Editor's Note: This article has been excerpted from an earlier issue of Wood & Wood Products. To read the article in its entirety, click here.

For Northern Contours, a Minnesota-based component manufacturer, the recent economic downturn has been a mixed blessing.

“We have maintained and increased our customer base and created a number of new products that have expanded our footprint in the market,” says National Sales Manager Lary Skow. “We have also focused on a number of specific markets that are generating new sales and new customers, such as refacing and healthcare.”

The manufacturing processes used at the company are fairly simple, Skow says. “Once the core stock is cut, it either goes on to gluing or edgebanding. The final stage for thermofoil is pressing and trimming. For veneer, we press and then send the parts through a series of sanding operations. Complicated parts requiring back side drilling, hinge boring or other additional machining may get done before or after being fabricated into a drawer front or door. Depending upon the product, there may be ancillary machining operations that happen before or after the pressing process.

“We do a significant amount of specialized machining for customers who buy horizontal surface product from us such as desktops. In addition, our custom wood door plant manufactures five-piece wood doors in a variety of mortise-and-tenon and mitered styles that feature membrane-pressed veneer center panels,” Skow adds.

The company also is mindful of quality control and performs inspections throughout various points of operation. “For example, we randomly pull product from production and test it for heat resistance and adhesion. We want to make sure that the components that we are using to make that product are on par with our quality standards.”

Northern Contours Opens New Doors 

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