5 Ways the Pandemic is Changing Woodworking Businesses

26. August 2020 11:50

The pandemic is changing how businesses operate, including woodworking business.  A number of the shifts to more efficient administrative processes such as paperless records and digital information systems, were already pretty far along before COVID-19 appeared. Now the pace of adoption has been accelerated,.

Within the manufacturing process itself, the changes are profound. Prior to COVID-19, the woodworking industry saw many shops adopting more automated production processes: paperless job tickets, lean manufacturing, design-to-production workflow. The pace and urgency of such changes has accelerated. Finding new ways of doing business is now mandatory, and particularly within sectors producing cabinets.

 

Here are 5 ways the pandemic is changing cabinetmaking. (Read the entire article at WEB-CAB.)

Remote communications have transformed the sales process:
In sales, client visits are now history. Increasingly, design presentations use precise 3D renderings, some incorporating photo-realistic designs or even immersive reality, letting clients “walk through” the proposal virtually. The more real, the better the chance of closing the sale.

Plant managers should be seen, and not heard:
To keep colleagues safe, the manufacturing workplace has incorporated social distancing between workers.. On the noisy plant floor, work cells are spaced out to minimize peer-to-peer exposure. Face-to-face or as so frequently is the case, “face-to-ear” shouting, is now considered very unsafe.

Production optimization systems and adoption of Manufacturing Execution Systems for factories, already trending in the two years leading up to the pandemic, has moved from “nice to have” to “got to have” status. These systems help keep production moving, communicating orders, changes, and advisories from a distance, without risk. They offer the added bonus of transparency, providing a window into job status and productivity rates for all the members of the team, wherever they are working.

Adapting rapidly to the unforeseen
Having contingency plans in place for business operations has always been a good practice. But with the pandemic, businesses were reminded to expect the unexpected. A manufacturing tracking system that knows the status of every project – from design through shipping – as well as parts and outsourced components, is the best way to ensure responsiveness. 

Leading innovation through Virtual Events
In a rapidly changing environment, organizations must be constantly on the lookout for innovations in their industry. Cabinetmakers will now look to “digital events” – online conferences, webinars, virtual exhibitions – presenting at them to win new customers. But remember, too: attending them to hear from suppliers helps shops stay up with technology and materials advances that can improve their own businesses.

Centralizing documents
Working remotely has become the preferred approach.

 

Though there are downsides (juggling childcare and homelife versus work-life) the efficiencies gained make this a winning strategy. Companies quickly learned, however, that they did not have the IT structure to share databases and documents. While this sticking point is still a concern in some areas such as accounting and general administration, the ability to share assets is easily resolved within a Manufacturing Execution System.

(Read the full post at WEB-CAB.)

WEB-CAB creates smart solutions specifically designed for the woodworking and kitchen cabinet industry. Its solutions complete the functions of an ERP system by integrating production floor operations and optimizing business processes. Its Production Coach, which won an IWF 20218 Challengers Award, is sold by RSA Solutions, an exhibitor at IWF Connect

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5 Small Business Finance Options as Pandemic Relief Loans Wind Down

16. August 2020 06:41

By: Gerri Detweiler

 Whether or not your business took advantage of COVID-19 relief loans like Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), you may still need financing to weather these challenging times. While many lenders have pulled back on making new small business loans, there are some bright spots in the industry.

Here are five small business financing options that may be available if you’re looking for financing today:

1. Vendor Financing
Vendor or supplier financing is a popular type of small business financing in good times or bad. According to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, manufacturer or vendor financing accounted for about one-third of total market financing in 2018.

The last thing your vendors and suppliers want is to see businesses like yours stop purchasing. They depend on your business to help them stay in business. As a result they may be flexible with payment plans, offering longer repayment periods or extending credit if you’ve paid upfront in the past. It never hurts to ask.

Tip: Vendors and suppliers often review business credit. Check your business credit reports to make sure they are accurate and don’t contain negative information that could impact your ability to get financing.

2. SBA Loans
The most popular SBA loan programs in recent months have been COVID-19 related Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Those programs are temporary, but there are a number of other SBA loans that continue to help small businesses with generally low interest rates and favorable terms. And, as part of SBA debt relief efforts, the SBA will pay six months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020.

