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2014 Upholstery Furniture Frame Workshop-Highlights

Approximately eighty attendees participated in this year's edition of the Upholstery Frame Workshop that was held in the Conover Station Building in downtown Conover, North Carolina. This workshop focuses on the use of lumber, plywood and OSB to make the frames needed in manufacturing upholstery furniture.  This workshop has been an annual event to promote education and networking for individuals and businesses involved in the upholstery furniture industry and supporting industry sectors.

This workshop is hosted by Harry Watt, Wood Products Specialist of the Wood Products Extension Department at North Carolina State University.  It is also supported by a marketing grant of the Golden LEAF Foundation that is promoting the growth of furniture sales by wood shops and factories in the western half of North Carolina.  Also supporting this workshop is Catawba Valley Community College and the Manufacturing Solutions Center.


The Golden Leaf Foundation provided the funding for Harry Watt's salary to host the 2014 Upholstery Furniture Frame Workshop.  Harry is currently working on a grant project that promotes the production of furniture in North Carolina wood shops and factories that is sold in North Carolina retail furniture stores.
GoldenLEAF Logo Image

Agenda List of Sessions

The workshop was broken down into nine sessions lead by seventeen speakers:

Upholstery Frame Workshop Agenda Thursday, November 13th, 2014 Conover, North Carolina
Session Start End Topics Speakers Companies
1 9:00 9:25 Update on Lumber Markets Skinner, Burchett, Kay Associated Hardwoods, AHC, Forest Prod.
2 9:25 9:50 Update on Lumber Equipment Hopper, Fox Weinig, Stiles
3 10:05 10:30 Update on Plywood Markets Sipe, Skinner GLHS Plywood, Associated Hardwoods
4 10:30 10:50 Update on OSB for Frames Edwards, Watt Louisiana-Pacific, NCSU
5 11:05 12:00 Update Panel CNC Equipment Kloman, Shore, Gooble, Herzog Thermwood, Stiles, Diversified, Quis, Accu-Router
  12:00 1:00 Lunch    
6 1:00 1:45 Update 5 Axis CNC Equipment Cassell, Kloman, Shore, Gooble, Herzog Holz-Her, Thermwood, Stiles, Diversified, Accu-Router
7 1:45 2:25 Basics of 3-D Modeling Lawson ModernTech
8 2:35 3:15 Advanced 3-D Modeling Concepts Zeck TriMech
9 3:15 4:00 Integrated Frame/Foam/Fabric Design Rudistill Exact Flat
Sponsors-Breaks and Lunch
  Time   Sponsor Contact Email
Morning Break   Associated Hardwoods Jack Skinner
Lunch-Partner 1   Lousiana-Pacific Everette Edwards
Lunch-Partner 2   Thermwood Jim Kloman
Afternoon Break   GLH Eddy Sipe
Speaker's Contact Information:
First Last Topic Company Phone Email
Todd Herzog CNC Both Accu-Router 937-672-4495
Eric Burchett Lumber AHC 704-584-1014
Jack Skinner Lumber Associated Hardwoods 828-396-3321
Ross Gooble Routers Diversified 704-533-1891
Andrew Rudistill Optimization ExactFlat 828-202-4152 
David Kay Lumber Forest Products 828-466-3488
Eddy Sipe Plywood GLH 704-872-7667 
Michael Cassell Routers Holz-Her/Weinig 704-756-9964
Everette Edwards OSB Louisiana-Pacific 336-404-8599
Justin Lawson 3-D Modeling ModernTech 919-638-6387
Harry Watt OSB North Carolina State University 704-880-5034
Frank  Quis CNC Panel Quis Machinery 910-489-8754
Addison Fox Lumber Stiles 616-481-4346
Lumber Speakers-Skinner, Burchett, Kay
Addison Fox of Stiles Machinery Discussing Lumber Processing Equipment
Eddy Sipe and Jack Skinner discussing the status of the plywood market
The speakers on the status of the lumber market included David Kay, Jack Skinner and Eric Burchett
Addison Fox discussing lumber
processing equipment for frame parts
Eddy Sipe and Jack Skinner discussing the
status of the plywood market for frames
Everette Edwards discussing using OSB for frames
Ross Cooble discussing panel and five axis CNC routers
TR Herzog discussing the use of panel and five axis CNC routers
Everette Edwards discussing the use of
OSB for upholstery furniture frames
Ross Cooble discussing the use of panel
and five axis CNC routers for frames
Todd Herzog discussing the use of panel
five axis CNC routers for frames

