July 2006


President's corner

Next meeting

Last meeting



Last Meeting

Our VP Jay Perrine started our June meeting at P.A. Bett ArchitecturalWoodworks with a very erudite introduction. First, our Rafflemeister Stan Booker who is 56 years old, retired one year and a new grandpa described the evening's raffle. There are boards of Wenge and Red Birch. They were $20 and $50 respectively away from being snatched by a lucky raffle winner. The raffle tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. See Stan for a deal on a 1,000 tickets or more. In addition, there were many goodies. Our stalwart Secretary, John Blackmore donated a large number of granite stone sanding blocks to be sold by the club for $2 each. They are hard so that one can get a crisp sanded edge. The money from the sale to be poured into the club's coffers, it also appeared that there were many left over for our next meeting. There was also free wood stain available. The free door prizes were many with a fence system, an Ipe board, a folding cart, Gorilla glue and a bottle of yellow glue. The silent auction items included a small jointer, an angle clamp both donated by Stan, a Baldor grinder with a diamond abrasive wheel donated by Jamie Buxton, a small Craftsman bandsaw and a scroll saw stand donated by Mike Cooper and two 8-inch dado sets.

As described by Neal White, the next meeting will be at Woodcraft in San Carlos. It is the Second Annual hand plane meeting. The Saturday following the meeting will be the hand plane demonstration and sharpening and some "hands on" to be also held at Woodcraft. Neal had a teaser question. "Did metal planes replace wooden planes for technical reasons?" Come to the July meeting for the answer.

A discussion started about the Saw Stop table saws. The saw has a safety feature which instantly stops the blade before your finger is removed. Both Woodcraft in San Carlos and the Sawdust Shop now carry them. Several models are available: 3 HP, 5 HP and 7 1/2HP. In addition to the blade stop safety feature, the saws perform better than the Powermatic 66. Craig Colvin of the Sawdust Shop said that he has sold six of them and a customer has already proved their worth. Eric McCrystal said that the Woodcraft-San Carlos store will be getting one for their school. Stan Booker the now retired shop teacher said that schools will only allow students to use the regular table saws at the 9th grade and above level. Neal White said that he just bought one and will demonstrate its safety feature by placing his head in harm's way.

Both Craig of the Sawdust Shop and Eric of Woodcraft-San Carlos said that they have classes year round. In addition, Woodcraft will have their 1st Annual Open House on 10/6 and 7 from 9 AM-6PM and will also have 20 to 30 vendors participating.

For the first time in many, many months we had refreshments courtesy of Fred Reicher who was willing to cart all that stuff around! After basking in coffee, tea, cold drinks and COOKIES, we returned to the meeting.

Program Director Per Madsen said that the Aug 17 meeting will be held in Foster City. The topic will be the Shop Bot CNC router system with possible high school visitors. Bruce Woods will give a tech talk on 2D and 3D CAD software. The annual club dinner and box contest is planned for September in Redwood City. In October there will be a shop visit. The annual jigs and fixtures meeting will be held in November. December will bring the 3rd Annual dessert potluck also in Redwood City.

Introductions were next with new member Jim Luther introducing himself. A warm welcome was extended.

The main presentation had our Featured Speaker, Paul Bet, of P.A. Bet, Inc.

Paul Bet is the founder and president of P.A. Bet, Inc., a manufacturer of premier wood architectural products. Paul is a graduate of California Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in construction management. He has over 25 years experience in the woodworking trade. The company has grown from its roots in the family garage to its current facility of 25,000 square feet. Paul anticipates that the company's growth will require the company to expand to over 60,000 square feet in the future.

Currently the company is organized into three sections: a complete millwork, casework, and doors and windows. The millwork facility supports the casework and doors/window operations. There are 18 people employed in the shop, with six office workers. The company has deliberately avoided putting a sign on its building to advertise its presence. Customers come from a referral base and walk-in customer traffic is not sought.

The company works closely with general contractors. Large casework projects have been completed for country clubs, corporate offices and private residences. In this area many large houses and mansions have been built in recent years. P.A. Bet is just completing a residential project that has spanned three years. The company likes to get involved early in these projects and provide all the cabinets, trim and windows and doors. Quality and unmatched service are its goals.

In the Millwork operation, the company buys rough lumber directly from the mill in either the #1, or #2 grades. It does not buy FAS lumber, preferring to select and grade wood itself. Container quantities of lumber are stored in the shed at the rear of the facility. The types of wood processed include Walnut, Alder, and Mahogany. Rough lumber is milled and routed directly to the molder-a four sided jointer/planer.

In the cabinet operation, nearly 99% of the products are face frame construction. Inlay designs are prominent. Design work is done on Auto CAD. The company does not use Cabinet Vision type design products, but prefers to custom design for its clients. All equipment is calibrated daily to assure precise specifications of finished products and components.

We were given a sequential tour of the operations. The steps included:

  • In-line saws, with laser metrics
  • Numerical drilling
  • 6 headed molder machines
  • Finishing room with sprayers, ventilation
  • Door clamping station
  • 2 dust collector systems, one for chips, the other for dust
  • Tool room --The company makes all of its own tooling. The process includes making a pattern, a template, then grinding the steel.
  • Saws -- for example, a Balestrini saw cuts blind mortise and tenons for mitered doors and windows.
  • An inverted milling machine that cost upwards of $250,000, along with an equal amount for supporting software and accessories.

Bet's general manager, Cliff demonstrated the use of the large Weeke milling machine. It cost over $150,000. This CNC machine holds 16 tools and is accurate to within 0.1 mm. It is not used for boring, but is used primarily for cutting curved parts.

We saw very little inventory of finished product. The emphasis is on getting the jobs through the system and the product to the customer. Because of the specialized nature of the milled and shaped products, we saw few sheet goods. The company's strategy of making custom designed, high end quality products is producing good growth of sales and profits. Paul Bet sees the company diversifying in the future by producing its own brand of quality windows and doors. He monitors technological progress in the woodworking industry by attending trade shows and by traveling to Europe to observe manufacturing processes and new equipment.

The meeting was ending and it was found that the silent auction was languishing with few bids. VP Jay Perrine took the "table saw by the horns" and opened up the silent to a loud auction. Things quickly got out of hand with vicious bidding and near bloody brawls as members bid for the items. The lucky winners hauled away their bargain items as Treasurer Mark Rand was showered with money and dreaming of his next cruise to Acapulco with the proceeds. The rest of the members went home thinking about where to place their soon to be ordered Saw Stop.

John Blackmore and Mark Rand