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Flat finishes are applied to great advantage, and because of greater uniformity of surface, more closely resemble a rubbed finish than when brushed.
The Aeron offers, perhaps, greater advantages in the application of shellac than with other materials. It is a matter of common knowledge that shellac is very difficult to brush, while on the other hand it aerons easily. Instead of cutting the gum four or five pounds to the gallon of alcohol, as for brushing, the material is used in the proportion of two and one-half to three pounds of gum to the gallon. The aeroned coat of shellac is perfectly smooth and uniform, and requires practically no sanding compared with the work necessary to sand a brushed coat.
White undercoats and enamels are handled in the Aeron with surprising ease, considering the difficulties they offer in brushing. White brushed finishes require several coats to properly cover a job, while in aeroningowing to the uniformity of surface and the absence of brush marks or -one or two coats usually can be saved. One coat of white primer put on with the Aeron will cover a piece of work as well or better than two brushed coats. Some very presentable product is being turned out with two coats in satin finish and three coats in gloss with this system. Highest grade rubbed white work is done in four coats. Brush marks, runs and laps are eliminated and the saving is obvious.
Stains and fillers are being aeroned in some factories, but usually the process is not applicable to these materials. When fillers are applied with the Aeron, the unusual rapidity of the drying makes it somewhat difficult to obtain an even shade of color.
The saving in time depends upon the material applied, the nature of the work finished and the method of handling the piece. In general, it can be conservatively stated that one man operating an Aeron can do a given amount of work in from one-half to one-tenth of the time required to brush the same job.
The economy of time is greater with the shellacs and primers, one man being able to do the work of from four to eight men on ordinary case goods or flat surfacessuch as tables. On carved work, and the like, the saving is still more. The advantage in time on chairs is great because of the many different surfaces and angles, all of which offer difficulty in brushing.
The varnish and enamel coats cannot be handled as rapidly as the undercoats, but the differences in time required with the Aeron and with the brush is nearly as marked as in the case of the undercoats.
The Aeron is simple and easy to operate, and a week's work is sufficient to make an efficient and expert operator of the average man.
The work is clean and, what is more, is healthful and sanitary, as all vapors and fumes are removed from the finishing-room by the exhaust fan used with each outfit.
Cleaning the Aeron is accomplished by spraying a solvent through the nozzle instead of the finishing material, and the whole machine may be placed in a can of thinner over night if desired. It is necessary to clean the Aeron but once a day if it is used more or less continuously. The whole operation of cleaning may be performed in a minute or two.
There is usually some loss in finishing material when the Aeron is used, though this is hardly noticeable except on small work, when it may amount to 15 or 20 per cent. In many cases there is no waste, in others an actual saving-where coats are eliminated by the use of the machine. As an average, however, there is some slight loss-largely of the solvent used in reducing the material. In any event, however, the waste is offset many times by the saving effected in time and labor, without taking into consideration the saving in floor space, the greater ease in handling the work, the better quality of the work done, the advantage to the workmen, and, finally, the general all around convenience of the Aeron system.
An Arraignment of Woods Which Pass as Mahogany and Which Are Not Mahogany, With a Pointed Rejoinder by a User of Philippine Mahogany
RECENT number of The Hardwood Record, of Chicago, contained an editorial on the sale of a number of woods from Africa and the Philippines, which was as follows: "Genuine mahogany is probably the most useful of all cabinet woods. It is famous for its perfect seasoning, for the precise manner in which it stands after being placed in a finished piece of cabinet work, its gorgeous polish and the tone imparted to it with age. The supply is abundant and the price reasonable.
"The extensive use of this most popular wood causes as a natural result the importation of other woods that do not possess the qualities of the true mahogany, but which the importer hopes will, by reason of somewhat similar appearance, sell as a substitute for mahogany at a lower price. The entire trade suffers from this and it militates against genuine mahogany, as the buyer of goods manufactured from such substitutes is usually under the impression that he is buying the genuine species and is eventually dissatisfied with the substitute, mahogany itself bearing the brunt of this criticism rather than this method of doing business, which is the real
"The importers of foreign woods and the good cabinetmakers of the country know that the best grades of mahogany, particularly for use by manufacturers of furniture, are derived from timber growing on the mainland from the province of Tabasco, Mexico, British Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. There is also some fine mahogany found on the west coast of Africa, but of the "fifty-seven varieties" shipped from there as mahogany, only two or three are genuine. At the present time considerable so-called Philippine mahogany is being imported, but while there are useful woods in the Philippines, no species of mahogany grows on the islands and it would seem that if manufacturers desire a substitute it would be just as feasible to utilize some of our native woods, such as birch and gum, and stain them to imitate the genuine mahogany. This would result in a considerable saving over the utilization of the so-called Philippine mahogany. The reputable merchants in this line of business naturally, being merchants, sell what people want to buy; but it can be safely said that sales of so-called substitute mahogany are never made without the buyer being told all that the seller knows about these woods. The buyers should protect themselves against the substitution of other woods, however, and give their orders to reputable concerns or insist upon samples being submitted so that they will know what they are to get. By pursuing this course disappointment to themselves will be prevented and a certain protection to the legitimate mahogany trade will be afforded.”
