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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: I was surprised, for the concern manufactured very fine "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 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 best 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 ear 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 old experies me! glue man, as I already told you, and know how to prepare glue without the use of scales." I next called his attenta to the thermometer. "What does that read! He L "190 degrees." I said, "What should it rair He laughed and said, "Do you mean to tell me that beat 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 gice. But heat reduces the strength of the glue, in exact proportion 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 criticism. 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
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.
"You said that heat is necessary; for what has however, does the manufacturer of the gla 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 15) 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 your responsibility by this heating reduced to not over four hours if possible. saying that this concern buys 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 exploring to glue is worth ie when it is deposited into the cooker dissolve, keep your glue in the large exisiner. Your at 6:30 in the moming, but at 11:30 lunch time' it has reduced to 12e in value. Some deterioration, is it not! You have five large exckers; now come right down to brass tacks and figure out how much we are wasting in this glue room.
I noticed when walking through the finishing nem that many of the table tops and shelves were opening up in the glue joints. I asked the finishing foreman whether This is only the beginning. Firare also the joint troubles were a frequent occurrence in that factory, time lost in the cabinet room requiring points, hoes of he laughed and said, "Over 30% go wng in here, the Mr. Banks buying the blast in remainder in the packing roem or on the dealer's foor." and seconds feared mahogany he can bay and paying an
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
the glue is set. If you do not do so you are likely to have an abundance of blisters, which means additional cost for repairing and a possibility of re-veneering.
A bench truck is a necessity; the truck is preferable for moving stock from the press and can also be used to advantage at the spreader. In some factories the press is in close proximity to the spreader, and in such cases the bench is all that is necessary. The bench should be provided with a back, to place the stock against when being built up, to keep the edges even,
A Re-Drier Necessary
Every first-class veneer room should have a re-drier. Much of the trouble experienced in furniture factories today is due to the fact that the veneer was not sufficiently dry when laid. Of course, a very small furniture factory could not afford to install a re-drier. However, this gives you no excuse for laying veneer not sufficiently dried. You can re-dry your veneer by pressing between hot wooden cauls, or piling in the drying room between strips, but this costs money and the large manufacturer will appreciate that he cannot afford to be without a re-drier. A perfectly dried core, with a perfectly dried veneer and a good glue, with factory conditions so that the stock will not absorb moisture during the process of manufacture before the filler and finish is applied, will produce work in your furniture where every part will stay and you can safely offer your goods as perfect furniture.
The taping machine has been installed in most of the furniture factories, and requires no introduction. What do you think about cutting veneers on a modern paper cutting machine? Will it work! Indeed it will, and sive you considerable money. By means of a wheel you can set the machine to sire almost instantly—no hand rule and laying out necessary. A machine of this kind will pay
for itself within a short time.
Not Under Pressure Long Enough
More than one furniture manufacturer has tried to eliminate the warping and twisting of his veneered work. Some have multiplied the number of piles, but without One reason for warped and twisted stock is, as
1 already stated, that the stock does not remain under pressure long enough. Another reason is that it has not been placed straight in the press After relissing the stock immediately pile it between cross sticks exercising great care that the sticks are in perfect lite and keep the stock under pressure until the ruchy dry. There are a number of large manufacturers who file the stock on the four after it lures the press In fact, only a short time ago 1 pitted our to a manufacturer that he old save a man's pay per day if he would have his vezetred stock piled ento tracks when taking from the press and after the stock is dry enough it an be wheeled to the trimmer and then the suding machine. So many manufacturers lab
for the in
that goods veneered today is dry membr. Hem is one reason for war bliste of the sand drums will beat and soften
workman soaking face veneer in water and then applying glue. I asked to be introduced to the foreman of that department. I found the gentleman in charge a very fine man, claiming to have had considerable experience in veneer work; that he worked in some of the largest factories in this country. I said, "Do you experience any trouble with veneered work? I notice that your men soak the veneer in water and then apply glue directly to the veneer." He said, "This is necessary for we could not bend the veneer if we did not do so." I noticed that the face veneer was quite thick. I said, "Why don't you use thinner face veneer?" He said, "What difference does it make whether we spread the glue on the core-stock or the veneer?" I replied, “You will admit that your core-stock not a fact, Mr. Foreman, that when applying the glue to is considerably heavier than your face veneer, and, is it the core-stock instead of the face veneer it will not expand through the absorption of glue so readily as will the thin veneer? Are you troubled with fine checks in your veneer! You are: I thought so." "Well, see here these checks are not our fault, they are due to the finishing department. Our finishers use mahogany water stains and if they would use oil stains instead we would soon correct this trouble." I said, "Your theory is wrong. Supposing as a matter of experiment you get a few pieces of thinner veneer. Have you any in the factory? Good. Now have your man apply his glue to the core-stock. Are you sure the veneer is dry! Do not apply your veneer until I tell you to: you must wait until the glue becomes tackie. Now apply the veneer Foreman, I would like to have you write to me telling and get it under pressure at once. Here is my card. Mr. whether you experience any veneered. Mark them in some way so that you can watch them after they are finished." The foreman did write—2:1 one, but fully a half dozen letters and be is very m pleased. The finishing foreman and he are on good term
Planning Work and Delivering it to Workman---Cost Accounting Simply a Means to an End and Unavailing if Lesson of Excessive Cost is Not Observed
By HERBERT E. SUMNER
ITH each exponent of scientific management trying to impress the manufacturer with some important detail of the shop or in the handling of men or materials, it seems that as yet but very few men have tried to express the real and general principles of management. In fact, in most instances it has been neglected.