That may make this a perfect time to get an SBA loan. Options include:

7(a) Loans. These loans are term loans for up to $5 million. Proceeds may be used for new construction; expansion or renovation; or to purchase land or buildings. They may also be used to purchase equipment, fixtures, or for lease-hold improvements; working capital; to refinance debt in certain circumstances; or as a seasonal line of credit or to purchase inventory. They may even be used to start a business. 

SBA loan data shows these loans have been secured by businesses with the NAICS code 337122: non upholstered wood household furniture manufacturing; NAICS code 321918: other millwork including flooring and 337110: wood kitchen cabinet and countertop manufacturing, among others.

7(a) Express Loans are smaller loans of up to $350,000 used for the same purposes as larger 7(a) loans. Decisions may be made more quickly, making these popular. The lender will be required to review a FICO SBSS score, which can take into account the personal credit data of all owners with 20% or greater ownership, as well as business credit and other financial data.

504 CDC Loans can be ideal for purchasing or expanding property and for purchasing or upgrading heavy equipment. They are made in a partnership where a private lender typically lends 50% of the project, a Community Development Corporation (CDC) lends 40% and the borrower puts up 10% of the project cost.

Export Working Capital and Export Express Loans may be ideal for businesses involved in direct or indirect exporting.

A guide to SBA loan programs is available through SCORE, an SBA resource partner.

3. Equipment Financing

Leasing may make it possible to invest in new equipment without a large outlay of cash. Lease financing may come through banks, independent financing companies or captive financing, which is usually a subsidiary of the company selling the equipment.

The fact that the equipment secures the financing reduces risk compared to unsecured financing, but lessors don’t want to be in the repo business. So regardless of the source of this financing there will be due diligence. A business and/or personal credit check may be required.


4. Crowdfunding

If your business involves selling directly to consumers, a crowdfunding campaign may help raise the funds needed for your next big project.

Kickstarter, a reward-based crowdfunding platform, has been used by a number of businesses in the woodworking space, including Refoundry, which trains formerly incarcerated people to repurpose discarded materials into home furnishings and incubate them into their own businesses; and Bookniture which unfolds from a book to furniture has raised almost $450,000 on the platform. 

One new Kickstarter program, Woven Wood solid wood fencing, was launched by Christopher Burkit, a Gulfport, MS
carpenter and designer for over 30 years. Burkit is seeking to raise $100,000

There are many platforms that facilitate crowdfunding in four main categories:

● Rewards-based: you offer a physical reward (such as a piece of furniture) to backers
● Loan-based: borrow money from the crowd. Kiva.org, for example, offers 0% loans of up to $15,000 to businesses impacted by COVID-19
● Equity-based: secure investors in your business. The most time-consuming and expensive option, it can be used to raise large sums of money (currently up to $1.07 million).
● Donor-based: get donations to help your business survive the crisis. There have been remarkable results with these campaigns on the GoFundMe platform recently.

The key to successful crowdfunding is a compelling marketing campaign combined with a way to reach your target audience. Cultivating fans by email or social media can make the difference between success and failure.

5. Invoice Factoring

If your customers are generally creditworthy but pay slowly, invoice factoring may help your cash flow. This type of financing generally comes in two broad flavors:

● Invoice factoring: you sell unpaid invoices to a factoring company, which then collects payment from your customer
● Invoice discounting: unpaid accounts receivable serve as collateral for loans

This type of financing is offered by nearly 850 firms, including some large banks as well as smaller firms according to IBISWorld. Online fintech (short for "financial technology") firms may offer very fast credit decisions.

Regardless of the type of financing you explore, make sure you understand the costs involved. Small business financing generally does not require lenders to disclose an interest rate or Annual Percentage Rate (APR), so you may want to use a free online small business calculator to help understand the true cost before you sign on the dotted line.

About the Author:

Gerri Detweiler has been guiding individuals through the confusing world of finance and credit for 20+ years. She is the author or coauthor of five books, including her most recent, Finance Your Own Business: Get on the Financing Fast Track. Today, Gerri serves as the Education Director for Nav, an online platform that matches small business owners to their best financing options and gives free access to personal and business credit scores.