This editorial brought from William Winslow, president of the Indiana Quartered-Oak Company, who it seems is a purveyor of Philippine mahogany, a hot protest to which Mr. Gibson, the editor of The Hardwood Record, made this reply:
We have your favor of February 16. Please bear in mind that when the editorial in question in our issue February 10 was written, it was without the knowledge that you handled mahogany or any tropical woods. Hence, you will see that there was nothing personal intended.
spurious mahogany which are being received at this office every few days, which bear no resemblance whatever to true mahogany. Hence, mahogany buyers are protesting against it.
We are obliged to reiterate what was said in the article that there is no evidence at hand that any true mahogany grows in the Philippine Islands. We have in this office a complete list of Philippine woods, and specimens of all the leading varieties, and even the Philippine Forest Service makes no claim that true mahogany grows on the islands.
The specimens of wood which you send may be just as valuable in physical characteristics as true mahogany, but we are simply protesting against woods that are not mahogany being marketed under that name, just as we do when California white pine is marketed as Michigan white pine.
If you wish to have your protest and our reply thereto published in Hardwood Record, and will authorize it, we will be glad to give the matter room in our columns.
Mr. Winslow promptly took advantage of this latter offer and "came back" with the following defense of the claims made for the Philippine wood:
In your issue of February 10, under the caption of "Spurious Mahogany," you mention "Philippine mahogany" as one of the chief offenders under this head. As the sales agents in the East of the largest manufacturers of this wood (which we have been importing for about five years), we feel enough interest in the matter to try to correct, in the minds of your readers, what seems to us your mistaken point of view. We speak only for ourselves, and in regard to Philippine wood.
We sell this as "Philippine mahogany" and never omit the word "Philippine." It seems to us one has the same right to do this as all dealers have, when they sell most "African." You state (and we gladly admit your knowledge), that "there are only two or three genuine varieties of mahogany in the fifty-seven' shipped from Africa." Ought not, therefore, mahogany dealers to sell the other "varieties" under some other name?
If we should offer our wood under the local names of "Lauan, Tanguile and Almon," we would be kept busy showing customers and freight agents how to spell them. As we fully explain, our wood is not a true mahogany (and by the way you omit in your list any mention of the West Indian wood which the writer considers the true mahogany, but which nowadays runs small and short and is sold as "Cuban").
It is almost impossible to distinguish some Philippine wood from some "African." A large user of our wood told the writer recently that "his foreman said he wished the Philippine wood had never come in the shop, as some of his oldest and best cabinet-makers had gotten it into the work along with African as they could not tell the difference," and added, "I can tell the difference by the amount of our lumber bills."
Another customer had to get the writer to point out our wood from African, used in a large and costly motor boat.
The gist of the matter is this: Our wood should be (and is) sold on its merits, and for the convenience, a trade name of "Philippine mahogany" is adopted, as is the case with most "African;" so with "satin walnut" or "hazel" for red gum, "bay poplar" for tupelo; "mountain oak" for any old oak, "Oregon pine" for Douglas fir; with this notable difference, viz: the domestic woods have plain English names, whereas if we sent out our salesmen to sell
The editorial was inspired by a deluge of specimens of "Tanguile," or "Balacbachan," our customers would think
it was a new cigar or a drink. "The rose will smell as sweet by any other name." Our Philippine wood has been used by the same old customers for years, and they come back and don't care what we call it.
You make one error, we think, in saying "It would be just as feasible to utilize some of our native woods, such as birch and gum, and stain them to imitate the genuine mahogany." We recently sold Philippine mahogany to the largest piano concern in the United States. They said "red birch has got so high and so poor we are going to use your wood. It costs no more considering the quality, and little waste." How about this, in connection with your "stained birch" suggestion? Most tropical woods have the peculiarity of growth like "genuine mahogany," in that when quarter-sawn they show a "stripe," "ribbon" or "roe." Also, the best of the "near mahoganies" (like ours) "stay put," and work easily and run wide and long. Birch and gum do not.
