November 2006


President's corner

Next meeting

Last meeting

This & That



Last Meeting

There was no official note taker at the last meeting so I had to rely on several sources to put this report together. Thanks to all for your help.

Stan Booker reported on his group's trip to Tanzania and Uganda.

"Our trip was not a vacation, yet we had what could be described as an amazing, fantastic, awe inspiring, attitude and life-changing look at a part of the world that is so different and with such great needs. It's easy to feel like you can't make a difference. Believe me when I say that with the efforts of my wife's sales of the art work and now the contribution of the tools we collected, we saw how changes are made in peoples lives, a few at a time."

"Thanks to all of you who contributed tools and money towards the efforts to get much-needed tools to Tanzania and Uganda. Four of us made the trip, and were able to transport 200 pounds of tools plus a 74 pound full sized piano keyboard and six trumpets. All of these items were greatly needed and very much appreciated. The tools were far superior to anything available for purchase in both of these countries."

"Since my wife got involved in selling the African arts and crafts, we had hoped for a chance to visit and see how these items were produced. We met many of the people who make these wonderful items, and in doing so we created a secondary mission to support the vocational schools with a regular supply of tools, as we are able to get them there by various means. Furthermore, we became aware of the need of support for their general education programs, as there is very little support from any government or social programs. So a third mission was set up by my wife Kathy to provide systematic financial contribution to the general fund of one specific school in Uganda. I would like to also target this school for a concentrated contribution of tools so that they may get a carpentry program started."

"Support is needed at all levels of life in these two countries, and our tools, like the sales of the artwork, will have a large impact on the efforts to gain self sufficiency. Continue to contribute your extra and no-longer-used tools towards this effort as I continue to work on getting the tools there on a regular basis. Again, thanks to all of you. The tools were immensely appreciated."

There were two Show and Tell items. Mike Bray showed a Mancala Board. It looks like a tray with a row of six troughs parallel to each other. At each end is a larger trough which is at right angles to the parallel rows. Each trough has three beans in it except the two large end ones. This is the oldest game known to man and comes from Africa. He used a router, table saw, hatchet (?), hand plane and sand paper to make it. I Googled the game and found some instructions on how to play it. It was too much for this old dust laden brain but I'm sure Mike explained it at the meeting. Perhaps we can form team(s) and compete in the next Mancala International competition.

I have no information on any announcements that were made at the meeting.

The main topic, the workings of Delphi Productions was expertly described by Jay Perrine and follows.

"The October BAWA meeting was hosted at Delphi Productions located in a former Navy aircraft hanger which in the case of this company/host is a good thing -- they NEED the space. The visit was very creativity inspiring although perhaps not a total focus on woodworking, but for this reviewer was one of the best meetings in years."

"Visiting a company that makes show display components an inspiring tour for woodworking? Explain!"

" First a bit of history. Philo Bemis, our host, was one of the original BAWA members twenty-five years ago and the first thing he shared with the current members in attendance was that in those days it was mostly woodworkers who struggled full time to make a go of woodworking and they were able to have speakers the caliber of Sam Maloof (he named a few more in addition). Philo himself worked in cabinet shops, had his own business, did an apprenticeship with a furniture maker and worked as a foreman/supervisor in architectural woodworking. He joined Delphi Productions with the specific goal of setting up a CNC machine and accompanying efforts. But we are jumping ahead, but clarified that Philo is well grounded, ok, extremely well grounded in most of the woodworking skills we see during other visits or 'practice ourselves'. "

"Here is the creative challenge: (as described by our host) a client comes to see you and wants you to create an exhibit space for various trade shows (or lobby entrance or whatever) and what they (the company he or she represents) is 'larger market share' or to convey 'innovation'. At least in my mind I realized what a creative challenge -- where do you start to work up a drawing or mockup or video to 'sell' the client your three dimensional concept which you would then design full scale, build, label with bar scan tags, and create custom shipping containers for these objects and deliver and get set-up at the trade show ON TIME. Philo clarified that delivered ON TIME is an absolute necessity in this business -- in contrast to a piece of commissioned furniture where you call the client and explain the finish is not yet rubbed out and it will be an additional week and get an ok response on the phone. In contrast in the tradeshow business where a billion dollar a year in sales, the company is counting on you -- there is NO being late -- if you are late there are two consequences, he said: 1. You won't get paid for the current exhibit you just created and 2. They will tell others and nearly instantly you will be out of business. Of course they have not learned either lesson first hand as they have always delivered on time."

"Back to the creative aspects: all designs are drawn using CAD software (and the drawings are kept since they often repair displays that get damaged by say forklifts at the tradeshows) and the team (teams are assembled for each project from among the 85 employees) somehow coordinates the creative design. The question was asked regarding what 'field of study' do you draw upon for your creative efforts, like architecture or art? Answer was that whoever is applying needs to convince the staff that they can provide valuable input regardless of their background. MANY successful employees were in theater set design and production...hmm... that is a craft that calls upon many trades and employees make believe to produce something that has the look of something but it is not really. Then, because most or at least many of the exhibits these days include video or multi-media they have the capability to script and film such components."

"OK, we toured the 100,000 sq. foot hanger that includes a large area of storage of exhibits that are waiting for the next show and we saw many big company names on the custom crates. At the end of the building are offices on the ground and second floor (the rest of the hanger is open space with a ceiling/roof something like 30 to 50 feet high). There is an area that is painted off with 10x10 areas -- all exhibit space it turns out are multiples of 10x10 -- big one could be 100 by 200 but that is still the same basic units."

"The woodworking area (where CAD drawings are used for everything) has one large area with many sophisticated German (and other) quality production woodworking machines -- like a very precise sliding table saw. Sheet goods come in from one end and lumber stock at the other. There is a separate assembly area. The CNC machine was impressive, but the far more impressive aspect was that EIGHTY percent of the exhibit objects are prepared on the CNC machine and despite the very complete woodshop (the non-CNC portion shall we say) they crank out a lot of work using the CNC machine (not plural, not yet anyway). We were entertained with a good exhibit of the CNC by John who is one of their valued employees and seems like he could work with various personalities of the staff (whom we did not meet). Work days are 10 hours long and can include road trips."

"Interesting that the printing and silk screening is farmed out since that equipment is expensive and changes frequently making it cost-prohibitive to stay current with limited production need. Spray painting is done on site and they have one spray booth large enough to hold a tractor-trailer and two car-size spray booths which are fully permitted."

"We only saw a few exhibits under construction but the individual workstations were well equipped and looked like a job there could entail assembly, painting, welding, road-trip work, and far more than just sanding or chopping dovetails. Not the kind of place we would visit often, but a very rewarding visit to give us a glimpse of how to stretch our craft skills (if needed to accommodate our own creative ideas -- which do enter our minds from time to time!!). Thanks to Per for setting this up and to Philo our host for giving us the tour and thank history for this not being the middle ages where trades were secret and we would NOT have been allowed to visit such a facility...ok, and thanks to the Navy for building such a great open shop space for such creative activities to take place! Go BAWA -- nice to visit an original."

Compiled by Mark Rand