Custom cabinetry trends

Info on the cabinet and furniture industries, cabinetmaking and woodworking

Archive for July 2010

Stiles donates machine to WoodLinks RTA contest winner

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Stiles Shop Solutions donated a new Ironwood machine as part of the prize package that will be awarded to the winning school of the WoodLinks USA 2010 RTA contest.
The winner will be able to choose one of three new Ironwood machines as part of their prize: a JT 300 Jointer, FX550 Shaper; or BR23 construction boring machine. WoodLinks USA is a partnership program with schools that prepare students for a career in the woodworking industry. The WoodLinks USA RTA contest will be hosted at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, Aug. 25-28.

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July 27, 2010 at 8:46 am

Furniture design reacts to changing fashions

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Interior design, like fashion, is always changing. Styles, materials, furnishings and decor follow trends and seasons. Good interior design should provide flexibility, allowing a home or business owner to remain current in its aesthetic. Interiors expert Elaine Williamson of Elaine Williamson Designs offers this glimpse of what’s currently trending in the design and décor-scape:

Saving the base: For the past few decades, designers have purchased furniture that served one particular style purpose for a specific room. This meant that, as soon as the property owner or manager decided to redecorate a space, all new base furnishings had to be purchased. Lately, however, it’s become popular among designers to purchase a quality piece of furniture that has desirable, style transcendent “bones” with the intent to reupholster it as fashions change, rather than simply discarding it when it’s time to update the look of a room. This trend has resulted in an increase in purchases from domestically-based manufacturers that make quality furnishings built to last.

Dodge disposable decor. Designers are no longer purchasing one-time use “disposable” decor items, be it furniture, rugs, window treatments and decorative items. Instead, they consider a piece’s re-usability in another future design when considering a purchase. This is the most efficient and cost-effective way to make over a room.

Color craze: The world of color has undergone a makeover also, with yellow and gray leading the way. Together, these colors add a level of calm to the feel of a room, while still adding eye-catching pops of color. Gray works well as a base color on upholstered furniture, especially when coupled with another hot trend: espresso-stained wood. Yellow is best used in small bursts, serves as an impactful infusion of excitement in the room. For instance, a yellow throw pillow on a gray sofa can make a stellar statement.

See the Light: Lighting is currently making a huge push in the marketplace. As the design of table lamps have waned and the style of homes have begun to embrace cleaner lines, pendant and other types of overhead lighting are popular choices for making a major design statement. Beautiful materials, special shapes and versatile sizes are all important.

Ground Control: Natural wood floors are also making a major comeback, and other types of types of natural flooring such as travertine, limestone and honed marbles are in high demand. Recyclable flooring, either in wood or carpet, is also in fashion. Currently, consumers are investing in and embracing their home environment.

Simple swaps mean big impact. If you’re searching for a new look for a room, you can build on the baseline furnishings already installed and switch out accessories, including pillows, picture frames, vases, candles, statues, artwork and other portable items. “Interior design and décor trends change with every season,” Elaine notes, “But, with a strategic foundation of baseline elements like furniture and flooring, you can easily keep up with the trends without sacrificing essential style elements of the space.”

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July 27, 2010 at 8:42 am

See the winners of our first video contest, along with links to most of the entrants

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July 27, 2010 at 8:39 am

Green vs. greenwashing: One man’s view

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Cabinetmaking has always been a green process, until recently. What’s really green and what isn’t?
 Is your cabinet really green?
I’d like to share some of my thoughts on being green and the dangers of greenwashing.
On one hand, the United States is the only nation in the world that flushes perfectly drinkable water down the toilet, which is unconscionable if you’ve ever seen a village without clean water.
On the other hand, as capitalists pan for gold in the green rush, there is often a paradox between what is being sold as helping our environment and the actual consequences that occur.
For millenniums cabinetmaking has been one of the greenest manufacturing jobs on the planet. Think about it:

1. Wood is a renewable resource in an industry that grows three times as many board feet as it harvests.

2. Quality woodworking was typically handcrafted by an artisan who expected it to last centuries.

3. Cabinetmakers of the past typically used trees from nearby, and made pieces from start to finish in one location, so very little fuel was used in transportation.

