.I was searching for vintage tools on E Bay the other day when I came across this rosewood marking gauge.. . It was obviously handmade and had a brass name plate on it: ”Handcrafted by John Walcott, Benbrook Texas” . The...
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361 posts in 848 days
Location: Grayslake, IL.
At 15 yrs old, I began my apprenticeship with master carpenter, Alan Melhiser during the summers in Austin Texas. I learned how to build cabinets on the jobsite, conventional stick framing and custom trim work. He patiently showed me by example and with a kind voice how to have a strong work ethic.
Back then, we used a Stanley back saw mitre box (no cord) and eventually, upgraded to a Porter Cable mitre box with a sacrificial wooden table. We had a 9" Rockwell table saw with a tilt top for angle cuts, 8" all aluminum Porter Cable #315 skill saws - no carbide blades yet, Yankee ratchet screwdrivers, American mahogany and brass wood levels, brass plumb bobs, Disston hand saws (8 and 12 pt.) and wood handled Blue Grass hammers with bees wax in a hole in the end for the 4,6 and 8 penny common trim nails so the trim wouldn't split from nailing it by hand.
Woodworking came naturally to me. I was a student shop teacher and I went to a Cabinet and Mill-work trade school during High school.
My Grandfather was an inventor and opened my eyes to what you can do with the right tools and a great idea. My mother is an artist and was very inspirational. I remember working on many projects and in the garden together.
1982 - After a tour in the Navy on the aircraft carrier, Enterprise, I moved to Lake Forest Illinois, met a girl, got married and started a remodeling business:
Reed Builders, inc.
I went to the local community college at night to study Construction Tech., Real Estate Practice and Small Business Management.
I also followed opportunity and excepted a few offers to work for prominent north shore contractors such as Traditional Concepts, Page Builders and Chicago's oldest union cabinet shop, Dettmers.
They offered a way for me to work on larger projects and learn many things about the Union way, high end project management and office politics.
But I always maintained my cabinetry business on the side which kept me busy during slow times, like we have now.
We avoid huge overhead costs with our in home office and small cabinet shop. We prefer to finance our own jobs and stay manageable with only 4 - 8 men. The rest of the crew are sub contractors, some we've known for over 23 years.
I have been fortunate to work mostly in Lake Forest and Lake bluff IL. The people here are very nice and appreciate good quality work. Most of my clients know each other. I prefer to work with references only but enjoy meeting new people to see if we are a good fit.
We are mostly a kitchen and bath remodeler these days. We handle everything including design service and 3D drawings. We provide and install Plato Cabinetry or custom built ins such as: paneled libraries, mantles, home theaters, wine rooms, organizer closets and pantries for clients and Architects.
We also do complete house gut and remodels, historic restorations, timber frame additions, furniture repairs, Halloween props, shade arbors and decks.
I believe we should pay it forward.
Our immortality lies in the knowledge we leave behind.
Our mark in the world lives on in the things we create.
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Latest Projects | view all 36 »
Latest Blog Entries | view all 16 »
Dear Festool, I love to buy tools at Christmas. Every year, I try to upgrade a few power tools and then hand down the old tools, if they’re still in good shape, to a young deserving apprentice. When I go to Woodcraft, I always stop and...
Garage sale tool box find I was driving through the neighborhood on the way to work when I spotted this large yellow box sticking out from under a folding table at a garage sale. I usually don’t stop at garage sales but…. something abo...
Note: I love woodworking and like some of you, I’m also learning how to write about it. .This short story is my first attempt at something dramatic and I wanted to share it with you. I hope you’re OK with it. It was very hard to write. PG – ...