The Frost River Cutting Table is designed with efficiency in mind
Before the riveters can rivet and the sewers can sew, the waxed canvas material that Frost River uses to create stunning packs needs to be cut to the appropriate size. This is where the state-of-the-art cutting table comes into play. Located in the basement of the Frost River storefront, this high-tech machine runs almost constantly. It is currently one of the largest cutting tables in the Midwest, and will cut pretty much any material you throw at it; all types of waxed canvas, leather, foam, and others.
Frost River Cutting Table Technician configuring the table via computer. Photo Credit: Woods Creek Productions
“It's like a reverse air-hockey table,” said Tucker, Frost River’s cutting table operator. The 50 foot long table has thousands of pin-sized holes that suck the waxed canvas onto the table, keeping it in place. Once the massive sheet of canvas or leather is secured to the table, a robotic slide moves over the material, cutting it where it needs to be cut. The blade can cut all sorts of shapes and patterns, which gives the Frost River packs their unique look.
On top of cutting, there is also a pen feature on the machine. The machine uses a marking system to let the sewers know where to stitch, instead of them having to free-hand the stitches. This not only makes the sewer’s job easier, but also quicker and more precise.
The blade of the cutting machine. Picture Credit: Woods Creek Production
This cutting table also helps reduce waste. Cutting material by hand is a slow, tedious process that leads to a large amount of material being wasted due to inefficiencies. With the computer program that runs the machine, that is not an issue. The computer takes into consideration what shapes are needed and how much material there is to work with, then calculates the most efficient cuts possible. This allows for more usable material, and less scraps.
The cutting table is around 30% more efficient than hand cutting, and saves a significant amount of time in the process. For an average Frost River pack, it may only take the machine a few minutes to cut the necessary material to manufacture the bag. For larger, more complicated packs like the Summit Expedition Pack or the Isle Royale Bushcraft Pack, it may take 20 to 30 minutes to cut all the pieces.
The Frost River Cutting table in the process of cutting foam. Picture Credit: Woods Creek Productions
Frost River is excited to bring in a brand new leather cutting table in the coming months! If you happened to be in our store in the past few weeks, you may have noticed some action taking place in the basement. The activity is in anticipation for the brand new table. Through the mess, it is an exciting time around the shop!