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Part 1

AWFS 2017
(Part 2 of 2)

Laguna Lathe Is A Home Run

As a professional woodturner, one of the things that I most wanted to check out at AWFS was the REVO 24/36 lathe from Laguna Tools, with its 24" swing. And I wasn't disappointed. This is the new, 532 lb. big brother to the company's very successful 18/36 that came out a couple of years ago. One of the most obvious details is that there are two control panels - one on the headstock and a second, remote one that can be attached to the tailstock or the body. That means no reaching around a workpiece to make changes or shut down. Really nice feature. There's a switch to choose which panel you wish to use. The only difference is that the remote one doesn't have an RPM digital readout, but both have big buttons for On/Off, variable speed, and an emergency stop. The ways are beautifully ground, so the banjo and tailstock slide with ease. Power is a 3 HP, single phase 220 Volt motor (15 Amp breaker recommended) that has an inverter, so there's lots of torque at slow speeds. And there are two speed ranges (50 to 1,300 and 135 to 3,500) with a quick lever changeover. Everything feels absolutely right, from the locking handles for the rest and tailstock, to the handy toolholders, to the hardened steel edge on the rest that resists nicks, and the full 4-1/2" of travel in the quill. Kudos, Laguna Tools!



At $3,799 before accessories,
this is a lot of lathe for the money.

Robotic Sander for Flat Panel Doors

The focus of the 13,000 square foot Biesse booth this year was on showing how Industry 4.0 is within everyone’s reach. Biesse and Viet demonstrated the new Opera R, a robotic sander that was named a finalist for IWF's Challenger’s Award. This is an impressive machine that will sand MDF doors with a flat center panel, as well as remove cross grain scratching on solid wood doors. Using several different robotic heads, it delivers very high quality sanding results that are normally only obtained from manual hand sanding. The Opera R addresses the difficulties of inconsistent removal of cross grain scratches, delivering finish quality with no swirl or check marks. It provides proper sanding pressure to ensure there is no over-polishing or dips, and it has a low maintenance cost and consistent finish quality from the first door to the last. There is a video here.


CT1 Carpenter's Trailer

One of the most intriguing (and busy) booths we visited at the show was On-Site Building Solutions. The company has developed the ultimate woodworker's toyshop, which is a pull-behind trailer with a complete woodworking shop on board. This isn't just for installers - a couple of guys could build an entire kitchen or even a house on a jobsite with this set-up. And contractors were especially interested in the health aspects. Billed as the industry's first "Dust Collection" carpenter trailer, it pays special attention to COPD and the new OSHA rule 1926.1153 about respirable crystalline silica, which is being phased in through June next year. Construction companies across the country are looking for ways to comply, and the new CT1 Carpenter Trailer looks like an elegant solution. AWFS was On-Site's first show, and the debut of the CT1. There's a video on the trailer here.


Create A Skateboard

We met the folks from Costa Mesa, California who run an oh-so-very-West-Coast program called Create A Skate. It's a STEM-approved curriculum that empowers students to learn math, science, ecology, biology, physics, engineering and artistry, all while building... a skateboard! The program's founder, Paul Schmitt, owns and operates the largest and most successful skateboard manufacturing company in the United States. Junior and senior high-school aged students can create their own personal skateboard deck using an internet-based curriculum provided through the CreateAskate program. And while that program is available to virtually every public and independent school in the US, it is specifically geared for woodshop or art class students between the ages of 10 and 18 years. The cost per raw deck is $15.


See Tiny Things On A Big Screen

Next time you want to check the sharpened edge of a chisel or plane, or need to inspect a carbite cutter or insert for chips, wouldn't it be nice to be able to see it magnified on your laptop or tablet? That's what we thought when we visited the Dino-lite USA booth at the Fair. They have a large selection of handheld and mountable digital microscopes that can be used to blow up the view of a broken part, or an electrical switch or some other item that needs repair. They can also be used to read tiny serial numbers or see why a glue joint failed, or check out a possible crack in a wood turning before it shatters. Prices start at $99 for the basic USB model, and it's Mac OS and Windows compatible. One can magnify images with variable magnification up to 200x, without carrying or changing a lens. And it has built-in LED lights.


