Solid Counter top for the DIY

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On Sun, 19 Nov 2006 04:52:07 +0000, Lew Hodgett wrote:

Why is it that you see the only alternatives to be competing with you or hiring you?
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How about buying a different, substitute good? Stone, quartz, high pressure laminate, even mahogany?
bowing back out...
Patriarch
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On Mon, 20 Nov 2006 14:08:29 -0600, Patriarch wrote:

All fine for a variety of purposes but who said I was making a counter? My view on it is that Corian and the like are materials that can be used to make countertops and can also be used for other purposes, just as wood can. But by preventing anyone but countertop installers from buying it in anything but small precut sizes one is prevented from using it for any purpose other than countertops.

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J. Clarke wrote:

If you need something less than a full sheet, why not visit your local fabrication shop? I found one locally who sold me a 3' x 5' "scrap" piece of Corian for $50. It's enough to get me through 2 largeish projects (router table and kitchen island). At that price, if I need another piece, I know I'll be going back for more when I need to build something else. I've been working with my piece for a couple weeks now, and it's really neat stuff. I still can't get over how heavy it is.
Seriously, if you don't need to finish all your countertops, just call your local fabrication shop. If you don't know one offhand, call any kitchen counter shop and ask them who does their countertops for them. That's what I did, and the scrap I bought was only one of a large number of pieces just sitting outside in the elements waiting for someone to buy it up.
Incidentally, for those of you interested in this stuff for turning, what size is the smallest useful piece for you to use? I may have some scraps I can give away when I'm done with these projects. I have the 1/2" kind, it's white with greyish specks in it.
-Nathan
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N Hurst wrote:

Now we're talking. I give away blanks all the time. I sell left-over vanity-size pieces all the time. Cheap too. Last weekend.. 23" x 38" Meganite acrylic..wasn't her favourite colour, but for $150.00? I even glued an edge on for her.... free. Then explained to the husband how to install it.
If anybody in here wants a blank for a router table, and doesn't care about the colour... e-mail me. I'll see what I can do. Shipping may take a while, because I am spending all my free time needling Frank.
r
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On Tue, 21 Nov 2006 05:21:44 -0800, N Hurst wrote:

Because now I'm in the position of having to settle for whatever scrap he has on hand instead of buying what I want.
If you want to make something else that matches your kitchen island and he doesn't have another scrap of that same stuff available, then what?

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J. Clarke wrote:

I'd go down the street to another one and ask them, and so on. If none of the locals had it, and none of the locals where I have family had it, I'd try to find something that complemented it. If I knew the guy well enough, I'd ask for him to let me know when someone else is getting some counters done in that color and ask to piggyback on their order or something.
Maybe I'm more easygoing about this kind of stuff than other people, but I just don't see this as that big a deal.
Anyways, I was just sharing my experience in buying the stuff as an "outsider." It wasn't difficult, the guy I worked with was friendly and we both walked away from the deal happier than when we'd entered it. If it's not the way you want to work, that's fine, but I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to find something you're content with from a large enough fab shop.
-Nathan
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Now, let's quote the entire statement, shall we?
Try to follow this scenario, if you can allow yourself to see things from another perspective. If I am faced with the fact that my distributor is shipping to a new, unestablished, fabricator who is in my neck of the woods, I have to ask
myself the question why. If then, the new guy starts undercutting my pricing, I have to ask myself if I can afford to cut the margins to the
point where it simply isn't worth the hassle of operating a business. I
am not some phylantropical institution no matter how much the likes of Mr. Clarke would like me to be. Next thing you know, I stop ordering from that distributor. Meanwhile, the new fabricator's bills are due...he's not making enough money to operate a business, so he goes under..
Then you, CW wrote this:

So where am I saying that? Nowhere did I mention that we ensure high prices and lack of competition. In fact, the opposite is true. because I get to operate by myself, I can cut my prices because I know I will have enough business to maintain my business model. There simply isn't any room for me to cut my prices further. Which is why I know that if anybody tried to sell for less than I do, they wouldn't be able to stay in business, because they would be operating at a loss.
And www.issfa.org is an outfit which shares all the best techniques to produce a better product with less labour so that we can make it even more affordable to the consumers.
You, sir, are barking up the wrong tree.
It is a combination of my low prices and quality craftsmanship that keeps my shop going, fuelled by the best advertizing ever: word of mouth.
r
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On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 20:38:14 -0800, Robatoy wrote:

Huh? Who has asked you to be a "phylantropical institution"?
Look, moron, I don't want to compete with you, and it will be a cold day in Hell before I buy anything from you. What I want is to be able to buy a product at a fair price. That's all. But since the stuff is so delicate and fragile and likely to burst into flames at the drop of a hat, I don't want anything to do with it at this point. You've turned me off of it entirely by pointing out at length what utter crap it is.

