Story of a Landlord-Tenant Dispute
Confusion over three-phase power throughs a shop leasing agreement into chaos. Here are insights into the legal and practical issues involved. October 27, 2008

Butcher Block Finish Dispute
This long saga of a woodworker's difficulty with a customer who is dissatisfied with the finish on a butcher block shipped cross-country offers lessons on communication, contracts, and credit card company dispute resolution processes. March 26, 2010

Secured Debt, Collections, and Legal Advice
An out-of-business cabinetmaker is being pursued by a debt collector for money he owes on machinery. The case sparks a heated debate and reveals some hard-nosed business and legal truths. January 7, 2007

What to Do When a Job Goes Sour
Here's a seminar on how to handle the situation when the homeowner-GC-cabinetmaker relationship heads south in the middle of a job. January 10, 2008

Testing Prospective Employees
... and have some fun along the way. February 8, 2005

Developing a Cabinet Business
Starting up without large equipment and finance resources. January 28, 2004

Interior Designer Referral Fees
Referral fees charged by "interior designers" are a frequent source of misunderstanding. April 20, 2007

New Business Liability Insurance
Issues including insurance, worker's comp, and taxes. April 18, 2004


Whether to Give Clients your Drawings
Here's an extended discussion about appropriate policies for control of shop drawings and design layouts. May 26, 2010

"Joint Check" Payment Agreements in Commercial Work
This long thread deals with a cabinetmaker's choices as he negotiates for a commercial job where the customer is proposing to pay the cabinetmaker and his materials suppliers with the same check. January 26, 2008

Yellowing Paint on New Poplar Doors
This long discussion deals partly with the performance of paint on poplar, and partly with the division of responsibility between the cabinetmaker and the finisher. January 24, 2014

Managing a Business Disaster
A big customer can't pay because of big legal trouble now the cabinetmaker has to struggle to stay afloat. This long discussion is loaded with sympathetic insights. November 26, 2007

Recovering from an Estimating Mistake
If a rookie salesman accidentally sells a job way, way under cost, can the shop owner back out of the deal? There's more than one side to that question. October 25, 2006

Danger in the Woods
Woodworkers should be aware of the reactions some people may have to certain species and take appropriate precautions. August 13, 2005

Dealing with a Deadbeat Client
A sad tale of a customer who won't pay evolves into a detailed discussion of contracts and legal alternatives. February 17, 2006

Payment Problems in Commercial Work
Slow payment, and even non-payment, is very common in the world of commercial contracting. Here's advice on how to protect yourself. March 12, 2009

Whether to Remove a Lein
A cabinetmaker who has not been paid asks whether he should remove his lein against the house, as requested by the owner. Colleagues explain why he should not. February 6, 2010

Collecting From Contractors
Ideas about how to make sure you get paid by a general contractor. May 5, 2007

Playing Hardball over Unpaid Invoices
An installer decides not to show up for a job as promised because the contractor hasn't paid for the last two jobs. Is he being too radical? February 16, 2012

Handling an Order Cancellation Early in the Contract
Two lessons are learned from this case where a customer wants to cancel without explaining: One, contracts should spell out the exits for both parties; and two, some things in life are more important than business. January 31, 2012

AWI Certification and Bidding
Advice on how to get certified with the Architectural Woodworking Institute, and how to qualify as a bidder on projects when you're not certified. May 20, 2009

Eyewitness: Injury
Scary stories about careless acts and bad consequences. June 28, 2005

Starting Out in a Garage
Business owners weigh in on the question, "Can I bootstrap a woodworking business out of my garage?" January 2, 2014

Can You Penalize Employees for Mistakes?
A discussion of motivation, quality control, accountability, and labor law. September 7, 2013

Ethics of Working with Interior Designers
Another long discussion about a perennial sore point for woodworking professionals: transparency and fair dealing in the relationship with designers. April 18, 2015

Accepting Less than the Agreed Price
Learning from experience: a cabinetmaker gets paid less than he is owed because of supposed defects the customer perceives in the product as delivered. September 29, 2014

