Scott Grove takes AI for a spin in the woodworking world
Robot at AWFS 2021

With all the talk of Artificial Intelligence, one might think robots are taking over. Scott Grove took AI for a spin asking questions about the upcoming AWFS show in Las Vegas as well as basic woodworking queries.

Hello! How can I help you today?

Like it or not Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in our world. It started with robots answering the phone, leading you to press 1 for customer service, 2 for technical support; then online “live chat” bots that guide you through endless questionnaires; and of course, the ubiquitous robocalls that nothing seems to stop coming to your phone.

But this technology is advancing in ways we’ve never seen before. Now AI scrubs through the internet for information and spits it back out using accurate and concise language, written just for me. And it’s scary.

So, I tried an experiment, to see how ChatGPT would answer questions about woodworking. Our world is advancing at an exponential speed, too, and everyday a new tool, piece of equipment, system, app, or software is introduced. 
To see and keep up with this ever-changing world, I’m attending the AWFS in Las Vegas this July to see some of the recent implementations of AI in the woodworking industry. 

To see the results of my experiment, and get some woodworking tips, keep reading (the paragraph breaks are mine):

Q: How does chatAI work?

A: ChatAI is a type of chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) techniques to understand and respond to user requests in a conversational way. When a user sends a message to ChatAI, the message is processed through a set of algorithms that analyze the user's intent and context. Based on the analysis, ChatAI then generates a response that is most appropriate for the user's request. 

Over time, ChatAI learns from the interactions it has with users and becomes better at understanding natural language and responding accurately. This way, ChatAI can provide personalized and effective assistance to users, making it a valuable tool for automating customer service, improving productivity, and increasing engagement.

Q: How can AI help the woodworking business improve profits, quality and efficiency exhibited at the AWFS show in Las Vegas?

A: Artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful tool that can be used to help woodworking businesses improve efficiency, quality, and profits. At the Association of Woodworking and Furnishing Suppliers Fair (AWFS) in Las Vegas, many innovative technologies that utilize AI will be on display. 

One of the primary advantages of AI in the woodworking industry is in the area of quality control. Machine learning algorithms can be trained to detect defects or imperfections in wood, which can prevent the use of subpar materials and reduce waste. This can result in higher-quality products and improved profitability. Another area where AI can be especially useful is in CNC routing and woodworking. AI-powered CNC machines can help improve efficiency by reducing errors and reducing the time it takes to produce a piece. This can result in faster turnaround times, which can lead to increased profits. 

Additionally, these machines can be optimized for specific materials and applications, which can result in better quality products. AI-powered tools can also help with design and prototyping. With AI, designers can quickly create and test multiple variations of a product in a matter of minutes, helping to speed up the design process. This can help businesses remain competitive by quickly responding to customer needs and bringing new products to market faster. 
In addition to these specific examples, AI can also improve business operations in general. For example, AI chatbots can be used to improve customer service, answering questions and resolving issues in real-time. Additionally, AI-powered solutions can help businesses analyze data to make better decisions, identify areas for improvement, and streamline operations. 

Overall, the use of AI in woodworking has the potential to revolutionize the industry. With the ability to improve quality, increase efficiency, and boost profits, it's no wonder that more and more woodworking businesses are incorporating AI into their operations. The AWFS show in Las Vegas will be an excellent opportunity for both manufacturers and woodworkers to see the latest AI-based innovations and learn how they can be used to improve their businesses.

Q: What are the top 12 reasons to go to the AWFS in Las Vegas in July?

The Association of Woodworking and Furnishing Suppliers Fair (AWFS) is one of the largest woodworking trade shows in North America. Here are the top reasons to attend: 

1. Hundreds of Exhibitors: You will have the opportunity to meet and learn from hundreds of exhibitors from around the world. 

2. New Products: You'll have access to new technology and innovations in woodworking and furnishing supplies. 

3. Networking: The AWFS provides a platform to meet fellow woodworkers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers, and industry insiders. 

4. Education: The AWFS offers a variety of educational opportunities, including seminars and workshops led by industry experts. 

5. The Design Emphasis Contest: A great opportunity for designers to showcase their talents and compete for prizes. [Editor’s note: Design Emphasis is actually the student contest and show at IWF Atlanta; AWFS hosts the Fresh Wood student show.]

