Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hello old Friends!

I just logged on to write a new post and noticed that the Google Gods are angry with me and have deleted all of my photos from the blog.  UGGG! I hope to find out how to get them back. If I don't, then bye-bye Google. I shall host elsewhere.

I will keep you all posted. If anybody has some help they want to offer, feel free to email me. I'll bet I'm not the first person to experience this.

It's good to be back writing again after such a crazy few months. We'll see you all soon!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We're headed East

Hi there PORC fans,

I know posts have been few and far between. I offer my apologies for that. I've been slammed getting everything together and finished for my upcoming trip to Colorado. I leave Saturday with trailer in tow full of a dinning table, sideboard, TV cabinet, fireplace mantle, office furniture, kitchen cabs, some bedroom stuff, and a fully loaded caffeine cooler.

The job has been full of challenges, mainly because it's 1100 miles away. By far my most long distance job thus far that requires my install.

Just two weeks ago I had a spotless shop ready for a party. Today, I look around and see piles of sawdust, and 80% finished furniture and cabinets everywhere. Franky, it's a bit over whelming. I have to step back and finish one little piece at a time. Set drawer fronts here, hang doors there, and mill up a few do-dads and thing-a-ma-gigs here and there.

I wish my photo skills had a bit more awesomeness, as I would have shared the progress, but no luck. Lots of stuff awaiting my attention. Anyhow.......... Below is the current view of the shop as I write today's post. I will try to shoot a few pics as install progresses. Until then............. Thanks for stopping in.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

We're Back!

Hey there PORC fans.

WOW!  What a couple weeks! We made it through the party with flying colors. In fact, the party was such a hit, it may just become an annual tradition. Thank you to all the amazing friends and family that made it so great. My visiting family made the final prep seamless. My friends and clients made the actual party, a full on blast! All in all, about 80+ or so turned out. The parking lot was full of double parked cars. The tunes were cranking, drinks flowing, and stomachs were a fillin'.

GREAT night!!!  If you missed it....... No worries, there will be more to come.

Now, lets move forward. Several cool blog posts are germinating in my crazy head, but just haven't had time to write them. I will unravel them over the next couple months.

By far the most interest I've received from you all is the new software I purchased to aid in my design process. The program I went with is made by Planit Solutions. I chose Cabinet Vision. They have a full line of design tools, but this most suits my needs.

I am able to create fabulous renderings, shop drawings, budgets, reports, cut-lists and generate CNC code all from within one robust program.

I am in the early stages of stumbling around with it, so to do a post about it's workings at this point would be a bit premature, but please know it's in the works. What I've learned thus far is it is simple to use, and the interface in which I work is great.

I tried about 5 other programs available, and was amazed at the user-friendliness and the quality of renderings. I rely on the drawings from the computer to help my clients visualize what their final product will look like. It needs to have some polish. It needs to paint a nice clean picture.  CV does this. Every other program I looked at was a bit disappointing in this area.

The other selling point was the user interface. I've been using Sketchup for several years now, and the interface is clean, easy, and to the point. It looks great to an outsider, but more important, it's easy to work with. AutoCAD is the same way, as is RhinoCAD. When I looked at some of the other options to me, I found their interface to look old, outdated, clunky and hard to navigate.

In regards to learning the software. Included with the new tool is plenty of training. Lots of online videos, personal one on one training sessions, and unlimited tech support by phone. So far, I've had it for about 2 months and have yet to call in or email a question. I've designed 2 kitchens, and a handful of other cabinets on it and have made it work. Granted, I still need training. I need a lot of it. I've only scratched the surface of it's potential. I spent over 1.5 hours trying to place a window in the middle of a wall with another program with NO luck. I was able to figure out how to custom shape parts and download CAD drawings and install them into the current project I was working on within about an hour.  Bye bye other program.

Go to their website and check out the promotional videos. It will impress you for sure. It did me.

You may be asking yourself..... What's different about some fancy program apposed to Skethcup? Imagine this: Say your building a house from the ground up. First lets dig out the foundation with a big machine. Great no problem. First though, you have to build the machine one nut and bolt at a time. Then, you have to go dig up the rock that is used to make the concrete. Then cut down the tree that makes 2x4 lumber. On and on it goes. Get the idea? The process is possible, but VERY slow. I would prefer to go rent a backhoe, call the concrete company to have some mud delivered, and have the lumber dealer supply me with kiln dried lumber. Quick and easy.

With the new software, all of those tools, all of those parts already have been made for me. All I need to do it ask for one. From a sheet of plywood, an 8/4 piece of walnut or a knife hinge. The items already exist in the system and are ready to play with all the other parts stored in there as well.

Now that I have the raw ingredients to make my piece of furniture, I tell the computer how to make it. I have the flexibly to "store" my building methods in the memory of the computer. I simply tell the program that I always use .625" maple for my drawer sides, and I always use Grass 3D softclose drawer slides, and the computer knows that every time a cabinet with a drawer in it pops up, it has all the info needed to add the drawers. It knows the size, cost and material count for everything, every time. Certain parts of this are available with Sketchup, however I would 80 by the time I had all this info stored and accessible.