Copyright Issues and Architectural Drawings
Are these original shop drawings protected by copyright law? May 19, 2004

Converting from Employee to Subcontractor
Changing your status from an employee to a subcontractor for the same shop is a complicated and potentially risky move. October 13, 2008

Can Shop Workers Legally be Subcontractors?
An extended discussion of IRS rules defining employees and independent contractors, and how those rules relate to workers in a cabinet shop. February 23, 2010

Ending the Endless Punch List
Good quality control is important, but contracts and business practices should keep punch lists within reasonable limits. October 26, 2012

Dispute Resolution: Paint Color Mismatch
Handle this: the customer gave you the paint for the built-ins; it doesn't match the trim; now the customer wants you to fix it. (This time, the story has a happy ending.) February 10, 2009

Getting payments from general contractors
Woodworking pros trade tips on getting payments from general contractors. June 27, 2000

Subcontractor or Employee?
Learning the rules about worker classification and managing the details correctly is a hassle, but the risks of doing it wrong are major. September 24, 2009

Payment Terms in Commercial Work
A discussion of the contract technicalities a woodworker has to navigate when making the switch from residential to commercial work. April 6, 2007

Attention, Safety Practices, and Loose Nuts
A woodworker describes how a moment's inattention damaged his machine but luckily, not him. The tale sets off a long thread of similar stories (including one fatality) and lessons learned. November 16, 2011

Wood, the environment, and Man
A wide-ranging overview of the state of the primary processing industry, and where it may be going from here. August 10, 2000

Company sponsored, on-site drinking
Legal implications of the Friday afternoon beer-drinking session, and off-site alternatives to it. November 7, 2000

Payment Schedules and Client-Caused Delays
When a client's not ready for delivery on time, it's hard for the cabinetmaker. Contracts should allow for that eventuality. March 26, 2008

Managing a Customer Cancellation
When a customer wants to cancel after paying a 50% deposit, and after you've purchased materials, what's the fair and equitable solution? Do you give all the money back, part of it, none of it, or what? April 21, 2011

Responsibility for a Too-Dark Finish
A cabinetmaker is being asked to hold the bag for the poor work done by a painter who the customer hired. In this thread, professionals suggest ways to handle the problem. November 11, 2005

Terminating a Job in Mid-Project
This story of a job gone sour has a happy ending: The cabinetmaker gets out in good shape by having a good contract and standing his ground. January 13, 2009

How to Be Ready for OSHA
Either the safety agency itself, or a private consultant, can help you identify hazards and avoid possible penalties before you're surprised by a "real" enforcement inspection. April 20, 2007

Kitchen Projects: Required Deposits
The policy of demanding a deposit gets fouled up when contractors are involved. December 26, 2004

Unstable Cabinet Geometry and Toppling Risk
A furniture maker wrestles with the stability and safety issues of a tall, narrow freestanding cabinet with one heavy glass door. August 21, 2006

Licensing, Bonding, and Insurance for a Start-Up Woodworking Business
Thoughts on the relative importance of certain business formalities. April 20, 2008

Classifying Workers
An accountant's suggestion to turn a few employees into "subcontractors" comes in for criticism along with some information about the rules for that sort of thing. September 30, 2010

Working Exclusively for One Client
When a client suggests an exclusive arrangement, it's wise to think carefully about the potential downside. March 18, 2006

Coping with Customer Foot-Dragging
Case example: dealing with contract and money issues on a custom job when a customer dawdles. December 2, 2006

Recovering from a Shop Fire
Woodweb forum steps up with well-informed advice about how to cope with a catastrophic fire in the wood shop. April 16, 2009

Working with "Designers"
In the cabinetmaking and furniture trades, some "designers" bring little to the table beyond a back-of-a-napkin concept sketch. What's good business when handling those jobs? October 17, 2012

When the Customer Wants to "Help" You Saw
Long, spirited exchange on the tricky situations created when you let a sawmilling customer help with the work. December 12, 2008