the head or heads of a concern are well fitted for their duties and where their policies are correct it is safe to say that the majority of them can be placed in the unsystematized type of management. As Lee Galloway says, "The
HERBERT E. SUMNER
It is all very well to go into the specific, but it seems to the writer, from his study of some of our leading industrial works, that the specific should be left until the general principles are accomplished. It is possible to introduce efficiency in one department without the others, but the speeding up of the work here, for instance, has the effect of piling up the work on the department ahead and of causing the one in back to rush to keep the intermediate one supplied. So that, it must be admitted that unless efficiency is applied as a whole its effects are counteracted in some other way. Again, if efficiency is applied as a whole to the manufacturing end and yet the office and administrative force are not in full accordance with it in keeping it up, it again fails. Again, if the proper stimulus or incentive is omitted and if the training is not given in order to teach the worker how to make the bonus (if the incentive is in that form) it will fail. Summing it up as a whole the entire problem resolves itself down to thisthe broad and general viewpoint of the management. From this as a cornerstone is built up efficiency in shop and office.
No One Knows It All
A great many efficiency engineers have failed to acquire the results they have anticipated simply for the fact that the management has taken the old stand-that they know it all. This has retarded the work of the engineer and simply because this feeling spreads through the whole organization, the work of the engineer has fallen far short of expectations. A failure of this kind naturally breeds foes for efficiency. Whether he is blamed for it or whether the blame is laid to the management in not supporting the engineer in the latter's principles, is, of course, a question for each particular case. It is not supposed, however, that all the principles of efficiency are applicable in each case. They have made errors in judgment, but it may be said in their behalf that in general such errors are accountable to the management in not giving all the assistance they might have.
In general (and it is well known) the heads of some concerns have no more right to be where they are than a handler of pig-iron has to be in a diamond-cutting establishment. And knowing in themselves of this fact. they mislead the engineer to cover it up. Since efficiency must be shaped from the management staff to the line organization and thence through the foremen, superintendents and thus to the worker, is it any wonder that the ordinary and every-day "military" organization, which is trained to the manager's policies, is pronounced a failure? Even where
prevalence of this type of management in America has been due in a great measure to the large margin which has existed between the cost and the selling price. Having a large margin of profit, little attention has been paid to scientific accounting." As cost accounting gives an advantage over the unsystematized, so it results also in giving accurate cost records and points out as well the places where excessive costs can be reduced, by the proper application of efficiency. Cost accounting, however, does not mean that you have an efficient plant. It simply shows where costs are excessive. And bear in mind, too, that cost records are not for historical records. It was but very recently that the writer had a talk with a manufacturer who boasted that he had the most perfect set of records of every phase of his business. This man sat at his desk and never went out in the factory or had anything to do with details. On his desk were a set of elaborate records, compiled daily, and as he said himself, he was only the "figurehead." "I look over the reports each morning the records of yesterday's business-and know exactly what has been done. This is the reason that I can come here for but an hour or two a day and then go in for recreation. I simply glance over the reports and put each in its proper binder. Of course, any important things that come up, governing the questions of management, I give attention to by shifting it on its proper authority or directing the policy or change of policy, as the case may be."
"But what do you do with these records?" the writer asked. "Don't you ever make comparisons? Don't you look to see if your production is increasing, the cost decreasing, or if the cost is increasing, don't you investigate to find out why?"
Did Not Keep His Eye on Records
It is hard to believe, but this man never looked back through his records. Neither did the men who compiled these records ever call his attention to the changes. The men under him naturally followed his policy-if he didn't care, neither did they. As a matter of fact, these records were simply a matter of history and for no other purpose. A glance over them showed the most remarkable variances in comparison. After this was pointed out to him, his policy was changed immediately, and as a result it spread down through the line organization. That is one of the greatest faults of this type of organization-the military type, as it is called. If the man at the head is slipshod, the whole force is likewise. It is the cause of the new method of management which the efficiency engineers have called the "functional" system.
