Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe it's 2020. Time just seems to be flying by anymore and I can't always recall where it's gone or what I was doing. This week, however, has been an exception to that rule.

One of the goals Nick and I have made for this year is to spend more time enjoying life. For the last five years we've put everything we have into building the woodworking business. It's been a good thing. Our business has grown and we now have clients who come back to us anytime they want a high quality cabinet or piece of furniture. We're doing it our own way, which after a lot of hard work has begun to pay off.

But that hard work has meant not a lot of time for ourselves. This year we are determined to change that.

The first thing we did as a kick off to our new year was go see some Christmas lights. It's something small, but it was a nice break from the hours of work.

It's called the Lucy Depp Light Show. Six houses get together to put on this show and I have to say it was pretty impressive. I'm looking forward to seeing what they have in store for next year.

That doesn't mean we've been slacking when it comes to work. The woodworking shop is as busy as ever. We've been working on two podiums for a client.

Both podiums are curved and a chocolate brown color. There is space in the top for microphone equipment as well as holes to feed the wires down through the podium.

We started making podiums like this for a client four years ago and they've come back several times since for use to make more with various changes.

Today Nick stained all the parts He'll be applying the lacquer finish and final assembling this weekend.

These podiums take around 40 hours each to build, but the end product is quiet stunning.

Interested in having your own custom piece made? Contact us via our website www.herricksfurniture.com.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

You Can Never Have Enough Clamps...

I remember several  years ago, I was out in the shop helping my husband gather all his clamps together so he could organize them. When I say he has a lot of clamps, I'm not exaggerating. He has an entire wall of clamps of all different sizes. It's crazy how many clamps there are.

When I pointed out how many clamps he has, he very seriously told me 'you can never have enough clamps.'

Today was a perfect example of why he owns so many clamps. He's working on two curved podiums for a client. To ensure the wood is glued properly, there has to be even pressure. That means LOTS of clamps.

He once had to use almost every clamp he owns when building a table top. Even the ones that weren't quite right had to be used because we needed all the pressure we could get to secure the veneer. 

Because there are two curved sides to the podium, each side has to be glued and clamped individually. There also has to be just the right amount of glue applied. Not enough, and it won't stick. Too little, and glue will ooze out the sides creating a mess that has to be cleaned up before proceeding to the next step. 

One of the  things I see all too often on woodworking shows is the use of too much glue. It gets all over the place and most of the time the person doesn't make sure all the glue is removed from the surface before applying the finish. Or they will take a wet rag and wipe the glue, which smears it into the pores. Unless this is sanded out, it will effect the overall appearance of the project once it's complete.

Interested in having your own custom piece made? Contact us via our website www.herricksfurniture.com.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Particle Board And Rain Don't Mix

One of the challenges of owning a business is making sure you have all the materials you need for a job, no matter how big or small. It doesn't matter how large the business is. However, the smaller the company, the more likely the owner is going to be the one making sure everything is in place the way it should be. This means that sometimes, a run to the store is in order.

We've had quite a bit of rain and snow over the last couple of weeks here in Ohio and whenever you're dealing with wood precipitation is not your friend...especially rain.

On one of these rainy days, we had to swing by a store to pick up some rocks to go in front of our shop. The non-stop rain had made everything a mud hole and it was making it difficult to get in and out of the shop without your shoes getting covered in mud.

When we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed as guy loading some stuff into the back of his pick up truck. No big deal, right? I mean we were at a home improvement store.

That is until I realized what he was loading. Long strips of particle board covered in melamine. The ends of the particle board were exposed, soaking up all the moisture the sky could provide.

I kept waiting for him to throw some plastic over it for the drive home, but nope. He strapped it down and drove off as if it were a bright sunny day.

I wonder how the particle board faired since the light rain turned into a heavier down pour about ten minutes later.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Drip, Drip, Drip

It's been a while since I've written on this blog, but one of my goals for 2019 is to be more active here. With everything going on in our lives, it's easy to forget to pop over here and update. I'm going to try and do better.

So what's been going on since my last update?

Where to start...

Five years ago, my husband, Nick, quit his full time job at a custom cabinet shop. We've had our own woodworking business since 2006, but it was something he did on evening and weekends. All that changed when a friend of my husbands asked him if he'd be interested in building pet urns for a local crematory.

Yep, that's right. Wooden urns for cats and dogs.

It was a way to make a steady paycheck that would allow him to quit his job and still give him flexibility to do other jobs as well. A win win as far as both of us were concerned.