Handling a Dispute over a Glazed Cabinet
The work's done, but the designer doesn't like the glaze job, and the customer wants a refund. What have we learned here? April 29, 2012

Building Your Own Spray Room -- On a Budget
Technical advice and alternatives for a small operator building a new shop. February 25, 2005

Going Out on your Own in Cabinet Installation
A skilled and responsible employeed for cabinet installation sub ponders the practicality and ethical issues involved in going solo and competing with his present employer. February 12, 2009

Managing Customer Complaints
If it seems like a customer is just trying to make trouble for you, here's advice on how to keep your cool and respond appropriately. August 6, 2008

Screw Through a Water Pipe: Whose Fault?
It's a typical snafu: the cabinet installer hits a water pipe with a screw. This thread is a collection of examples, with descriptions of who covered the repair cost. August 16, 2012

Advertising Signs on Your Vehicle
Target the market you want, and the leads will roll in. March 14, 2005

Sample commercial contract
Example of a woodworker's contract for a bid job. January 28, 2002

When an Equipment Auction Transaction Goes Bad
It's "buyer beware" at an online equipment auction and it can also be "seller beware." Here are tales of some lessons learned. March 22, 2013

Is this customer worth the hassle?
The project was complete and paid for in full. Then, the customer requested a "free" change to it. June 7, 2000

Patenting a Woodworking Invention
The deck is stacked against the small inventor, but teaming up with a large manufacturer could repay your creativity. February 6, 2010

Subcontractor Payment Terms in Commercial Work
Getting paid when you're low down on the food change can be a frustrating hassle and a runaround. Here's some general advice and a few relevant anecdotes. July 12, 2012

Mulligan Stew: Random Observations -- and Ideas on Management
A bunch of different stuff that owners and managers of woodworking business should think about. 1998.

Sharing Photos of Completed Work
Should a contractor share professional photography he has paid to have done with the owner of the project being photograped? And on what terms? The issues can be complicated. September 3, 2014

Managing Customer Indecision
Here's a nice discussion of interpersonal techniques and contract language that keep a customer's inability to make a timely decision from damaging your bottom line. October 2, 2007

Project GC Schedules in Commercial Cabinet Work
Commercial casework builders complain about the way general contractors manage the schedules. July 30, 2009

Middle-Man Muddle
what's the proper way to structure your relationship with someone who's your go-between with the end customer? August 29, 2005

Struggling to Get Paid
Cabinetmakers discuss payment problems in the industry, and compare contract and billing strategies. July 3, 2006

Resolving a Stain-Matching Dispute
By its nature, matching stain is an imperfect process. Here, a finisher's story about a problem with a customer leads to a discussion of contract terms and policies for matching stain. June 23, 2006

Commercial Work Versus Residential Work
Here's another good thread on the pitfalls of commercial cabinetmaking work. May 28, 2010

Drawings Versus Specs in a Dispute
When the spec says one thing, and a signed shop drawing shows something else, who's right? March 26, 2010

Hold Harmless Clause Complications
A cautionary tale: When a customer's dog bites a subcontractor, the contractor finds his government contract may leave him holding the bag for a homeowner's insurance payout. June 2, 2009

Lumber Insurance
Can a sawyer be held liable for the structural integrity of his wood? February 28, 2004

Managing On-Site Work
Knowing how to handle yourself and your employees on a job site is critical to winning future referrals. 1998.

