Click Cover For Details Woodworking Business:
Start Quickly And Operate Successfully

“Woodworking Business: Start Quickly and Operate Successfully is a must read with practical tips on every aspect of the woodworking trade.

I would recommend this book to anyone in the woodworking profession. The insight within this book will do wonders for your business. It is one of the few books I have read more than once.

This book is a remarkable tool that not only helped me in the beginning; it serves as a reference that I can look back on when I have questions about my business.”

Chris Looney, Hardwood Technology

One of my contracts involved building all the cabinets for the data center of one of Hueblein’s offices. The units had to accommodate six people with their computers, storage and regular desk space. Plus, it included divider walls to afford limited privacy to each employee. The entire job was built at my shop. Each piece could be carried by one person. The installation took two people because some of the cabinets had to be installed a few feet above the floor. Once assembled, it appeared to be one very large unit.

Modular construction can contribute to the design.

The resistance to modules stems from the aversion to cabinets that look to be assembled from a bunch of pieces. This problem is easy to overcome with some design planning and a little care. First, the design should be such that the final appearance gives the impression of one large piece. Secondly, it is essential to assemble the modules in the shop to see that everything fits properly. Problems should be corrected at the shop. Don’t wait till you get on site to find out that there is a problem with the modules fitting together.

Reveals can improve modular design.

One final trick for building cabinets in modules involves the use of reveals. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to assemble the modules so the unit appears as one large unit. In this case you do something to make the joints part of the design. One method I have used is to adjust the size of the cabinets to accommodate reveals.

I make 1/4" thick strips that I place between the modules and recess them about 1/4". You can make these a different color as an accent but I have found that they work fine the same color as the project. The recess creates a shadow making the recess darker and it gives a very good appearance. It simply takes attention from the module joints by converting them to design features.


Over the years, I have worked with many woodworkers. One of the most common mistakes I have noticed is the building of large projects in one piece. I have seen entertainment centers that would barely fit through a doorway and kitchen cabinet units that were well over eight feet long. Some units were so heavy that it took six people to move it.

One person can carry a module.

It is much simpler to build cabinets and furniture in modules that one person can carry. At worst, two people should be able to carry the biggest module. Building in this manner makes the job much easier and facilitates the final installation.

Without modules, some large pieces would be too heavy.

One of my projects several years ago was a very large entertainment center. It was constructed of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) covered with black, high gloss plastic laminate. The unit included space for television and video recording equipment, plus a complete audio setup and some storage. The complete unit was six feet wide, six and one half feet high and 26 inches deep. The extra two inches of depth beyond 24 were to accommodate a wire chase so that the myriad of wires necessary for the various components would be completely hidden. They could not be seen from inside or outside of the unit. The unit had casters so it could be moved from the wall for uncovering the wire chase and making changes.

Since the unit would be in three stacked modules covered by high gloss laminate, it was essential that the modules line up perfectly. I accomplished this by assembling the units at the shop and then using a belt sander to make certain that all the modules lined up at all points. Once the MDF had been sanded into perfect alignment, I covered the outside surfaces with the high gloss black laminate and checked the final fit by reassembling the modules. The final unit looked like one very large entertainment center with the joints almost invisible.

It was difficult for two people to carry the three modules because of the weight of the MDF with the laminate. It would have taken a large crew to move this cabinet as one unit. The final unit took twelve carpet casters in order to roll easily and smoothly.

A little extra design time creates well made modules.

Take the time to design cabinets as modules. I suggest making a sketch of the entire unit and then determining the best way to divide it into workable modules. Once this is decided, you can proceed to make the final working drawings for the unit. Remember to divide the modules at the point that will be the least conspicuous so the final appearance will give the impression of one unit.

This unit is comprised of nine modules fit into a 6 foot by 9 foot space in the wall. Notice that once assembled the 9 units blend together to form one cabinet. I built and test assembled it in my shop and then installed it at the home without any help.

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