All Star CNC Products

AllStar Adhesive Products, Inc. is now officially THE font of knowledge about CNC gasketing, as we discovered when we stopped by their booth at AWFS. This is a family owned and operated California business that supplies unique items to customers around the world. For example, they have a product group called Grid and Pod gasketing that is a non-adhesive gasket that comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and densities. The variety is necessary because every machine builder seemingly uses a different size channel, and some are round, or dovetailed or square. Then there's in-board gasketing, rather than on-board gasketing. Typically, in-board is used to make dedicated fixtures for repetitive applications. And if it's built so that the gasket is only compressing to the level of the fixture (rather than fully compressing each time), the tolerance of the Z-axis will also be much tighter as there's a solid reference point to use. These, and a thousand other insights into proper gasketing, were readily available from AllStar's experts.


Not Every Shop Chooses New Machinery

FerWood USA is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan and it is a subsidiary of an Italian parent company, Ferwood srl. Among professional woodworkers, the name has become synonymous with carefully selected, top quality used woodworking machinery that has been refurbished to the highest standards. The North American subsidiary was formed last year after the aquisition of SIS Machinery, with the prime objective of serving the US, Canadian and Mexican markets. Some of the largest woodworking companies are customers, and some of the best manufacturers are represented. For example, the HOMAG BMG 511 shown at right was just one of almost fifty pieces of premium machinery that were listed on the company's website on the day we visited.


Metal Drawers with Ball Bearing Slides

Last year, North Carolina based Grass America Inc. introduced ZBox, a new metal drawer system that we saw in person for the first time in Las Vegas.The company's existing Zargen metal drawer system has been very successful, so now Grass is offering all of its proven features with a new twist, ball bearing slides. The new ZBox still offers standard and deep drawer heights, railing system, and Pendaflex filing systems, and now woodshops can create a new, full extension, metal drawer. The combined strength of the ball bearing slides with the Zargen's steel construction offers a rugged solution that saves time and money because of its quick construction and simple installation. It comes in three side heights, 3-3/4" (85mm), 5-3/4" (149mm), and 8-3/8" ( 213mm). Plus, there are five lengths - 350mm, 400mm, 470mm, 510mm, 550 mm to provide a wide range of possibilities for cabinet construction.


Tool, Glue and Clamp Free Connector

Häfele America Co. is headquartered in Archdale, North Carolina and is the U.S. branch of a German multi-national that was founded in 1923. Among its latest innovations is a clever little connector called the SC 8/25. After a woodworker drills a couple of 8mm holes, there's no need for tools, glue or clamps to assemble smaller pieces of furniture. They just push together, and as they slide into the holes they rachet, expand and lock in place. Häfele also brought its new 3 mm shelf support system to the show. With smaller holes in casework, these slim shelf pins offer a sleek, nearly imperceptible appearance. Their patented, twin tooth anchoring system digs into casework and grips more as shelf weight increases. They are available in a variety of designs for both wood and glass shelving.


Cabineo one-piece RTA cabinet connector

WoodEzine reported in May that Lamello has introduced a new cabinet assembly connector called Cabineo, and we saw samples at AWFS. Cabineo is inserted into a surface-only routed shape on the cabinet (no edge drilling) , and insertion can be done during production or on the jobsite. If it's done at the woodshop, components can be flat-packed for transport and installers don’t need to deal with loose fittings. The system can be used with all kinds of CNC machines, including very simple 3-axis and nested-based ones. Installers can assemble the finished product with just a cordless drill, and then clip colored cover caps in place. Product testers report drastically reduced setup time and absolutely zero mistakes during assembly. Cabineo was developed by Lamello AG of Bubendorf, Switzerland, and Colonial Saw is the exclusive U.S. importer.


Looking For The Perfect Wood Glue?

The Henkel booth featured the company's Loctite/Aquence adhesive 6-pack for furniture builders. This is a collection of six wood adhesives in 400 ml bottles, primarily designed as a test kit so that shops can try various solutions and figure out what works best for various applications. Included are three assembly glues - Loctite's urethane Moisture Curing Adhesive; AQUENCE polyvinyl acetate Water Resistant Wood Adhesive; and AQUENCE polyvinyl acetate Wood Adhesive. A fourth bottle contains AQUENCE contact Laminating Adhesive, and the last two can be used for either assembly or laminating. They are AQUENCE acrylic Pressure Sensitive Adhesive and AQUENCE polyvinyl acetate Nonporous Surfaces Adhesive. Contact your Henkel rep to get your 6-pack.