What to Do when a Customer Won't Follow Through
and what can you do then? Here, cabinetmakers consider the case of a builder customer who won't take delivery on cabs for his own house. September 8, 2007

Container Material for Solvents
What kind of plastic or metal containers are okay to use for storing and transporting olvents? April 4, 2011

Keeping Tabs on Job Progress as a Sub
The cabinet contractor on a ten-unit project worries that the GC is not keeping him informed about the schedule. August 31, 2009

Dealing with Non-Payment on a Commercial Job
A shop owner is stiffed by another contractor who he helped out on a commercial contract. Colleagues discuss the available strategies for securing payment. April 24, 2006

Fire Code Hassles in Shop Remodel
Here's a cautionary tale: connecting two shop buildings trips the square-footage trigger for fire sprinkler requirements, and it's the surprised owner who gets burned. February 19, 2008

Deposits, Payment Schedules, and Working for Builders
Here's a long discussion kicked off by the question of how to handle a builder who balks at the cabintmaker's payment schedule and terms. May 20, 2009

Codes for Dust Collection in a Home Shop
Navigating the building codes for a woodshop over a residential garage is tricky. July 22, 2013

Husband and Wife Businesses
Husband-and-wife business teams discuss how they choose a business structure, share and divide responsibilities, and stay organized. April 6, 2007

Employees Versus 1099 Workers
A discussion around the rules governing when a worker is considered an employee for tax, insurance, and legal purposes. June 15, 2009

When a Commercial Client Won't Sign a Contract
or sign on the dotted line. February 6, 2007

"Finder's Fee" for Designers
Yet another discussion of the ethical and practical business issues involved when a designer is in the middle of your relationship to a customer. April 19, 2015

Contracts and Collections
Owning a woodworking business is great, provided you remember it is a business. How to contract carefully, and get paid. 1998.

Fraud by a Project Manager
A responsible employee talked a client into writing him a check, then skipped out with the money. Who's in trouble now? April 24, 2006

Making Wooden Toys
Safety regulations discourage small shops from making wooden toys for sale. September 29, 2010

Liability for Breakage
Broken stuff happens. Who should hold the bag? Business owners look at a case of broken glassware and discuss the ins and outs of taking responsibility. July 24, 2005

Assertiveness Training for Woodworkers
One in a series, looking at the relationships between woodworking companies and the businesses they deal with. 1998.

Why Finishers Use Samples with Customers
Customers don't have the vocabulary to describe finishes, or to understand how you describe them. That's why a signed sample is your best assurance of a clear agreement. August 29, 2011

Teaching Woodworking in a Real Shop
A woodworker is considering teaching shop class in his own shop, but the insurance and legal risks are discouraging. October 3, 2011

Patenting a New Jig or Tool
A woodworker has thought up a modification that improves on someone else's design, and wonders whether he should seek a patent. Responses supply a rundown on the patent process and its pitfalls. February 17, 2006

Turning to the 'Pros'
One in a series, looking at the relationships between woodworking companies and the businesses they deal with. 1998.

Understanding Lien Waivers
A customer who's a stickler for legalistic paperwork could be trouble. But lien waivers are routine and trivial in many situations. April 4, 2011

Fine Points of Sales Tax
Do you need to charge sales tax when you sell something to a business that they use in producing their goods? The answer varies from state to state. January 13, 2009

License Board Troubles
When a dissatisfied customer sics the state License Board on a cabinetmaker, what sort of position is he in? May 5, 2007

Can You Relate? -- Legal and Accounting
A closer look at the accounting and legal professions, and their value to woodworking businesses. 1998.

Mechanic Lien Process
Do-it-yourself, or hire an attorney? April 2, 2004

Whether to Back Out of a Job over Site Conditions
Cabinet installers discuss the contract and management issues involved when you encounter unexpected and troublesome site conditions. May 7, 2007

When a Customer Won't Pick Up His Product
Advice on how to handle a buyer who does not come back to take possession of his goods. March 11, 2009

Retainage, what is it?
Retainage is defined and a lively discussion ensues. June 6, 2000

Employee retirement plans
Questions about simple IRAs and taxes. October 2, 2001

Charging Sales Tax for Cabinetry
Sales tax laws vary from state to state and situation to situation. Here's a closer look. June 2, 2009

Rights to photograph work
Who owns the photographs of work done under someone else's employ? March 23, 2002

Partnership plusses and pitfalls
The dynamics of going into business with the boss. March 23, 2002

Setting Limits for Punch-List Work
Cabinetmakers discuss how to avoid being punch-listed to death, and where to draw the line. April 22, 2014

