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ONE SOURCE OF VARNISH GUMS
The Kauri Trees and the Kauri Mines of New Zealand---How Gum From Kauri Pine Trees is Gathered---The Extent of the Industry and Exports
By W. D. HORNADAY
ROM the region of New Zealand, which was formerly covered with great prehistoric forests of kauri pine, is obtained a gum which has been a large source of profit to that country. Kauri gum, as the product is called, is the resin of the kauri pine, a tree which is indigenous to the Aukland province. The tree is a giant in size, its height often being from 120 to 160 feet and its diameter from five to twelve feet. While most of the kauri gum is obtained by digging from the ground where it is found in fossilized form, there are still in existence large standing forests of the pine, which is a large source of timber supply for the Dominion.
Several thousand years ago the kauri pine flourished over a large part of the North Island, which is now a barren waste. These forests were destroyed by fire or volcanic disturbance, it is believed, and with the passing of time the fallen and scarred timbers were buried beneath the surface of the ground. The kauri pine contains an exceedingly large percentage of resinous matter, which oozes from the tree from even slight wounds. When scarred by the falling of another tree, the resin flows from the pine's wounds and collects in large quantities. With the destruction of the forests in ages past, the gum was formed and later most of it became fossilized. Practically all of the kauri gum produced in New Zealand is the fossil product, although a considerable quantity is obtained by tapping the live trees. They are of very slow growth. Scientists have calculated that a fully matured kauri pine takes from 400 to 500 years to reach its maximum size.
The first kauri gum was exported to the United States in 1846 by the captain of an American sailing vessel. Unable to obtain a cargo for his ship, the skipper filled the hold with the amber-colored substance, which he obtained from the native Maoris of New Zealand. He carried the strange product to Boston, where for two years he tried to dispose of the gum. Experiments made with the substance led to the discovery that it was suitable as an ingredient in the manufacture of high-grade varnishes. This discovery was the beginning of an important trade. Since 1853 there has been exported from New Zealand approximately $85,000,000 of the product. The
annual production amounts to about $2,500,000.
The work is hard, but the profits to the diggers usually run high. The average weekly return will probably range around $15, but expert diggers are often able to clear from $40 to $50 per week. Sometimes a digger may strike a large pocket of gum and he will be able to mine in a day more gum than he ordinarily gathers in a month's time. Notwithstanding the opportunity offered in the way of large profits, the average laborer of New Zealand is not attracted to the gum fields. They find the work too hard for their tastes, and the digging is carried on almost exclusively by Austrians. There are about 6,000 of them in New Zealand, and they form the only foreign element found here. For the reason that they confine themselves almost exclusively to the gum fields and therefore do not come in competition with the organized laborers, the unionist element, which is a very strong factor in government affairs, has made no attempt to exclude these Europeans. All other classes of foreigners immigrating into this country are viewed with extreme disfavor by the laboring element.
A peculiar feature of the gum producing industry is the fact that large capital has played no part in the devel
of gum is found in swamp lands. Owing to the fact that it is necessary to drain off the water before digging, these parts of the fields have been but little exploited. There are also available the living trees, whose resin is more valuable than the fossilized product for the reason that it is free from foreign substances. The government has taken steps to conserve the standing kauri forests and has also established a system of reforestation.
It has been found that a large part of the worked over lands from which the gum has been dug is suitable for agriculture and dairying. The government is attempting to settle these lands, which have been divided into small tracts that may be homesteaded upon much the same plan that was used in settling up the Western plains of the United States. The Austrian diggers especially are being encouraged to settle upon the worked over tracts.
of thirty cabinet-makers made it necessary to have two
large kitchen cabinet factory, for instance, a force
Then the trouble and expense of trucking
defective work amounted to a good expense item. The men knew that they had to repair, on their own time, any work rejected by the inspectors. This, however, did not tend to lessen the natural tendency of a man to take a big chance in the hope of increasing his earnings. A little sawdust and wax, or putty, covered the defect in the wood and the cabinet was sent on its way.
When the number of rejected cabinets reached around forty a day it was thought time to put in a reform. This led to the posting of a notice to the effect that the man who had the least number of "returns" for a month would receive a cash prize, and the man who had the largest total during the busy season would be the first one laid off when the slack season arrived.
At the end of two weeks after the posting of this notice the number of returned cabinets was reduced to two a day. The cabinet-maker who won the bonus the first two months had only three defective cabinets charged against him. The incentive of prize money caused the best workers to put forth their efforts towards high grade workmanship, while the poorest workmen were spurred by the fear of being laid off during the slack season. Since greater care was taken and more honest workmanship induced, it was soon found possible to dispense with
inspector and one truck laborer.
