Oshkosh Designs uses heart wood for its fine inlays.
Oshkosh Designs uses heart wood for its fine inlays.

Before starting any intricate design work, Winneconne, WI-based Oshkosh Designs reaches into its heart — of wood, that is.

"We always ask for the heart," said Brenda Kubasta, president. “It’s more cost-effective to get select and better grades, because the next grade down has a lot of sap and knots," she said. This is critical because of the fine inlay and etching that is used to create the company's medallions, borders and parquet designs for use in flooring, stair risers, treads, chair rails, ceilings and backsplashes.

Along with the company's move to its current 65,000-square-foot facility, Oshkosh Designs has been able to implement laser technology and intricate cutting techniques for its inlays. In addition to wood, the company uses natural stone, metal and glass in its flooring designs.

The company performs both the design creation and all machining in-house. Boards are inspected, and then sent to the rough mill area where they are cut and shaped to specification using a variety of equipment, including Cameron Automation, James L. Taylor and Mereen-Johnson machinery. Two LMI lasers are used in etching and cutting the intricate wood parts, while a waterjet laser, located in another area of the facility, cuts the stone, glass and non-ferrous metals. After the parts are hand assembled into intricate patterns, they are glued and mounted. If required, the assembled components are run through a Cemco sander before being finished on the automated Deimco line.

According to Kubasta, the company is an advocate of green manufacturing. The hardwood inlay and parquet wear layers are 5/16 inch to conserve hardwood, the company says, and, when possible, Oshkosh Designs purchases its lumber from certified suppliers. Other ways in which the company is reducing its footprint is by recycling its sawdust to local farmers and using water-based finishes.

Watch the wood laser in action.

For more information, visit www.oshkoshdesigns.com

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The next WCMA Fall Conference & Plant Tour Event will take place Oct. 3-5, 2010, in Williamsport, PA. Contact the WCMA at wcma@woodcomponents.org, or visit www.woodcomponents.org

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