To help kick off our 20th Anniversary celebration, we asked William Sampson, one of the founders of the CMA to share his memories of how the organization came to be. Enjoy!
This January marks the 20th anniversary of the official birth of the Cabinet Makers Association, but the organization’s roots date back even farther than that snowy first day just outside Chicago.
The tale involves a handful of cabinet shop owners who had never met before and a couple of magazine editors who started as competitors and quickly became colleagues.
In the beginning
I originally floated the idea of an association for small shop professional woodworkers in 1995 in the first issue of WoodshopBusiness magazine. I had previously worked as editor of Fine Woodworking magazine, and I had launched this new publication after meeting lots of spectacular woodworkers who were struggling because they had no formal business training. But I confess I was too busy trying to grow my magazine to put any serious effort into the association idea.
Then, a few years later, one of my competitors, CabinetMaker magazine, started to get the ball rolling on the idea of an association. Bruce Plantz, editor of CabinetMaker, suggested the association idea in both FDM and CabinetMaker. He also posted about it in an online forum and got nearly 100 responses, mostly from smaller shops.
At the same time, their management was negotiating to buy my magazine, and Bruce invited me to Des Plaines, Illinois, to conclude our magazine negotiations and help spearhead the launch of the association we had both talked about. During our meeting in Des Plaines, we determined that I would take over as editor of CabinetMaker (incorporating my WoodshopBusiness readership) and also take the lead in trying to get the new cabinet shop association off the ground.
Bruce invited five shop owners to join us, and I joined four of them at a face-to-face meeting in Chicago.
Idea to reality
That snowy day meeting of the original board members on January 9, 1998 was the official beginning of what is now the CMA.
Mike Langenderfer came in from Ohio; Jim McDermott from New York; Bob Buckley from Tennessee; Keith Hill from North Carolina, and I flew in from Connecticut. Tom Austin from Texas joined us by telephone. Langenderfer became the CMA’s first president; McDermott, the first vice-president; Buckley, inaugural treasurer, and Hill, inaugural secretary. Austin became our first board member at large, and I became the association’s first executive director. CabinetMaker magazine was named as the management company for the group.
In our two days together, we worked out the basics of incorporation, bylaws, dues and all the trappings that go with a national association. None of us had any real previous experience with this kind of thing, but we were all enthusiastic and hopeful.
McDermott said at the time he hoped the association would improve the professionalism of small shop cabinetmakers.
“There are guys who are not real businessmen who compete and take jobs away from us, and they’re not even really making money,” he said, suggesting the association could improve everyone’s business skills. “Then we can all make more money.”
Everyone from those early days brought a lot of enthusiasm, great ideas and loyalty to the CMA.
Bob Buckley was excited about providing networking opportunities. He wanted to create lots of meetings that included face-to-face round table opportunities to share ideas.
“We’re going to offer members of the association the opportunity to sit and talk with other cabinetmakers who they don’t compete with to help all of us solve problems,” he said at the time.
Long after serving out his term as treasurer, Buckley has remained active in the organization. He eventually closed his shop and retired from cabinetmaking, but he couldn’t stay away. He has recently returned to the industry, helping Cabinotch develop its new line of frameless cabinetry.
Keith Hill echoed Buckley’s emphasis on networking and sharing information between non-competing shops. He also wanted to spearhead an active online forum, and he trumpeted CMA events at trade shows and regional get-togethers. While he has left the industry, he still maintains contact with many of his CMA colleagues.
Tom Austin remained active in the CMA until his untimely death some years later.
Jim McDermott eventually served as president of the association and later as its executive director.
Mike Langenderfer shifted his business from cabinets to countertops, but continues to be an advocate for the value of small business associations as an officer on the board of the International Surface Fabricators Association.
After a number of years managing the CMA, CabinetMaker stepped aside to allow the organization to grow. Even after I was no longer executive director, I actively supported the organization at regional trade shows and with education sessions and publicity through my current role as editor of FDMC.
Today, I applaud how the association has grown and am frankly amazed at what became of an idea hatched by a couple of editors and five shop owners.
Happy anniversary, CMA!
- William Sampson
Colonial Saw, Inc., U.S. distributor of market-leading Striebig vertical panel saws, recently announced a new model coming to the U.S. market in 2018. The new Striebig Standard S model adds another level to their universal vertical sawing technology with integrated new elements and retained proven benefits. Chief among them, the Standard S will incorporate scoring as a standard feature and sport a sleek new operator control panel.
“Striebig has offered the industry workhorse Standard model for decades, delivering value and durability,” said David Bull, Colonial Saw Striebig product manager. “Now with built-in scoring, the enhanced Standard S will help operators achieve a clean cut on both sides. That will be especially helpful for architectural millwork shops working with large, heavy veneered panels or custom-made doors.”