So you cut off your nose to spite your face and now you're whining about it.

In other words you benefit from lack of competition.

And this is a problem for you because?

Uh huh. Sure.
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J. Clarke gurgled:

You couldn't compete with me. You don't have the parts. (Double entendre there, Mr. Clarke.)

Holy cow! He gets it! People benefit from lack of competition. Real or imagined.

Hehehehehe.... gawd, you're easy....
r
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On Fri, 17 Nov 2006 14:22:31 -0800, Robatoy wrote:

Because you have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Yes, you do, and that is the problem--one wonders how much of what you say is in fact addressing real problems and how much of it is putting up a smokescreen to protect your business.

Human?
I'm sorry, but I don't see how a few DIY counter installers are going to harm your business any more than do-it-yourself furniture makers are harming Stickley. If a DIYer can't get solid surface he's not going to come to you for an installation, he's just going to not use solid surface.
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True. Once the style changes to something else (it always does), you will see it on the open market just to maintain sales.
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message If a DIYer can't get solid surface he's not

....Right.... After 24 years, the stuff will likely never catch on. DuPont, Samsung, Pyrotech, Wilsonart, are all clueless. They all built 20 to 50 million dollar plants because they don't think it will catch on either.
I don't think laminate flooring stands a chance. <G>
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"Robatoy" wrote

Rob,
I think part of the problem lies with the total self-entitlement attitude that is becoming more common. My FIL has (on occasion) issued the same lament with regard to the electric and gas utilities he uses.
In both cases, my argument is this ... "If you think the prices are too high (whether for electricity, gas, solid surface counter top material ... whatever) then feel free to make your own". In the case of electricity ... buy yourself generating equipment, build the infrastructure, and enjoy.
I suspect that no one is going to try to build an extrusion plant to make 20 feet of counter top material ... but hey, that's their option.
***
What REALLY bugs me (long list to follow) is first that many people view their own labors (labours?) as priceless, yet hold in complete contempt anyone else's talents, trade, skill set, etc. People that do not even understand the basics of the material science you've spent years mastering feel confident to tell you just how wrong you are. Sigh ... you've got a thicker skin than I do ... My hat is off to you.
My second item (and I'll hold it to two today) is that this is a WOODWORKING newsgroup, and the people stirring up the noise level have been here for quite some time. Make your countertop out of wood and quit whining about the availability of raw materials. Find alternatives, get back to the shop and make something out of wood, and share the experience.
***
Hang in there Rob ... and if you get down this way ... remember to bring a couple of sink cutouts with you so we can experiment with the ShopBot. The door is always open, and the beer will be cold.
Regards,
Rick
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On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 14:02:12 +0000, Rick M wrote:

The problem isn't the price, the problem is the availability. One can buy a generator if one wants to go that route, or one can buy the materials and parts to make one. But try to buy solid surface if you aren't an authorized installer.

It's not an issue of his being wrong about the "material science" (althought "material science" is a different field related to structural design), the issue is that he doesn't want anybody but him and others who are "authorized" to be able to buy solid surface even if the application is one that is outside of his line of business.
The problem is not with cost or with skills but with the attitude of the manufacturer that you must prove that you are worthy before they will deign to sell you their wonderful product.

How would you feel if the glue manufacturers got together and refused to sell glue to anybody who wasn't "authorized"? How about the nail manufacturers or the screw manufacturers or the paint manufacturers? How about if the lumber mills refused to sell wood to anyone who wasn't "authorized"? After all, not everybody knows how to design for wood movement or apply clamping pressure or cut a proper mortise and we can't have substandard work degrading the reputation of the product now can we?
See how empty those arguments are when applied to something other than solid surface?