Mortise & Tenon – A Primer for Joinery Infographic

29. July 2020 11:19

 Florida School of Woodwork 

mortise and tenon

A Primer on Joinery – The Mortise & Tenon

When making furniture or woodworking projects, you often need to get pieces of wood to join together. This can certainly be done with screws and glue, but a more time tested (and honored) method is to useJoinery. Joinery is the process of making interlocking parts with the pieces of wood and fitting them together like a puzzle.

Joints fall into two categories:

  • Glue Only Joints -where the wood pieces are held together with just glue
  • Mechanical + Glue Joints where the parts are held together with both glue and some mechanical locking mechanism – check out dovetails as a great example of this type of joint.

Let’s take a look at one of the most useful joints – the Mortise and Tenon Joint.

mortise and tenon

Mortise & Tenon 101

A mortise and tenon joint falls into the category of housed joints – where one piece slots or fits into another. Once you have mastered the lap joint, making a mortise and tenon is relatively easy, so you may want to take a look atLap Joints 101before you tackle this. Think of mortise and tenon as ‘square peg/square hole.’

Mortise and tenons can be used to help reduce racking and twisting in a project and will make your piece of furniture last for years. As with most joints, there are variations, but all of them rely on the long grain glue surface area for their glue strength, the fit of the side of the tenon – known as the “cheeks” for snugness and the depth of mortise for strength.

Let’s start by looking at the names of the different parts of the mortise and tenon joint and some of the guidelines you can use.

parts ofa mortise tenon

General Guidelines when laying out a Tenon for a Mortise & Tenon Joint

There are two general guidelines when planning for your tenons (you’ll cut your mortise first). Not following them could interfere with the structural soundness of the joint.

  1. Length of cheek should not be more than the width of the wood
  2. Width of the cheek should not be more than half the thickness of the wood – preferably a third.

Regardless of how you cut your mortise and tenons, clean layout is the key to accuracy.

Tools To Layout a Joint

There are various tools you can use to lay out a mortise and tenon – a pencil and a square, a mortise marking gauge, or marking knife can all be used. The goal is to have clean, thin, easy to see marks.

 

Tools to layout a mortise

The Mortise

The mortise is the cavity into which the tenon is placed.

Mortise

Generally speaking, the width of the mortise should be one-third of the thickness of the stock, but you do have some latitude. If you are going to use a router to cut your mortises, you’ll need to find out what router bit you have that is the closest to that thickness.

Note: If you are planning on buying a router bit for your project, make sure you invest in a good quality bit. Look for carbide blades and a reputable manufacturer.

You don’t want your mortise to too wide as then your cheeks will be weak, nor do you want them to be too narrow as it will make your tenons weak. A third is just right.

Layout and cut your mortises first and then cut your tenons.

Mortise can be cut using a plunge router, fixed table router, or with a sharp chisel and mallet.

cutting mortise with a fixed router

They can also be cut using a drill press using either regular drill bit and then chiseling out the cheeks, or using a mortising drill bit (although these are a pain as they dull fast and get clogged easily).

mortise and tenon with drill press

The Tenon

There are lots of different kinds of tenons, but two of the most common are:

  • Blind or stub – which stop inside of the receiving part and cannot be seen
  • Through – where they go all the way through to the other side and sometimes protrude beyond the surface (you’ll see this in Arts and Crafts furniture a lot)

mortise with thru tenon

How To Cut Tenons

You can cut tenons with a wide variety of tools such as the table saw, bandsaw, handsaw or chisels, but the most critical aspect is that they are cut accurately.

cutting a tenonLearning to use a Band saw, Beginning woodworking classes, woodworking lessons

 

Just like mortises, they should be laid out on the wood surface before cutting.

tenon layout with a saw

 Different Types of Mortise and Tenon Joints

There are lots of different types of mortise and tenon joints, but they all rely on having the two parts fitting snugly together. A great book by has this page that gives just a few examples.

types of mortise and tenon

Where Can You Use Mortise and Tenon Joints?

Mortise and tenon joints are very versatile.

You can use them to join the legs on chairs,

chair leg mortise and tenon

You can use them to make a door,

example of door with mortise and tenons

or create case pieces

buffet in sapele

If you are new to woodworking or joinery, this versatile joint is a great one to learn how to cut and if you need a bit more help, consider taking aJOINERY CLASSat the Florida School of Woodwork in Tampa Florida.

