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IWF Woodworking Today

From Single Phase to Three Phase: Do You Even Know?


February 21, 2023 | Dan Wellens

Most career woodworkers can identify with this question: “Do you have single phase or three phase?”

It’s a phrase I use from time to time in conversations with fellow business owners. Most seasoned woodworkers have experience designing their shop with machines with varying capacities. In our world of tooling, we ride a hard line of residential businesses, “Garage warriors” and/or industrial zoned manufacturers. Seldom do you find a shop in between. 

Most, if not all woodworkers have started in the garage or even leased that smaller industrial space. Most purchased that first woodworking tool from a generic big-box store, normally a miter saw, or cabinet saw as their anchor tool.

Safety Speed 43” wide-belt sander. First production piece of machinery purchased for Country Tables & Furniture. The moment we went from Hobbyist to Manufacturer.

Knowledge and learning in our industry do not come overnight. Exacerbated by the lack of formal education, most of us have endured a sort of “on the job training.” Everyone has a genesis story of how it began, whether it be a mentor at your first cabinet shop or a favorite YouTube influencer. We all started somewhere. For me, it’s an interesting observation when I see on social media platforms thousands of fellow woodworkers who don’t understand even basic trade-craft phrases or next-level tools. Most simply haven’t been exposed to the wide-belt sanders or know the difference between a router table and a shaper mill. 

I ask myself this question constantly: “What is the best way to increase knowledge and training to help this industry we call ’woodworking?’”

I don’t know about you, but I find woodworkers are usually asking the wrong question. Instead of asking about “tips and tricks,” they should be asking: “Is there a tool or machine designed for this?”

The trade show experience. Learning in person, all the best vendors in the industry. This was vital to our business success.

The average small business is always looking for ways to increase productivity. It’s at this very moment when the “average” woodworker starts creating a “jig” or other various “DIY templates” simply to get a project completed. However, without knowledge of the industry, they may not know many of their jigs or workarounds have already been created with greater precision and better safety standards. 

Exposure is one of our industry’s greatest flaws. For younger generations, whose “on the job training” is virtually nonexistent, knowledge now comes to them in form of a device that fits in their pocket. The power of social media is here to stay. Ultimately, we need to reevaluate how we can effectively educate younger generations of woodworkers and business owners.


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