Re-workshop

RAW Studios' Whole Workshop working
Round and round she goes…

Could it make a substantial difference in cost efficiency and cut down significantly on waste if smaller workshops followed the design principles around larger production lines? Damn right it could. We reimagined and reorganized our production processes to follow closed loop (circular) systems to get closer to a production line that optimizes space, resources and energy.

RAW Studios Workshop Brush Sander
Brush it off…

Would thinking of a different solution to a difficult problem, even if it took a few years and wasn’t available in the country, make a for a big leap forward? Absolutely! We have wanted to utilize brush sanders for sanding complex parts but it was never in our financial grasp until recently when Chinese manufacturers started producing these sanders at very competitive prices. Our capacity for work and speed of finishing has shot up exponentially, and the savings will come straight back to our clients.

The last time we doubled our capacity in this way was when we started using CNC routers to cut parts and it has built and shaped Raw ever since. We expect many to follow… as was the case then.

RAW Studios Workshop Computer
Chromebits to the people

If internet browsers could run apps and add-ons that could assist in running a workshop smoothly by keeping everyone informed about what, how and when things should be done at a fraction of the price of conventional software, would it be useful to deploy? Hell yeah!
We did just that and we are already reaping the benefits of this new super useful and simple technological leg-up. In true Raw fashion, we also produced the enclosures for our new lean machines.

RAW Studios' Clean Workshop
She cleans up nicely…

Would workers really be a lot safer, healthier and more focused if they did not have to deal with noise and dust all day and if they worked in a clean and simplified environment? Oh yeah they would!
Nice clean epoxy on the floors, a lick of paint on the walls and a powerful extraction system has helped to transform our workshop from dodgy to darling. Combined with a “war on clutter” and an “everything has a place” campaign it is simply incredible what a difference it makes to the care and pride that goes into our own workspace now.
Come and see for yourself by visiting us (on appointment, mail peet@rawstudios.co.za) and eat your lunch off our floors!

Confessions of our latest RAW member.

Raw Studios new member BianceThis Visi magazine featured designer reveals her 4 funniest experiences being new to furniture design and RAW.

1. Avoid stereotypes.

On my first visit, I expected a grimy old chaotic workshop full of mounds of saw dust , furniture parts scattered everywhere and sad fluorescent lights flickering overhead. To my surprise Raw Studios was the complete opposite. I kept hearing booming music, (must be from a nearby party, I thought. Nope.) It was from the workshop, an organised, clean and inviting one at that. The employees play music of their choice while they get on with their work seamlessly.Raw Studios workshop music employees

2. Leave summer styles behind.

First few weeks of work is stressful for any newcomer on a job, every decision is made with some mental debate first (making every decision take 3 times longer). Little did I know it would start at my feet. One morning I was calmly told to sit down (my head was racing at the time, what line did I overstep??) and told… my shoe choice wasn’t appropriate. My little sandals weren’t a match for the fast-moving workshop conditions and the existence of toes aren’t to be taken for granted. Hard tip shoes it will be from now on.Raw Studios workshop hard tip shoes sandals

3. Tools are friends not foes.

Working with machines, tools and saws, has never fallen into one of my comfort zones, yet my interest is piqued more now than ever before. So, when a nail gun is held out to me to do the next row, my first assumption is I should just hold the gun until its asked for again. Well that thought was a mistake, especially when I was expected to finish the rest of the task. P.S. Note to self: don’t get a fright every time a nail is shot into the workpiece.Raw Studios workshop power tools

4. A new language needs to be learned.

When new products are designed, or made, things move fast. A sentence barely needs to be finished before the other one understands what needs to be done.

Peet “So we move the part here..”
Thys: “Yes, okay.”
Peet: “Actually, do you know what will be even better? …”
Thys: “Yes, I’ll change that now”

All the while I’m thinking: Wait.. What? What’s being changed? Where did the last paragraph of this conversation go? Some telepathic communication is underway here.

Making Love In The Workshop… For The Love Of Making.

Raw Studios office furniture workshop

Making Love In The Workshop… For The Love Of Making.

Its not only eager hands caressing curvaceous forms, surfaces coated in glistening spray and slow rhythmic massage like (sanding) movements that shows how much we love making things.

The love of making is both a serious and a fun thing at Raw and we have been balancing these two states for 10 years now and learnt a lot in the process. Yes, it’s now a well oiled (pun intended) combination of people and machines that bring our systems to life, but in the end its really the people with their unique character and approach to innovation and problem solving that keeps our environment and works fresh and interesting.

Making homegrown solutions (a technical fix) (clamp) - Raw Studios office furniture workshop

Making homegrown solutions (a technical fix) (clamp)

Recently, one of the quick clamps’ plastic handles broke, as plastic sometimes does, Sydney simply followed the culture set down by Thys and I that promotes making use of local solutions. From birch plywood he fashioned a quite intricate new handle using small power and hand tools, and as long as the replacement part isn’t forced excessively (as the makeshift instructions bids the user) it should last fro a long time. I thought that was pretty nifty.

Raw Studios office furniture workshop innovation

Making new connections between old ideas.

That is essentially what creativity is… making new connections where there previously there were none, and that’s exactly what Albert did when he needed an extra chair in the workshop. Only he went a step further and fashioned a chair by using existing chair parts but assembling them in a different way. Sure its not going to win a beauty contest and its also not that comfy, but a brand new connection was made and that will encourage others to follow suit.

Raw Studios office furniture workshop cnc plywood cut

Making the cut, perfectly. The CNC shop “eyes on the cut”

For two years now we have been doing our own CNC cutting in a shop set up for that purpose after outsourcing this function for many years. Painos, with no experience and no formal training stepped up to the plate and took to operating CNC machines like a fish to water. He still rules this domain, ever vigilant for mistakes or issues and forever with his eyes fixed to the cut.

Raw Studios office furniture workshop jobcard - deadlines and projects

Making good on promises (deadlines and projects)

Job cards are issued and deadlines are discussed. Clients are called by their names and their hopes and wishes are noted. Deadlines are a serious business and the guys in the workshop take great pride in finishing a project and getting it out to the client before (cause we hate stress) the deadline.

We love what we do, we love to make.

Raw Studios office furniture workshop tools