 
 
 
 

Why Manufacturing Execution (MES) Matters

17. July 2020 17:38

By: Joe Baggett, Innovative Wood Process Solutions

Joe Baggett addresses "Why Manufacturing Execution Matters" in the on-demand conference program, part of IWF Connect, the new virtual trade show running Oct. 26-30, 2020. 

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” He went on to explain what he meant by this apparent contradiction: 

“The details of a plan which was designed years in advance are often incorrect, but the planning process demands the thorough exploration of options and contingences. The knowledge gained during this probing is crucial to the selection of appropriate actions as future events unfold.”

This holds true in the manufacturing and fabrication of wood products and components. Manufacturing execution is the measurement of progress against a plan. The only plans that matter are those you actually do something about, and take seriously. The planning does matter but the execution and reaction to it matter even more.

Years ago, while working for major casket manufacturer we designed a line of caskets that used reclaimed lumber called core panel. The new manufacturing lines and room were well designed to make the core panels in a continuous line rather than batch with as few hands touching it from machine to machine.

We quickly realized that our ERP, the centralized computer management system, while good at providing a schedule, was very limited in providing real time feedback and data on the hour by hour execution of that schedule. So, with some PLC technology and an old Allen Bradley program called Lab View we developed a manufacturing execution system where a schedule was downloaded for each shift, with an hourly goal by machine center, which provided email notifications of things such as attainment, yield rework, etc.

It was clunky, clumsy and antiquated but for the time period and technology it worked. After launching it we received several awards, but during a management leadership meeting we learned that many of the frontline production leaders were not using the data now provided to them in real time. The focus at the time for management didn’t lend itself to reacting hour by hour.

These days Manufacturing Execution Systems can be implemented by companies specializing in this area. Now, when we do audits to assess how implementing an MES can bring value to a production operation, we usually find out that the information needed to make good decisions on an hourly basis isn’t available in the plant.

Many times, we find production leaders and engineers are consumed with trying to get the same data that MES software would provide automatically and on a timely basis. Even more problematic: they are limited in the more meaningful activity of using it, and reacting to it.
Getting started with manufacturing execution is the main point. Doing manufacturing execution well is one of the basic building blocks and part of the foundation of scalability. Reliable hourly output against a plan is something than can be scaled. And scalability is one of the most important things for manufacturers, in the new world in which we find ourselves.

Contact Joe Baggett to receive his White Paper on Management Execution Systems. 

 

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Customizing Cabinet Finishes Using Consistent Controls and Consumables

9. July 2020 12:03

Using color process controls, even custom cabinet doors can move through finishing profitably at Out of the Woods. 

Provided by Sherwin-Williams

Out of the Woods, a Layton, UT cabinet manufacturer, was founded on a strong commitment to exceptional service and high-quality products. It specializes in traditional, ornate and decorative pieces that transform kitchens, bathrooms, offices, laundry rooms and entertainment rooms. 

Recognizing the opportunity to establish itself as a full solutions provider to its customers, Out of the Woods acquired a granite countertop business, which helped them further differentiate in the industry. The ability to purchase cabinet and countertop components in one place benefits the company’s customer base, which includes builders, contractors, homeowners, remodelers and restoration companies.

Its latest step in advancing its products and services was to adopt finishing chemistries and controls from an industry-leading coatings supplier that shares this core value.  

“When customers come to us, they’re looking for a better-quality product,” said Tim Bryant (right), Cabinet Operations Manager at Out of the Woods. “We have a good reputation in our community, which sets us apart from our competition and drives people into our shop.”

Out of the Woods receives raw lumber, mills it to a customer’s needs and then builds everything onsite, from drawer boxes to base frames. They manufacture and produce all of their products in-house with the help of woodworking specialists, and high-performance coatings from Sherwin-Williams.

“We take pride in our ability to do everything we can ourselves because we can control the quality, look and style of our cabinets from every aspect,” said Matt Peterson, Director of Operations at Out of the Woods.

Sherwin-Williams supplies all the paint, conversion varnishes, primers and stains for Out of the Woods, which has made a difference when it comes to product quality, color options and process efficiencies.

