Behind the Scenes: Ahead of the Game?

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Before coming to Popular Woodworking, I had many years of building furniture for customers and clients under my belt, and I found that I had developed a few habits that were hard to break , a few ruts that I fell into most willingly. Sure I liked to use a table saw to make all of my cove mouldings, I cut my tenons with my shop-made tenon jig and more often than not I would use aniline dyes to finish my work.

But I had one habit that was not one that the average person would want to develop. I guess that would make it a bad habit. We all know how hard it can be to break one of those.

This habit was my extraordinary ability to create furniture that was complete at the last possible minute; what I called my “Just in Time” inventory system. I used this system throughout the years of building for magazine articles with Popular Woodworking, as well as for my paying clientele.

When I joined the staff here at the magazine, I said goodbye to that nasty habit. Good riddance! See you later! Or so I thought.

We are headlong into the Spring 2007 issue of Woodworking Magazine. This is our newsstand only, no advertising, black-and-white woodworking magazine for which I am building an Arts & Crafts mirror for the cover.

The building process is a study of the mortise-and-tenon joint and the addition of the inlay pushed the piece to something that was more than fun , it was my first trip into Arts & Crafts furniture and working with white oak in some time.

I completed the building of the piece and was waiting for the finishing process to be developed by Bob Lang, senior editor and our specialist in all things Greene & Greene to Stickley and beyond (be sure to check out his finishing concoction in the same issue.) Once the finish was applied I installed the inlay and boom, project completed! Except for the mirror and back, that is. Let her sit, other things need my attention!

On Tuesday of the next week I was asked when I would have the mirror ready for pictures. I could have it on Thursday was my reply. Not good enough, Wednesday would be much better. The next morning I scuffled off to the mirror supplier, picked up the reflective slab and returned to the shop. The fit was right-on so I added a backboard of plywood and as I had just finished wiping the front of the piece, Al Parrish, our photographer extraordinaire, steps into the shop to gather the mirror for pictures.

Wow, even though the magazine is working four to six months ahead, deadlines are deadlines and my “Just in Time” inventory system is alive and well. Oh well as they say, some things change and …¦.

Glen D. Huey

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