Why buying wood components makes 'cents'
May 31, 2018 | 2:40 pm CDT

Typically used for furniture, cabinets, building materials and other decorative wood products, dimensioned wood products include: cut-to-size blanks, edge-glued panels, solid or laminated squares, mouldings, turnings, bendings, upholstered frame stock, interior trim, millwork, staircase parts and component parts for cabinets, such as cabinet doors, face frames, and drawer sides and fronts.

Specified by thickness, width and length, dimension products are classified into three types: rough dimension, semi-machined dimension or fully mechanized dimension. Rough dimension stock consists of blanks cut and ripped to specific sizes, normally rough surfaced two sides or more to a nominal size.

Semi-machined dimension components are rough dimension parts that have been carried further in the manufacturing process, including: edge or face gluing, surfacing, moulding, tenoning, turning, sanding, equalizing, trimming, mitering, boring, embossing, shaping, routing, carving, etc.

Fully machined dimension parts need no additional machining to be done prior to assembly except for a final polish sanding operation before finishing or painting.

What to ask before buying

The secret to buying dimension products is communication. Tell your dimension suppliers exactly how the part is going to be used in your finished product. Discuss tolerances, specifications and quantities with your dimension suppliers. Ask them for suggestions to improve lumber yields, production efficiencies, product quality and ways to reduce costs – especially material costs. Since material costs account for over half of the total cost of producing dimension, the use of lower grade materials and optional species can result in dramatic savings. Be sure to discuss alternative solutions to meet your needs.

Dimension buyers also should specify the minimum requirements possible in order to maximize the wood utilization and minimize their costs. To arrive at the most efficient cost, dimension buyers are encouraged to specify only those faces and tolerances necessary to produce a satisfactory wood component product suited to the end use. All too often, a higher grade of material is specified than is actually needed. When this happens, it means the dimension purchaser is paying more than is necessary.

More reasons to outsource

Outsourcing wood components can oftentimes save money. It enables you to take advantage of other’s design and production expertise, thereby saving on the personnel and capital expenditures that would otherwise be required if you were to produce the parts in-house. Other benefits include: increased productivity, quality, consistency and efficiency; and it allows you to expand your product offerings.

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