Bids, Estimates, Proposals and Contracts
Which is which? There's communicating, there's defining, and then there's promising. March 25, 2008

Sharing a Shop Space
Pros discuss the potential pitfalls of non-standard shop-sharing arrangements. July 3, 2006

Partnership Concepts
Pros and cons of taking on a partner, and some thoughts about the corporate form of organization. March 12, 2009

Sales Tax Rules for Cabinet Installations
Sales tax rules for cabinets vary by state, and can be hard to figure out. June 23, 2006

What Makes a Contract a Contract?
A cabinet-maker's builder customer has bailed out on a design-build job after paying a deposit and okaying plans. Now who owes what to who? This thread from Woodweb's Business forum provides a good clarification of just what kind of statements and actions add up to a legal contract. November 11, 200 ......

Contracts versus cost-plus
Some jobs are impossible to estimate. But don't walk away until you've proposed working on a 'cost-plus' basis. 1998.

Don't Rent Your Shop to a Builder
And don't fall in love with a dreamer. And don't stick your fork in the toaster. June 23, 2006

Spelling Out the Payment Schedule
A good contract should spell out deposit and payment terms in correct legal language and the amounts should provide for adequate cash flow. August 22, 2007

Who's Responsible For Protecting Cabinets After Installation?
Cabinetmakers discuss the measures they take to protect cabinets while construction continues, and the risks involved. June 11, 2014

Taking it to the Bank
One in a series, looking at the relationships between woodworking companies and the businesses they deal with. 1998.

Client Worried I'll Die While Making His Cabinets
Life insurance, performance bonds, and similar workarounds for the risk that you may check out unexpectedly. January 20, 2010

Just Trying to Get Paid
Here's a long story with color commentary about getting stiffed on a job, filing a lien, contacting the owner, and finally picking up a check. September 27, 2008

"Co-Insurance" the Fine Points of Partial Insurance
If you insure your assets for less than their full value, you won't get fully compensated for a partial loss, even if it's less than your insured value. This thread explains the thinking. May 12, 2008

What to Do when a Customer Is Terminally Ill
Death don't have no mercy in this land ... December 6, 2008

Marketing a Machinery Modification
A woodworker has perfected a great idea for improving an existing piece of equipment. How does he bring his idea to the market? October 3, 2011

Handing Back the Check
Advice on backing out of a bad deal before it gets worse, while you still can. September 29, 2014

Shipping Woodshop Products
Woodshop business owners discuss the ins and outs of packing, shipping, and damage claims. October 13, 2005

Sub or Employee? The Legal Puzzle
A discussion of when you legally pay someone as a subcontractor rather than an employee. February 17, 2006

Refunding Customer Deposits
Cabinetmakers discuss the ethics and business sense of refunding all or part of a deposit when the customer backs out of the deal.December 28, 2005

Fire Sprinkler Requirements for a New Woodshop
including a story of one disastrous fire. December 14, 2005

Addressing Flawed Specs in Bidding Situations
What's the best way to communicate with the designer and customer when a specification includes ill-advised choices? March 12, 2014

Business Names and Trademark Infringement
You're both going to be hearing from Woody Harrelson... December 26, 2006

Can a Cabinetmaker Repossess Work If Not Paid?
In most states you can't remove work that is installed into a home, even if you aren't paid. But there are other legal alternatives. June 3, 2007

Collecting from a Bank-Financed Builder
A cabinetmaker who's being stiffed on a job gets advice about liens, bankruptcy, and persuading a bank to pay up. July 12, 2012

Cabinet Warranty In Unfinished Buildings
Covering yourself against damage caused by humidity and temperature. April 10, 2005

LEED Specs Referenced in a Contract
A cabinetmaker puzzles over the implications of a contract clause requiring him to "comply with LEED requirements." October 27, 2009

Getting the Final Payment
A business owner gets advice about applying pressure when payment is slow in coming and you're not getting any answers. September 17, 2014

