A day with master Rietschel
The well-known American sociologist Richard Sennett says that quality in a product is created through actions and attitude. A few weeks ago I got the chance to experience those factors that define the quality of Danzer products as an apprentice with master Rietschel.
Gregor Rietschel and his team at Danzer in Kesselsdorf near Dresden (Germany) press veneer into 3D-moldings that make the eyes of our customers glow.
Know-how and the art of the right order
How can we imagine this 3D-Veneer pressing department? At first glance: not very spectacular.
A hall with machinery, lots of massive metal that is fed with stacked wood sheets, turning them into shaped moldings. The smell of wood, glue and heat is in the air. Having grown up in the mountains, I spontaneously think of hot ski wax and the anticipation of a beautiful day on skis.
As with skiing, with the pressing tool it’s all about the feeling and the right technique. Observing master Rietschel and his team, every move seems natural and easy. A steady work-flow, everyone works quickly, calmly and concentrated. It’s almost like a dance of a well-rehearsed ballet.
It looks so effortless and easy – surely I can do it as well! And this is how you create a molding: tape a 3D-Veneer sheet on the sides, turn it around, pull a sheet of BASIC veneer through the gluing machine, line it up precisely – but don’t forget to rotate it at a 90 degree angle; the next sheet, rotate it; another one, no rotating, but flip it and only add glue on one side; another one, this time glue on both sides and finally, the top layer. Wash your hands, tape everything and stamp on the date – and off it goes into the press! Close the pressing tool and for a brief moment, just enjoy the sound.
The Sound of Silence
What is it that you hear in this moment? If you try to press standard veneer, a loud and ugly sound will make you cringe. The wood tears with the painful crack of breaking bones. The molded shapes made of 3D-Veneer, transition into the desired shape with a gentle crackle. Quality sounds so good!
After six minutes, the press releases a perfectly shaped molding from the hot tool. It has to cool down before it is stacked and prepared for shipping. In the meantime, you will already have prepared the next veneer package. Sounds simple?
Under Mr. Rietschel’s attentive gaze, I managed to avoid any major mistakes. I think my moldings were actually quite useful, whereas I was really exhausted after that day. The work they do requires a high level of concentration, attention and organization.
The recipe for subtle differences
Why does it seem so easy and effortless when the colleagues in Kesselsdorf do their work? Experience, of course – and the precise movements that have been perfected over time.
Maybe it all works out that beautifully because Mr. Rietschel carefully strokes over every single veneer sheet with his strong hand, removes fibers, shortens excess threads and frees the rollers of the gluing machine from foreign objects.
Love of perfection and the affection for the material wood are the main ingredients, spiced with a pinch of pride of our 3D-Veneer and an attentive team spirit. The result of this attitude and the sum of all the smaller actions is the quality, which makes Danzer products remarkable and unique.
A quality that I pass on to our customers with joy and conviction. Thank you for the educational and unforgettable hours with you!
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