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Archive for December 2013

Laguna Tools donates to middle school woodworking program

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Students in Hall’s woodworking class are able to use the bandsaw donated by Laguna to learn basic woodworking skills.

Laguna Tools recently participated in the woodworking program headed by teacher Rand Hall at McKinley Middle School.

Hall, who has taught at the school for 27 years, previously spent many years teaching seventh- and eighth-grade science before the school decided to add electives courses five years ago. Hall volunteered to teach a woodworking course, using his knowledge from building homes for 15 years and restoring antiques in his spare time.

Unfortunately, the school’s administration told Hall there was no money in the budget for the course, so Hall solicited contributions of basic woodworking materials, from wood used to make workbenches, to sandpaper, glue and finishing materials. Hall repaid his contributors by constructing a “sponsor wall” that displayed posters of the companies that supported his program.

Among sponsors, Laguna Tools donated a 14-inch bandsaw, Driftmaster fence and a Resaw King carbide blade to the program.

Hall recounts: “I originally met Laguna Tools in Las Vegas at the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers show (AWFS), where I bought a bandsaw for my home shop. As I used that saw, I realized how well made it was and how well it worked. Two years ago, thanks to the success of the school’s woodworking program and its great sponsors and tool donations, I was able to move the woodworking shop from a small portable classroom to the largest classroom on campus. I emailed Laguna Tools with pictures of my kids and the work they were doing, and asked for a new resaw blade for the used bandsaw we were using.

“The next day, I received an email from Laguna Tools’ Jerry Goodman asking if we would be interested in a new bandsaw. I don’t know if Laguna Tools realizes just how great this donation was for us. It made a huge difference in what I was able to set up for the kids. I have a resaw blade on the Laguna Tools saw, and we use it only for resaw and rip applications. I put a narrow blade on the older bandsaw so the students can use it to cut curves. This put an end to down time in the class since don’t have to change blades every time a student wants to make a straight or curved cut.”

1312CMFlaguna2.jpgHall says he is grateful that the saw is safe for students to use, and they quickly become familiar with it.

More than 500 students in two separate programs have been taught by Hall. He teaches a daily, introductory program, in which students learn basic woodworking skills and make small projects working mostly with hand tools.

He also leads a daily “Entrepreneurs Woodworking Program” for seventh and eighth graders who want to learn how to start their own business. Participants learn how to make specific products, create a business plan showing potential profit, apply for a “virtual loan” and write checks to the MMS Comets VirtualBank for the materials they use. The program also sponsors a craft fair three times a year, which is open to both students and the surrounding community, serving as a place for students to sell their completed projects. After paying back, with real money, the costs for materials, the students keep any profits that result.

“All of the wood donated for the students use is rough and full dimension,” said Hall. “So we use the Laguna Tools’ bandsaw to resaw and dimension the wood to a size more suitable for student projects. In addition, experienced students who can handle more advanced projects receive training and permission to use the Laguna Tools’ 14-inch bandsaw for all rip and resaw cuts.”

“It would be very difficult for me to present the program I offer without the Laguna Tools’ bandsaw,” he said. “The saw’s overall size and quality make for smooth, vibration-free cutting. This smooth operation, along with built-in safety features, makes it a safe tool for student use. My students are usually intimidated the first time they use the saw. But, they quickly gain skill and confidence once they see how easily and well it works to dimension their wood.”

For more information on products offered by Laguna or donations, please visit

Written by cabinettrends

December 31, 2013 at 7:00 am

Wood-Mizer announces Personal Best contest winners

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Sawmill manufacturer, Wood-Mizer LLC, has announced the winners of their 2013 Personal Best Contest, which recognizes Wood-Mizer sawmill owners who have achieved ambitious projects by sawing their own lumber, according to PRWeb. Wood-Mizer, headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., holds the contest every two years and awards $20,000 in prize credits to first, second and third place winners. Entries are judged by creativity originality, complexity, quality of workmanship, and overall use of the Wood-Mizer sawmill to complete the project.

First Place of Category 4 was awarded to Justin Metcalf of Mars Hill, N.C., for building an old world grist mill using his Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic. Second Place went to Robin Graham of Owens Cross Roads, Ala., for his boathouse made from storm damaged trees milled on his Wood-Mizer LT15. And Third Place went to both Robert Gondar of West Burke, Vt., and Randy Madison of Jacksonville, Fla., for using their Wood-Mizer LT15’s. Robert constructed a maple syrup sugarhouse for his grandchildren and Randy built a timber frame woodworking shop. “Every year, we receive more outstanding projects and are overwhelmed with the craftsmanship and dedication of our sawmill owners,” said Dave Mann, National Sales Director for Wood-Mizer. “Their projects are extraordinary.”