LEED Chain of Custody Confusion
A cabinetmaker gets into trouble because of mis-communication over LEED standards on a job. May 20, 2009

Safeguarding Woodworking Machines and Worker Safety
A detailed description of machinery safeguarding techniques - 1984

Converting a Trailer to a Spray Booth
Finishers warn of the code and safety issues involved in providing lighting, egress, and other necessities to make a spray booth out of a metal trailer. February 15, 2009

Cabinetry Warranties
Cabinetmakers discuss their warranty policies. June 15, 2009

Does a Tow-Behind Sawmill Need Vehicle Tags?
Just because you can tow it behind a truck, doesn't mean it's officially a "trailer." In some states at least, sawmill equipment on wheels is not a vehicle and it doesn't need a license plate. December 30, 2007

Business Transitions and Divorce
Selling a business or otherwise disposing of assets can get very messy in the midst of a divorce. December 6, 2008

Guarding Against Embezzlement
All humor aside, here are some practical tips for maintaining security in the financial operation of a business. September 24, 2009

Contract Terms: Suppliers Versus Subcontractors
Cabinetmakers working for contractors should insist on terms typical for contracts with vendors, not with subcontractors. January 18, 2007

Bonding for Small Jobs
Even if you're a relatively small subcontractor, you may occasionally be asked to post a bond. It's not so complicated. July 20, 2011

Limiting Personal Liability
A discussion about ways to protect your personal and business assets against legal liability. October 13, 2008

Documenting Work
Taking photos of your cabinet installs could help you out some time, in case someone else comes along and disturbs or damages things. May 11, 2011

Bad checks and bad credit
How to protect yourself from, and deal with, bad checks and un-creditworthy customers. June 7, 2000

Email Check Scams Targeting Woodworkers
Fishy-sounding email requests for quotes are sometimes the opening step in an "overpayment" phony-check scam. July 13, 2010

Warranteeing Laminate-on-Particleboard Countertops
How long should your guarantee last for a laminate countertop? Installers discuss warrantees and materials. October 8, 2005

Enforcing Cancellation Policies
When a customer cancels a service call on short or no notice, how do you effectively charge a cancellation fee? April 21, 2011

Getting a Zoning Variance for a Wood Shop
Zoning rules may have room to bend, if you take a friendly and persistent approach. May 5, 2007

Clarifying Architect Specifications for Cabinetry
Here's a good discussion concerning communication about job specs in a complex situation. December 1, 2010

Can You Patent a Woodworking Joint?
Thoughts on whether woodworking ideas qualify as intellectual property. May 21, 2009

Showroom Samples and Contract Terms
Woodworkers debate whether showing a customer your showroom samples is enough to make clear what exactly you have promised to provide as your installed product. November 15, 2010

Shop Security
Advice on locks, cameras, watchdogs, security procedures, and staying within the law in protecting your shop and tools after closing. February 6, 2010

Steaming Before Kiln-Drying: Good Idea?
Steaming wood before the drying cycle may or may not be wise. But in any case, the idea is patented. June 13, 2014

LLC vs. S-corp
The pros and cons of these two business classifications. June 6, 2001

Environmental Sensitivities: A Tough Sell
Failure stories are common among cabinetmakers who have tried to satisfy "chemically sensitive" clients. February 28, 2012

Corporation vs. sole proprietorship
Choosing which is the way to go, depending on the size and future of your company. October 2, 2001

Pessimistic Thoughts about Partnership Deals
When a cabinetmaker asks for advice on formalizing a partnership arrangement, he receives a lot of warnings about the potential risks and pitfalls. May 22, 2007

Change-Order Fun and Games
It's important to keep the understandings clear: the original signer of a contract (not a relative) needs to sign off on change orders. June 23, 2006

Handling Government Contract Work
Government work is its own strange world, so learn the ropes and be careful. October 8, 2005

Profit sharing and incentive plans
Profit sharing and incentive programs in action. June 6, 2001

Selling Used CAD or CNC Software
You can transfer a software license to another buyer, but there are formalities involved. November 23, 2008

