Kitchens #1: Nose to the grind stone.

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Blog entry by dennis mitchell posted 03-11-2007 08:20 AM 1055 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Kitchens series Part 2: What have I done! »

I’ve been out pumping out some cabinetry. I was trained in a custom shop so the kitchens I’ve built tended to be mid to high end work. When I first opened my shop I got a large cabinet job about $40,000.00 without counter tops for a 3000 sq. ft home. Did some pretty fancy stuff. Then shifted to install work and have done that for the last 7 years. So I never really set out to do an inexpensive kitchen. The fellow I’m installing for now wants me to try to build a semi-custom line to compete with the prefabs. Along comes this job where I’m building a nice kitchen and I just am amazed at how close I’m coming to being able to compete with those prefab outfits. Heck I can match them. I know they get their material at about half what I pay. The wages they pay are a third what I’m making. That’s a lot of profit for the junk they are selling. Hows this world work again? I just don’t know. I do know I’m having a blast. A change always keeps me on my toes. It is fun to go out and just cut and glue. I start thinking I know a lot of people. Hire a few kids…get a few of the big builders…get a BIG shop….grow grow grow. The American dream.
I tend to get carried away. If I have just one employee no more runs to the mountains on the week days to get wood. I’d need to be keeping the work flowing. Next thing you know I’ll be needing a bigger shop and buying bigger tools. Probably cut my hair and join the chamber of commerce. I just don’t know what to do. My heart is in the artistic…but the world keeps wanting boring kitchens. I keep hoping God will show me some encouragement with my furniture, but I’m just not seeing it. I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other. It is a great life I’ve got. No complaints here. Part of me just loves slopping together kitchens. I feel good giving people that higher quality work for a better price that those big guys. Where does all their money go?

7 comments so far

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4206 days

#1 posted 03-11-2007 08:49 AM

Dennis, what more can you ask for?

You love your work, your customers are getting a bargain, and the scale of your business is manageable without all the hassles that come with “grow, grow, grow”.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4168 days

#2 posted 03-11-2007 10:16 AM

Dennis – Stay with your heart and the art. Your work is wondeful and your customers are so fortunate. Quality is important! It just isn’t understood by everyone . . .


View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4190 days

#3 posted 03-11-2007 02:26 PM

I like that David—“the heart and the art”.

How many movies have we seend depicting people looking back on their lives and finally realizing that they had lived their dream the whole time but just didn’t know it…
How blessed it is to KNOW you are living it…

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4340 days

#4 posted 03-11-2007 03:39 PM

Well, Dennis you’re looking for advise from the correct source,I keep hoping God will show me some encouragement with my furniture. He will surely answer your prayers, in his time. You’ve been blessed: you enjoy your work, you’re gifted and talented, and you produce a quality product. Keep focused on this,It is a great life I’ve got! Not many can say this with your enthusiasm. Don’t let the illusion of MONEY cloud what is most important, your happiness. Don’t cut your hair or change yourself in any way that will change who you are. We see you in every project and we like what we see.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4343 days

#5 posted 03-11-2007 05:15 PM

Fresh day today and I get to play at being a wood worker. What more could a guy want.

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4190 days

#6 posted 03-11-2007 05:57 PM

You are so lucky Dennis, to be doing what you want to do, how you want to do it, where you want to be, etc. Many people never get the chance to do any of that.

I do not think there is anything wrong with you building cabinets, especially if you enjoy it. It may not be as artistic as your other endeavors, but I bet you do add some flair to it as well. And it does bring in some money so you can build those other artistic items you want to do.

It sounds like you are on the right path. Congratulations.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View fred's profile


256 posts in 4127 days

#7 posted 03-12-2007 11:27 PM

Dennis, I love playing at being a woodworker. I do it for me. Since I am pretty slow and methodical no one could afford me. But I have fun.

Good luck, and I love the projects you have done. “Cut my hair and join the Chamber of Commerce”. That cracks me up.


-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

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