Each of the winning projects were featured with an article in The Wood-Mizer Way magazine.

Written by cabinettrends

December 31, 2013 at 7:00 am

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SawStop launches new website

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SawStop, LLC has announced that its new website,, has been completely redesigned, with new content and features.

“Our goal is simple. We want to help our customers learn everything they can about our saws,” says SawStop marketing director Matt Howard. “We accessed new technologies and created tons of content, all with the goal of a seamless, immersive and ultimately useful experience.”

Notable new features include: a live build and price tool, easy saw comparison, new video content, updated media libraries. The new site is designed to be easily accessed on a smartphone, tablet or computer. SawStop is a leader in table saw safety. The company’s saws are designed to minimize saw-related injuries and the costs associated with them.

Written by cabinettrends

December 31, 2013 at 7:00 am

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Custom wood shop owner takes advantage of Laguna Tools’ Smart Shop II

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Mike Lee purchased Laguna’s Smart Shop II when he realized he needed a unit that was easier to set up.

The martial arts are more frequently associated with breaking boards than milling them. But Mike Lee, owner of Lee’s Country Woods in Wood Lake, Minn., has managed to combine both worlds, with the help of a Laguna Tools’ Smart Shop II 4-by-8 ATC.

Lee’s Country Woods is a self-described “old world” CNC routing, milling, woodworking and custom sign shop. Owner Lee, a Grand Master in Tae Kwan Do and a holder of black belts in other disciplines, taught and traveled for years as a martial arts instructor. But, he was also a woodworker whose interest in the craft began in his teens.

“I began working with wood when I was 17,” says Lee. “Even when I was traveling full-time, I always maintained a shop at home. I primarily made high-end signage for businesses, homes and boats. You can see my work all over this country and as far away as Europe.”

In 2005, Lee decided to expand his shop’s capabilities and bought a commonly-available CNC unit. “When local businesses found out I had CNC capability, it soon became the mainstay of my operation,” he said.

According to Lee: “I bought the machine largely based on price. I even saved some money initially because I didn’t know what tooling I would use most. But as I became more familiar with what the unit could do, I realized I was losing productivity because of the time it took to set up.

1312CMFleescountrywoods2.jpgThe Smart Shop II allows Lee to make wood products for many different manufacturers.

“I was still touring as a martial arts teacher when I found Laguna Tools online. Working with them couldn’t have been easier. They even coordinated their delivery schedule to fit my travel schedule. I’m also impressed by Laguna Tools’ approach to customer service. During the shakedown phase of the new machine, they consistently worked to my advantage, rather than their own.

“I soon realized that the Smart Shop II was the unit I should have bought the first time. In fact, when I totaled up the add-ons I bought for my first CNC unit, I realized the built-in capabilities of the Smart Shop ATC would have been less expensive.

“The old unit was cumbersome and time-consuming to use. I needed a separate program to zero each tool. With the Smart Shop, you just zero it once and use the proper tool for the job, such as its four different cutters. It not only works faster, but it gives me the precision my manufacturing clients typically specify. Both my quality and productivity improved almost overnight. “The Smart Shop is a good fit for my shop. You design differently because it does so much. It’s ideal for the short-run niche I typically fill. My normal production runs top out at about 100 or so pieces. I also do a lot of prototyping work where my output goes to a die cutter,” Lee says.

Although Lee still does some sign work, most of his shop time is devoted to CNC machining for manufacturing requirements. He uses the Smart Shop II for up to 4-by-8-foot sheet PVC, high-density Polyethylene (HDPE), high-density foam and wood products. He works for companies as varied as manufacturers of all-terrain wheel chairs, packing crates and the massive electronic scoreboards seen at stadiums.

“The Smart Shop II ATC has given me the opportunity to grow along with my clients,” concludes Mike. “I estimate they’ll have to expand several times over before I have to think about changing anything.”

Written by cabinettrends

December 31, 2013 at 7:00 am

New report finds American manufacturing sector is recovering

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American manufacturing sector is recovering and now is the time for the government to invest in its confirmed growth. The report, authored by Joint Economic Committee Democratic staff, concluded that “manufacturing is the most innovative sector of the economy and is vital to U.S. competitiveness” and found that the value of U.S. manufacturing exports has surpassed the country’s pre-recession peak.