“Right now, our finishes are the best they’ve been since I started working here,” said Bryant. “Our finish knowledge has increased dramatically since we started working with Sherwin-Williams." Out of the Woods understands that in customer purchase decisions, while the quality of a cabinet is important, color is also a key factor. As part of the its customer service offering, their design specialists provide insight on what wood finishes will complement flooring or interior paint colors in a client’s home. 

Out of the Woods will also help customers narrow down color schemes if they are unsure where to start. “Color is an important part of the process because some customers come in with a specific vision of what they want,” said Mark Moeller (right), Director of Sales and Marketing at Out of the Woods. “If someone is adamant about a color, and you can’t match it, then they’ll keep looking until they find a company who can.”

Understanding that color options for the wood manufacturing business is critical, Sherwin-Williams sales representative, Jackson McNeil, set up Out of the Woods with the Sherwin-Williams Color Express™ system. Color Express delivers repeatable and accurate colors on demand with automated onsite dispensing, offering easy access to thousands of colors from the Sherwin-Williams Color Snap® fandeck. 

Color Express and the use of SHER-WOOD® HB Conversion Varnish allowed Out of the Woods to greatly expand their custom color offering with ease, while also helping them increase speed of production and elevate the quality of their products. “From an operations standpoint, it’s been fantastic,” said Peterson. “And with its coating consistency, Color Express also removes the uncertainty of batch-to-batch color matching.”

The company showcases its standard paint and stain colors in their showroom, and also provides access to the full Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap designer library for custom color selection at an upcharge. 

“Delivering a nearly endless selection of color options makes a big difference in getting a client’s business or not,” said Moeller. “If customers don’t find what they want in our standard colors, then they have the option to choose from the Color Express selection.”

Out of the Woods knows consumers are doing their research online before coming into their showroom to make a selection, which is why the company will be launching a new color visualizer tool this year. Sherwin-Williams Color Express™ Color Visualizer is an online inspiration tool that will showcase Out of the Woods’ full product portfolio and Sherwin-Williams color options. Consumers can choose from different cabinet styles and colors to envision how the products will look in their home.

With the Visualizer program, Out of the Woods will be able to integrate new features and capabilities in its showroom and on its website. The tool will also streamline the sales process by giving customers a better idea of what Out of the Woods cabinets would look like in their home.

The service Sherwin-Williams supplies to Out of the Woods does not stop at high-quality coatings and a wide variety of color options. McNeil and Sherwin-Williams technical service representative, Michael Smith, also help provide other equipment and supplies, including spray guns, sandpaper, booth filters, flatline filters and flatline paper to assist in the cabinet manufacturer’s application process.

In fact, the relationship between Sherwin-Williams and Out of the Woods stemmed from a partnership with an associated products vendor who helped supply Out of the Woods with paint booth equipment. From there, McNeil spoke to Out of the Woods about its product finishes, which led to Sherwin-Williams becoming the company’s sole coatings supplier.

When Out of the Woods experienced issues with its in-line spray system, Smith helped supply the company with new spray guns. The new equipment helped the cabinet manufacturer save product and increase efficiency for its stain application process. Instead of requiring two to three people to operate the stain spray booth, Out of the Woods only needs one person at most times.

“Both Smith and McNeil have been a huge help in increasing efficiencies with our in-line system and in our spray booth with our stains,” said Bryant. “They’ve contributed a lot in getting our finishing situation in the shape it is today, and we are grateful for that.”

Both Sherwin-Williams and Out of the Woods prioritize delivering dedicated customer service. That shared understanding strengthens the working relationship between the two companies. From coatings and colors to spray equipment and technology, Sherwin-Williams delivers a full range of services to support its cabinetry customer. As a result, Out of the Woods can turn around and offer its own customers an enhanced experience with high-performance finishes, nearly limitless color options and innovative technology.

“The service Sherwin-Williams gives us is a level of service we definitely didn’t have with our previous suppliers,” said Bryant. “They’ve been there when we need them, have helped us work through difficult situations and solve problems. For us, that goes a long way.”  https://ootwc.com/ 

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The Workplace Redefined: HON's Guidance to Business Furniture Clients

4. July 2020 21:21

 

HON office panels are available in cleanable vinyl or laminates to help prevent the spread of germs in individual workstations.
Glass stack-ons can be added to increase height, while still letting in natural light.

