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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am wondering do any of you carpenters do cabinetmaking on the side, I am thinking about doing it since I own a small woodworking shop.
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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I do cabinets on the side, front, back, any place you want.:laughing:

What are your concerns about getting started?
 

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As a carpenter/contractor i have done cabinet work for the last 30 years. While being equipted to do all types of cabinetry, i always kept a close relationship with a large production shop, and a few small shops should i require additional support to fullfill my workload. GMOD
 

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When customers ask me if I do a certain kind of job that I haven't tried yet, I tell them that I need to practice on my relatives (guinea pigs) first. Sometimes they hire me anyway.
Steve

I've make em for family, not for the public yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Gus I am wondering what are the start up cost? I have a 10'' Unisaw Cabinet Saw, 13'' Delta benchtop planer, 6-1/8'' jointer, drill press, portable power tools, ROS sander, cordless drill, router, and jig saw. I also have a brad nailer and I just bought a finish nailer. I also have lots of hand tools.
 

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The Remodeler
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CJ-

Gus' shop blows away yours, mine, and most of the guys on this board... He's far from a beginner.

If you want to build cabinets for pay, start slow and small. Chances are you're not going to make any money on your first few projects, but you'll gain tons of knowledge on what to do next time.
 

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Gus I am wondering what are the start up cost? I have a 10'' Unisaw Cabinet Saw, 13'' Delta benchtop planer, 6-1/8'' jointer, drill press, portable power tools, ROS sander, cordless drill, router, and jig saw. I also have a brad nailer and I just bought a finish nailer. I also have lots of hand tools.

Add a Kreg Foreman and a Festool TS55 to the list
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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Gus I am wondering what are the start up cost? I have a 10'' Unisaw Cabinet Saw, 13'' Delta benchtop planer, 6-1/8'' jointer, drill press, portable power tools, ROS sander, cordless drill, router, and jig saw. I also have a brad nailer and I just bought a finish nailer. I also have lots of hand tools.
You have enough tools to get started. I had far less than you when I decided I didn't want to be a general contractor anymore.

My intuition says you just need a construction method that you feel comfortable with and that will help build your confidence.

The first thing I would say you need to invest in is software. You need a decent presentation to sell a job and good shop drawings for the mechanical rough ins. The real benefit of the software will be when you can extract an accurate cut list from it, along with assembly sheets for each cabinet. The sheet optimizing capabilities will pay huge dividends in material savings. The accurate doors and drawer box sizes are another area where it will save you money.

I don't know if you are ready to hang out your shingle yet, only you can make that call. But I will say this, if you wait for the circumstances to be just right you will wait a life time. At some point you need to jump in and swim. Are you much of a swimmer?:laughing:
 

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What I have ran into a lot of is rearranging/adding onto/redoing existing cabinets. Making them match of course. Its a good alternative to a total gut. A lot of people cant afford a gut and start over.
 

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Dave from Macatawa
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CJ I started with book cases, wall units, and such before moving into base cabs w/ drawers. Good money, not too time consuming. Built them in a shop and moved them finished. Did assembly on site and ususally one final coat after everything was 100%. (depending on finish)

bath vanities are a good starting point too.

tough to jump into a full sized kitchen.

How about finishes?
 

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Finish Carpenter
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You have enough tools to get started. I had far less than you when I decided I didn't want to be a general contractor anymore.

My intuition says you just need a construction method that you feel comfortable with and that will help build your confidence.

The first thing I would say you need to invest in is software. You need a decent presentation to sell a job and good shop drawings for the mechanical rough ins. The real benefit of the software will be when you can extract an accurate cut list from it, along with assembly sheets for each cabinet. The sheet optimizing capabilities will pay huge dividends in material savings. The accurate doors and drawer box sizes are another area where it will save you money.

I don't know if you are ready to hang out your shingle yet, only you can make that call. But I will say this, if you wait for the circumstances to be just right you will wait a life time. At some point you need to jump in and swim. Are you much of a swimmer?:laughing:
:eek::thumbsup: Holy cow you can say that again...I waste a ton of time drawing things out by hand...and only tackle small things...its not like a build entire kitchens, but still....

And as far as being ready....I had a guy once tell me, sometimes you just have to "shoot and holla ****"
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dave, I am planning on doing the samething before I jump into kitchen and baths!
 

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Gus I am wondering what are the start up cost? I have a 10'' Unisaw Cabinet Saw, 13'' Delta benchtop planer, 6-1/8'' jointer, drill press, portable power tools, ROS sander, cordless drill, router, and jig saw. I also have a brad nailer and I just bought a finish nailer. I also have lots of hand tools.
A good dado blade for the unisaw.