Dealing with Leased Equipment when Going Out of Business
A look at managing the legal details when auctioning off shop equipment: how do you handle leased machines? November 28, 2011

Compensating Employees Who Opt Out of Health Insurance
Should employees who opt out of your company's insurance plan get a little something extra in their check? Maybe not the practice could create complicated tax issues for you. April 24, 2006

Commercial Lease Terms
Woodworkers discuss lease provisions that make a difference to someone renting shop space. October 13, 2008

Overtime pay
Good reasons to pay overtime, whether or not your competition does. June 6, 2001

Solving "slow-pays"
How to charge a customer who is not prompt with their payments. May 9, 2001

Quality Standards in Contracts
Referencing published industry specs is one simple solution. Here, pros chime in with additional short and sweet disclaimers. November 12, 2005

Moving Out? Take Your Stuff.
A landlord tries to stretch a lease provision about elements connected to the building into a claim on a tenant's dust collection system. Fat chance. January 2, 2012

Dealing with union organizing efforts
How to handle the potential unionization of your workforce. November 7, 2000

Going Out of Business
Advice on closing up shop, disposing of your business assets, and paying your taxes. September 16, 2013

Mixing Solid Surface Brands
If you combine sinks and countertops from different makers, will warranties (and adhesives) hold? April 14, 2005

Sample Subcontractor Agreement
Spelling out the parameters of the work and relationship to avoid legal problems. April 4, 2004

Fire Sprinkler Damage to Machinery
Thoughts about the insurance claim issues and the practicality of repair or restoration of equipment after a small fire sets off the fire sprinklers in a shop. February 26, 2012

Motor Vehicles Paperwork for a Portable Bandmill
Info on bill-of-sale, title, registration, and insurance technicalities for bandsaw mill trailers. December 9, 2010

The Purpose of Shop Drawings
Builders often ask for shop drawings when offering a cabinet job in a custom home project. "Paper is still cheaper than wood," notes one pro: Here's an explanation of how the drawings serve the needs of everyone involved. November 11, 2005

Legal Limits on a Cabinet Job Down Payment
Cabinetmakers explain how they deal with "10 percent down" state laws for remodeling contracts. March 6, 2008

Structural Testing for Chairs
There's the Fat Man test, the Little Boy test, the Throw it Off the Roof test, and the "Entire state is sliding into the ocean" test ... you get the idea. January 3, 2012

Dealing with Fire Code Issues in a Spray Booth
Advice on communicating with a building department about the fine points of the fire code as it relates to spray finishing booths. May 27, 2014

"Non-Compete" Clauses in Contracts
Some information on what is and isn't legal in a non-compete agreement with an employee. April 5, 2006

Discount for Timely Payment
Here's a tip on how to word your contract to encourage prompt payment. May 12, 2008

Insuring a Business on your Residential Property
Homeowner's insurance may not cover you if you build a shop on your property, or even work out of your garage. In this thread, business owners consider insurance strategies. November 11, 2005

How to Collect from a Builder
Calling up on the phone over and over again has been known to work. October 25, 2006

Registering a Sawmill for Highway Use
sawmilllers share experiences from different states. June 22, 2005

Copyright protection for woodworkers
Is it worth copyrighting your plans and other literature, and how can it be done? September 2, 2002

Controlling and Estimating Finish Thickness
A cabinetmaker facing a lawsuit learns a few basic concepts about wet and dry finish thickness. January 24, 2014

When Another Company Steals Your Website Content
Occasionally a company uses material published on another company's website as part of their own web presence. Here's a discussion about how to respond. July 11, 2013

Business Insurance
Business owners share tips on getting good coverage, and warn about the risks of "going bare." June 12, 2005

Understanding AWI's "Premium Grade"
Watch out if you really have to build to an Architectural Woodwork Institute specification, you really have to know your stuff. January 10, 2008

Employee ownership
Ideas for keeping employees, who expect more than standard benefits, happy. June 6, 2001

