Computers found in woodworking industry

The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) held its 2005 Fair, July 27-30, in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Prior to 2005, this Fair was held every other year in the Anaheim Convention Center, but this year they needed more space.

My wife and I attended because I am a “wood butcher” among other things and we both just enjoy seeing how modern woodworking is performed.

The Fair took up both floors of the south hall and could only be described as immense. They say it consisted of 420,000 square feet of actual exhibit space on both floors in the 1 million square foot hall. Lots of walking.

Why it is being described in this computer column is that woodworking has changed. Yes, there still are individual craftspeople who construct things using the types of machines and hand tools we might use in our own hobby shops. But at this show, what we saw mostly were machines that used computers and lasers to transform boards inserted in one end into finished products at the other end. And some of these machines were larger than our houses.

Of particular interest and fascination were the software companies that were displaying their planning and processing programs. They may foretell the downfall of paper and pencil planning.

One such program is by 20-20 Technologies used in over 25,000 shops world wide. If Rosalie and I want our kitchen remodeled, we can go to a business that uses 20-20 software and have the complete design done and shown to us on a three dimensional computer display. We can “walk” through our new kitchen and see the display change as we move around. If we approve, a click of a mouse causes a finished cost estimate to be printed. When we leave, the company then goes back to the software and complete plans are drawn up, vendor purchase orders are produced that includes hinges, dowels, screws, glue and all other items needed to construct our kitchen. They can send this to the manufacturer who can use the program to schedule our work. We can check the progress of our order using a designated Internet web site. Good Heavens, how things have changed. Incidentally, there probably were a dozen of these software companies exhibiting variations of the same programs.

Fortunately for us, there still are exhibitors of “smaller” equipment that we can use in our own garage shops. We looked at bandsaws, craft books, glues and other interesting little things. Rosalie collected lots of cloth literature bags that were handed out by the exhibitors. She uses them at home for weaving and knitting stuff. And we walked and walked until our feet were ready to fall off.

On the lighter side, we drove over on Wednesday and stayed at the Las Vegas Hilton which is near the Convention Center. We went back and forth to the Fair on the monorail after purchasing a 24 hour pass. Wednesday evening we took the monorail to the Bellagio and partook of their unbelievable buffet dinner after standing in line for a little while. The lights of Las Vegas still are spectacular and we must have seen all sides of the new Wynn casino as we took the monorail back to our hotel. We drove home on Thursday and saw some rain and lightening on I-15.

If you would like to hear more about computerized woodworking, or other computer topics, visit “Coffee and Computers” at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. ‘C’ Street, any Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. Bring your questions or just come in and visit. And visit our blog at “”.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.

For Additional Information:

Design Masters, 227 E. Chapman #A, Orange (Old Town), 714.633.1400,, uses design software from 20-20 Technologies. Ask for Don Garcia for information and demonstration.

About AWFS:

Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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