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September 1989, Vol. 112, No. 9
Job hazards underscored in woodworking study
Martin E. Personick and Elyce A. Biddle
"A man builds a fine house; and, now he
has a master, and a task for life..."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Society and Solitude (1870)
Emerson concludes his discourse on house responsibilities in terms all too familiar to today's homeowner: "...to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair the rest of his days." For many, repairs now include residential upkeep and improvement, such as replacing well-worn windows, adding on a garage, or even remodeling to create new rooms. Clearly, structural improvements such as these are designed to make a fine house even finer.
This article profiles the work and working conditions in millwork manufacturing-an industry whose output of fabricated wood products is primarily used both in maintaining, remodeling, and renovating existing residences and in constructing new homes. The industry's three major product categories-doors (including garage doors) and related parts, windows and window parts, and standard molding and trim-account for about four-fifths of the total value of millwork shipments (about $8.4 billion in 1987). Other millwork products include staircases and stairs, blinds and shutters, and ornamental woodwork, such as cornices and mantels. Almost all millwork manufacturers specialize in a particular class of product, for example, wood window units. In addition to their primary products, however, these plants typically fabricate secondary woodwork items.1
This excerpt is from an article published in the September 1989 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 See 1982 Census of Manufacturers: Millwork, Plywood, and Structural Wood Members, N. E. C. (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1985), table 5a, and Industry Wage Survey: Millwork, September 1984, Bulletin 2244 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1985), p. 2.
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