In the "one-man" or military organization, too much work is thrown on the head. As a result he has to shift the work in part on the superintendent or foremen. These
(3) Putting finished piece against wall.... This man was on the day-rate system. Notice the remarkable difference in the time for each one of the three principal steps. Under the functional system, he would have been anxious to do more work, for then his incentive would be the bonus he received for doing more work. It would have been to the foreman's interest to have him turn out more, for the latter receives an extra bonus for the results of all his men. And naturally he would have trained the man to the best ways of doing the several operations on this piece. This man lost his time in going to and from the trucks -they should have been placed so that he did not have to move out of his tracks. He mislaid his nail-punch-put it in his pocket one time and on the bench another time forgot where he put it. Time lost finally in having to walk to the wall to place piece against it. Should have put it on another truck or on a chute where by gravity it would have been conveyed to the man ahead of him who went on with the work. This is just one of the wastes that occur under the military type of organization. In fact, a careful study of a plant under this system will show that but a small amount of the day is given to the doing of real work by the men. Time is lost waiting for material to come to them. Time is lost waiting for the foreman to assign work. No real planning done in a systematic manner (planning may be done to a limited extent in the office, but there is little or none done with respect to the planning of the work for each man and each machine so that each is constantly supplied.)
Work Planned Ahead
Under the methods of the functional system of management all the work is planned ahead. Each man and machine is constantly supplied with work. It is similar to the dispatching of a railroad train. Can you imagine the service in time that you would get if each dispatcher waited until the train arrived at the beginning of his division before planning for its movement to the next section? Yet under the military system of management this is just what happens. Under the functional, however, all the work is planned before a movement is made. On paper it is a simple matter to tell the advantages of planning ahead in order to have the men, materials and tools all ready for combination. But to make the average man see that it is necessary to plan all the movements is
another matter. Planning involves how and when. Another objection raised by the average manufacturer to this planning is the extra expense it involves at the start. Unquestionably it will involve considerable expense at first and the results will not become apparent until the system is under perfect control and the entire organization becomes thoroughly in accord and in unity with the purpose. Then, and not until then, will the remarkable results become known Each manufacturer has different requirements in the number of men necessary for an efficient planning department. In some industries but three or four men are necessary to handle the work requiring several hundred workmen. In other shops nearly one-fourth of the total number of workmen, are necessary. It depends entirely on the nature of the business. This is the stumbling block-the manufacturer can only see the added number of what he calls "unproductive labor" on the payroll. If the concern manufactures a limited number of standard articles, but few in the planning department are necessary. If, however, the nature of the business is such that frequent changes are necessary, the planning department must necessarily be large.
Dates of Completion Can be Kept
One of the best features of the planning department is that exact dates of completion can be given with accuracy. The bulletin or routing board gives the location of each job in the factory and the location of each machine in the process. The eye of the superintendent can locate at any time any difficulties by a glance at this board. This is also of great advantage to the sales department, especially in the case of a concern manufacturing special goods on order, as they can answer inquiries concerning the progress of the work with exactness. It does away with the estimating by guesswork on the part of the foremen or superintendents.
As soon as the planning department is in operation, the fixing of standards begins. Time studies are made and the workman who seems to do the best on any particular operation is carefully watched for his method of doing it. This, then, is carefully tabulated and if no improvements can be made at the moment, it is used as a standard and all other similar operations are based on this and the workmen trained to do the operation under this method. After it has been in use for some time and ways are found to further reduce the standard as to time, a further gain is made in the efficiency. Careful records are kept by the planning department and changes are made in the records whenever the standards are changed. Thus an accurate and reliable basis is made for computing costs.
Figuring a New Wage System
After the standards are accurate, a new wage system is figured out. A great deal of care must be exercised in any change of the wage system. The employe is naturally suspicious in this direction. The trouble has been, especially in the piece-work system, that the basis of the wages, the standards, were wrongly figured out. The men used in establishing the standards were wrongly picked out. In one factory, a man's time was used who was inefficient in his methods of handling and working. His time was slow. As a result, the piece-work system based on his time, allowed the other workers to make three times as much as they ever had before. As a result the system of pay underwent a reduction. The men worked still harder under an added burden and even then made almost as much. This resulted in a further reduction. Similar experiences have been heard of for years. As a result, the employe is against any new system. The trouble is and always has been-incorrect basing of standards. Neither extreme should be taken. But the planning department and the time studies, especially if the latter are conducted in secrecy, form the basis for com