What a wonderful piece of furniture!
It is so unique!
These are the types of compliments you may want if you pride yourself in your home care and attention. Unfortunately most of us can’t build the beautiful works that adorned fine homes in the 17th and 18th century. Not only did the common homeowner get deskilled with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, but the very art of Cabinet Making was put at risk.
Fortunately the human spirit is resilient and quests for fine works of art in wood. There are many, like my friend, who sees a tree as the tool of creation for homes, tables, beds and chairs. Not just plain, rough board furniture, but utilitarian and beautiful at the same time.
Although he doesn’t do his cabinetwork for anyone but his family (he builds custom houses) I always enjoy visiting his house to see what new piece of art he has created. With four young (very young) lads he builds things for their enjoyment and to reduce the load on their mother.
For the folks in the Greater Portland area, they are blessed with a plethora of people in the cabinet making profession.
One they can find is:
David J. Klenk
300 West Gray Road
Gray Maine 04039
While not truly in Portland, his workmanship is such that I didn’t want ten miles up 95 leaving him out. This is real cabinet making at its best.
Cabinetmakers (I honestly don’t know if that is one word or two) come in many shapes, sizes and wood preferences. Some will only work with hardwoods. Some will work only with soft woods like White Pine. Others only work on certain kinds of furniture, such as furniture that can be built in their shop versus onsite construction.
Likewise one of the main reasons we have gone to store bought furniture is the price. Cabinetmaking is a labor intense type of work, even with modern tools.
Another cabinet maker with some really neat designs is:
S Hamill Furniture
273 Congress St
Portland, ME 04101
Things that a great cabinetmaker can do that your local Lowe’s or Home Depot can’t is to really customize to your personal tastes. In addition to basic wood types that you find in commodity stores, they can also work with types of woods that are more exotic.
Even when working with common wood types, many cabinet makers have ways of using the wood grains and colors to produce unique results.
Another cabinetmaker in Portland is:
North Star Woodworking
651 Riverside Street
Portland, Maine 04103
No one can recommend any one cabinetmaker over another because each has a unique way of approaching the trade. Your own needs and how well the cabinet maker is willing and able to meet them are the primary element you will need to look for.
I had one friend who showed me a custom set of cabinets she had built and then proceeded to complain about not getting what she had wanted. Now, these cabinets were very beautiful and well built with intricate woodworking throughout. Her complaint was essentially the shape of the corners. They were exactly as specified but somehow were not as expected by her. She had hired a cabinetmaker that was into grain and had placed the grain on the sides and front to go at angles to each other. She had expected the grain to go up and down like the ones you see in the stores. The grain wasn’t right, she was unhappy with some of the most beautiful cabinets anywhere.
It is important to shop around and make sure that the cabinetmaker is the right one for you. Some, being artists at heart, can perform miracles with wood that could leave you feeling like my friend. She got what she ordered, yet failed to get what she expected. She would have been better, and happier, going to Lowe’s or Home Depot and picking a composite cabinet with laminate in the right grain alignment for her expectations.
Another cabinetmaker in Portland is;
Green Design Furniture
267 Commercial Street
Portland, ME 04101
I don’t know if it is fair to include Green Design. Although it is the best in modern cabinetmaking that allows them to design and build beautiful furniture exclusively in cherry, they primarily make their own designs and produce in limited quantities. It is always worth a shot, if you must have something just for you built in cherry and only cherry.
If non of these fine establishments meets your personal needs, one way you can get the right person is to ask them who could. The world of true cabinet makers is not that large and most good cabinetmakers will know other members of their profession.