpaper issues that cause problems, especially with high end furniture and cabinets.

Come learn more about this topis at the "Rx for Machining Wood: Practical Tips and Troubleshooting Defects" session at the IWF Education Conference.



1. August 2016 07:09

By: Eugene Wengert, President: The Wood Doctor's Rx, LLC

The basic wood characteristics and properties certainly affect the manufacturing process.  But what about the special characteristics of wood (like tension wood, bacterial infection, staining, spiral grain, juvenile wood) that cause headaches from time to time?  Is all oak the same?  Is all hickory the same?  Is all pine the same?  Is all soft maple the same?  Is it possible, at the least,  to identify and eliminate problem pieces of wood early in the manufacturing process or should we ignore them and let them go through until the final inspection finds the problem?  Learn some practical aspects of wood that affects profits.

Come learn more about wood manufacturers and woodworkers during the session "Wood 101.  All about Wood for Manufacturers and Woodworkers" at the IWF Education Conference.


Color Matching, - Color Blending

30. June 2016 11:40

By: Mitch Kohanek

Recently, I was in need of a color match on a 30 year old opaque exterior color.  It was for a few new pieces of Masonite siding I replaced on my house.  “Back in the day” that meant going to your local paint store in hopes of finding someone who had the knowledge and talent to mix colors by eye.

With today’s technology, a spectrophotometer made short work of matching an exact color for me. Gave the store a piece of the old siding, they made me a quart of paint that was a spot on color match of my old existing siding.

For transparent and translucent wood coloring using dyes, stains, micro pigments the meter comes close, but it can’t be relied on to be as accurate as it is with opaque colors. It can be a valuable tool, it has its benefits, but in many cases the color often needs to be adjusted “by eye”.

1.    The various natural shades of species of wood like white oak.
2.    The natural colors of cherry, walnut, and mahogany.
3.    Red oak and white oak in the same pile of oak that is to be used
4.    Blending Sapwood to Heartwood
5.    Quarter sawn glued next to flatsawn
6.    Veneer next to solid stock wood
7.    New wood that needs to look like old wood colors.
8.    Refinishers who need to strip and sand down an old table top and refinish the top to look like the sides of the cabinet.
9.    What degree of translucency you are looking for.

Because of all those variables color matching is back to being accomplished “by eye”. Whether you are creating color or correcting the color, it is critical for the finisher to be in command of color knowledge.

Basically we only have two main choices of coloring agents, one which contains pigment, which I refer to as stain. Paint falls into the pigmented category. The other coloring agent is a dye, which I categorize as having no pigment. There is a third medium, the chemical coloring of wood sometimes referred to as “reactive” stains or mordants. They do not contain pigments, they are more similar to dyes.  When applied to wood they “react” to the chemistry inside the wood, such as the tannins.  Mordants are often applied before dyes are applied to achieve colors not found any other way. For now, let’s stick with the dyes and stains for understanding color.

Dyes and stains (pigments) are two different tools. Used individually they offer two different visual presentations. Used together they greatly expand the color pallet. There are manufactures that formulate their dyes and stains so they are able to be mixed together. Mixing them together can offer a one-step coloring schedule rather than two.

Approaches to mixing colors
1.    Start with a clear base medium and use stains (pigments) using the primary colors, yellow, red and blue with the addition of white and black.
2.    Start with a clear base medium and use stains (pigments) using yellow, red, black and white
3.    Use premixed colored stains. An example would be using the earth tone colors, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber plus black and white.
4.    Use the premixed colored stains plus the primary and/or secondary colors.
5.    Dyes are sold in liquid and powder form.  Decide on using the primary colors or pre-mixed colors such as the earth tones, or use them both.

I teach a systematic approach to using any color system and it all starts with the artists’ terms of hue, chroma, value, shade and tint. When looking at a target color, the first thing to do is identify the hue. Next would be identifying the chroma and then the value of the color. If you understand color theory it does not matter which system of dyes or stains you use.

One reason to start with the earth tones or other similar colors is that hopefully one of them comes close to the target color. Choosing the first earth tone is your base color, your second choice is determined on if you need to “warm up” or “cool off” the first color. It’s not guess work, it’s an educated choice.

Many shades of making “brown” in a one-step application can be made with just one umber and one sienna. Adding a third earth tone color is not unusual. Three well-chosen earth tone colors and the proper proportions of black, white or clear base if needed produces a tremendous amount of colors.