Now, suppose you find that you can do wonderful things with solid surface and the ShopBot and then Rob kicks off and you can't get the material anymore. What is that going to do to your attitude?

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What a ridiculous string! You guys should be making shavings instead of B.S. :-)
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On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 17:50:06 +0000, Lowell Holmes wrote:

Would like to, of solid surface <g>.
Can't even get the stuff to turn pens out of unless it's precut into small blanks.
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What a ridiculous string! You guys should be making shavings instead of B.S.

Hey, you're reading it.
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You CAN buy the material direct from the manufacturer ... but you have to play by their rules, NOT YOURS. If you want, you too can get the factory training, buy the proper tools, and then become an authorized installer and buy the materials you need.
Of course, the cost is probably higher than you'd like ... but it IS your choice.

Materials Science is probably a better fit ... pardon the dropped "s".
Perhaps, if your need is indeed outside the normal use, you could engage the manufacturer in a discussion of what would be necessary to protect their product name while satisfying a (perhaps) new market opening up.You'd be wise to engage someone else to perform the negotiations, however, based on your actions to date in this forum. Not a slam by any means, just an observation.

You have the SAME attitude the solid-surface manufacturers have ... just at the polar ends of the scale. They don't want their product's (or their) reputation diminished by those who don't follow their instructions regarding installation. You don't want to play their game by their rules. Fair enough ... you don't get to play (it IS their ball, after all).

You assume collusion between the different solid surface manufacturers, you allude to price-fixing, but you don't provide any supporting proof. If you feel that the manufacturers are price-fixing, feel free to contact the FTC and file a complaint. As to your comments about screw, nail, glue or paint manufacturers refusing to sell their products to untrained individuals ... it already happens. Lumber yard just up the street refuses to sell to anyone without an established business relationship with them. Why? In the former case, proper training in the handling, storing and use of the materials is required by the technology involved. In the latter case, they just don't want to bother with DIY types, because it's such a pain to deal in small quantities, put up with the problems brought about by the lack of understanding of the materials involved, and because they don't want to work weekends.
Now, I'm pretty sure that the lumber yard you buy your wood from doesn't care what you do with the wood ... being a generic agricultural product easily obtainable by anyone with a piece of steel. The solid surface manufacturers are dealing with their propriatary compound and manufacturing process, coupled with a long-term warranty with their end-customers. If you buy countertop material, install it in a house you are flipping, and in one or two years this countertop has a problem ... well, you're long gone and the manufacturer is listening to the homeowner (or more likely, the homeowner's lawyer) about damages. The manufacturer's only fault was selling you the material, yet they end up footing the bill for your misdeed.
My point? They DON'T have to do business with you, and in many cases they WON'T.

If Rob kicked off as you so poorly put it, I'd miss his wit, his reasonable ability to articulate even difficult subjects to most of the readers here, and his sense of humor (humour) but I won't change my attitude about Rob or about solid surface material. You see, to me, this is what I do to relax and have fun while being creative. I don't get all wrapped up because someone won't give me what I want, I move on to something else.
I really must have slept through Social Studies in school, because I really fail to see where ANYONE is entitled to get what they want just by plunking down money and insisting. Not saying that you do that ... that is the perception I get from the tone of your writing. I don't mean to be dismissive (though it often comes across that way) ... you are either going to have to play by the existing rules, or gently establish new ones agreeable to both you AND the solid surface manufacturers, else they are going to ignore you.
With regard to the ShopBot and solid surface materials, I already know the ShopBot can do wonderful things unimaginable to most ... the key to that particular paragraph was to entice Rob to "come on down" and get some run-time on a very nice piece of equipment so that he'll head over to Durham and buy one to take home with him. I like sharing my enthusiasm about woodworking, technology, etc. with others, and try to be encouraging. There is always room for more positive, encouraging words ... both here on the w(rec)k, and in the "real" world.
Regards,
Rick
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On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 20:07:34 +0000, Rick M wrote:
<snip>

I made no mention of price fixing or of price at all.
But since it's clear that you're addressing what you want to believe I said rather than what I said, there is obviously no purpose in attempting to continue discussion with either you or "robatoy".
<snip>
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