e've recapped 2014's most-viewed wood industry news, top manufacturing technologies for 2014; the trendiest woodworking projects, and most-clicked how-to articles; and most sought-after design and material trends. Here's a look at 2014's smartest ideas.

Here's a look at the smartest ideas from 2014.

Women in Woodworking: an amazing hour-long conversation during a November webcast explored the career paths of three women in charge of businesses in very different industry segments. Women are a growing segment of the woodworking and wood products marketplaces. You can still listen and watch the recording of the program, intended to foster conversation around opportunities, challenges and the future for this important part of the wood industry workforce. For AWFS 2015 in Las Vegas a live version of this event is being planned.

Technology Driven Wood Products Design and Production: Here's a concept that isn't new to the wood manufacturing industry, but is seeing a greater level of expression than ever. There are many people who are advancing this concept, from AWI whose architectural woodworking firm members like Eastern Millwork are adopting BIM software and executing "virtual cuts" on complex interior projects before live blades spin; young woodworking pros who rely on Sketchup for renderings to clients.

Credit is due SCM global marketing Max Salmi for raising awareness of the by exhibiting 5-axis CNC technology in furniture design shows; to Duane Griffith at Stiles for including 3D Printing Technology at the Executive Briefing Conference this year; and to the many exhibitors and the management of IWF, AWFS, LIGNA and interzum, where advance looks at enabling technology and supplies are celebrated.

Woodworking Inventors: Creating New Products & Business  A full-day symposium looked at how a new breed of woodworkers is approaching the market of the future was held during the International Woodworking Fair 2014 in Atlanta.

"As a panelist on the Woodworking Inventors Symposium, the most surprising benefit to the symposium was the interaction and the back-and-forth with other shop owners," says Jared Patchin of J Alexander Fine Woodworking, Boise, ID

Mind of the Woodworkers: Woodworkers are famously good at arithmetic, but not always so good at making a profit. Why do many woodworkers work so hard for less? Because they love their work, and find many other satisfactions in the job. A seminal study initiated by Woodworking Network's Laurel Didier painted a psycho-demographic portrait of what makes woodworkers tick.

Launched at launched at Cabinets & Closets 2014, it named four typical woodworking personality types that helps us understand why some woodworkers are venturesome, and others can't be told anything. Overall, though, woodworkers prefer to learn from each other in peer-to-peer settings. Bloggist Ethan Abramson also explored how woodworkers think in a striking article: 6 Mistakes That Make Us Woodworkers: Bad Glue-ups Bond Craftsmen

Millennials Don’t Apprentice Like Other Generations Although many of the older generation woodworkers may be living with a millennial at home, an examination of how this generation of workers differs from previous ones - also made during the Stiles EBC 2014 - is illuminating.  In a nutshell, millennials thrive in a flat organization, the don't understand hierarchical authority, and they are less attracted to a long apprenticeship under a demanding master - the training style most closely associated with traditional woodworking and other craft-based industries. 

Furniture With a Story: Heritage and purpose matters to consumers, and marketers are identifying the aspirational quality in manufactured products, including furniture and cabinetry, that drives the buying decision. The "story" may range from the history of the designer or the origin of reclaimed wood, the history of the wood manufacturing company making the item, or the "trending" character (or the "timeless" nature) of the design itself.

Renewed Respect for Technical Education: In 2014 we saw a return to the idea that some students will find more fulfilling careers through technical education and industrial internships, rather than (or blended with) a four-year college degree program. The WMIA Wooden Globe Educator of the Year Award explores this frontier in education. And the forefront of this movement is the  the Woodwork Career Alliance, and its board and the broad ranks of its industry supporters deserve the credit for providing a path for the wood industry in this regard. This is an enabling factor in Insourcing to America, which is growing overall, though not every woodworking company that tries it succeeds.

A call for a National Woodworking Academy also resonated in the industry.

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