The saw unit and control box of the Standard S deliver both functionality and ergonomics through a new comfort premium package. It that incorporates four popular features straight from the factory: automatic pneumatic locking rollers; Y-axis digital measuring system; pneumatic saw head locking with motorized fine adjustment within 0.005 of an inch; and laser light horizontal cut indicator. There are more than 20 additional options and accessories such as a wooden support wall and X-axis digital measuring system.
“We’re very excited about this new opportunity,” Bull added. “It builds on Striebig’s five decades of sawing technology and delivers the perfect edges and precise dimensions that users have come to expect of every Striebig saw.”
About Colonial Saw
Colonial Saw, Inc. is North America’s importer of Swiss made STRIEBIG Vertical Panel Saws, LAMELLO specialty tools, biscuits and biscuit joiners, and the worlds’ finest grinding machinery. For over half a century, the company has delivered uncompromising performance and value, along with one of the most comprehensive and responsive after-sale customer support programs in the industry. More information can be found at www.csaw.com.
Thick table tops have historically been difficult to find or make. Most suppliers use veneers, standard grade wood, or narrow and poorly matched boards.
TableLegs.com is now offering extra-thick wide-board solid hardwood table tops – refined enough for luxury applications, humble enough for a great pub table. These tops are perfect for coffee tables, dining tables, benches, end stands, desks and kitchen islands, bath vanities and workbenches.
To make their table tops, TableLegs.com uses only premium grade boards, hand-selected for grain and color. Each top is made from 6" to 12" wide boards – each top is a unique, natural work of art. The tops measure a generous 1 ¾" thick. They are available in three species, maple, walnut and mahogany and are available in any size from 12" x 12" to a massive 48" x 110". Table tops are precision cut with square or chamfered edge treatment already applied, sanded, and ready to finish, or finished with natural oil.
See the product here: https://www.tablelegs.com/shop-by-products/table-tops/thick-solid-hardwood-table-tops/
Thick solid hardwood table tops were developed in response to customer demand. Compared to thinner tops, they offer a bolder look, increased strength and improved stability. The use of thicker wood makes these hefty tops less prone to warping and expands the range of applications. These are perfect for a wide range of contemporary and transitional styles. They complement TableLegs.com’s table base kits, which can be assembled in less than 10 minutes with their exclusive EasyBase system using traditional mortise and tenon joinery.
New extra-thick tops are the latest addition to TableLegs.com’s line of premium grade table tops. Custom solid hardwood tops are already offered square, round, and rectangular in 3/4", 1", & 1.25" thick, with a choice of eight edge profiles and six species. StratoLine laminated tops are available square and round, in 3 beautiful looks: spalted maple, rustic white oak and vintage walnut. With the addition of the extra-thick 1 ¾ top, TableLegs.com is now poised to take the premium table top market by storm.
About TableLegs.com: TableLegs.com is a Vermont company that designs and manufactures quality components for furniture, cabinetry and architecture, along with fine finished and unfinished furniture. They sell directly to professional woodworkers, furniture makers, hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers. Balanced proportion, crisp detail, and easy assembly are the hallmarks of their products. For more, visit TableLegs.com.
The latest version of WorkPLAN ERP, from Vero Software, has been developed for the specific requirements of production management, in terms of mobility and rapidity from the design phase of a project, right through to delivery of the end product.
WorkPLAN has also developed a new interface specifically for the woodworking / joinery / interior-design sector.
In its new 2018 R1 release, the WorkPLAN CRM module enhances performance and accessibility with the introduction of a Mobile License solution, resulting from a collaborative partnership with Swing Mobility, a leader in mobile applications. WorkPLAN Product Manager Christophe Mas says, “Mobility has become an essential tool for everyday company management. Building on experience, the WorkPLAN CRM module offers a highly efficient service for smartphones, tablets and laptops."
The mobile license is available for Apple, Android and Windows platforms. It offers quick access to customer data, tracking and organizing CRM actions such as appointments and tasks. Users can quickly display a summary of opportunities, quotes, orders, invoices and consolidated turnover.
Because Production Management is not confined to the workshop, WorkPLAN 2018 R1 introduces a Packing Management module, offering tight control over shipments and rapid data exchange between different departments while minimizing the need for paperwork.
Mas explains, "The touch tablet allows barcode scanning, real-time data entry, and recording of packing data. It will now be possible to make up the packages, edit packing lists and/or labels showing weight, dimensions, and departure date, and to track the progression of each shipment, from package preparation to loading."
