I suppose after a month has passed, I should probably have my IWF 2012 recap completed, so here is the last entry of my experience.
Friday was the third and last day for me. The show lasted through Saturday afternoon, but I was scheduled to fly home, which was not a bad thing, since my feet were sore and tired from all the walking, and I pretty much saw everything I needed to see. Friday turned into a recap day for me, visiting certain booths for a bit more investigation and education.
I started out the day at 8 a.m. by interviewing the fine folks at Hettich for a video with WoodworkingNetwork.com. After the video was complete, I ventured into the now familiar territory of the two exhibit halls.
The first booth I stopped at belonged to Grass. I had never used Grass products before, but I had heard a lot about their products, and since I wanted to begin pushing undermount slides in my company’s cabinetry, I decided to stop and look. I was really impressed.
From what I could tell, Grass and Blum are pretty much on the same level as each other, when it comes to quality, product offerings, and features. The Grass DynaPro 2D and 3D slides functioned beautifully. The product that really caught my eye was their Tiomos soft close hinge.
Tiomos has three levels of soft-close functionality: light, medium, and strong, all built into an elegant hinge. As a comparison, the Salice soft-close hinges are always “on” and the Blum soft-close hinges are either “on” or “off”. Depending on the price, this will be my hinge of choice, as will their DynaPro 2D undermount slides.
Another discovery, thanks entirely to the IWF show, was insert shaper tooling. I had heard about insert tooling before, but, like thousands of things in a busy life, I ignored it because I didn’t have time to investigate.
While insert tooling is more expensive in the beginning, because of the up-front costs of the shaper head, the long term costs can be lower, since you are only replacing insert blades, not the entire head. But I learned that there are many other benefits as well.
The best one, in my opinion, is the fact that the cope and stick profiles on the insert blades will always mate perfectly, since the profiles never change due to sharpening. When the blades become dull, which takes far longer with the insert blades, they are replaced with brand new blades. Goodbye loose and sloppy fitting rails and stiles.
A cabinet shop can also eliminate a wall full of shaper bits, and scale down to six heads in total for door production, since multiple profiles share the same head. I was able to speak to the fine folks at Freeborn and Royce Ayr at the show, and was incredibly impressed with the products from the latter’s collection. With the addition of a new 7.5 HP shaper in our shop, we are ready to add some new shaper bits to our collection, and build some doors.