March Madness…

I cant believe March is already here. In January we started a 8000+ sq. ft. home located in Romeo, Michigan. Needless to say, the lack of posts here has been a direct result of my hectic schedule.

The home has nearly 60 solid core Brazilian Mahogany doors, coffered ceilings, distressed beams, wainscoting, two piece crown, custom built cabinetry, stair work, window details, hidden bookcase, and many other woodworking/millwork details.

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Keep an eye out for some new posts that I will be putting out regarding some of these details and techniques. For daily/weekly updates on the job follow us on Facebook.

Looking back at 2012 here at Probuilt Woodworking.

2012 in review

It is still hard for me to believe 2012 is coming to an end and 2013 is nearly here. This past year has brought a lot of changes to the company. January 16th, 2012; My wife and I were blessed with our first child, our little girl Ella. She has changed our lives in a way that words cannot describe, a true blessing. I think from a father/husband perspective, it gave me a whole new meaning of “providing”. Now I was faced the challenge of wanting to be a family man, while still putting in the hours and dedication to the company to keep a paycheck coming in. Though I have adjusted rather well, the work days are still long, but man it sure feels good coming home and seeing that precious face. It makes it all well worth it! Without the dedication and support of my wife, none of this would be possible. She is a wonderful stay at home mom and understands and supports all that is involved in running a company. I am truly blessed.

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Along with a little one, 2012 also brought me an abundance of work. And with the job outlook and a stronger economy, things were starting to finally turn around here in MI.  Throughout the summer I had a 3 month lead time for all jobs, and I was lucky enough to have some great customers who were patient. Hopefully it was all well worth the wait. It is flattering to know that they are willing to put a project on hold as opposed to hiring someone else. It makes me feel like maybe I am doing “something” right!

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In September, our move took place into our new Macomb Township shop and showroom. This was a big step forward, with hopes to become more efficient and profitable. Now, if I can only find a way to get everything done at the shop including; re-trim and re-paint the show room, show room displays, shop storage, a functional office, additional machinery, all while still getting jobs complete, I will be all set! Needless to say, I think I may be a little over my head on this one, but somehow, some way, I’ll make it work.

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So, where are we headed in 2013?

 I would like to think that 2013 will be even better from a business perspective for the company. This January I will be taking on a 8,000-9,000 sq. ft. home. This includes over 55+ solid mahogany doors, 4” casing and 7” base. Along with the staircases, this project will be a big one, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I would say this should make for a good but hectic start to the year.

As the year progresses, I hope to bring in a few more employee’s, This “one man show” thing is not cutting it these days. With the addition of a couple more skilled guys, this would also free up a little time for me allowing me to get the shop in order as well as preventing me from spreading myself too thin.

Other than that, I guess my biggest goal is to maintain a high quality product and exceptional customer service. I still want my love for what I do to be the main reason for going to work, and if success is part of it, well then, even better. So bring it on 2013, I am ready for another great year and look forward to all that you may bring!

Anthony Vitale 

 

The Acanthus Project | Built-ins and Mantel Surround

 

The day I came out to meet the clients, we sat down and discussed what they wanted to acheive with their living room. We came up with a pair of ornate built-ins, a large 12” acanthus style frieze all supported by custom turned 8” wide rope columns with custom made bases and caps, and to add height to the design three large applied panels with radius corners were also added. On a job like this layout is crucial. From sketches to a full size cardboard layout, I took every step I could as I typically do to prevent confusion or second guessing when it comes time to build the pieces.

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Once sketches were approved and deposit was in, it was time to hit the shop. The Built-ins begin with typcal base cabinet construction. All my cabinets are generally built from 3/4” birch ply, dados support and register the bottoms and pocket screws attach the stretcher.

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The wide face frames were assembled and dadoed out. Image

With the face frames routed and sanded they were ready to be glued and attached to the upper and lower cases. Another note about these face frames is that they were mitered to accept a 1/2 panel which will act as a recessed panel for both exposed sides.ImageImage

The Festool TS55 makes very easy work of notching the plywood for the panel. I prefer to do it this way as it makes for a much cleaner finish product. With all my built-ins, or for all my work for that matter, I try to hide all fasteners and prefer as few joints as possible.Image

With all the side panels cut they are ready to be glued and clamped to the cabinets. With a good sanding the 3” fluted columns could now be attached.Image

A custom two piece base molding was made for the units to accept the existing base molding but still be ornate enough to flow with the overall look of the units. ImageImage

The crown for both of the units were assembled on the bench. Sure probably not the easiest way, but I do like the fact it keeps things dead flat. The amount of waste for cutting all the miters was kind of depressing  but man this stuff sure looks great when it’s all together. The key to any carved molding is to keep the pattern repeating and centered, which can be rather tedious.Image

Up next was to build the doors and apply the rope molding.Image

Assembled and ready for install…..Image

Here isa quick picture I took once I was complete with install of the built-ins, frieze, columns and applied panels.Image

The Bases and caps for the columns were made for pieces individually routed then assembled.

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Here it is all finished……ImageImageImageImage

What a “Great Room”

This past summer I completed this job in Washington Township. The homeowner wanted a feel that was over the top and well I would say we achieved the look they were going for. The wainscoting shown below is 3/4” recessed panels. A two piece chair rail was used with an ornate acanthus leaf detail inset in the 3” molding. All the material was provided by Macomb Stairs and Millwork located in Shelby Twp., Mi.Image

In addition to the beautiful chair rail the 7” base and 2 3/4” panel molding created a beautiful visual base to support the applied panels that ran throughout the room above the wainscoting. All the outlets were also centered in the panels, to give a consistant look throughout the entire room.  At over 1200 lineal feet of applied panels, I had my work cut out for me.

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The staggered design was based of the wainscoting panel width. This design created two things, visual interest and helped separate itself from the lower wainscoting. The walls were 19′ to the bottom of the plaster acanthus leaf crown. So in addition to the staggered panel layout a 5” carved acanthus leaf frieze was wrapped 30” down from the base of the crown.

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This job is a good example of why layout is so important when doing custom trim work. generally a job this size will take an easy day, day and a half. It sure beats ripping molding down from 19′ tall walls…..not that I have ever done that.