4. Because furniture was delivered in blankets, very little packaging polluted landfills after it was delivered. Most of the waste was recycled (before recycling was even a word).

Costs vs. quality
Then, all of a sudden some of our industry began to violate the trust woodworkers had earned over thousands of years as they pursued lower costs at the expense of quality.

1. Some manufacturers began to use Chinese plywood which was of poor quality, shipped across oceans, and made using chemicals which were known to be harmful to the human body.

2. Many furniture makers found that it was less expensive to buy their components than it was to make them in their own facility. These parts were wrapped in multiple layers of packaging that would be sent to landfills immediately after opening. Drawer boxes would now come from one location, doors from another, turnings from another, and mouldings from yet another location. This increased the carbon footprint of manufacturing furniture and cabinets exponentially.

3. As transportation costs were reduced, it was often cost efficient to ship either assembled or knock-down furniture built by repressed workers in third world countries across oceans while a formerly dignified industry of skilled American woodworkers was sent to the unemployment office.
And, as consumers became concerned about our environment, manufacturers of virtually every kind of product tried to eliminate certain environmental problems while creating others. For instance waterborne finishes used a little less oil to manufacture, but decreased durability from centuries to decades.
Multiple certifications were created that allowed exotic woods from thousands of miles away to be certified even though built-in furniture handcrafted from the tree in your back yard was no longer qualified to be used in green construction. These green certifications continue to be more about a chain of custody in which every level pays the certification committees than they are about anything that has to do with our environment.
If you care about our planet at all, Earth Day should be more to you then a chance to exploit the public by selling promises that have nothing to do with helping our environment.
Next time a customer asks if you have a green product, instead of reciting some meaningless certification, tell them about the history of woodworking, and let them know you have at least one manufacturer that is trying to be as green as the cabinetmakers whose work inspired us in the first place.

By Mark S. Goldman, president, Pennville Custom Cabinetry

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July 26, 2010 at 8:13 am

IWF plans opening night aquarium event

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The International Woodworking Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair (IWF) plans to host a kickoff event for the 2010 convention at the world’s largest aquarium in Atlanta.
The aquarium will be open exclusively to IWF attendees at a private rate of $17 per person. Guests can enjoy food court items and cash bars throughout the aquarium. The event will take place on Aug. 25, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Georgia Aquarium, located at 225 Baker St. in Atlanta.
For more information, guests should visit the Georgia Aquarium website or call 404.581.4000.

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July 26, 2010 at 8:08 am

Leading indicator predicts recovery in home improvement spending

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Home improvement spending is expected to recover, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released by the Remodeling Futures Program. The LIRA predicted remodeling spending to increase on an annual basis by the end of the year, driven by homeowner optimism, and it is expected to reach the double-digit range in the first quarter of 2011. 
The LIRA is measured as an annual rate-of-change of its components. It provides a short-term outlook of homeowner remodeling activity and is intended to help identify future turning points in the home improvement industry’s business cycle. The Remodeling Futures Program, which released the LIRA,  is a study from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. The next LIRA release date is Oct. 21.

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July 23, 2010 at 8:56 am

Accu-Router announces national machine leasing program

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Accu-Router formed a new alliance with National Machine Tool Financial (NMTF), allowing the company to create a machine leasing program.
As part of the program, customers can go to Accu-Router’s website to generate an instant lease estimate at their desired price, only needing to provide an e-mail address for follow-up. NMTF also offers a lease-to-own option with equipment title transferring for one dollar when the lease term is up. For those applicants with qualified credit, equipment can be purchased at a pre-established price and used 90 to 180 days before payments begin.
 Accu-Router and NMTF also provide a 2010 capital equipment tax calculator, available for download.

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July 23, 2010 at 8:52 am

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