|Project by Mark A. DeCou||posted 12-08-2008 06:54 PM||8444 views||4 times favorited||16 comments|
This is a posting for a project that I helped with. I have a friend, and fellow woodworker, who has custom cabinet and door shop close to where I live, by Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.
His name is Charles Jones, of Jones Custom Woodwork.
On this door, I only helped with the carved “R” and the I built the leaded glass panel, but Charles and his family did the rest of the work.
Charles supplied the photos for me to post:
Curly Cherry Door (inside):
Curly Maple Door (outside):
Charles and his family go to my church, a small non-denominational rural church in the very small town of Cedar Point, Kansas. Before the summer of 2007, we have known each other, and about each other, but I think we mostly considered ourselves to be friendly competitors.
But, in late May of 2007, Mrs. Jones talked to me one day in the church yard about how far behind her husband was in woodworking orders. I think at the time he had 5 different sets of kitchen cabinets to complete, and several custom entry doors to make. Mrs. Jones asked if I would help her husband get caught up. And, to be honest, I didn’t have a terrible lot of work to do myself, so I agreed to help him whenever he needed it, just on an hourly rate.
We ended up working together for quite a few days during the summer of 2007, and quite frankly, I enjoyed working for him. I’m not a person that can do repetitous things for very long so I wouldn’t want to make kitchen drawers and doors for my full time work, but I enjoyed helping Charles, and his son Daniel to do the work that was needed.
In a couple of months, we were all able to knock out the kitchen cabinets, and I even helped deliver and install some of them, and helped him do a couple of the built-in counter tops.
As I worked with Charles, I was able to see that we weren’t competitors at all, but could really spend some time helping each other when the need came up. Charles has a large shop outfitted with 5 or 6 Shapers, each with it’s own use, and the other equipment necessary to build a set of solid wood raised panels for a kitchen. He also has a wide drum sander. And, I have a large topped Jointer that he doesn’t have. So, since last summer, we’ve shared each other’s tools as we needed to.
Also, I have been turning down bidding all kitchens and vanities since I realized how silly it would be for me to invest in the same equipment that Charles already owns. So, I’ve been sending any inquiries for Cabinets to him.
BUT, Charles is not your normal cabinet maker. Several years ago he won a contract to replace a whole bunch of wood doors in our beloved little town of Cottonwood Falls. Each of the vendors up and down the street got a new set of Red Oak doors, in accordance with a large revitalization project. It worked, and the doors, and subsequent upgrades to the business fronts have sure helped the little village become a tourist stop, while folks are visiting the new Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve just outside of town.
There are two sides to the debate about whether the National Preserve was “good” for the area (depending on whether you are a local rancher or tourist vendor), but for sure, the Preserve has brought a lot of folks to town that wouldn’t have other wise shown up.
Sometime when I can, and think about it, I’ll get a good photo looking up Main Street, showing the old Courthouse, the oldest operating one in Kansas, and some of the doors that Charlies built then. The Main Street really looks like an old nostalgic post card, and people come to see it. The doors that Charles made at that time, are a big part of the nostalgic “post card look” of the town.
So, since those days, Charles has been building custom doors for folks. He doesn’t advertise, hasn’t needed to.
After our working together, I offered that if he had any carving, or leaded glass, or stained glass, that he could sell on any of his projects, that I would enjoy working with him to do those details.
The kitchen cabinet business has really slowed down around the country with this latest economic crisis we have all gotten ourselves into. But, in southern Chase County Kansas, a customer has a beautiful new door to the front of his house.
The customer supplied the wood he had saved for many years, and Charles built the door, cutting his own veneers, and put Curly Maple on the outside skin, and Curly Cherry on the inside skin.
Charles asked me to do the leaded glass panel, and the letter “R” carving.
I hope we can find more situations to work together, as he is a joy to work for, an is very talented.
If you would like to order your own custom door, or kitchen cabinets, you can contact Charles with the following contact information. If you call, chances are you be greeted by Wendi, Charles’ wife, as this is a mom-pop-kid business, the type I wish there were more of in this country.
Charles & Wendi Jones
Jones Custom Woodwork
Route 1, Box 14
Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845
If you prefer to contact them by email, you can send a note to me, and I will pass it onto them since they don’t have a website at this point, at
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com