Dream Workshop...

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Philip Lengden
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Dream Workshop...

Postby Philip Lengden » Thu, Oct 18 2007, 9:19PM

Hi everyone,

Just doing a small survey of the group to see what equipment you would get if you were outfitting your dream workshop. I'm looking at updating our table saw, jointer, planer and shaper - these are the units I'm curious about. Don't worry about the small things like a mortiser etc., I'm trying to get an idea about whats out there in terms of larger gear. I've been looking at Felder, Laguna, Martin and Mini Max - I haven't settled on a slider vs. a vertical saw either so some input there would be great. Also, the more direct contact you've had with these machines the better!

Thanks
Phil
Philip Lengden
Lengden Gunn Furniture & Design
http://www.LengdenGunn.ca

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Brian Shannon
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Postby Brian Shannon » Fri, Oct 19 2007, 10:21PM

SawStop table saw, 15\" Powermatic Planer

Jon Reichert
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Postby Jon Reichert » Fri, Oct 19 2007, 10:51PM

Kind of a broad question here.

You'll need to determine what kind of work you'll be doing most. It will come down to the type of product your selling that will ultimately lead you toward purching a slider saw or even a cnc. What is the amount of work you'll be doing? What kind of material do you cut? How much space do you have. What kinda power are you set for (3 phase/single)? Also, your budget will narrow things down A LOT. Just a few questions to get the ball rolling. Check out wood web where a lot of people have discussed this stuff to death. Also there are yahoo groups for felder, mini max and laguna. A lot of info there already. That's where I went when trying to decide on a panel saw. You'll actually talk to real customers - that's important.

Best advice I can give is ask yourself a lot of questions about your business. When you have those down on paper you will be able to determine what you need, and only what you need. You may not NEED these things yet. Don't sink yourself in fancy equipment. And what ever you do, don't feel pressure to save a couple hundred bucks because of the \"price of steel\" increasing. Sales people will pressure to buy sooner than later. They'll tell you you can save a lot if you purchase buy the end of the month to avoid price increases. I waited 6 months to buy and every month i got the same story about the \"price increases\". It's really just a marketing tactic. Brush it off. Figure out what will make sense for your shop. Get real customer opinions. VISIT other shops who have these machines. GO to trade shows. Buy carefully and intelligently.

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DanEpps
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Postby DanEpps » Sat, Oct 20 2007, 7:46AM

Excellent response Jon.

Every business decision, whether it is buying new equipment, adding a new product line or expanding the business, should be approached in basically the same manner.

Identify the problem/need.
Determine the solution.
Calculate the return on investment (ROI).

Essentially you need to write a business plan with both existing and new equipment. Show comparisons on how each will affect your bottom line.

Above all, take an analytic approach instead of going into the process with the decision to buy already made.

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Brian Shannon
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Postby Brian Shannon » Sat, Oct 20 2007, 11:29AM

Oh, don't forget the Thermwood Router!

Philip Lengden
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Postby Philip Lengden » Sat, Oct 20 2007, 11:58AM

Thanks Jon for the reply. I should have clarified a few things in my first post. So here it goes...

We originally started out doing solid wood custom pieces but have, over time, ended up doing more and more custom built-ins and free standing wardrobes (a lot of loft spaces in Toronto). Our look is very clean - straight lines, no trim work or carving etc. Unfortunately we're finding that the equipment we have can't hold the tight tolerances we'd like or need for the work we do. Our current saw is an old Rockwell with an Excaliber sled, but its constantly going out of square. Also, the gear that we currently own sort of accumulated over time without any real direction so now that our market seems to be determining things for us, we're seriously looking at setting things up properly.

We've been looking at equipment options for a couple of months now and will be hitting the WMS show next weekend to look things over. We originally started looking for a simple update to our Rockwell - either a Sawstop or similar cabinet saw - which then led us to sliders (Laguna TSS for example), then panel saws (Striebig Compact) and eventually Thermwood CNC machines.

We crunched some numbers on the CS41 thinking that production sharing could make the cost more manageable, but realized that we'd be better off just using the machine for our own work. However we're still concerned about the capitol investment required (approx. $120,000 - this includes the CS41 + $20,000 for a new saw, jointer and planer)

As it now stands we are considering outsourcing our larger jobs to a production sharing shop in the area, and doing the manageable ones in house. However, I'm reconsidering this approach after reconnecting with our local Striebig rep and realizing that maybe keeping everything in house makes more sense.

And now it seems like I'm just rambling so I'll post this then re-group!
Phil
Philip Lengden

Lengden Gunn Furniture & Design

http://www.LengdenGunn.ca

Jon Reichert
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Postby Jon Reichert » Sat, Oct 20 2007, 8:46PM

I took a look at your web site - looks like a lot of solid wood product. Nice work by the way. But you said your getting into more custom built-ins which I assume means more panel stuff.

Obviously production sharing is a good option - but there's always that loss of control to deal with. Like for example if your ordering 10 cabinets all the same size and they have 2 doors and one of the doors on all 10 cabinets have been cut 1/8 too short then you know how that goes - it's the surprises I don't like so much with production sharing. Not to say it can't work, but hopefully your outsource shop is one you know and trust.

I would totally recommend getting a slider. I bought mine from Mini Max. I am leasing mine. I do more panel stuff so it was a no brainer for me to get the panel saw. I did a lot of research before i bought it. Getting clean square parts off the slider is cake. You may also want to hang on to the Rockwell. The two will work well together if you have the space. My only regret getting a slider with out dado capacity. Minimax sells the sw315 for around 8-9 grand. It's a real bare bones machine - but I haven't had to worry about it going out of square - it's very reliable. So that's my plug for Mini Max - they have super excellent customer service too and they have all their parts right here in the good ole US of A.

Best of luck on your search,

Jon

Philip Lengden
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Postby Philip Lengden » Sun, Oct 21 2007, 9:07AM

Jon,
The slider was/is definitely at the top of our list, but we're not sure if we can lose the space required. That's why we like the smaller Laguna TSS (although not truly a full slider, its a nice compact 'hybrid'). Our main needs are a scoring blade and accuracy on long rips. Of course going the Striebig Compact route would be nice but not truly save us any space. Also, any feedback on the combo planer/jointer machines? I found an article from the Mini Max site that was helpful and seemed to put them in quite a good light despite the time required to change over - going this route would be a great space save and might make the larger slider more practical. Again I ramble...
Phil
Philip Lengden

Lengden Gunn Furniture & Design

http://www.LengdenGunn.ca


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