6. Green/ Sustainability Initiatives: Stay informed about improving our environment through wood. 

7. Get Inspired: With exhibits of custom woodworking and furniture-making, there's no better place to get inspired. 

8. Industry Trends: Learn about the latest trends in wood products, tools, software and finishing. 

9. Hands-on Demonstrations: Experience up-close product and tool demonstrations from industry-leading suppliers. 

10. Live Product Demonstrations: Watch machinery and tools being used to gain insight into the equipment and possibilities. 

11. The AWFS Fair is a great opportunity to increase efficiency. Companies can see everything they need in one place, saving time and resources. 

12. Business Opportunity: Get a chance to connect and build relationships for future business opportunities.

Q: How can I use AI to improve my woodworking business?

AI can be incredibly beneficial to your woodworking business in multiple ways. Here are few examples: 

1. Quality Control: You can use machine learning algorithms to detect defects in wood and prevent sub-par products from making it to your customers. 

2. Inventory Management: AI can help you manage your inventory and restock materials automatically based on the demand. 

3. Production Efficiency: Implementing AI can optimize your production line for maximum efficiency. You can use AI tools to identify bottlenecks, predict maintenance issues, and automate parts of the production process. 

4. Personalization: AI can help you provide more personalized services to customers, from customized designs to targeted marketing campaigns. 

5. Customer Service: You can use chatbots, which are AI-powered customer service tools, to help your customers at any time, freeing up valuable time for employees to focus on other tasks. 

Implementing AI will bring a competitive edge in the woodworking industry, enhancing customer satisfaction, and increase profits.

Q: What is the best finish to spray on to seal and coat MDF for painted furniture?

For sealing and finishing MDF for painted furniture, there are several options depending on the desired look, durability, and budget. One of the best options is a water-based polyurethane finish. Water-based finishes are durable, easy to clean, and offer excellent protection against scratches and wear. They are also less likely to yellow over time, which is particularly important if you want to maintain a white or light-colored finish. 

Another option is an acrylic sealer. Acrylic sealers are water-based and provide a hard, clear coating that seals the MDF and allows for a smooth, even paint job. They are a cost-effective alternative to polyurethane finishes, but they are not as durable and may require more frequent reapplication. When it comes to application method, spray finishing is often the best option for achieving a smooth, professional-quality finish. It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to ensure proper adhesion and curing of the finish.

Q: What is the best saw blade to cleanly cut melamine panels without chipping out on either side?

When it comes to cutting melamine panels, one of the best options for clean cuts without chipping out on either side is a triple-chip blade. These blades feature a combination of flat top teeth and trapezoidal teeth that create a clean and smooth cut. Another suitable option is a high-quality carbide tipped saw blade with a minimum of 80 teeth designed specifically for cutting melamine materials. These blades are designed to minimize chipping and produce a smooth and precise cut. Make sure to use a blade with a negative hook angle and keep the saw blade sharp to ensure the best results. Additionally, using a zero-clearance insert on your saw can help reduce chipping on the underside of the panel.

OK, it's me. Or is it?
Using ChatGPT (an AI chat generator) to answer questions is fun and a little scary, and I believe the information is more accurate because it’s validated by cross referencing many sources online. This alone seems better than learning from one YouTuber who might not have real-world skills, but does it mean I might be out of a writing or teaching job? Who’s to say? 

Still, I believe ChatGPT when it says that using AI properly in my woodworking business (and writing contributions) will help my bottom line.

Hope to see you at the AWFS. Or, will it really be me? 


Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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About the author
Scott Grove
Scott Grove is an art furniture maker, sculptor, and YouTube personality who selectively teaches and lectures, most notably at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and The Chippendale School of Furniture in Scotland. Visit and/or
As a third-generation artist, Scott Grove designs and creates furniture, sculpture, architectural reproductions, photography, murals, play spaces, interiors, films, and other art using multiple media and many disciplines.
For over thirty years he has developed unconventional methods in his approach; Grove’s large variety of work is known for layers of artistic expression. His pieces are often a combination of uniquely carved textures, radiant veneers and finishes, and found objects. His work creates a desire to touch each piece for a sensuous, pleasurable experience. Sophisticated and elegant with a touch of whimsy, his art raises a sense of wonder and delight.