The writer is an amateur cabinet-maker of a quarter of a century and knows what he is talking about. There is no mahogany like West Indian to work, carve, polish or darken with age, but this wood has almost gone the way of the "cork pine."
For some purposes (not considering the less price) Philippine "mahogany" is better than "African" (we are speaking of African which is not botanically mahogany), because it is more even colored and shows more figure and "life" (when quartered) and is straighter grain.
Near mahoganies are not hurting real mahogany any more than poplar hurt white pine or gum hurt poplar, or tupelo has hurt other gum. It is merely the natural trend of events, resulting from the sure and increasing disappearance of the timber of the world. In ten years from now South America will be bringing in here a substitute for "Philippine mahogany," and you will probably find us writing indignant letters to you about "spurious Philippine mahogany" being offered to the poor, innocent buyer.
We also consider that we are benefactors to the ultimate consumer, as many of them are now getting a Philippine mahogany table, where last year they bought for "genuine mahogany" one with a birch top and soft maple legs.
A Chapter From a Foreman's Experiences
BY A. L. LARSON
HY do some managers secure hot-air services in place of a practical man? Five years ago I accepted a position as foreman of a cabinet and machine room in an account register plant. At first production was $20,000 per month, which we increased to $40,000, and at invoice time the stockholders decided to get a new manager. The manager we had was a man from the western market, who invented an account register for credit accounting, and started with two men to manufacture this machine, and made good. Well, at that stockholders' meeting we got a new hot-air manager. He let our production drop to $18,000 per month, and then down still further. All of the salesmen quit and went somewhere else, and we had a lot of infringement suits which cost a lot of money. Against the manager's wish we got an efficiency engineer from Chicago. Here is where I got hold of a lot of good stuff, for he had some good ideas, but all of the other foremen in the plant, together with the manager, said that what the efficiency engineer recommended could not be done. But we got a good start towards a good cost system, but finally dropped it all, because the manager was not satisfied. I then started to work up a cost system, and from that time on we have seen some good come out of it.
Some time ago I accepted a position with a furniture factory. They told me that they wanted some new and young blood in their plant, for they were losing money, and here is where my trouble started. Every man used to go out to the yard shed and get his stock, and go out to
the engineer's room and gossip. The manager used to go down the plant and spend from fifteen minutes to one hour and gossip about his auto and the fishing trips that he and Tom, Dick and Hank used to take Saturday afternoons. Of course, they had a lot of old-timers or "Hasbeen-some-timers" with them for a good many years. These they paid small wages. Strangers could come into the factory and stand and talk for an hour at a time and the manager did not object, and even consented to this being done. After a short time I tendered my resignation. They were very much pleased to have it. They thought all I needed to do was to reach up in the air for production and let all these old-timers gossip all they pleased. We had no self-feed rip-saw, no double cut-off saw, an old time-time hand glue jointer and our planer fed 15 feet per minute. There were no glue clamps that were any good and all the work that could be done by hand was done by hand.
Just four weeks ago I got a new experience in the metallic line. This concern makes fire-proof doors to stand the test made by the underwriters. The doors have wood cores and are three-ply. The doors cost too much to meet competition. The company called in a cost expert from Chicago, and he told us it cost 7 cents per square foot to make wood cores and told the company that they must drive the workmen and make them produce more to get the cost down. After the cost expert was gone, the manager, a friend of mine, called me in to see him. He knew I was a wood-worker. Just by fixing things in the right way, I found that the wood cores need not cost this company 12 cents per square foot. I can see a big difference in the way we used to do at home in Jamestown, N. Y., ten or fifteen years ago.
The writer has never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Deinzer or Mr. Maine, but would appreciate having their address. Their writings are certainly good. The bonus wage plan is the only plan, and is not hard to understand. The illustration which follows shows cost method and a way of figuring burden:
Goon temper in a man as in a knife should be neither too hard nor too soft and should stand up to the work to be done in a seemly manner.
Too many men are prejudiced against any new idea except that it originates with themselves for the wheels of progress to move smoothly.
THE man at the tenoner must fit shoulders carefully for appearances, and he should take pains with the shank of the tenon for the sake of good construction and the reputation of the house.
OUR furniture manufacturers would very likely develop the Central and South American trade more industriously were it not that it costs so much to travel and canvass the country. We may think traveling expenses heavy here, but they are small compared to those reported from down there.
A Department in Which is Collected Observations In and About Factories, With Comment Pertinent and Impertinent, on Things, Men and Measures
By A. B. MAINE
RITING stuff in the office, or in the hotel when on the road, and operating a furniture factory under ordinary conditions, are two very different propositions. I suppose some of you readers would find it interesting to watch me invest a few thousand dollars in a factory, and try to do as well as the average furniture manufacturer. Well, I'll not give you the pleasure. In the first place, I haven't the dollars. In the second place, I think that there are enough of you in the game already. In another place, I would hate like thunder to mix up in an industry where so few of its members knew so little about the cost of production as furniture manufacturers seem to know. How's the last for a slap on the wrist?
