Tuesday, August 28, 2012

IWF 2012 – Day 1

6:56 PM Comments 0

IWF 2012 – Day 1

This is the first industry trade show I have ever visited. I was going in the employ of WoodWorkingNetwork.com, where I am a contributing blogger, and would be hosting a few promotional industry interviews. When not working with Bill Esler, the editor of Custom Woodworking Business, and the other WoodWorkingNetwork.com staff, I would run around the trade show’s cavernous halls like the proverbial kid in a candy shop!

I started out the day by picking up my exhibitor badge and promptly got lost. The show is divided into two show halls, Hall A is the “quiet” floor, with all the plywood, veneer, hardware, and finishing exhibitors, and Hall B is the “noisy” floor, complete with the software, tool, and machinery companies.

After I figured out how to get to Hall A, I found the Custom Woodworking Business booth and met up with Bill Esler. We discussed the schedule of events for the day and headed off to the first of his two industry promotional videos. After watching him and the company rep, I felt a little bit more prepared for my promotional video with Hafele.

After my duties with the Wood Working Network were complete, I started on my journey through the maze of exhibitors. In no particular order, here are some of the notes and highlights from the day:

1. After a tour of the Blum booth, my outlook on what is possible with hinges and slides and drawer boxes is forever changed, which sounds quite nerdy, unless you make your living using that hardware! After seeing their BluMotion soft-close undermount slides, complete with a servo-driven push-to-open mechanism, along with their soft close hinges, which include an on/off switch on each hinge, I was impressed. I am also going to seriously look into their TandemBox, which is a double-walled metal drawer box with integrated BluMotion slides. I know that Grass and Salice have many of the same offerings, but the Blum demonstration was eye-opening, and they set a pretty high bar for the others to match.

2. LED lighting for cabinetry has now become as easy as 1-2-3. First, plug the driver into an outlet that is hidden, like in the microwave cabinet or on top of the cabinetry, next, plug in all the different lights that will be run off the driver (up to six ports), and lastly, plug in any of the switches, which include motion detectors, dimmers, and sensors, and you’re done. The only thing you would need a professional electrician for would be to hard wire the 120V outlets for the drivers. I will be educating myself on the systems offered by Hafele, which is called Loox, and Rev-A-Shelf, through a recently acquired company called Tresco, so I can start selling and integrating these lighting systems into our cabinetry and furniture.

3. I was able to see an in-depth demonstration of the new Brandt Ambition 1110 edgebander from Coby Johnson of Advanced Machinery. I have purchased a half dozen pieces of used machinery from Coby over the past two years, and over the past three months or so we have been looking for quality used edgebanders. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find just the right one. With all the other used equipment I have purchased and appreciated, a used piece seemed perfect for my company, but after surveying the used market, and educating myself on edgebanders, I decided that I was willing to pony up the money and buy new. Brandt recently released their Ambition line of edgebanders, which are geared towards the small cabinet shop. The machine comes standard with top and bottom trim, front and end trim, and buffing, and can also include, at time of purchase, a pre-mill unit. The pre-mill will actually remove anywhere from .5-3 mm from the face of the piece, thereby ensuring the edgeband is being applied to the most perfect face of particle board possible. The unit can also have a scraping unit installed at any point down the road. The results were absolutely incredible! Even the base model, which does not have the pre-mill or scraping stations, produced beautiful results!

4. I discovered rolls of solid wood edgebanding that comes in 2 or 3 mil thicknesses. For some reason I had no idea this existed. I will be using this stuff every time I need to edgebanding a plywood panels. The other beautiful aspect of this edgeband is that it can be layered to create a super thick edgeband.

5. Last but not least, and the most serendipitous discovery of the day, was TreeFrog Veneer and their Chemetal line of metallic veneers. On Tuesday, the day I flew out of Boise for the IWF show, I had a commercial client call to see if we could redo the paneling in the six elevators in one of their commercial buildings in downtown Boise. After calling them back on Wednesday afternoon, I learned that they wanted to replace some of the current Mahogany panels with brushed stainless steel panels. I replied that we could not do that and they should call one of the local metal fabricators. I did not think we could do these panels because cutting and sanding and finishing huge sheets of steel is very difficult in a woodshop. Well, not two hours later, I wandered past the Chemetal booth and realized that their sheets of metal veneer would make this project as easy as a laminate job. I called my client back, explained the discovery, and we are meeting on Tuesday after I return to discuss the details of the job.

The day was long and tiring, but exciting and educational nonetheless. I explored the entire floor of Exhibit Hall A, so the Exhibit Hall B awaits me for day 2 of IWF 2012.