When the case was finished the man's number was written on the back and covered with a small paper sticker in order to prevent any discrimination or favoritism on the part of the cabinet inspector.
This bonus to the cabinet men worked so well that a notice was later posted in the trimming room to the effect that the company had decided to offer a premium each month to the trimmer who did the best work and had the least number of boxes returned to him by the inspector. This would include not only fitting the doors, but the way the trimmings were put on and the marring of cases, which was done frequently by letting the screwdriver slip off, driving screws crooked, and the sliding of doors and drawers across the tops and fronts of the cabinets. The same arrangements were made as to the laying off
of the man who had the most boxes returned. It was only a short time before the quality of the work was greatly increased without any decrease in the amount turned out. This is one instance where a bonus system was found vastly superior to any straight piece work plan that could be used.
Sanitation and Safety
BY EMIL ANDERSON
FEW weeks ago I happened to be in the shops of a large company and heard a lecturer talk on "First Aid and Safety First." The company gave the hour from 11 to 12 o'clock to any workman who cared to hear him, and most of them took advantage of the opportunity. No doubt most of them got and appreciated a great deal of valuable information. He showed how to stop bleeding, how to deal with a fractured himb, and other things. But what impressed me as much as anything was his statement that carbolic acid and peroxide of hydrogen are now considered of little value, but that the most valuable medicament is iodine.
Being somewhat in doubt as to this statement, I made inquiries of a few reputable physicians and surgeons and learned that the lecturer spoke truthfully. It is the simple things in this world that confound the mighty. We are just beginning to fully appreciate the value of fresh air, and yet it is the same air that has surrounded the earth ever since time began. We have been thinking all these years that chemical impurities made bad air, and now we know that all there is to ventilation is motion, moisture and the temperature of the air.
So in the field of surgery ever since the time of Lister we have been trying to find some ideal antiseptic, something to make the field of operation germ free. Every known germicide or antiseptic has been used, and the laboratories have been trying to create some new, wonderful, non-toxic agent of universal application. Yet from slight accidents in factories and elsewhere we are ever having infection, stitch abcesses, lock jaw and other evidences of germ poisoning.
All of the time we have been passing by what has since proved to be in practice the ideal antiseptic-iodine. Now, although it is scarcely five years since it was first used, it is to be found in all first class operation rooms in the world.
Surgery is not a subject for a wood-working paper, but the cleansing of wounds is a very important subject and because it is possible for every workman to have a bottle of iodine on hand this subject is treated briefly here. The reader may be interested to know that iodine is found in sea weed and is made from kelp. It has found its way into the treatment of all kinds of first aid injuries. These include compound fractures, cuts, bruises and wounds of all kinds. It seems destined to drive out of the field of first aid use carbolic acid, peroxide, bi-chloride of mercury and all the others.
It has many things that commend it to common use. It has a distinctive color which prevents it from being used for anything else, and thus less mistakes are apt to occur. It is not poisonous and is cheap. It has proved to be the best antiseptic known to the present age and every workman, no matter how remote may be the danger of an accident, should have a bottle close at hand. Of course, in the case of a serious accident the victim must have other treatment, but often a small scratch will become infected and result in a case of blood poisoning. These may be eliminated from every factory in the country if the operator himself will put an application of iodine on the slight scratches he receives that seem nothing to him.
The Handling of Veneers, the Preparation of the Core Stock, the Treatment of Veneers---Things Which Should be Observed in the Cabinet Department
By ALEXANDER T. DEINZER
SUCCESSFUL business man recently said: "The astonishing fact about business success today is not that so many men have achieved it, but that so many more have failed. If a boat capsized in shallow water and half its passengers stood up and coolly walked ashore while the rest threshed about in foolish attempts to swim, the flounderings of the latter would astonish you more than the action of the waders who used their brains to direct their legs."
How about your business, Mr. Furniture Manufacturer? Are you making money? If so, are you making the profit to which you are entitled by every law of fairness and justness? Are you using your brains to direct your business? Are your men doing so!
I was surprised, for the concern manufactured very fine furniture.
