Challenge Accepted: Integrating technology and artisan craftsmanship.

Deep in our core there is a desire to continually learn and expand our capabilities so our clients receive the highest level of craftsmanship…always with obsessive attention to detail. Our fine woodworking group, NEWwoodworks, has some of the most woodcraft obsessed folks you’ll ever meet and they love a new challenge. Enter CNC technology. As this technology has evolved, the NEWwoodworks team has pushed the capabilities of their 3-axis CNC router to better meet their high expectations.

Stepping up NEWwoodworks already notable capabilities is “Thelma”, a Thermwood CNC MTR-30 5×10 3-axis router. Much of their work is done with reclaimed timbers and board stock so a raised z-axis to accommodates the larger timber stock, additional table reinforcement and stiffer axes to aid in cutting denser material and an upgraded vacuum table to make complex jigging and complicated hold-downs easier and faster are all incorporated into the CNC.

What does this integration mean? Some of the rough cutting work and sculpting work can be hogged out by the CNC, then finessed and finished by the artisan’s hand. It helps afford a level of speed and precision that while possible by hand, is difficult and time-consuming work. It can be the best way to get that fine detail after the rough-in, which really eliminates multiple shapings and sandings.

“The CNC allows us to be more productive, even with highly custom designs like our live edge cabinetry. It excels with, and really helps us on, the simple bulk work like plywood cab parts and solid wood parts and pieces, significantly reducing handling and touches,” shared Rob D’Alessandro, general manager of NEWwoodworks. “Complex joinery, carvings, curves, and even typical furniture parts can be created more quickly leaving our craftsmen free to focus their unique capabilities on details, fit, and finish.”

The stringers for this floating stair were cut using the CNC. Photo by Don Cochran Photography.

read more

Fine Crafted Happiest Hours

A short walk across the parking lot from the main office is the shop for our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks. While the walk stretches the legs, wandering through their space feeds every type of woodcraft obsession. On a recent visit to the shop, I was drawn to a thick live-edge slab, smoothly finished and awaiting shipment to its new home as a bar top. This led me to Rob, manager of NEWwoodworks for a chat about how this group of skilled woodworkers arrives at happy hour creations:

read more

Custom Crafted At the Heart of the Home

In a previous post we talked about ‘island living: pull up a stool’. Kitchen islands are a popular spot for wood tops, but what about the overall kitchen materials and design? What considerations are made to keep the chef(s) connected with family and guests? What about  storage space? Wood species and finishes? Rob, GM of our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks, and Andrew, interiors specialist in our design group, offered some insights.

“Why custom?” Rob clarified before answering: “We like to tailor the kitchen to exactly what the client wants and needs. We can match, and hopefully enhance, the way they cook, serve, eat, entertain and live.”

Kitchen islands—central for gathering, food, and when necessary a spot to perch for a great photo op as Jonathan demonstrates!

Kitchens are often considered the heart of the home. Andrew shared a little history: “Interestingly enough the kitchen has gone full-circle in the lifespan of our country. In the span of 200 years we’ve gone from one room cabins where gathering around the hearth was simply a way of life, to the affluent days of the to-be-left-unseen butler’s pantry and galley kitchen separate from the dining/social areas of the home, to a revival of the central hearth concept appearing today in the form of ‘open plan living’.”

read more

Officially Open! View our CLT building “ribbon” cutting:

Thank you to all who joined the celebration of the opening of our CLT building, the first complete CLT in New York State. While cutting a ribbon is as common as champagne for celebrations of this sort, we opted to go with something a bit more “us”. Surrounded by a crowd of co-workers and fans, our fearless leader, Jonathan, wielded a chain saw to cut a timber at the main entry. See the sawdust fly in our symbolic opening:

It has been quite a ride involving nearly every coworker to create this building. We’re excited to have our fine woodworkers of NEWwoodworks settling in and sharing their craft with us daily. Our sister company, Pioneer Millworks, is enjoying smooth shipping and receiving from their new storage space at the back of the building. We’re anxious to experience the performance of this structure over the typically bitter New York winter. We have high expectations from the combination of CLTs, timber frame, and wood fiber (out-sulation).

If you’d like to see the opening ceremony event in its entirety check below. And for other vids of our adventures check out our YouTube page.

Gathering for the ribbon cutting official opening of our Cross Laminated Timber building.

Ribbon Cutting: Officially opening the first complete CLT in NYS

From catastrophe came opportunity: Come help us celebrate as we officially open our Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) building!

After the devastating collapse of half of our fine woodworking division’s WWII era shop in February 2015, we regrouped and put our heads together on how to move forward. Following our ethos of the Triple Bottom Line (people, planet, and profit), it became our goal to design and re-build with new-to-New-York environmentally savvy and energy efficient materials. The result: the first complete Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) building in New York State.

A combination of mass timber, heavy timber, and CLTs, the 21,000 sq ft building is the new home for our fine woodworking group, NEWwoodworks, and offers a bit of storage/shipping for our sister company, Pioneer Millworks. Other details include wood fiber insulation, reclaimed wood siding, peg laminated timber overhangs, a broadleaf maple tree post, numerous wood tools and machinery, stacks of ready to ship custom wood products, and more.

Join us to see these elements together and in use as a custom woodworking shop and shipping/loading area.

Where: New Energy Works Timberframers main campus at 1180 Commercial Dr, Farmington, NY 14425
When: Thursday, October 12, 2017
Time: 10am to 11am
Info: (585) 924-3860 for more information or help with directions

What are CLTs? A quick description might be ‘giant plywood’. More specifically, CLTs are large wooden panels, typically consisting of 3, 5, or 7 layers of dimensional lumber, oriented at right angles, glued together. The panels for our project averaged 8 feet tall and 38 feet long at 3 ¼ and 3 ¾ inch thickness. Using a crane and lulls, the panels were lifted into place and fitted by hand to the supporting timber frame. Each CLT panel has a shiplap edge that nests the panels together and is secured with metal fasteners.

We see CLTs as a wave of the future and we’ve invested in our Western New York campus to better position the region and our industry to ride the wave. The opportunities with CLTs are abundant for businesses and housing and offer dramatic environmental benefits. Wood is a naturally occurring and renewable resource which stores carbon. It has proved time and again to perform as well, and at times better than, carbon-heavy steel and concrete.

Who is Atlas?

What is wood fiber insulation?

For more, check out our previous blog post on raising this CLT project. We hope to see you at the opening!