When it comes to woodworking and home remodeling projects, there can be a broad spectrum of skill levels from company to company. Sometimes contractors are skilled at rough carpentry and can frame out a project, and then they hire out a subcontractor for the finish work. As a full-service woodworking shop, we handle all parts of a project in-house, from design to installation and the finish work. We take pride in our craftsmanship and attention to detail, and believe our skill in fine woodworking sets us apart from other remodeling contractors.
While we do rely on modern technology to make our life easier, these tools cannot replace time-tested woodworking skills. Many of these techniques date back to the Old World, and have been used by artisans for centuries to create furniture that lasts for generations. We are honored to continue these traditional techniques for many of our woodworking projects.
Fine woodworking skills are useful on a variety of projects. Our team can build custom furniture, restore antiques, install built-in cabinets, or create custom millwork. We rely on these skills for our larger projects, too, as we focus on the small but significant details that enhance a kitchen remodel project.
Here are 5 fundamental fine woodworking skills that our craftsmen use for projects:
1. Hand Planing
Before power tools, all woodworking was done by hand. This includes straightening and smoothing out lumber to be used for furniture. A hand plane is a tool used to flatten the surface or edge of a board. We break out the hand planes when we are working on solid wood tables, like this live edge table top:
2. Mortise & Tenon Joinery
While modern furniture may be built using screws, nails, or dowels, nothing beats the classic mortise and tenon joint. To make this joint, a slot (mortise) is cut into one piece, while a tongue (tenon) is created at the edge of the adjoining piece. When done right, a mortise and tenon creates an incredibly strong joint.
Dovetails, one of the oldest types of joinery in the world, are a strong and stylish choice for combining two boards at 90 degrees. Because of how the dovetail’s parts interlock with each other, it makes this joint particularly strong for lateral forces, making them ideal for use in drawers or boxes.
We use dovetail joinery for many of our solid wood cabinet & furniture drawers. We also find ourselves repairing damaged dovetails when we restore antique or heirloom furniture.
Decorative inlays provide a stunning visual element to any woodworking project. Inlays are a way for us to add contrasting or complementary designs, exotic woods, or an eye-catching element to table tops, drawers, and sides. It takes precision and skill to add inlays and to keep everything flush and smooth, as if the inlay was a natural part of the table top. See one of our more complicated inlay jobs on this custom desk and credenza.
A custom woodworking project isn’t complete until it is sanded, smoothed, and finished. Depending on the style and materials, a project can include painting, staining, and a protective finish (using lacquer, varnish, or urethane). You want a finish that will protect the piece, won’t fade or chip, and will not detract from the look and feel of the project.
At Cedars, our team is skilled at applying the right finish based on the material and purpose of the project. We finish each project – from custom furniture to kitchen cabinets to custom millwork – so that it will look great for years to come.