To optimize production equipment, WorkPLAN now offers fully integrated CMMS functionality. The new CMMS module defines spare part lists and document management for each machine, as well as allocating time and purchase records for unproductive tasks covered by CMMS operations, and allows real-time tracking of preventive and corrective maintenance schedules.
“The intervention requests can come directly from the workshop, based on a predefined default, which is a comfort for the users. The new CMMS module uses existing functionalities of the WorkPLAN license, such as purchasing, quality control, planning, and cost analysis. The accuracy of this new functionality will depend on the functionalities implemented by the users.”
WorkPLAN Solutions 2018 R1 can now be used effectively in the woodworking sector by integrating with Vero Software’s Cabinet Vision application. Combining a specialized interior layout CAD/CAM system with a high-performance Project Management solution, WorkPLAN allows users to organize workshop operations from the design phase of a project right through to its completion.
Both Cabinet Vision and WorkPLAN users will be able to recover the project from its design phase, synchronize component libraries, recover estimated time and material requirement via the Bid Center, input optimization and nesting programs via S2M, and manage production schedules with automatic distribution. “The seamless integration of the two software applications will allow users to improve their productivity by optimizing project job tracking, supply management and stock control, and production monitoring," Mas says.
To help improve efficiency and performance by maintaining a permanent connection with customers, suppliers and partners, WorkPLAN employs technologies such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and non-standardized APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), and database synchronization with files such as XML, CSV, and Excel, using ODBC SQL or Web Service queries.
“Among other things, this allows the creation of multi-line quotations and bulk order importing, creation and updating files with interface to shipping software, and outsourcing management communication between WorkPLAN databases.”
In this major release, several new features and enhancements aim at improving overall workflow when managing projects in WorkPLAN Solutions.
After the integration of leave and purchase requests in the 2017 version, Manual Time Management has been renamed Quick Access License, and further enhanced with new functionality, including the integration of intervention requests related to the new CMMS module.
Mas concludes, "Across the board, from quotations to quality control through design, manufacturing, technical data management, purchasing, scheduling and time management, the different modules of the software contain a wide range of new features, such as:
About Vero Software
Headquartered in England, Vero Software designs, develops, and supplies CAD/CAM/CAE software radically enhancing the efficiency of design and manufacturing processes, providing its customers with exceptional value through high productivity gains and significantly reducing time to market.
The company’s world-renowned brands include Alphacam, Cabinet Vision, Edgecam, Machining STRATEGIST, PEPS, Radan, SMIRT, Surfcam, WorkNC, WorkPLAN, and VISI. Despite the diversity of application, these solutions have one thing in common: they all address the rising challenges of achieving manufacturing efficiencies and bring huge value to the operations in which they are deployed.
Vero has direct offices in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, USA, Brazil, Netherlands, China, South Korea, Spain and India supplying products to more than 45 countries through its wholly owned subsidiaries and reseller network.
Vero is part of Hexagon (Nordic exchange: HEXA B), a leading global provider of information technologies that drive quality and productivity across geospatial and industrial enterprise applications.
For more information, please visit www.verosoftware.com.
Atlanta Cabinet Shop Inc. has launched a new line of contemporary cabinet fronts available online. The new product line includes both shaker style (5-piece) and slab style door and drawer fronts available in many material choices. The focus is on high-gloss acrylics and textured TFL.
Don Clements, President of ACS, stated: “Our goal is to become the premier source for TFL and Acrylic cabinet fronts in the south”.
Founded in 1928, ACS has concentrated their efforts for two decades on panel processing. Gary Balcom, Chief Operations Officer said, “We excel in panel processing and the new product line is a perfect fit for our operation. We will offer a quality door, sized to their needs, with short lead times. We have invested in equipment and developed processes that will benefit our customers. The new TFL and high-gloss acrylic materials are amazing, and are beginning to rival solid wood in appearance.”
Currently, ACS has 30 plus material choices. This includes 10 high gloss options. Utilizing modern edgebanding equipment, ACS uses zero-edge technology on all Solid Color Fronts, resulting in a visually seamless edge. Depending on the material selection, the new products’ core material is MDF or particleboard. All board is Carb 2 compliant.
Material choices include Uniboard, DixieLam, StyleLite, and Panasphere, among others. “We are excited about the look, feel and performance of the new TFL panels.” Clements commented. ACS continues to grow their product catalog, and many products are available now. “Our online order system is fast and easy, and available 24/7. We want to partner with our customers, not just be another supplier” Balcom stated.
ACS, located in the Atlanta GA area, is a premier source for contemporary cabinet fronts. ACS offers an easy online quotation/order entry platform and produces high-quality door and drawer fronts using the latest materials and technology. Their unique approach offers customers a better experience, increases quality and reduces lead times.
Find out more at www.atlantacabinet.com
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