Some finishers would rather work with fewer colors and a clear base. These finishers think of color in “parts”. Example: 100 parts yellow, 10 parts red, 5 parts black is a color. To “tweak” that color is to first understand color and keep track of your “parts”. The results are going to be the same with both systems as long as you understand color theory.

It’s worth mentioning that if you choose to use pre-mixed colors like the earth tones, having the primary colors handy is another valuable addition. An example would be knowing that red needs to be added to your mix.  Burnt Sienna is an orange Hue and is the closest color you have to red.

If the target color can’t be accomplished in a one application step, it will have to involve a color on color finishing schedule. Color knowledge just got more important. A multi-step coloring schedule could involve a dozen or more finishing procedures for a completed color. Those tools for creating color are in the form of dyes, stains, glazes, toners and paint.

I will address those tools in the next blog.


Spot Repair - Level of Damage: Level of Skill

30. June 2016 11:36

By: Mitch Kohanek

“Spot repairing” wood brings to mind so many variations after so many years of repairing damaged objects. Damage to white wood, damage to newly finished wood, damage to just the coating, damage to the finished wood and coating, restoration of old wood and the heritage antiques worked on during my internship at the Smithsonian Museum.

Different levels of damage require different levels of skill.

Repairs happening in the shop where the customer has not seen the damage is a comfortable place to be. Repairs being worked on outside the shop can really be challenging, having fewer repair tools and working on damage that has probably already been seen by the owner.

The first tools needed in either category is your level of talent, creativity and knowledge of your materials. Repairing in house in a manufacturing environment the repair system can be rather straight forward.  If you ask 10 “Road Warrior” repair technicians (those who do repairing at the site of location) how to repair any given damage, you will get a variety different answers.

One example of damage is one that penetrates both the coating and the wood. The repair kit needs to first include something to refill the void in the wood. The higher skill level is associated with the coloring on top of that fill.
There are a host of materials that will fill the void. The size of the damage and the location of the damage will dictate which one of those is a better choice. Soft wax fill sticks, hard wax fill sticks, hard plastic fill sticks, low sheen sticks, high sheen sticks, shellac sticks, polyester fills, epoxy sticks and wood putty to name a few.

Sometimes a “burn in” is required which means the repair stick has to be heated with a hot knife and dropped into place. There are several choices of heating knives to choose from. There are two very different burn in “systems” we will be discussing, each requiring two different skill levels.

All of these sticks come in a variety of colors to correspond to the existing color of the object. The more you know about color matching and performing in-painting (graining), the fewer colored sticks needed. One of the more valuable fill sticks is one that is totally transparent. Excellent stick for dents in the wood and the coating has flexed with the wood with no color loss.

Once the void is filled, the excess needs to be removed and the surface leveled without causing any more damage to the coating or substrate. Don’t forget about the reestablishing the earlywood pores with an open pored finish.
The fill stick now needs the proper protective coating applied on top of it. Padding, brushing and spraying are your options for coating application. Solvent and waterbase coating are your two choices. Compatibility of the repair products and coating should be taken into consideration.

Once the void is filled, leveled and sealed the real “artistry” begins with the in-painting (graining) and creating a faux finish on the repair. The goal is to recreate the color, grain pattern and texture that used to be there.
Depending on the size, shape and location of the in-painting there are different tools to choose from. Touch up markers and graining pens are handy and do not require very much skill. Hopefully you have the right colors and ones that work.

Highly skilled repair technicians rely on pigments and/or dyes for coloring/graining/in-painting using a variety of different sized brushes. Doesn’t matter if it is a transparent, translucent or opaque finish that you are working on. Color is color. The more you know about color, the fewer colored pigments and dyes you need. Plus the fewer colored repair sticks you need.

Color matching is a challenging art. Sheen control can sometimes outweigh the stress of finding color. Off the gun low sheen finishes are a real challenge. Sheen has its nomenclature such as gloss, semi-gloss, satin, flat, dead flat. More accurately sheens are given numbers such as 80 degree sheen (high sheen), 50 degree sheen, 20 degree sheen, 10 degree sheen (low sheen), etc.

It is convenient to have aerosol cans that are labeled with the sheen number they produce. For mechanical sheen control adjustments, steel wool and synthetic steel wool (abrasive pads) have certain grits and sheens associated to what they will produce. A rubbed out satin sheen does not look much like a sprayed on satin sheen.