I know this only tickles your tastebuds, but again, I promise. More is coming very soon. It really has been fun getting to know the new tool

When I do my review, are they any questions you would like answered or topics covered. I will certainly do my best.

Until then... Thanks for reading. See ya next time.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We Are Ready to Celibrate!

Hello PORC fans.

The time has arrived to have some fun. I've received great responses from lots of fans, friends, and family, and I anticipate a fun evening indeed. Come on by and help us celebrate a great year.


The address for those who are in need of a location refresher:

7027 SW Macadam Ave.
Portland, OR 97219

(We're on the NW corner of Macadam and Nevada in the rear of the parking lot.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Making Hard Desisions

Hey there PORC fans.

It's been a while since I last reminded you about my anniversary party on:

MARCH 29th from 5:00-8:00.


However, it's also been a while since I've given an update in the land of all things PORC. One of the many chores of owning a small company is making decisions that I need to stand behind, I don't like going back on my word. If I say it will cost 'X' amount. I make that happen. If I say I will deliver on 'Y' date, I deliver on 'Y' date.

With this propensity towards delivering as promised, I've found myself working hours that no human can sustain for a extended period of time. Long gone are the days of working from "9:00 to 5:00." Long gone are the days of working 6 to 5. Somethings gotta give. What's it gunna be?

Lets step back about 6 months ago when I began utilizing the wealth of knowledge at my local chapter of the Small Business Alliance. I can not even begin to express how valuable it has been. I HIGHLY encourage anybody looking to own a business take full advantage of their services. AND AND AND...... almost all of the info is free.

In a class I took about business planning, I learned one very valuable lesson. Small business' fail due to one major thing.  Lack of planning. Sales planning. Market planning. Financial planning.

Large companies leave little to chance when it comes to planning, but I always thought it was impossible for such a small company like mine to thrive in this area.

I was wrong.  I was dead wrong.

Breaking down each area of my company gave me more than I'd ever imagined. It gave me an idea of where I want to go. How I will get there, and what I need to do in order to make it happen. I have a road map to follow.

I am slowly implementing one thing at a time. The big stick in my company spokes is efficiency. If I don't increase my efficiency, I am dead in that water. Why? It's not because I don't have clients or a good product. It's not because I have huge overhead or bad customer service. It's because if I don't figure out how to make my product in more timely manor, I'll run out of steam. I'll burn out. The long hours are not sustainable for the next 30 years.

So, what am I doing? I'm not changing my standards. I'm not changing my excellent customer service. I'm not reducing quality to increase profit.

Instead, I'm investing in the company by purchasing new design software. I've been both designing and presenting every project for the last 2 years with drawings made in Sketchup. It's amazing. Absolutely amazing. And for the price of free...... You can't beat it.

However, I have realized that this design work can be down in a fraction of time with other software.  What takes me days in Sketchup, now takes me minutes.

After exploring and trying software ranging in price from free to over $27,000, I found the product just right for me. Why would I spend my limited amounts of money on something that has always been free, and served me well? Because the program is intuitive and very powerful. The interface is simple and easy to navigate. AND it will free up my limited daily time for something else.

Over the next few months I will show some of the work I'm creating with it. From the first few days of "playing," I've been very happy.

It's a hard choice I had to make. Do I continue down the same path with hopes of IT changing, or do I choose a new path. I went with the later. Only time will tell if I made the correct decision, but it's a chance I'm willing to take. I'm looking forward to dinner with my wife at a reasonable hour this week. Hopefully it will become the norm again.

As always... Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Dust Catcher: Part 2. Shiny new duct work

Hi there PORC fans.

In preparation for our big Anniversary Party on March 29th. I've been working to get the shop ready for visitors. I got one of the two signs hung on the outside of the building, and am removing things like extension cords laying in the middle of the floor, using air hoses to hang stuff from the ceiling, and covering outlets with actual covers, and NOT duct tape. Nothing says happy anniversary like a electrocuted patron laying on the floor after tripping on a chord buried in a pile of wood chips.

My wonderful and loyal reader(s) are aware of my ongoing battle with collecting dust. Asthma is no stranger to my day, and I know that a visit from the fire marshal isn't too far down the road. For this reason, I bought a new cyclone a while back and finally after saving all my pennies, I've put in some wicked awesome pipe to complete the deal.

That's right. I said wicked awesome.

Keep on reading for the full report.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's Party Time

Hi there PORC fans.

It's been a fun and hectic couple weeks, but I still wanted to take a minute to remind you about my party.

MARCH 29th, from 5:00-9:00 PM

My doors will be open to the public.

One year ago, I moved into my new home and have been loving it ever since. I want to show all my friends and family what all of their support looks like through my eyes. Put it in your calendars and plan on dropping by for a little bite to eat, a cold beverage, and a walk around the new shop.

Now.... about this weeks post and why it relates to the party. In short, what I write about today, will be on display at the party. That's right. We've got a fireplace mantle in the works, and a cabinet with hidden TV lift to name a few.

So... keep on reading below for all the gory details and pretty pictures.