When businesses saw signs of a flattening curve emerging in the COVID-19 pandemic, they began looking to plan for two possibilities: a continued period during which employees would be working from home; or a health-conscious return to the workplace. The HON Company, the largest unit of commercial furniture giant HNI, shares its insights into likely strategies for supporting both developments among its clients. 

How to Plan for a Health-Conscious Return to Work

Work-from-home arrangements were made almost overnight as the pandemic forced the implementation of stay-home orders. While the transition was sudden, American businesses and workers have risen to the occasion. From a trying situation has come a revelation in the way we work, and how it might look going forward.

When signs of a curve flattening in many states emerged, elected officials began rolling out plans to get employees back to work – or simply back to the office. 

Preparing for a New Normal

While we don't know for certain what work and office environments will look like in three weeks or three months, we do know they will look different. And the new dynamic could feature more permanent changes designed to support health and well-being of employees. Experts agree that making employees feel safe and comfortable about being in the office should be at the forefront of every decision-maker's mind as workers across the country get ready to return.

"The biggest thing that companies are focusing on is the mental and physical well-being of their workers," said Holli Renaud, Account Merchandising Manager for The HON Company. "Employees need to mentally feel good about coming into the office, and that translates into some of the physical things companies are doing to promote that comfortability."

"It's going to be about space, cleaning and separation between workstations and in common areas, too. That's how a lot of people are thinking about this situation as they prepare for this change." The changes required won't all be easy, though.

Finding a happy medium between appropriate spacing and a people-focused environment is the task facing companies now. Companies may be trying to juggle the open workplace and collaborative areas with options that can be conducive to social distancing.

"How do we incorporate those elements into the working environment? How do we make sure we continue to build a workplace that people want to work in, while also being able to maintain social distancing? These are key considerations for companies as they look to reopen," said Jim Foster, Vice President & General Manager Merchandising & National Accounts at The HON Company.

Flexible Solutions for Every Home Office

The way you work is changing every day, and you're most likely still figuring out your perfect set up. Whether you have a dedicated room or share the space with the rest of the home, it's important that you have the right products that fit you and your home office needs.

Twitter employees are working from home as long as they choose, even permanently if they want. Google employees are remote until 2021, at least. Other tech companies are moving to remote work in the COVID-19 era and it's brought into focus some long-held principles about work.

Whether you have a designated office or share the space with the rest of the home, it's important that you have the right products that fit you and your home office needs.

The Small Home Office

You might not have space for a formal home office, but HON's multifunctional desks and ergonomically friendly seating are designed to fit in small spaces—and if you're cramped for space, you can stow your desk away when the work day is done.

For workers who want a productive space that can also multi-task after hours, "having a nesting table like the Between is helpful," said Evan Sanford, Category Merchandising Manager for The HON Company. "Also, the Coordinate desktop riser is great because it sits on top of an existing work surface."

Coordinate desktop risers allow you to stand or sit, offering ergonomic flexibility and comfort throughout the day. When working with a small footprint (like an apartment), it's important to utilize furniture that fits when you need the space to work, but doesn't get in the way when you need the space for something else.

The Shared-Room Home Office

As you continue exploring new workstyles in your own home, you may have found a nook that is just right. Those who are outfitting shared rooms look for style and function, and typically, they want the furniture to coordinate with their home environment (we call it "resimercial"). For a shared room, the fully-upholstered Matter chair is an excellent choice, providing comfort and a look that can blend into any space.

"When you walk into the room, you won't necessarily say 'that's an office chair,'" Sanford said. Another option in the shared-room category is the Voi work surface. Its contemporary and modern design gives off a minimalistic vibe, and it has various laminate top and paint options that fit many different aesthetics.

The Dedicated Home Office

A designated office space can be key to maximizing productivity. HON offers products for a traditional or modern office solution designed to ergonomically support you and fit the aesthetic of your home. These products are similar to what you might see in an office space.

For those with the space for a designated home office space, traditional or modern office solutions are designed to ergonomically support the workstation, and the aesthetic of the home.

