Read More Articles by Matt Schumake

Matt Schumake
As a writer for Woodworking Network, 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 [email protected]

How U.S. Woodshop Won Oak Table Order for France's President

Perhaps you’ve had this daydream in the wood shop - on a still, bright morning, you’re quietly sanding tenon joints and a member of the Secret Service appears in the doorway to say, “We need you.” You set down the project and follow her out – no questions asked. I’ve thought about it. And perhaps that’s not exactly how the process works when the President of the United States commissions you to build a table for the President of France, but only Rohan Ward, of Rohan Ward Designs in Wilmette, IL, would know for sure. Ward, a student of the late master craftsman George Ingham, graduated with First Class honors from Australian National University’s Canberra School of Art, where he received formal training in Woodworking and Furniture Design. In his early career, he worked for private clients in London and throughout the English Countryside. He later managed the high-end custom furniture shop, Bernacki & Fil Workshops in Chicago, before focusing on original furniture designs and commission pieces through Rohan Ward Designs LLC. The Process In order to embody the cultural ties between France and the United States in his design, Ward selected traditional American hardwoods including cherry, walnut and maple, as well as oak sourced from a fallen tree on George Washington’s estate in Mount Vernon. Ward worked with hand planes, routers and jigsaws to shape the sweeping legs, which support a turned pedestal stem and drum table. Dovetail joints secure the corners of the table’s curved-front drawer. The central display features a recessed chamber under glass, enclosing a replica of the key to the Bastille, which was given to George Washington from Marquis de Lafayette by way of Thomas Paine in 1790. The replica key was forged in Mount Vernon with iron from the Statue of Liberty. The “Point Zero” marquetry design beneath the key, mirrors the symbol in the square at the main entrance of the Notre Dame cathedral, which is considered the official center of the city of Paris. Ward says the design and the material selection work together tounite the countries in a symbolic way. After completing the piece, Ward packaged and delivered the table to Washington, DC personally. President Barack Obama presented the table to French President Francoise Hollande in commemoration of his State Visit last February.

Casket Saw and Router Shapes Wood Sides & Mouldings in One Pass

DAVELUYVILLE, Qué. – Doucet, designer, manufacturer and integrator of specialized wood processing machinery such as the ERS grooving saw for engineered flooring, has developed a solution for manufacturers in the wood casket industry. In a single pass, its CSS Casket Side Saw and Router shapes side and end pieces for caskets, including the mouldings and recesses for lock fixtures. Previously, the company says, the task required at least two or three operations. In shaping the side and end pieces, the machine utilizes two saw modules to trim and score grooves in the wood, along with two, 3-axis machining spindles to mill recesses for lock fixtures and two, 1-axis machining spindles to mill recesses for corners. The trimming saw module can also be set to make 45-degree cuts. After cutting individual pieces, the machine uses laser lights to guide operators in assembly by revealing where parts should be placed in reference to the cut position. Its mobile assembly table holds each moulding in place, and its six nailing guns secure each piece. For production runs, the CSS Casket Side Saw and Router also features an HMI touchscreen with parameters saving capabilities. Following the company’s tradition of adapting machines for the needs of its customers, the CSS Casket Side Saw and Router can be customized with a waste belt conveyor and additional assembly jigs.