In order for damage to “disappear” all of these steps need to be executed to its highest degree. In reality making all repairs “disappear” is not reality. With so many variables you need to recognize what actually can be accomplished. The greater the damage, the greater the skill needed.

All of you who have walked this road know that WE are OUR worst critics when it comes to knowing when to quit working on the repair. Some go buy the 6” by 6’ rule.
What I have learned is that when that little voice in the back of your head says “Just one more grain line, just one more bit of color”………. Ignore that little voice.


Social Media & the Forest Products Industry: Reasons for Adoption and Metrics for Success

16. June 2016 07:36

By: Iris Montague, Research Forester: USDA Forest Service; Kathryn Arano, Associate Professor of Forest Resources Management: West Virginia University and Jan Wiedenbeck, Team Leader/Research Forest Products Technologist: USDA Forest Service

In 2013, we investigated social media use by companies in the forest products industry in the U.S. We received information from 166 companies.  About 60% were using some form of social media as part of their marketing mix and most of these companies (90%) had started using social media recently (since 2008).  We learned from these companies that Facebook was the most used social media site, followed by LinkedIn.

The majority (63%) of the companies that were using social media have a person who is dedicated to social media development, yet responses indicated that on average their social media sites only get updated on a monthly basis or less. Research shows that message frequency (the number of times an average person or household is exposed to a company or brand’s message) is very important in achieving consumer recall and attitude change and maintaining fresh content on company social media sites is considered a key to being successful at engaging current and potential customers (Kaplan and Haenlein 2010).

The top three reasons cited by companies for using social media were (1) to increase exposure, (2) to establish branding, and (3) to improve sales. Although the benefits of social media use are well documented, there are still many who are apprehensive about using it.  Generating a return on investment (ROI) to cover costs, generating member/customer activity, having staff to manage social media sites, getting members or fans, and maintaining site security were identified as challenges of adopting social media.

Because the nature of social media as a marketing tool makes calculation of ROI challenging, forest products companies mostly focus on other quantitative metrics (non-dollar) as well as on qualitative metrics for measuring the effectiveness of social media. The top three quantitative metrics used for evaluating social media effectiveness were: (1) number of site visits, (2) number of social network friends, and (3) number of comments/profile views. In terms of qualitative metrics used by companies to measure social media effectiveness, the three most commonly used metrics were: (1) growth of relationships with key audiences, (2) audience participation, and 3) moving from monologue to dialogue with consumers. From a marketing standpoint, focusing on these metrics rather than just ROI may be a good social media strategy.

To learn more about social media and obtain important tips on building a successful social media strategy, please join us at IWF 2016 Education Conference for our sessions, "Social Media Tips and Trends for the Forest Product Industry."



24. May 2016 11:23


By: Eugene Wengert, President: The Wood Doctor's Rx, LLC

The two presenters of this session have seen well over one hundred rough mills.  We have seen good ideas that pay off, both in specific operational techniques and in evaluation of an operation.  We will share effect QC techniques.  We will share these ideas with the attendees.  Questions (written or oral) will be addressed.

Come here more about this subject at the "Rx for Enhancing Roughmill Performance" session at IWF 2016.


Solid Surface Thermoforming

17. May 2016 14:56

Solid Surface Thermoforming

By: Keith Haight

I have questioned a variety of architects and designers what they think of when I say “solid surface.” Their typical response is Flat and Horizontal.  In other words, they think of countertops.  This is justified since solid surface did get it’s start primarily as countertops for the residential kitchen.   

However, solid surface has transitioned very nicely from the residential kitchen countertop into a material that is now being used extensively in commercial applications.  With these applications, Flat and Horizontal may still be the chosen design more often than not.  This workshop will help change all that by showcasing how solid surface can be thermoformed and thus transformed from flat and horizontal into sweeping 2D and 3D designs that will enhance any project. 

We will not only discuss the variety of tools and equipment involved with thermoforming, we will explore the process parameters and tricks of the trade to help set you up with a very successful offering and operation.

If you currently fabricate solid surface and you are looking to enhance your company’s offering, why not consider thermoforming?  This workshop will prove most beneficial to you and your company as we outline what it takes to incorporate this technology for successful projects.  Even if you currently do not fabricate solid surface but you are considering it, this workshop will help you see the benefits solid surface can bring to your business.