"Some of our best options are the Coordinate height-adjustable tables. When we talk to people about what products they want, height adjustability is at the top of the list," Sanford said.

With the market shifting toward more workers being remote and/or working from home, a comfortable and ergonomic solution will make your home office more inviting, and you may find yourself more productive as well.

For more information, check out https://www.hon.com/industry/healthy-workplace-solutions

SOURCE: The HON Company

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Forced Curing of Wood Coatings

7. May 2020 10:15

By: Joe Baggett, Innovative Wood Process Solutions

It goes without saying that coatings perform best and achieve their peak performance when they are properly cured. Whether it's a cabinet, furniture item, panel or other products, if they are packaged and put in the field with improperly cured coatings, they are susceptible to moisture, chemical, scratch and mar damage.

Finish or coating failure many times is the result of improperly cured coatings. This is avoided, in traditional, non-UV coatings, by making sure your curing process is delivering something called "forced curing." You have probably heard the term, but it is often one of the most misunderstood parts of the wood finishing process. 

Forced curing is a function of the chemistry of the coating, and the interaction with the wood surface, and relies on reaching a target temperature – a dynamic interaction between the temperature of the wood surface and that of the coating being applied. 

Basic thermodynamics for curing wood coatings

Curing technology actually starts with the board surface temperature, before the coating is even applied. Then it must account for the temperature of the liquid coating as it is applied. The first curing step of the coating after it is applied depends on the solids content, resin, binders, and solvents that make up the coatings. Evacuation of solvent through forced air and heat in combination is the first step after the coating has been allowed to flow out.

Then depending on the chemistry, raising the board surface temperature to the optimum level in the optimal amount of time is the goal. This is where we see many times that the target board surface temperature – the point at which we reach cross-linking, snap curing, polymerization, and other critical chemical reactions – isn’t achieved. For UV coatings getting the solvent out to where the UV light can properly cerate monomer dispersion is critical. 

 

How to Properly Store Wide Sanding Belts To Avoid Damage

28. April 2020 11:00

 

By Curtis Hicks, Uneeda Corp.

 

Uneeda wanted to give everybody a little bit of education on how to store paper wide sanding belts. I'm actually going to show you some pictures that I recently took at a customer's place, and what you have here is a paper wide belt and as you can see, they have it sitting on the floor.

It's not a good way at all to store a wide belt, especially a paper one, because what happens is this paper basically acts like a sponge. What's going on here is this end of the wide belt is just sucking up water just like a sponge would.  It's going to definitely absorb more water than the other end of the belt will, so what will happen is when you put that belt on the machine, that side gets swollen, and it makes it more difficult for the belt to trap-to-track.

So, the next best solution is to hang your belts. Basically you use three or four inch PVC pipes. At this shop they built a hanging rack out of PVC. That's a much better situation. It gets the belt off the floor. This will definitely help your belts track better if you hang them this way before you put them on the machine.

You'll notice in the video, when the belts were first hung up, one wide belt was rubbing against another. That's another big problem with wide belts: you do not want grain rubbing against grain because what will happen is, you're likely to fracture some of that grain. And then you'll end up getting raised lines when you run the belt, because some of the grains would have broken off. 

The absolute most perfect way to store your wide belts is to hang them on a rack built out of PVC – three- or four-inch PVC – and what's really good about this approach is these PVC pipes are typically are about the size of your idler rollers.

Don't stand sanding belts on edge.
Uneeda is a sponsor of the IWF 2020 Finishing Symposium, August 26. 
Learn more and register>>

The very best way to store them is to go get some PVC - just cut some PVC pipe - and simply lay them inside the wide belt. It does not hurt the wide belts at all, and it has a lot of benefits. For instance, as you can see now, the grain on this belt is not touching the grain on that belt, and that's a great improvement. In the example in the video, these pipes were very freshly put in. But as the day goes on, these belts are really going to straighten out and conform to that PVC pipe, so that when you do pull the belt to put on the machine it slides in real easy.

I hope that's helpful. And if you ever need help, don't hesitate to reach out to Uneeda at Uneeda com. We're always there to help. 