I looked up the foreman of the glue room and said: "Do you know that most of the glue joints you fellows
are gluing are opening up?" He said be did, but that was no fault of his They employed a number of the very latest models of Wetmore glue cookers. I called for the man preparing the glue and said: "Do you know that you are responsible for all the joint trouble that is experienced in this factory!" He became some what warm under the colar and said. "Mr. Deinzer, I prepared glue for over twenty-five years and am an expert at the business." I said, "Do you weigh your water and glue!" He said, "This is unnecessary as it would take too muen time. Besides, I am an oil experiezmi glue man, as I already told you, and know how to prepare glue without the use of scales." I next called his attested to the thermometer. "What does that read!" He bel "190 degrees." I said, "What should it reai laughed and said, "Do you mean to tell me that Leat isn't necessary to dissolve glue!" I replied "Heat is required to keep animal glue in a fluid state; if the glue is not fluid it can not perform its function as a gine. But heat reduces the strength of the glue, in exact propertion to the amount of heat given and the length of time the heat is applied.
ALEXANDER T. DEINZER
There was a time when most of the furniture manufacturers experienced trouble in their veneering, gluing and cabinet departments. Manufacturers all over the country supposed that this was simply a question of hard luck. When a glue joint would open the glue manufacturer would hear from them. Veneers were laid any old way and our cabinet makers permitted to do things as they were taught in the old country. Schmidt, an old time German cabinet-maker, would manufacture a certain piece of furniture all complete within from, say, four to five days and do first class work-work beyond eriticism. It is possible that our Irish friend Murphy would produce the same piece in a shorter or longer period of time. All the furniture manufacturer wanted was the piece of furniture; time was of no particular consequence. Of course, the fast workman was always appreciated, but there was little if any difference made in the pay. A cabinet-maker would receive so much per day. Quantity was of secondary consideration.
Patience and Diplomacy
"You said that heat is necessary; for what nas however, does the manufacturer of the glas attach a thermometer! Now, I do not care if y have prepared glue for one-hundred years. I want this glue prepared as I tell you. If not, we will have to make a change. Prevent your glue from being beated over 150 degrees. Arrange the glue distribution in such a manner that no batch of glue is ever submitted to more than one day or eight hours of continuous heat and strive to have You are trying to wiggle out of year responsibility by this beating reduced to not over four bars if possible. saying that this concern bays bum glue." I find that they are paying 16e per pound for this joint glue, which, if you know anything about glues, is a pretty good price, of money. I am, however, going to test this glue to satisfy and they should receive very good stock for that amount you that in this particular case it is not the fault of the be depended up as far as uniformity is excerned. glue, for I know that the manufacturer of this glue can Basing on the temperature you are now emploring to dissolve, keep your glue in the large easier. Your glue is worth 1e when it is deposited into the cooker at 6:30 in the moming, but at 11-30 lunch time it has reduced to 1e in value. Some deterioration, is it not? You have five large cockers; now come right dra to brass tacks and figure out how much we are wasting in this glue m This is only the beginning. Figare also the time lost in the cabinet room requiring joints les of estres ens. Mr. Blank is buying the chest inS and seconds figured mahogany be can bay and paying an
My father was at one time a furniture manufacturer in the city of Detroit, employing considerable German and Polish labor. We had a number of very good men, some faster than others I remember very well though that whenever you would try to show some of these fellows how to do a certain piece of work so as to gain time, many would say. "Ich habe mein handwerck drausen gelernt" (I learned my trade in the old country). It required patience and diplomacy to get some of these well meaning fellows to adopt American methods. Many of them were very fine workmen and I wish we had more such honest, conscientious workmen in this country today. Most of these men will work faithfully and do not keep one eye on the clock. I shall never forget an incident which occurred when I was superintendent at a prominent table factory.
I noticed when walking through the finishing room that many of the table tops and shelves were opening up in the glue joints. I asked the finishing foreman whether joint troubles were a frequent occurrence in trat factory. he laughed and said, "Over 30 go wrong in here, the remainder in the packing room or on the dealer's foor."
enormous price. He has good dry kilns and here is where you are killing his reputation. I do not blame you as much for this trouble as the men under whom you worked. It seems very strange to me that you could hold a position for twenty-five years and that no one has ever corrected your methods before this. Why, my good man, you would put this concern out of business within just a few months. Would you buy a table with poor glue joints for your own home? I thought not. You and I are going to get along swimmingly and I am going to put all the time I possibly can in this department until we eliminate this joint trouble."
Success is in Knowing How
I talked right from the shoulder to this fellow who, by the way, was twice my size, but I realized the kind of man I was up against. Whether I convinced him that he was wrong I am unable to say. He, however, respected me. Our joint trouble was eliminated and we became pretty good friends.
The success of the furniture manufacturing business is to know "How" to manufacture goods at the same low cost as your keenest competitor. I read a very interesting article in System, the master word "How" in business. The author says: "For every five men who have succeeded, ninety-five have failed. And in most cases the success is trifling compared with what it might be. That's because the principle of study and adaptation of right methods has not been carried far enough. Because every function and operation in each business has not been confronted with an imperative 'How?' and the right answer found."