Joey Shore discussing the use of CNC routers to cut panels for frames

Jim Kloman discussing the use of panel and five axis CNC routers for frames

michael cassell discussing the use of panel and five axis cnc routers for frames

Joey Shore discussing the use
of panel CNC routers for frames

Jim Kloman discussing the use
of panel CNC routers for frames
Michael Cassell discussing the use of
panel and five axis CNC routers for frames
Justin Lawson discussing the basics of 3-D modeling for frames
Ryan Zeck discussing advanced 3-D modeling for frames
Andrew Rudistill discussing the intregration into one operation the design of frames, fabric, foam and cushions
Justin Lawson discussing the
basics of 3-D modeling for frames
Ryan Zeck discussing advanced
3-D modeling for frames
Andrew Rudistill discussing the intregration into one operation the design of frames, foam, cushions and fabric for upholstery furniture

Workshop Educational Points

1-Lumber markets may be stable for the near term as the export market has seemed to settle down from last spring's strong demand.  The winter will have its usual problems if wet weather keeps the loggers out of the woods.  Good bargains if a shop can use the minor species hardwoods in most cases but strong demand by the oil and gas industry has lead to a tight supply for industrial species hardwoods.

2-Plywood markets for the 7/8" hardwood plywood will continue to be tight as mill capacity is tight and extra capacity is not available. Many users have switched to West Coast and Southern softwood species, as well as the use of combination panels made with both hardwood and softwood veneers.  Many users can look at using OSB if marketing departments can handle not promoting the use of hardwood lumber and plywood in frames.  One suggestion is to use hardwood OSB.

3-OSB is widely used in the lower end and motion furniture and has a significantly better price point than lumber or plywood.  It can be used in a similar fashion to plywood with consideration for long lengths in sofas.  OSB can be assembled using puzzle joints, notch joints and various types of overlap joints.  It would be helpful if the OSB manufacturers made hardwood OSB for the upholstery frame industry.

4-There is a continuing improvement in the CNC routers used for panel processing for furniture frames.  The latest improvements may be in the material handling where the router bits are kept in cutting of panels and a second table or automatic loading and unloading equipment is used to minimize wait times.  Most CNC panel routing is now done using the 3/8" width router bits that have improved yield over the 1/2" wide bits used in earlier times.  Most shops are cutting single stack sheets due to the low run quantities business environment.

5-Five axis CNC routers are becoming more common as shops processing frames are using them for large curved parts like posts and arms that have multiple machining operations.  It is possible in one or two handlings to fully machine an arm or back post that once may have taken ten operations by multiple machines.

6-The use of 3-D modeling software for frames has been fully developed such that the designer creates individual parts then puts them into an assembled frame in the computer model.  This software offers lots of benefits in the better assembly of frames, identification of errors, supporting engineering information and the ability to export data to operate CNC machines and other cutting operations of foam, cushions and fabric.

7-We are getting closer to the integration of the complete process of designing and the manufacturing of upholstery frames by the digital engineering of the frame, cushions, foam and fabric operations.  Thus in the future we should be able to design the frame in 3-D software then output the needed information to operate CNC routers and cutting machines for foam, cushions and fabric.

Next year's frame workshop-the group discussed whether we should have two frame workshops each year starting next year so we would have more time to go into greater depth.  If so, one could take place in June after the April Furniture Marketing High Point and the other in November after the Fall Furniture Market.

Thanks for Vendor That Provided the Lunch and Break Refreshments

We were blessed by four companies hosting the expenses of the break refreshments and lunch.  The providers included:

1-Jack Skinner of Associated Hardwoods of Granite Falls, NC

2-Eddy Sipe of GLH of Statesville, NC

3-Jim Kloman of Thermwood of Dale, IN

4-Everette Edwards of Lousiana-Pacific of Greensboro, NC