Then again, even experienced people do not always make money making furniture.
Some of the men who have told me that trucks for the material in the machine-room are not necessary, and that it costs less to throw the product on the floor and have it handled time and again than it does to have sufficient trucks to keep it all off the floor, ought to get into the Rockford factories. Well, don't buy trucks if you don't want to. Your operations do not cost me any
A. B. MAINE
Hospitality. What is it? It is hard to tell exactly. In Grand Rapids, Mich., Sheboygan, Wis. (and some other places) where I visited factories, I was given a guide to show me over the plants and tell me what I wanted to know, if I didn't want to know too much. In Rockford, Ill. (and some other places) when I expressed a desire to see how things were done, there was a wave of the hand with instructions, "Make yourself to home," and I was left to prowl around of my own sweet will. There is pleasure and profit for me in both methods of entertainment, so I say that each locality is hospitable after its own ideas.
C. L. Willey, head of a Chicago veneer mill that makes some mighty fine high-grade veneers, is a very busy man. Still he finds time to pay attention to visitors whenever they come to his plant. Some of you furniture manufacturers might learn something about the material you use if you took the time to visit such a plant some day. Maybe you would then have a better knowledge as to the reason of the high price of high-grade veneers.
Rockford, Ill., one fine furniture manufacturing center, is one of the places where I recently spent two weeks. I can't tell you all about it, but I certainly did enjoy meeting the people there, and also the way the heads of the concerns let me rove around their shops. Who did I meet? Lots of people. There was P. A. Peterson, of the Union Furniture Co., and other interests, who always signs himself as "P. A. P." He is as busy as a bee, and the places that he is interested in follow his example. But why bore you with all the details? Those of you who know this city know the furniture men. I went there to see them and their plants. They certainly were good to me. Isn't that enough to say?
Still speaking of individual motor drive for furniture factories, add to the list the Rockford Desk Co. and the Illinois Cabinet Co.
Did I tell you that the Karpen plant, in Chicago, is a new member of the electric drive society? If I did, excuse me for doing so a second time. I want you to know it.
Here is another one of "Clip's Letters to the Boss," taken from the pages of How:
You have been wondering why G. L. B. cancelled his order; $3,450 is a lot of moneypretty fair order to go by the board. G. L. B. will never tell you why he cancelled it, but I will.
There is a law of efficiency; it is known as the law of dependent sequence. Well, you gave Harvey such an infernal calling-down the other day (perhaps he deserved it) that he went out of the front office as sour as a May apple. The telephone girl, by mistake, of course, plugged in Harvey's wire when G. L. B. wanted to talk to you about his order. Harvey was out-o'-sorts, didn't know who, was talking, and bellowed:
"You're on the wrong line. I don't know anything about it."
That was enough for G. L. B. He hung up his receiver, called his stenographer, and you received his notice of cancellation.
Who was to blame? Funny question, Boss. Harvey, the switchboard girl, or yourself? We won't bother discussing it, but just let us remember that it is the little bits of things about the office that turn things up-sidedown.
There was an inefficiency somewhere, we admit, but we can't expect to find efficiency where men are out-o'-sorts. We can't go "agin" nature, with the best of regulated systems, believe me, Boss. Yours truly, CLIP.
As a P. S. I am forced to remark that little things in the factory also tend to put men out of sorts. I don't believe a call-down ever did any permanent good, anyway.
Bright, clean machines may not do any more or better work than dirty, greasy machines, but they make one think that the mill in which they are operated is up-todate and well managed. Then, too, the insurance inspector never fails to note the difference.
Carelessness may be its own cure, but often it is expensive medicine and apt to prove distasteful. The safety device helps a lot, but not when it is not used.
The man with only three fingers on his right hand will tell you that it is better to let the mysteries of a buzz saw remain forever unsolved than to touch it to see if it is in motion.
