Woodworking Techniques and Advice

Lean techniques start with traffic flow

ralph_bagnallThis is a four-part series on lean manufacturing for custom shops. Part 1 covered the importance of a clean and organized shop. Part 3 will cover proper batch sizing, while Part 4 will focus on getting employees to “buy in” to the techniques.



Custom shops can harness lean processes

ralph_bagnallMost of us have heard of lean manufacturing. We have read the articles in praise of Toyota and Ford and many other manufacturers that improved the quality and efficiency of their operations. We have heard experts using terms such as “Kaizen,” “Kanban,” and “Heijunka” and wondered if they were just making stuff up.



Cabinet construction can hinge on profits

davidgettsMost professionals in the design and construction industry are familiar with face-frame and frameless cabinetry. But how aware are you of the characteristics of each style? Whether you build cabinets or collaborate with a cabinetmaker on projects, understanding how the different construction methods affect the design and use of space is important if you want to be able to specify them properly.



Solar panels power this shop year-round

We have a 43-panel, 9.8-kilowatt photovoltaic system on the roof of our building. I had it installed in the fall of 2008, using all the available state and federal incentives. Even with that, it will be about a 10- to 12-year payback on the out-of-pocket cost.



Make technology do what you want it to do

davidwoodruffAs the saying goes, “Technology is wonderful when it works, but when it doesn’t, it can be a disaster.” Technological applications are expanding across our industry. Using technology appropriately is simply another part of our tool kit. Businesses can spend a lot of money quickly for very little return on their investment unless an orderly plan is followed.



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