To learn more about this topic check out the "Exploring Countertop Options Symposium" at IWF 2016.


Whether you love “IP” or hate it, or even know what I’m talking about, I have good news!

16. May 2016 06:40




Whether you love “IP” or hate it, or even know what I’m talking about, I have good news!

Brad Czerwonky – Patent Agent, Taylor English Duma LLP   

ANY of you like to tinker in the garage? Any of you design things or write for a living? Any musicians or authors? Any executives, engineers, artists, scientists, teachers, sales and marketing professionals, students, graphic designers, programmers, or even lawyers out there?

NO matter who you are and what you do, you probably have your own share of ideas and your own unique way of expressing them. Some of you probably make your livelihood based on developing those ideas and communicating them to others (and if that’s you, I can relate!). Us humans are not only wired to create but to share and build on each other’s ideas as we have done since time immemorial.

NOW when you hear the term “intellectual property,” how do you respond? Do your ears perk up? Do you run for the hills? Do you pour yourself a drink (maybe even with the benefit of your own personal “automaton” such as the above gem disclosed by Mr. Robert Little in U.S. Patent No. 711,510, issued in 1902)? Does mention of the terms “patent,” “trademark,” “copyright,” or “trade secret” get your creative juices running or your blood boiling? Unless you live completely “off the grid” (and probably even if you do), all of us touch or create intellectual property or IP on almost a daily basis.

WHILE it might strike fear into the hearts of some and irritate others because of the perceived mystery or hassle involved, learning the basics of IP need not be difficult and, like many things, can be fun as long as you know what you’re doing. More importantly, if you like the idea of making IP work for you—or at least knowing what others are doing with it, we’ll be covering this and other ground in one of the sessions at this year’s IWF show: Intellectual Property 101: Protecting Your Inventions and Other Creative Works. Save the date or even sign up now to join us if you’re already hooked: Thursday, August 25th from 10am! In my next post, I’ll share more on what exactly IP is (and why it matters)…


Industry 4.0 - The Future of Manufacturing

9. May 2016 09:25

Industry 4.0 - The Future of Manufacturing

By: Urs Buehlmann, VT; Mathias Schmitt, White Rock LLC; Omar Espinoza, University of Minnesota; and David Maurer, Stiles Machinery

You may have heard the term Industry 4.0 in conversations or on TV.  However, most industry participants do not have a good understanding on what Industry 4.0 means and how it will shape our industry.  Some do not think the term means anything but suppliers and consultants trying to sell the "next big thing," others simply cannot imagine how it will change their business.  Others yet, see in Industry 4.0 the next industrial revolution and try to figure out how they can take advantage of the opportunities…

At this workshop, we will explain Industry 4.0, its origins, its promises, and its challenges.  In fact, we see Industry 4.0 as the sum of four disruptions: the astonishing rise in data volumes, computational power, and connectivity, especially new low-power wide-area networks; the emergence of analytics and business-intelligence capabilities; new forms of human-machine interaction such as touch interfaces and augmented-reality systems; and improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as advanced robotics and 3-D printing.  All those trends individually do not make a revolution (the 4th in manufacturing, after the lean revolution in the 1970s, the outsourcing in the 1990s, and the automation since 2000), but their combined effect on how we do things can correctly be called a "revolution."  We will give you the background and show you examples how industry 4.0 is changing things in our industry and how you can take advantage of this new way of doing things.

Learn more about this subject by attending the "Industry 4.0 - The Future of Manufacturing" session at the IWF 2016 Education Conference.



9. May 2016 09:18


By: Eugene Wengert, President: The Wood Doctor's Rx, LLC

Quality loss due to machining issues can be very expensive.  If the piece must be discarded, this is expensive because the wood piece has a great deal of processing time and effort (translated as money) into it prior to the development of a defect.  If the defective piece is repairable, the time and effort of making the repair is expensive.  Some machining defects are due to poor drying (including incorrect MC).  Some defects are due to characteristics or properties of the wood itself (such as tension wood or grain angle).  Some defects are due to machine issues (feed speed, knife angels, etc.).  The basics of wood machining are discussed so that the attendee can easily zero in on the basic causes of the defects.

Come here more about this subject at the "Rx for Machining Wood: Practical Tips and Troubleshooting Defects" session at IWF 2016.