Dull Trade is the Almost Universal Report---Factories Being Run on Short Time---Winter Weather in Part Responsible---Effect on Material Cost
WRITTEN BY MEN WHO KNOW
ITH few exceptions the manufacturers of furniture report that trade is unsatisfactory. A very complete and thorough canvass among the manufacturers discloses that the volume of business during January and February was from 25 to 35 per cent. less than the volume during the same months a year ago, and that while there is a hopeful note from various sources, in the financial and business world, the country is experiencing a widespread business depression. Some of the dullness which has prevailed during the past month or six weeks is undoubtedly due to the severe winter weather which seems to have been general over almost the entire country. The bank statements, very recently published, show that financial conditions are fundamentally sound and that there is every indication that we have reached the bottom and that from now on there should be steady improvement. Some of this belief is based on the improvement inthe steel and iron industries, which are always accepted as more or less theoretical. But even in this field the improvement is not very pronounced as yet. The railways are still pleading for a better rate for their services, and expenditures for improvements are being held up pending a final decision whether this advance is to be granted. Legislation which has been proposed, still further extending the operations of the Sherman anti-trust law, and promising open and unrestricted competition, and the denial to manufacturers to fix a price on their goods, whether patented, or trade-marked, or not, has also imparted a spirit of conservatism in many quarters. Be this as it may, it is quite certain that trade is dull, that the furniture factories throughout the country are running short time, and that trade is a long way below normal for this time of year.
Whether spring weather will bring a change remains to be determined. Our New York correspondent writes that retail trade in that city has been hampered to an extent which is almost unprecedented by weather conditions and the conditions which have prevailed in New York are the conditions which have prevailed throughout all the east. The salesmen who have gone into the Pittsburgh district in the hope that the reported partial revival in the steel industries would mean more business, have came back disappointed. Apparently, trade is better in the South than elsewhere.
Dealers in New York have not recovered entire confidence following several failures in that city. The Seigel failure seems to grow worse and worse, and whatever of stock is left is sure to be slaughtered. Details of the management of this business reveal the final outcome of many slaughter sales, in which furniture, among other things, figured conspicuously. The lesson is made obvious. The Seigel stores had an insatiate appetite for “jobs.”
are herewith given to indicate that the manufacturers need look for higher prices for material.
Collections, on the whole, are reported fair to slow. They seemingly, however, are better than they were a month ago, and the banks are certainly in far better shape to take care of all legitimate demands for money than was the case up to the middle of January.
The Liverpool Mahogany Market
Tickle, Bell & Co., of Liverpool, issued their annual review of the mahogany market recently, covering the movement during the year 1913, in the course of which they said: The import of mahogany was the largest on record, and 29 per cent. more than that of 1912. The bulk, about 91 per cent., was from the west coast of Africa. The auction sales were always well attended by buyers, and practically all descriptions were readily sold; but toward the end of the year the arrivals were heavier than at any other period, and contained a large proportion of old and inferior wood. The demand slackened and values consequently declined. AFRICAN--The supply, about 33 per cent. more than that of the previous year, was of similar average dimensions and quality, the auction sales were always well attended, and practically all descriptions met with ready sale, but towards the end of the year prices of defective and inferior quality logs were much lower, chiefly owing to excessive arrivals. Fairly large quantities were sold privately on ex quay terms, and several shipments arrived on contract. Recent arrivals have been heavy and stocks have accumulated, and are considerable heavier than at the close of the previous year.
Owing to unusually heavy rains at the source of production in West Africa, much larger quantities of logs were floated down to the coast and were, of course, rushed into the market for sale, so that there were 2,000 logs more sold than at the January auction last year, and as much of this wood had been cut in time for the previous wet seasons when the rain had failed, it can readily be understood that it had not improved in condition by the delay, with the result that most of the catalog was of very poor and defective wood, and as several previous months catalogs had been of very similar grade, the market was not prepared to digest this added load. Prices for poor grade logs dropped considerably, and this naturally reflected on better logs to a lesser extent; but owing to the scarcity of logs suitable for veneering, such logs at least held their own recent values and in some cases seemed to advance a trifle.
With regard to the prospects for the future we know the feeling in this trade is very strong and that these somewhat abnormal imports are bound to affect later shipments, as most of the shipping points are advising that these last despatches are pretty well exhausting their known stocks. We will find a heavy shortage during the spring of this year, with the possibility that a good percentage of what has now come forward are logs which, in the ordinary course of events, would not have reached here (Liverpool) until the usual import season next fall. This must therefore tend to diminish arrivals later. In view of this position we would urge buyers to make purchases at these next sales, as we feel sure prices will again advance after this unusual import is over, and that then great difficulty will be felt in securing really good logs at a reasonable price. We think we could secure a fine lot of lumber logs at an average of about 101⁄2 to 11 cents
Much will depend from now on upon the crop prospects and it is too early to base any predictions on present conditions. Another month must elapse before a prediction can be safely ventured.
In the meantime, the real winter weather which has prevailed, particularly in the north, has improved the lumber conditions from the furniture manufacturer's standpoint, and there is nothing in the reports which