The folks from Masisa, which was founded in Chile in 1960, brought samples of their latest melamine boards to Las Vegas. These are PB, MDP or MDF sheets that are coated on both sides with decorative facings impregnated with melamine resins. This gives them a totally closed, pore-free surface, which is hard and resistant to wear and tear. The boards come in a wide range of colors and textures and offer a huge variety of designs. This summer the company decided to focus on its forestry and higher added value business, divesting its industrial assets in Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. So, we will probably see an expanded sales and distribution effort in the U.S. from this progressive organization that has branches in almost every South American country.


Birch Of A Different Color

Remember when we used to put on latex gloves, crack open a can of oil-base and start staining a kitchen? For many of us those days are gone, because now we have options like DesignPly® from North American Plywood Corporation (NAPC). It's a digital, high definition Fuji inkjet staining and finishing system that prints directly to a substrate (plywood, particleboard, MDF, metal and plastics), and is UV topcoated. It delivers panel sizes up to 63" x 123", and up to 2" thick. Whether you need one panel or thousands, this fully automated process can deliver custom designs with perfect color matches and custom cutting, finishing, routing and laminating. NAPC has locations in California and New Jersey.
Ok, back to work. Anyone see my gloves...?


Perplac Autoadhesive by Pertech

The Brazilian company Pertech brought Perplac® to the show. It is a highly resistant, peel-and-stick laminate designed to panel masonry and drywall in humid environments such as kitchens, bathrooms and service areas. It can also be applied over old tiles, without the need for scuffing. Being an aseptic and hypoallergenic product, it is also ideal for paneling in hospitals, clinics and laboratories. There's an app that gives an architect or designer five rooms to be inspired, and preview how patterns and colors will look in furniture, floors and walls before construction or refurbishing begins.


Speed Up Your Cross-Cutting

TigerStop showed its new AutoLoader, which is an automatic infeed station for the company's fully automated cross-cutting saw system, the TigerSaw 1000. With AutoLoader, an operator can load five pieces at a time, from 4 to 24 feet in length, and the material can be sorted for up to seven stations with section lengths in either 3 foot or 6 foot intervals. It's a lot less expensive than comparable saw systems, and it allows the TigerSaw 1000 to run at maximum capacity with a single operator. It delivers finished-part cut quality along with 5-piece door optimization and pack and bundle processing. It comes with best in class Dynamic Optimization™ software for achieving maximum material yield, and a Crayon Defect Marking system that allows shops to defect in-house and use lower grade, less expensive material.


Dust-Free CNC

CNC routers were invented in Japan in 1968 by Isao Shoda, and the company he founded continues to innovate half a century later. The updated Planet Blue model is completely shrouded for a dust-free workstation. In addition, the entire drive system is also protected from fines. It has a new Spindle Change system that makes quick work of that task, and it uses space efficiently thanks to a very compact physical footprint. Three models are available for different work scales. There is very good dust collection around the spindle, which incorporates cooling (no need for a pump). The operator can access an air gun under the hood to blow debris out of sight lines, if necessary. The Shoda website was obviously written by a Japanese site builder and is a little difficult to understand, but the machine will definitely impress.


An Invitation To Exhibit In Santa Fe

For stair professionals, the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association (SMA) offers publications, a knowledge base, education, certification and industry networking programs. And for contractors, architects and homeowners, it offers an interactive map that allows potential customers to locate a pro when they need one. Membership is open to woodworkers and woodshops that assemble, fabricate, or install stairs and/or railings; companies that manufacture, distribute, or supply component materials including hardware and lumber; producers and suppliers of ancillary products such as, paint, adhesives, screws, nails, tools, machinery, software or general business services; plus architects, engineers and designers. All of these businesses are also invited to explore the possibility of booking a remarkably affordable booth at the SMA's annual conference next April (25-29) in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico.


The Center For Lean Learning

He burns more energy than the Las Vegas Strip. We couldn't even find a picture where he wasn't moving. Brad Cairns is a self-described 'Lean Maniac' and his passion in life is making businesses, primarily woodshops, more efficient and profitable. Based in Saint Thomas, Ontario, he travels across North America tilting at windmills of waste. Shop owners can get a small sampling of his approach on the company website, and most will agree that it would be difficult to snooze in his classroom. He comes to your shop, does an evaluation, leaves and plans how he can help, and then spends a week or so teaching everyone in the organization how to be more efficient and less wasteful.


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