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Curtain Walls Help Quality Woodworker Maintain a Fine Finish

When architects for hotels, restaurants, casinos and other high-end facilities design wood paneling, woodwork, casework, exotic and domestic veneers, trim and other quality touches into their projects; they turn to Wood Company Inc. in Clearwater Florida.

This company does both premier quality woodwork and high production. A new 6,500 sq ft finishing department with a Superfici Compact Spray system enables Wood Company to turn out 2,400 feet of raw veneer, ready to package. This is 6,500 sq ft that is well used by Wood Company for the in-line finishing machine, a sanding area and the spray booth enclosed by Goff's Curtain Walls.

In 1976 the company began operations as a teak importer, ultimately leading to its entry into the yachting industry, as a supplier of lumber, trims and components. With a weakening market at the time, Wood Company jumped into the architectural woodwork industry while continuing to fabricate mouldings, millwork, exotic and domestic veneers, wall panels and stile and rail doors.

Today 90 percent of the company's workload consists of a variety of millwork jobs for corporate, hotel and casino interiors; yacht, golf and country clubs; judicial and government buildings, with the remainder of their work turning out wood components. The company has a reputation reinforced by the many awards and honors the company has received from associations like the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Architectural Woodwork Institute and the Association for Retail Environments.

All Wood Company products meet in its state-of-the-art finishing department before going out the door. "An average finish can detract from good woodwork; so we strive for top notch finishes every time," explains Dave Henshaw, chief operating officer at Wood Company.

"We've assembled a team that does very high-quality woodwork so I want to make sure the finish is excellent, too," Henshaw says. "We believe our finishing quality to be among the best in the industry, and strive to always maintain it."

This determination to stay innovative, prompted Wood Company to consider upgrading and expanding its finishing department.

Henshaw decided to partition the new building into three parts using Goff's Curtain Walls. One is for the in-line spray machine, the other is a spray booth and the other is a sanding area. The Curtain Wall separate off the spray booth from the sanding area. There are two fans on each side.

The Curtain Wall creates the 20' x 40' sanding area, where the curtain section demarcates one side of the area and then forms a corner, meeting up with the solid wall to form a room. "The arrangement," assesses Henshaw, "works out beautifully with tie downs connecting the Curtain Wall panels to the floor."

In effect, the 14 ft high Curtain Walls enable them to have a cleanroom without the expense and limitations of erecting solid walls and fabricating venting runs. "We get no air infiltration in or out of the area. The Curtain Walls block the entry of dust. At the open top, clean air can circulate, giving the spot its own positive airflow, its own dust collection system and its own fume collection system - it's all self-contained."

The crew in the finishing building likes the flexibility of the Curtain Wall system. The employees there have the ability to handle 35-foot long bars when they open the curtain or if need be they can double the size of their spray room.

Goff's Curtains have toothed brass grommets placed one-foot on center along the top for attachment to rollers on the 16 gauge galvanized steel track system. At floor level the curtains attach to one another with two-inch industrial Velcro. To enter the area an operator simply slides the curtains out of the way.

The finishing department is a self-contained building, adjacent to the 30,000 ft production building.  Their loading dock is between the two, enabling them to wheel the work straight in from manufacturing through a big electric rollup door. The work goes to the right if it needs to be sanded. The next step is the Superfici spray machine and then finally to the hand finishing area.

"The Curtain Walls," says Henshaw, "save us the expense of building costly walls for many reasons."

He points out that unlike solid walls, there is no need to file building permits and be subjected to inspections. The Curtain Walls enable them to reconfigure the floor layout if their needs change, without calling an architect and a contractor.

"Our biggest deal," Henshaw notes, "is one day we can be doing 16 foot pieces of trim and the next day we can have a 75 foot long bar in the spray area. We don't have to worry about what size would work we want to take in the future or turn down bids on certain projects. Floor area is not a limitation. These are big factors."

This building itself is extremely well insulated with a complete HVAC system to totally control their temperatures and humidity. Considering their focus on the finish it was important to them to completely separate this operation from production.

"The humidity," states Henshaw, "is horrible down here in Florida. You can get blushing on all your finishes, so HVAC is quite critical in a place like this."

They have the Curtain Walls suspended within three feet of the ceiling. In this area the clean air can air condition or heat the whole building instead of having ductwork all over the building. The temperature and humidity to the whole building is consistent and dust is not collecting on the product.

The Curtain Walls have clear 20 mil middle sections, which are attached to opaque top/bottom sections made of rugged 14 oz vinyl. The curtain panels are fire retardant to provide a safer work environment for Wood Company employees, meeting NFPA-701 Test for Fire Resistance as well as the California State Fire Marshall Standard.

"Our output has roughly quadrupled," Henshaw explains. "This increase in production comes with the added benefit of a much more consistent finish color and sheen - as well as a more efficient transfer of material and less waste."

The company's finishing department consists of six employees - four cross-trained on conventional spray applications, as well as setup and operation of the Superfici line finishing system. 
"All of our colors are mixed in-house to conform to any designer's nuances," Henshaw says.

 "The Superfici line has streamlined the workflow in the department - freeing up employees to produce the labor intensive hand-wiped oil finish stains and hand-glazed finishes we continue to apply," he says. "While you can't use [the line] to do glazed finishes, you can use it to apply consistent topcoats, stains - it's not just speed; it's a quality issue."

 "With our line finishing capabilities now up and running, a UV cure will be added and more eco-friendly, waterborne finishes instituted," Henshaw explains. "This should, in turn, put us on the cutting edge with respect to not only the important environmental issues our industry faces, but also speed up drying times resulting in more efficient throughput of material."

They are very sure of the quality of the work they turn out for their high-end customers. "I'll put our work up against anybody," remarks Henshaw.

Thanks to Goff's Curtain Walls, Wood Company can honor that pledge efficiently and effectively.