Over the last five years our business has steadily increased and we are now booking jobs six months in advance. Some days I find myself spending more time in the shop than I do in front of the computer. That was never a problem I would have foreseen when we started this journey.

My goal with this blog, however, is to share little tidbits not only about the jobs we're working on, but also stories of some of the crazy stuff I encounter in this industry.

One such event involves the roof of our shop. In May of 2018, a big storm rolled through and knocked over one of the trees in our yard. Not a big deal, except for the fact that said tree fell onto the roof of the shop. It left several holes that needed to be repaired. Unfortunately, that was easier said that done.

While we were waiting for the estimates to come in from the roofing companies, the temporary repair leaked three times. We ended up having to cover every machine in the shop in plastic just to make sure nothing else got damaged.

It ended up taking four months to find a company that would do the work since it was a forty year old metal prefab building. If that wasn't bad enough, it took another month for the materials to come in and another two weeks for the work to be scheduled.

You'd think that would be the end of it, right?

Nope. Last week, the roof started leaking in two places. I called the company and they sent a couple of guys out to fix it. I figured we were good, but Nick came in today and informed me that we had sprung two more leaks. Another set of guys is supposed to be out later this week to see about fixing these new issues. I'm crossing my fingers this will be the end of the leaks.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Youtube Video

Hello. I'm back. :)

I know it's been a few weeks since my last post, but I've had good reason. Really. I was making a video!

Everyone seems to be so visual these days, so I decided to create a commercial of sorts for the business. This was my first foray into video making and it took some practice. Once I got the hang of it, it was pretty easy, but that learning curve was not fun. The hardest part turned out to be loading the music and uploading it to Youtube. It would figure that Moviemaker saves in a format that isn't compatible.

So here is it. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Walnut Prices Going Up?

This week the woodworking world received some devastating news. Pennsylvania, one of the regions largest hardwood sources, restricted the movement of walnut into and throughout the state.

Why? Thousand Cankers Disease.

Thousand Cankers Disease is carried by Walnut Twig Beetles. They burrow under the bark of walnut trees and leave behind a fungus. As more and more beetles infect the tree, it impedes the tree's ability to process nutrients and it starves. Once infected with this fungus, a walnut tree can die within ten years.As of now, there is no known cure.

So what does this mean for consumers? As with everything else, when supply goes down, prices go up. Woodworkers will need to be aware of what walnut is available and alternatives they can offer their clients due to the increased pricing.

From the looks of things, it will be a long road ahead. All we can do is hope they find a cure soon and we do not loose all Pennsylvania walnut.



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Factory of the Future?

It seems that everywhere you look today everyone is talking about lean manufacturing. The concept is not new, really. I mean people in every industry have been trying to find better, more efficient, ways of doing things since time began. It's just the way of things.

Competition is also not a recent development. There has always been someone out there who will make whatever it is you do for less or faster or better than you. It's just the nature of the beast.

What I find mind boggling is the way in which the woodworking industry is responding to said competition.

I was reading an article this morning over at CabinetMaker/FDM.com titled What's the furniture factory of the future look like? Surprise, surprise, it was talking about the need for furniture manufacturers to be efficient in order to compete in the global market. "To compete globally, U.S. producers must strip their existing plants tothe floor and install newer means of building furniture that willsatisfy their customers."

Now, I have no problems with efficient building. My husband is a 'yankee', which means he uses every scrap of wood he can before he's forced to call it waste. Most of the wood that ends up in our scrap pile is less than an inch wide and the thickness of shims. There's not a whole lot you can do with that other than use it as kindling. Even our sawdust gets reused by either local farmers as bedding for their animals or as mulch in our garden.

The question, however, becomes... How lean is too lean?

The article goes on to say, "This operation can build semi-custom, upper-medium priced wood furniturefor consumers who demand a wide selection of style, configuration,species, and finish." My question is, where are the craftsman? Where are the people who, for years, to learn their craft, to perfect it?

Unfortunately, this is something as a woodworker's wife I see all too often. Skill and quality are pushed aside for price and speed. The end product is only as good as the person behind it. Where is the pride?

That is one thing I never have to worry about with anything my husband builds. Every piece is important to him. If something goes wrong, he takes it personally. He inspects every board of wood that comes into his shop and finds the best use for it. Machines alone can't do this. We need quality people behind them.

Maybe if we focused on quality verses quantity, the industry as a whole would be better.