Tuesday, September 30, 2008

neat little cabinet


I like this cabinet. It is highly designed, and has good proportions. It will make a very nice vanity. the doors and face frame parts are made from 1" poplar. It is built to last.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

there it is

that is the same hood in all its glory. we saw that earlier upside down, unfinshed, in the shop.
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the glue up

I love this kind of stuff. Started this glue up at 5am. Once you start something like this you can't stop, the glue will dry up on you. This part of an ear shaped bench that we are building. What is neat about this project is two different sized circles are coming together to make a single curve. Briliant work by the designer, not me here but Lee KImball's crew.
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staff meeting

We talked about dependency. We actually talked about a big lesson that we all had about dependency. The lesson may have been biggest for me. I admitted my mistake, or I realized my mistake. I got emotionally angry over some problems that we had in the shop, and sent our painter home for a few days. He seemed happy for the break. I remained furious and we have fallen behind in our work. Thank god for Gagan to challenge me and say, "hey man, we need this guy back". I can't ask for anything more than that from my staff, just challenge me. It shows that you really care about the success of the team.

Anyone who works for me will realize that I repeat the core values of being a team over and over again. A sense of dependency among the team members is value number one. I tore that value down when I sent the painter home. That is the lesson for me.

We talked about the goals, the economy, and maintaining our equipment. For a change I held the meeting in the paint room. The was very interesting, it ind of added an element of fun and laughter, which is hard to do. But it does it relax everybody, I am always open to ways to bring fun into the staff meeting. I think that for this business having the staff meeting first thing Monday morning is best. I know everyones got a sleepy head but when better to lay out the weeks objectives for the team than the first day of the week.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

its about time

job shop. that is what we are. Never are two jobs the same, we may do the same things to each job but they are always different from one another. Built to order, we can't inventory anything everything is built to order when the customer needs it. It is similar to a restaurant that way. A restaurant would never cook 100 steaks at once if they new they were going to sell 100 steaks in a month. Each customer wants their steak cook differently and with different garnishes. Each customer wants their steak to be cooked fresh for them when they want it too. Similarly I can't make everyone's woodwork once at the beginning of each month. We build it is as it is ordered. Nothing wrong with that it is how every job shop in the world operates. It is though a big difference than traditional manufacturing that involves assembly line production. Job shops are very common their are millions of them in America, in all types of industries. I keep a running list of the ones that are in my industry, it is actually quite depressing to see how many competitors their are out there. What really makes us different than one another? Nothing earth shattering here Quality, Price, and Service. those three things have been the deciding factor for customers for ever. But say we are competing with a company that offers the same thing we do in these three areas, than what gives us a competitive edge. Time that is what, how we use it and how we squander it.


Thursday, September 18, 2008


Kitchen cabinetry. This an our own cabinet style we made all the moldings here. And did all the cabinet detail desing.
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passion as fuel

I lost the spirit there for a week. I think the spirit was taken from me by some angry clients. The clients have the right to get angry but it doesn't do any good to get emotional about it. In fact when you are dealing with some one like me who is passionate about his work it can be very diminishing. Crafts people are sometimes fragile because our work is out their in the open to be examined and criticized. Look at the leaning tower of Pisa. Did any one notice how many straight towers where built, no people just focus in the bad one. For me there is no back up plan, pioneers didn't go east I can't turn back I have to press on and go forward, when you work from passion you know that there is nothing else for you to do on this earth but fulfill your destiny. When the angry clients rain on me I have to revert back into the shop and work on infrastructure. I make lean material tags, or work on the next kaizen event, or try to analyze the value stream in the shop. Those types of things make it all seem worth while. Angry emotional clients are the worst, the make me want to leave the business and I know I can't. This industry chose me, it is how I have always felt. And so I serve the cause and the cause serves me.

We are not perfect. We will make mistakes, we know we are going to make mistakes, and we work on being able to fix them right away. How we handle problems is more important than the problem itself.

Dealing with the negative. It is what I heard about the blog before I started. How will I address the negative. My answer to that was "well dealing with the negative says something about the kind of company I am". So far it hasn't really been an issue because no one has ever commented on this blog before. My answer to that is "Learn". What can I learn from my angry emotional clients, what can I take from the experience and use in the future.

One last comment about working over 40 hours a week. I was talking to a friend of mine and he said that there is a diminishing return on working over 40 hours a week, you actually become less productive. I was telling someone the other day that I dream about my work at night in my sleep, they said ughh you must hate that. Actually I like that. It is my unconscious at work. I get answers to my work dilemmas at night it is like a free resource. That unconsciousness only come from working lots of hours for long stretches of time and working so passionately.


Monday, September 8, 2008

hood cover

  This is a great looking hood cover ready for the paint room. It is upside down so it's hard to picture, it will be the best hood cover I thing we have ever made. In terms of quality and proportion, by quality I mean clean and accurite. I will certainly post pictures of the finished piece, which I am very ansxious about.
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Friday, September 5, 2008

Some photos of two park benches that we recently finished. They are built from solid teak. Planks edged glued with two rows of biscuts for holding strenght. Biscuits are supposedly the strongest type of glue contector there is because of the expansion properties.
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

new molding

Here is a close up of one of our new base board designs. I like it because it is one piece, different from a two piece. All two piece moldinge look similiar in that they have a hard edge right before they become completely verticle. You can see how here this molding gradually ends a curve before it gose verticle so there is a light area as opposed to a dark shadow making the molding look much softer. I used 5/4 milled to 1" thick before shaping the top edge. The impact of that is apparent again in the length of the lighted area. I really like this knife that I made and the concept of the one inch single piece base, I will use it again. Another advantage of the 1" base board is the strenght offered at the furntiure style cut outs. I will post a picture of that soon.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

this weeks staff meeting

we had it Tuesday morning. It is a short week and we have many deliverables, so we needed to meet first thing this week and lay-out our strategy. I kind of went on about how no-one does any of the house keeping with being told to. We talked more about the comments that came up last week about everybody having deadlines and not being able to help each other. I want the guys to know that we are so on the right track to being an effective work group. Our next big step in becoming a cohesive team is being able to engage in constructive conflict. We have created conflict by having to many top priorities and the guys are left to hash out how they help one another.
My next move is to have everyone recognize each others strengths and weakness and know automatically how to help out. The meeting this week was very good, I had everyone's attention and there was feedback. We collectively looked at the goals we needed to complete for the week and talked about the best order in which they are to be executed. the execution logistics has changed since then but it is reactive to events unfolding. as the week has progress we have continued to stay focused on the same goals and we have used each others strengths and weaknesses. I am very proud of my team members we have the strongest sense of solidarity right know. I think we are really starting to understand the sense of dependency that I always talk about.


wall cabinets

below you can see the bottom of a wall cabinet. This is a full overlay style cabinet mind you so what I talk about here will 100% apply to a face frame cabinet. What I want to point out is how we finish the bottom of a wall cabinet. First thing to notice is the kleat at the wall which the cabinet actually sits on, this holds the weight of the cabinet. The sheer strength of the screws holding the kleat to the wall do the work. Next we install a part called the light molding, in this senario it is simply a 3/4" by 1.25" piece of square material that is cut to fit in between the l scribe parts. After that I fit in a 1/4" panel to go to at the bottom of the cabinet. Then we put on a part called the kleat cap. which covers the kleat itself. All these parts are nailed on with a pin nailer creating a nice clean finish. The two screw holes that you see in the interior of the cabinet will covered by the hinge.



detailing under the wall cabinet
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