Add a Kreg Foreman and a Festool TS55 to the list
Don't know about the festool, but a pocket jig is a real time saver
!
CJ I started with book cases, wall units, and such before moving into base cabs w/ drawers. Good money, not too time consuming. Built them in a shop and moved them finished. Did assembly on site and ususally one final coat after everything was 100%. (depending on finish)

bath vanities are a good starting point too.

tough to jump into a full sized kitchen.

How about finishes?
Finishes is where I struggle, not having the shop space for a spray booth. I have a friend that has one if I need it, but used the brush on lacquer with pretty good results.

Another must is a large square, flat bench for assembly and clamps....You will never have too many clamps.
 

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The Duke
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I don't know if you are ready to hang out your shingle yet, only you can make that call. But I will say this, if you wait for the circumstances to be just right you will wait a life time. At some point you need to jump in and swim. Are you much of a swimmer?:laughing:
I didn't jump in, Gus pushed me in! :laughing:

I'm a Gus wanna be, but who isn't? Like Gus said, jump in. That's what I'm doing this very moment. I am taking everything that comes to me, but most is not cabinets. Phone is ringing though.

I thank Gus for giving me the nudge though. I talked with him on the phone. He didn't need to, he just did. I don't do it on the side. I just do it, and promote it.

Be picky and give people more than they expect. You will always have work.
 

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The basic set of equipment to build cabinets isn't really that much. The set of equipment to produce them quickly and effciently is another story.

I can pretty much build anything in my home shop which consists of a Powermatic 66 TS, 18" Woodmaster Planer/Molder, 17" Delta Drill Press, 14" Delta Bandsaw, 8" Jet jointer, 5HP Air compressor, and a pile of electric and hand tools. I can build just about anything, but I can't do it all for a profit, and large production runs just aren't practical.

That being said, I think that is the aspect about my shop that I enjoy. No monthly machine payments, no overhead, etc. I can just take my time and enjoy my work. I already know I can build and entire hotel, restaurant, hospital worth of cabinets, I did it for 5 years in a large shop with CNC equipment, edgbanders, etc.

Most people see stuff like CNC equipment, panel saws, etc and think WOW, you can build anything with this, and it really isn't true. Alot of that equipment is geared towards a focused task and doing it very fast. The shop I used to work in was a hybrid, we started out as a traditional solid wood processing shop doing mainly millwork, and not to much casework. We used 2 unisaws, a RAS, shapers, and a Woodmaster to produce alot of stuff. We later added a Mereen Johnson Gang Rip, and Wienig moulder to increase the amount of solid stock we could produce. A Year later we expanded and added more panel processing equipment like a 10ft sliding table saw, edgebander, line bore, but we still did lots of solid wood processing. As part of that same expansion, we added a 10HP shaper with tenoning table, upcut saw and tigerstop, Ritter Pocket hole drill and clamp table, 43" Double head belt sander, US Concepts Curved moulder, and an Edge belt sander.

Panel processing and case work demand continued to grow so we finally bit the bullet and went CNC with a Komo Mach 3 512.

What happened at that point when paying $7000 a month on the CNC is we realized that while the CNC could do many things, the changeover times to do small runs cost more than the margin you could make selling the product. We really became a part milling business. We had to make so much casework to keep the CNC busy that alot of the other equipment sat idle, and we even started outsourcing things like cabinet doors, etc.


Taking what I learned from that experience, I can pretty much build the same quality cabinet in my garage with UV finished birch ply, and outsource the doors to conestoga or Decorative Specialties. Yeah, it might take me a bit longer, but I don't have to worry about when the next machine payment is due either.
 

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Finish Carpenter
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The basic set of equipment to build cabinets isn't really that much. The set of equipment to produce them quickly and effciently is another story.

I can pretty much build anything in my home shop which consists of a Powermatic 66 TS, 18" Woodmaster Planer/Molder, 17" Delta Drill Press, 14" Delta Bandsaw, 8" Jet jointer, 5HP Air compressor, and a pile of electric and hand tools. I can build just about anything, but I can't do it all for a profit, and large production runs just aren't practical.

Taking what I learned from that experience, I can pretty much build the same quality cabinet in my garage with UV finished birch ply, and outsource the doors to conestoga or Decorative Specialties. Yeah, it might take me a bit longer, but I don't have to worry about when the next machine payment is due either.
I am very surprized by this whole thread....I figured I was going to come in here and see...if you don't have A, B, C, and D forget about it, you can't make cabinets worth your time.
 
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