There are many furniture factories in this country today who do not know "how" to solve their veneer, glue room and cabinet problems. You will find factories being equipped with the very latest wood working machines. They engage first class men to operate them and produce their machine work at the lowest cost possible. Visit the other departments, however, and you will find them very inefficient, indeed.
A few months ago I was told that a certain factory is supposed to be the most thoroughly efficient factory in this country. I became interested and decided to visit this plant. I found their method of handling lumber ideal, the machine and finishing rooms 100% efficient, their system of receiving and shipping beyond criticism, but the cabinet and veneering departments very inefficient.
Why Do Not People Think?
Why is it that some furniture manufacturers will not use a little thought? The manufacturer of wood working machinery produces machines which will greatly reduce the cost of machine work; all the furniture manufacturer need therefore do is to buy and install the machine. But this is not possible in the gluing, veneering and cabinet depart
Many of your factories employ cheap help in the veneer rooms. Many of you carry the idea "veneered work is a sort of imitation of the real thing and we must hold down the labor cost by paying a low scale of wages in this department." Indeed, I have met foreigners in these departments who could not talk a word of English. They were placed there because they would work for $9 or possibly $10 per week. Some manufacturers to this very day will tell you that veneered work is cheap. When the veneer raises, blisters or checks and the furniture is returned to the manufacturer, those in authority fail to grasp the situation. They may possibly discharge the man doing this work, but in most cases they will engage someone else who is no better qualified than his predecessor. One will at times find the veneer department located in the basement or (as the superintendent chooses to term it) "out of the way place". Imagine what results can be
obtained under such conditions. Again, one will find departments where veneering is done with windows open or where several electric fans are employed. We know or should know, what chilled glue will do to veneered stock and how beautifully the glue becomes chilled in plants of this kind. The manufacturer of veneers employs a re-drier and drys bone dry, loads it in dry cars and after the furniture manufacturer gets it, in many cases the stock will be piled on the cellar floor. Is there any wonder that veneer will check and split?
We know that veneered work has some advantages over solid stock. Hence, why should we not exercise great care in having this laid correctly and eliminate all possible trouble?
Every furniture manufacturer knows that all woods are subject to heat and cold, humidity and lack of humidity, which causes contraction and expansion. All solid woods have a tendency to take up moisture, then dry out again, eventually causing glue joints to open, dowels to come When using built-up loose,, the mortise to shrink, etc. veneered stock you eliminate all this trouble, do you not? This being the case, why should the veneer room not be just as important to the success of your business as the machine department?
The Temperature Must Be Right
Another fault I have found in some of the veneer departments (especially those of small furniture factories) is the temperature of the veneer room. Your finishing foreman will tell you that he must have an even temperature day and night, especially in his varnish rooms, if good work is expected. This applies also to the veneer room, although I do not claim it as important in this room as in the finishing department. Try to hold an even temperature. Many superintendents have preferred charges to the boss against the finishing foreman, claiming that the finisher is to blame for checks and scales in the veneered goods after the finisher gets the pieces. An investigation will, however, reveal that your trouble originated in the veneer room.
Strange as it may seem to many of you readers, there are concerns in business today who use the old time carpetcovered glue spreaders. We also find some concerns which have never adopted glue spreaders, but spread their glue with a brush. If the manufacturer employing the carpet roll and the man doing the spreading by means of a brush could, or would, figure the waste in glue resulting from these methods, they would soon change to the modern way of spreading glue. Exactly the right amount of spread in glue work is a thing of vital importance. Too much glue runs the cost of glue work up at a surprising rate and to have not enough is still more costly, for the veneer will peel. When buying a glue spreader have an expert visit your factory, show him the kind of work you are doing and he will know whether you require rolls of light, fine, or heavy and coarse corrugations, as the occasion may require for the steady spreading of just the right amount of glue.
Veneer Room Presses
Veneer room presses should be taken into consideration. There may be a few veneer press salesmen who will "knock" the hand presses. The hand press is absolutely necessary in many furniture factories where irregular shaped pieces are veneered. For flat surfaces, however, the power or hydraulic presses save considerable time. The selection of your presses, however, should be based entirely on adaptability of service required. The use of hand presses is unsatisfactory on flat work for the reason that it requires too much time to apply the pressure, and they may produce crooked work. It is surprising to find the number of furniture factories doing considerable flat work which will not install more modern presses. No matter what press you employ, be sure you do not remove the stock until