Offset Printing Leads to Architectural Wood Product Innovation

By Matt Schumake | Posted: 06/02/2014 9:46PM

 

 Before founding wood component maker SourceCut Industries and growing the company into a high-volume producer of architectural wood products such as acoustic panels and ceiling grids, Brad Wiedenhoeft spent eighteen years in the printing industry—an experience which lent quite a bit of inspiration to SourceCut in its early days.

Brad and his team initially produced custom casegoods and panels, along with vinyl-wrapped wood products which took on the appearance of natural wood grain from a trip under an offset printing cylinder. The custom wood grain printer produced about 300,000 parts each week and the seven employees eventually grew to the company’s current size at 90.

As SourceCut celebrates its 15-year anniversary, Brad and his team continue to follow the demand for high-volume architectural orders. When a company needs upwards of 20,000 square feet of ceiling panels, wall systems, and moldings for a hotel or a casino, SourceCut completes the order. “We’re not shy,” Wiedenhoeft says. “We’ll take a 450-foot order, but our sweet spot is something over thousands of feet.”

Custom cabinets and casegoods still have their place in the shop. In a section of the 68,000 square-foot facility, a team of craftsmen carries on the work which SourceCut began under its original moniker, Independent Cabinet Company, Inc.

Max Wiedenhoeft, Brad’s son, says he’s consistently in awe of the team’s work—noting the techniques used while building a custom concession stand for a local theater.

Aside from the focus on architectural products, Wiedenhoeft says there was another inspiration for the name change. As an acronym, Independent Cabinet Company, Inc spelled ICCY. “We didn’t want to be icky,” he laughs.

His vision is anything but icky. Behind each core product is a set of core principles: solutions, quality, service, and integrity. Maximizing yield and reducing waste are both high priorities. Some of the sawdust from the facility goes directly to local farms which dot the hilly northern Wisconsin landscape.

In founding ICCY, and growing into the SourceCut model, Wiedenhoeft says “The goal was to go where the market took us. If we hadn’t taken that approach, we’d be out of business.” The company grew by taking on whatever the market called for, and Wiedenhoeft adds, “When I had a customer that would commit to me, I would invest in that equipment with the idea that we could leverage it into other products.”

He’s amassed quite a collection of machines in the process: a Wemhöner vacuum press for sealing a vinyl coating into the contours of routered panels, a Düspohl profile wrapper which laminates ultra-thin sheets of vinyl to moldings, and custom-engineered machinery which reinforces the vinyl to prevent tearing. Like the woodgrain on the printing drum, the innovation helps to drive SourceCut’s business model. But Wiedenhoeft would prefer to not reveal his secret.

The facility also houses Giben Gamma and Fastmatic panel saws, a Heesman precision sander, three CNC routers including a Homag BOF 311 and two aggregate tool heads—one with 17 drill bits and another with 13 saw blades.

With the equipment in place and a clear perspective on the future of the company, Wiedenhoeft is focused on growing in the architectural marketplace while also producing more custom work and working with the local schools to support shop classes and develop craftsmanship. “There’s nothing wrong with learning a trade,” he says.

Many of his employees would agree. Most carry degrees from UW Stout and UW Eau Claire, and as SourceCut celebrated its 15th anniversary with an open house and cookout, they frequently came by to joke with the boss while a local musician strummed country songs under a pavilion and their kids played on a series of bounce houses. While the whir of machinery and dust collectors can usually be heard coming from the facility, the afternoon celebration included a medley of music and laughter which carried across the 14 acres of hills and pine trees where SourceCut continues to grow.


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About the Author

Matt Schumake

As a writer for Custom Woodworking Business, Wood & Wood Products and WoodworkingNetwork.com, Matt reports on tools, trends, innovations and business methods in the woodworking industry. His experience spans e-commerce and marketing, and he specializes in developing web and media presence for businesses small and large. In addition to writing, Matt builds custom wood furniture pieces at his home in Chicago, Illinois. He can be reached at mschumake@vancepublishing.com

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