“America’s manufacturing sector is already coming back and is a critical part of our nation’s economic recovery,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who leads the Manufacturing Jobs for America initiative in the Senate. “This report makes clear why it is so important that Washington focuses on manufacturing jobs instead of manufactured crises. Manufacturing jobs are high-quality jobs – they pay more in wages and benefits, create local service jobs and contribute significantly to the local economy. This report thoroughly and thoughtfully lays out how Congress can make a difference in helping American manufacturers grow and create these good jobs, and I appreciate the excellent work by Senator Klobuchar and the Joint Economic Committee in putting it together.”

“America is a country that innovates, makes things, and exports to the world, and manufacturing has long been an engine of economic growth and a key source of good jobs,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee. “This report highlights immediate, bipartisan actions Congress can take to strengthen American manufacturing, from cutting red tape to increase U.S. exports to boosting STEM education, and I will continue to work to move these initiatives forward so we can move our economy forward.”

Among the report’s findings about American manufacturing: • Manufacturing exports are up in value 38 percent since 2009 – beating their pre-recession peak  • Roughly 600,000 high-skilled positions went unfilled in 2012 because of a lack of qualified workers  • Manufacturing accounts for 12 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product  • Manufacturers provide nearly 12 million jobs  • The manufacturing sector has grown by 554,000 jobs since February 2010, adding jobs in 36 of the last 45 months

“Manufacturing in America is fundamentally different today than it was when it fueled the post-war boom and built our middle class,” said Sen. Coons. “As the report shows, one of the areas that has changed is the nature of manufacturing work itself. Today, workers need to be better educated and more skilled – especially in science, technology, engineering and math. Rather than relying on assembly lines made up of many workers repeating the same task over and over again, modern manufacturers are increasingly requiring workers to carry out more complex and varying tasks. Our workers need to be more productive and more skilled because they are overseeing highly complex operations. Manufacturing still holds the same potential as it did before – we just need to modernize our manufacturing sector for the 21st century.”

Written by cabinettrends

December 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

Indiana youth organization crafts wood projects for fundraiser

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Some crafty, Ewing, Ind., residents have started a fundraiser for the restoration of a historic railroad depot in their town, The Republic reports.

Blake Hackman, sponsor of Brownstown Central High School’s FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter, is spearheading the project. He has worked with chapter members to make crafts from wood taken from a local freight depot, which was built in 1910. They will use the money they raise from the wooden crafts they sell to restore the depot for use.

We’re taking nothing and making money out of it,” Hackman told The Republic.

The idea for the project came about when Darlene Butt approached Hackman with a craft Christmas tree she and employee Todd Darlage had found at a craft show to sell at her Ewing Uniques store. Hackman accepted Butt’s challenge and went to work putting together the project: Depot Products.

“I provide the labor and the woodworking shop,” Hackman told The Republic.

The curriculum only allowed for two weeks of woodworking, Hackman told The Republic, which means that he only had about four weeks of student labor available for the project. The rest of the work was completed by himself and volunteers.

After the town took ownership of the depot from CSX Transportation, the wood for the crafts was removed for use. The move was made easier when the roof was taken off the building, Butt told The Republic.

Written by cabinettrends

December 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

International Surface Fabricators Association announces 2013 award winners

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Fadi Halabi, winner of Fabricator of the Year.

The International Surface Fabricators Association announced the winners of its annual awards at the association’s recent annual meeting in Atlanta. The ISFA awards are chosen by association members and given to those in the industry they feel stand out.

The highest honor, Fabricator of the Year, was awarded to Fadi Halabi of Duracite in Fairfield, Calif. The Fabricator of the Year is awarded to an individual of a fabricator member company that in the past year has best exemplified the ISFA ideals of quality, innovation, character and exemplary service to ISFA and/or the decorative surfacing industry, with overall excellence.

Halabi, fabricator of solid surface, granite and other natural stone, quartz surfacing and recycled materials, operates his business with 10 locations in California and Nevada. He earned the award for being a model leader of a large fabrication company, and specifically, for perfecting a color-coding process for his business for the hearing impaired. The process allows anyone at any time to walk into any of the company’s shop locations and know exactly where in the process a job is.

Other winners included:

Associate of the Year: R.S. Hughes for its program of offering ISFA members with product discounts and for overall customer satisfaction, as well as for participation in ISFA functions and supporting the association’s goals.

Innovator Award: Russ Berry of A.S.S.T. in Hannover, Pa., for applying ingenuity to the field of solid surface fabrication that leads to the building of out-of-the-box items and projects that others might shy away from. Berry is a past board member and president of ISFA.

The Envision Award: Cosentino for the creation of a new category in the surfacing industry with the development of its new Dekton product utilizing a process called Particle Sintering Technology.

Written by cabinettrends

December 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

Posted in Business, Cabinet Trends, Uncategorized

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