VANCOUVER, BC – Wood Tech Summit, a management level conference for North American woodworking professionals, kicked off Monday with a keynote presentation by renowned designer and custom woodworker Judson Beaumont, owner of Straight Line Designs Inc. The conference continues through Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the University of British Columbia’s Robson Square campus in downtown Vancouver.

Wood Tech Summit is a collaboration of the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP) at UBC and Woodworking Network. In addition to two days of comprehensive full-day conferences — Wood Finishing, Plant Productivity and Business Development, the event also included a Networking Reception with tabletop displays by leading industry suppliers.

During his Monday keynote, Beaumont shared with the audience information culled from his more than 25 years of experience in creating unique furniture and installation pieces while operating his own business. (See video, above.) Beaumont also discussed his use of innovative finishing techniques to create high-margin millwork installations and limited run furniture that are in demand all over North America

Also on the Day One Wood Finishing program were: David Powers of Sherwin-Williams, who gave a brief discussion of the current finishing practices and strategies companies can employ to effectively compete as a supplier of green products; Jason Chiu, Technical Specialist at CAWP, who provided practical strategies and best practices for achieving predictable and repeatable quality in the finishing room; Alan Henderson, western regional manager for Cefla, discussed automation opportunities for small to medium sized finishing operations; and Philip Evans, BC Leadership Chair in Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing for UBC presented the results of recent research on wood finishing, surface preparation and grain raising.

Wood Tech Summit Opens to Good ReviewsBernie Bottens and Denis Staples gave talks on Monday and will also present on Tuesday.

Bottens, a frequent contributor to Woodworking Network/Custom Woodworking Business summarized the materials and technologies currently available, how waterbornes have evolved, and considerations that must be taken into account when using these coatings.

Staples, president of Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, presented a case study of how his company selected equipment and materials and built a modern new finishing department following a devastating fire in 2009. Staples also will be presenting on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s presentations will include two tracks for attendees: Building Wood Business Competitiveness and Maximizing Production Efficiencies.

Speaking on “Entrepreneurship in the Wood Products Industry," Staples details the Ottawa-based Deslaurier Custom Cabinets’ resilience in the face of a devastating loss; on New Year’s Day 2009 a fire that destroyed the production facility in its entirety, including several weeks’ worth of completed orders. By a combination of innovative outsourcing and tenacious rebuilding the company bounced back, surpassing original sales volumes and creating an exemplary production facility in the process. This story is featured in the bestselling book of the same name.

In addition to Bottens, other presenters scheduled for Tuesday’s Building Wood Business Competitiveness track include: Antje Wahl, Markets Group, FPInnovations, who will provide an up to date picture of Canadian and export markets for value-added products; Neil Godin of Neil Godin International, who will discuss his success as “The Turnaround Guy” in assisting companies to bounce back from financial trouble; David Cohen, Professor of Sustainability, Business and Globalisation for UBC, on how customers view “green” and what companies need to do to successfully execute and market green business strategies; Roy Manion, BC Wood Specialties Group, will outline ways that wood products manufacturers can successfully position their companies and products to appeal to architects; a panel discussion on financial and other support services available; and a wrap-up from Iain Macdonald, managing director at CAWP, with tips on online marketing plus inexpensive methods to reach new customers and build brand loyalty.

In addition to the Day Two keynote by Staples of Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, Track Two, “Maximizing Production Efficiencies,” features case studies by: Luke Elias president of Ottawa-based Muskoka Cabinets on how his mid-sized cabinet manufacturing business has integrated the latest tools in MRP, CAD-CAM, Quality Control and RFID Technologies. Also, Bob Law and Andrew Legault of CNC Automation, along with Tommy Gagnon of Machineries AutomatTech, will present a case study example of Canada’s first fully-robotic furniture manufacturing facility, Ro-Bois-Tic, in St.-Apollinaire, QC.

Other Track Two presenters scheduled for Tuesday include: Werner Brinkhaus of Weeke, on CNC manufacturing and how to determine which method is more suitable for your production operation; Brett Reid of BC Saw & Tool Inc. on cutting tool innovations; Hartmut Schrage of Bargstedt, on how mid-size woodworking businesses can become more efficient and improve lead times through the use of automated material handling systems; Peter Mate, president of Planit Canada and a columnist with Woodworking magazine, discusses the latest developments in software for wood products manufacturing; and Ira Laughy, principal at Rapid 3D in Calgary, demonstrates the benefits of digital scanners and other measuring devices for product development, prototyping and other tasks.

For additional information on the event, visit Wood Tech Summit page at

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