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You are here : Stone Home > Info Center > Industry news > Saving Time Saves Money

Saving Time Saves Money

Updated:2008-07-12 10:49:36

Reuben Flax and Ari Friedman of Sinai Marble & Granite, Baltimore, began fabricating granite countertops about two years. After realizing the value of the tools mentioned in this article, they partnered with Gadi Brody and started manufacturing and selling them. Videos on saving time, and tools talked about in this article can be seen and bought at www.sinaimarblenadgranite.com

It didn't take us long to realize the value in having digital and CNC technology. However, it was also rather apparent that this type of technology is terribly cost-prohibitive. With the market in recession we need a way to become a more efficient hand-fabrication shop, making the most out of our time and money. That meant reevaluating the system we were using. It didn't make sense for us to continue doing things the “old" way even though they worked. Time is money, the saying goes, and so we assessed our time. We asked ourselves what we were doing that wastes time and were our methods and tools allowing us maximum efficiency. We certainly found things to change and tools to make...here are a couple of examples.

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We noticed we were wasting a lot of time with templates. So we figured out a way to make a template in six minutes with under $400 worth of tools. We took a simple wood router (cost: $300), a Freud wood bit ($20) and combined that with a bearing set ($50). Then we lined the top two inches of the sink we'd be using with duct tape. We flipped it upside down and mounted it onto a piece of plywood ($20). Then we flipped it back over (the entire piece of wood), drilled a hole through the middle of the plywood above the sink. We inserted the router with the bearing guide and finger bit into the hole, dragged it to the side of the sink and ran it all along the rim. The sink doesn't get scratched because the duct tape acts as a barrier. We removed the sink from the wood. No sanding required. Perfect template. Total time, 6 minutes. Total cost, $390.

Another thing that bothered us was the framing square. Everyone knows the 24" framing square. Problem is, the countertops are usually 25 1/2". So instead of wasting time by walking around the counter trying to make a straight line of the last inch, we just made a 36" framing square (can be cut down to 26"). Maybe it only saves us ten seconds here and there, but it makes us efficient. And that's our goal. Efficiency will ensure that we don't lose time or money.

A third thing that we did was invent the Rubenator. In general, our bits that we used to clean up sink cutouts cost about $300 and broke after the third sink. Carbide cup wheels somewhat did the job, however, were rather dangerous when they blew up in our faces. And, the cleanup took about 45 minutes to do. We needed a tool that would remove the stock much more quickly, be safe and durable. We invented the Rubenator. Total time to remove the stock: 3 MINUTES!! This is the tool: 12 segmented diamond blades stacked on a shaft with a bearing on top. We put it on our modified flex router. Modified meaning, we screwed a wide piece of plywood to the base and glued speaker carpet to the bottom of it so it would slide smoothly across any surface. This is the method: We put the template back on top of the sink cutout and clamped it down tightly with C-clamps. We adjusted the Rubenator to the right depth so that the bearing guide rolled across the template and the blades ran against the granite. We followed the template all the way around. Then, we cleaned it up with a 50-100 grit cleanup z-wheel on our Milwaukee router (modified the same way as the Flex router). The Rubenator is powerful and safe, and gets the job done quickly. It's a tool for life; the only thing to upkeep is the blades- they get replaced after 40-60 cutouts. This has been, by far, one of the most beneficial changes in our shop. We calculated that each sink cutout with the Rubenator saves 35 minutes. Doing 7 cutouts a week, 50 weeks a year, saves 204 hours a year. At $20 hr/cost, that is $4080.00.

And lastly (for this article, at least), our backsplashes were a real challenge. We were constantly kicking them over or dropping them. And our system for loading them in the trailer was taking too long (figuring out how to get them to the job in one piece). So we simply made a backsplash rack. We call it the Backsplash Rack. It's a 10-foot long J-channel. It is 3 inches wide so it can hold two full size backsplashes and has big chunky knobs that quickly secure the backsplashes onto the rack. We can use it for long or short backsplashes and backsplashes up to 6 inches high. In our shop, we have the rack on a cart and mounted to a wall and in the trailer it's screwed into the side. Highly efficient? YES! Because all we have to do is slide the backsplash on to the rack.

These are just some tools and methods we use in our shop that make it user-friendly and efficient. Timing everything we do- polishing, installing, cutouts, layouts, templates, loading, etc. and asking ourselves at each of these steps, IS THERE A BETTER WAY to do this?, we found our bottlenecks and fixed them. Obviously no one wants to close up shop because of the recession, but it would be silly to think that we could all get by doing the same old things. Try our suggestions or think of your own. Don't get stuck doing the same thing just because it worked until now. Make the little changes- you'll have big results.

Source:Stone Industry News Magazine

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