After-the-kiln powderpost beetle infestation
Who's responsible for a powderpost beetle infestation, two years after the wood was kiln-dried? June 27, 2000

Getting Information on Federal Contract Jobs
Don't sign up with any kind of middleman the Federal contracting process is open to everyone. October 2, 2007

Truck Driver's Log Book
Big work trucks may get snagged by regulatory paperwork requirements, such as driver time log books. May 20, 2009

Minimizing Federal Income Tax for Forest Landowners
Tax law changes effective since 2004 provide new ways to write off reforestation expenses. Here's some info on how the rules work. May 19, 2007

Liability insurance for on-site milling
Some sources for liability insurance covering sawmilling performed at a customer's location. June 20, 2000

Cabinetmaker's Responsibilities
Lively conversation about who should handle plumbing, electrical, etc. on kitchen/bath projects. December 9, 2004

Six Sigma Strikes
Are the Six Sigma system requests that a customer makes appropriate? November 3, 2004

Is a Woodworking Sub Responsible for ADA Compliance?
If you catch potential Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations in a set of plans, advise the architect, and help out with corrected working drawings, are you now on the hook for some kind of liability? Here's a long and thoughtful discussion. March 12, 2009

Partnerships and Other Ways to Share Shop Space
The pros and (mostly) cons of partner-run businesses. October 27, 2009

Payment Schedules in Commercial Cabinetry Work
When it comes to deposits, progress payments, and final payment, commercial work is a whole nother world. Here's the voice of experience on bidding and contracting those jobs. August 7, 2006

Ballparks, Estimates, Quotes and Bids -- The Fudge Factor
A newcomer to business gets advice on managing uncertainty in the cost of a job. March 14, 2005

From residential to commercial work
What risks are involved when moving into much larger scale jobs? June 4, 2003

Deposits and Payment Schedules for Cabinet Jobs
Cabinetmakers share their views on schedules of payment for custom cabinetry. March 18, 2006

Choosing the Right Accountant
Thoughts on what a really good accountant can do for your business. April 4, 2011

Hanging Laminate Chair Rail
Advice on ways to efficiently install chair rail in volume on commercial jobs, plus a side discussion about contracts and quality specifications. October 20, 2013

Tallying Moldings
Suppliers round off piece lengths in different ways. Are you getting the quantities you ordered? May 29, 2005

Due Diligence when Purchasing a Company
When investing in an existing company, make sure your accountant gives the books a thorough going-over. March 18, 2006

Possible yearly earnings
What kind of sales volume does it take to support a six-figure salary in a two-man shop? May 9, 2001

Workers' Comp for Owners?
February 25, 2005

Hardwood Lumber Tallies
Are you being shorted on a lumber delivery? The answer could depend on the fine points of board-foot calculations. April 19, 2015

Pricing and Legalities for Portable Sawmilling
What should you charge, and should you let the customer help? February 26, 2005

Drilling Into Radiant Floor Heating Tubes
Oops! A woodworker installing a door learns his lesson when he drills into a hydronic heating tube in the concrete slab floor. May 15, 2014

Cabinet Installation Business Arrangements
A discussion of piece-rate prices, retainage, and other contract provisions for cabinet installation jobs. February 6, 2007

Creating a partnership
Is a successful partnership possible in the woodworking industry? May 9, 2001

Chasing Bad Debt
How much effort is justified in pursuing the unpaid obligations of a customer who has gone out of business? October 3, 2011

Saving and Tracking Receipts
Paper receipts for expenses are a pesky detail that requires attention. September 30, 2010

Do ANSI B11 Standards Apply to Woodworking Equipment?
ANSI Standard B11 was created to apply to machine tools, not woodworking machinery. But an argument could be made for a broader application of the rules. October 26, 2011

Growing a business
Keeping your mind on what matters in a healthy business, with a nod to Paul Hawken. May 19, 2003

Understanding "Schedule of Values" Billing
Breaking job processes down into meaningful parts helps support invoicing in commercial work. February 8, 2008