SBA Paycheck Protection Loans Went Fast, But More Is On the Way

21. April 2020 09:43

By: Laurie Wolff, Certified Global Business Professional

Wow, that went fast. Some of you were able to obtain loans through the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans, but many were not. Even though the funding levels were larger than anything the SBA has done before, the needs are significantly greater than the funding provided. The SBA has stopped accepting applications unless or until the government authorizes additional funding.

My best guess is that more will be authorized this week. We have already had more people file for unemployment claims than we have created jobs since the end of the Great Recession. Independent contractors and self-employed workers have not yet been able to file for benefits even though those were authorized under the federal stimulus programs. States literally have not had the capacity to process these claims, and as far as I can tell the first of these will start hitting the system next week so expect continued historically high numbers for jobless claims for at least the rest of this month as states play catch up.

Politicians will respond to this with more stimulus, so if you have applications that were pending and not approved, keep working with your bankers because if (when) more funding is authorized, it too will be dispersed quickly. Most state and loan programs were also quickly exhausted but keep in contact with local small business assistance centers and economic development offices in case additional resources become available.

I’ll blog about what the Federal Reserve is doing to stabilize lending and the financial system soon. Some of what they are doing directly benefits large businesses, but if the Fed is able to take the loans guaranteed through the SBA program off the books of banks, that gives banks more ability to lend. Stay in close contact with your lenders. Your bank has a vested interest in your ability to survive this crisis.

I have friends that got the loans and some that didn’t. They applied equally quickly and as far as I can tell were equally worthy. It doesn’t feel fair. I’m glad for those that did get the loans and for their workers. All I can do is encourage those that didn’t to keep at it.

I plan to talk with you about exporting when we meet in Atlanta at IWF, but in the meanwhile I’m happy to answer questions and make referrals to resources, whatever will help you move forward with your business.

Reach Laurie Wolff c/o IWFNetworkNews@iwfatlanta.com   

IWF Education - Top Five Reasons Lean Programs Fail

17. April 2020 14:09

The road to adopting Lean Manufacturing in a woodworking plant is not always smooth, but well worth the effort. At IWF 2020, a day-long symposium, Quantum Lean, will cover the fundamentals, and get you started toward continuous improvement and increased efficiency in your operation. In this video, presenters Lynn Thomson and Brad Cairns show why they are among IWF's most popular presenters. Learn more about the Quantum Lean Symposium and how to register below. 

By Brad Cairns Lynn Thomson

Quantum Lean is a full day Lean Symposium for people who are ready for change, who want more from their existing resources and who want to start the move to manufacturing excellence. The goal of this Symposium is to walk away with a clear direction and action plan to kick off your Lean Journey. Save thousands of dollars! We are going to give you all the tools you would get from one on one consulting, and then some!

Learn more and register for Quantum Lean, August 24 at IWF 2020.

We are going to unroll the “Lean Road Map” so you can not only see where you are at, but where you are going. The day will be jam packed with live flow simulations to see Lean in action. Ever thought: "I'm ready for this journey, but my people aren’t?" If this sounds familiar, fear not, we are covering people development as well. Despite what you may think, most people love Lean once they begin to understand it.

No stone will be left unturned, from setting up team leaders & lean coordinators, Gemba walks, study materials, mentorships & Lean tours. This will be a full emersion that you cannot miss. If you’re a numbers person and increasing your throughput by 30-50% interests you, don’t miss this opportunity to take a Quantum leap forward over your competition.

As a bonus to taking this symposium, we are going to take you on a tour to Japan without leaving the room! Show you what manufacturing excellence looks like. We are going to show you and teach you what we had the privilege of learning from our Japanese mentors. Valuable words from Ritsuo Shingo (Son of Shigeo Shingo, creator of theToyota production system), see a culture and a way of thinking that is bound to be transformational. Smart people can’t believe it’s this simple.

LEAN IS FOR EVERYONE. Whether you run a manufacturing company, a service operation or an office environment, the tools and techniques can be applied to every process. If you are an owner or manager of a company, and you’re looking for that competitive advantage that is not just a flash in the pan or a price war, Lean thinking is your ticket. It is not just for the automotive sector. Let us show you how these tools and techniques translate perfectly into any wood manufacturing operation. What is your strategic plan to stay ahead of the competition? Perhaps a little Lean thinking is just what your organization needs. Learn more and register