My Cabinetmaking Blog. - I always wanted to be a gastronomer Blog at Allrecipes.com - 262750

I always wanted to be a gastronomer

My Cabinetmaking blog. 
 
Jan. 2, 2012 3:01 pm 
Updated: Jan. 12, 2012 7:49 am
A few folks on here have asked me over the last year to post a little about my cabinetmaking. So it's January 1, 2012 (that’s weird) and my wife is at work, I have none. I'm gonna do a blog and a half today. Not a one liner....(lol)
 
In the beginning I was 29 years old and employed as a production coordinator for a sawmill in south central British Columbia. I wasn't yet married but there was one little one in the house and another on the way. The sawmill life was handy. I started working at age 15 and sawmills were everywhere, they paid well and you needed no education so that's what I did. I didn't particularly like it but I didn't really know any different either.
 
I'd gone back to school at nights over the years, doing a business certificate, also micro-processing, scaling tickets, two grading tickets, etc. You get the picture, I was struggling upward. I felt the need to do or be something bigger, greater and more important and at age 29 I had little mouths to feed. Then something happened at work. Its far too long a story for this blog, you'll have to read the book someday. I'll call it, The Interesting S h i t In Randy’s Life.
 
The end result was that I finally realize that I hated working in the sawmill industry with all my heart, and I quit. I had unemployment insurance, and 2 months after I quit, my first daughter was born. I spent that entire first year with her. Her mom went back to work and I was a stay at home dad. Until Em was born, I had no idea the volume my heart could play at. So that year passed and I remember it as being a fine time. I was poor but oh so rich.
 
I was also busy, our house had a big basement and I'd acquired some woodworking tools over the time. So with my spare time, I started building furniture, trying to supplement the insurance income. I built a dresser and with a wing mirror, some book shelves, a TV stand and then I built a cedar chest for the kids mom.
 
I scooped the design from a Sears catalogue
 

Someone saw a chest and asked me to build them one, and that’s how it started. I printed up cards, put the word out and soon, I was building piano benches, and china cabinets and stereo stands etc, until my father called. His hobby at that time was to buy old houses and renovate, sell and use the profit to live and buy another fixer upper. He called me one day and said; hey I need a kitchen for this house, why don't you build it for me?  
I didn't know for nothing about building kitchens but there was this totally unreasonable little voice in my head saying “Why not?". I was totally out of my element to my way of thinking, kitchens were important and what I'd been doing was dicking around with cedar furniture. Yet that voice, that seductive voice. I said yes. So before I was 30 I acquired a shop and hung up a shingle that read Raedwulf Custom Cabinets. The following shot is me at age 29, posing next to that very first finished kitchen. It looks ok, but man, the learning curve on that baby was steep like the north face of Everest.
 
Great haircut huh?
 

  A lot of you know my name is Randy. The name Raedwulf comes from the etymology displayed in a baby name book, for the name Randy. Radwulf with an omlusk or Raedwulf was a 16th century Germanic nobleman who's name it's thought, was the progenitor of the names Ray, Roy, Randy etc. Hence the business name. I also thought it sounded sufficiently European and that that might imply fine craftsmanship...I used every trick I could think of to make it fly.
 
Those first years, as I taught myself  the trade, were filled with what I came to call "Neverdoneits". Time and again, people would ask me to do things I simply had never done and, I did them. If I did them wrong, I did them again until I did them right. I sometimes lost money on jobs but I never made the same mistake twice and I began to accrue a cast iron reputation as a forthright craftsman and my business flourished. When melamine kitchens became all the rage, I accepted commisions for 3 new different clients that wanted melamine doors with continuous oak pull. I then called one of my suppliers to find out what melamine was, how do you cut it, finish it etc... This was seat of your pants business at it's finest.

A fairly standard kitchen these days.
 
Of course, over time the 'never done its' faded, not entirely, I've become somewhat infamous for being the goto guy when it comes to solving cabinet riddles. I am sometimes the last stop for items that you just can't purchase and for the most part, can't even find people who can build them.

Ok you want it wall hung, 42" wide, solid birch doors finished in a 7 coat pink and completed with cornice top and bottom? No problem.

Over half of the work that I'm commisioned to do is heavily custom, from kitchens with extensive millwork:

This picture was taken during the installation, kinda dusty but it gives you an idea. Of course I never did get back to get finished shots.

...to commercial works of art. This was a bar I built last year for a golf course.
 
This is the installation shot.
 
This is the 'make it a double' shot.
 
Round about 1994, my company was asked to supply cabinets and millwork for a fledging houseboat manufacturing operation and that turned into 14 years of very heavy custom builds. Sadly I have exactly zero pics from those years because as fast as I would build something like a 5 foot framed wine rack that curved around the bottom of a curved staircase, it would be shipped away. If you are still curious about that stuff, you can go to waterwayhouseboats.com and they have a shot or two. Unfortunately the market crash killed that aspect of my business. It was a great run. Suffice it to say I haven't been able to just sit on my butt since then, at least not willingly. ;)

This is one of my favourite kitchens. The people who commisioned it were among my favourite clients and the vision the Mrs. had for her kitchen was fantastic.

Click on any pic and it'll open larger on a new page.
 
So that's my cabinet work. It might not be a food blog but I like to think about the millions of meals that have been prepared out of all of my kitchens and that's just foody enough for me. I hope you enjoyed it.
 
Comments
Jan. 2, 2012 3:12 pm
Wow! I knew our friendship was meant to be. You see, I have an island that needs tearing out and rebuilding and none of the local guys have a clue, waaaa! I'm SOOOO picky about my kitchens. I buy kitchens with houses attached, if you know what I mean. Anyway, Randy, I really like your work, and the passion you bring to it shows. It's wonderful to see the growth of a young man with a "why not?" attitude into a mature, skilled craftsman. I'm certain your reputation is hard-won and well-deserved. Good on ya, Dude!
 
Jan. 2, 2012 3:15 pm
Oh! in the dusty millwork shot, did you do the ceiling trim, too? Love it!
 
Jan. 2, 2012 3:33 pm
Thanks Duff, you bet I did. I should have taken one of the living room ceiling treatment in that house, it was oh so grand lol. Now about that island...
 
Jan. 2, 2012 3:54 pm
I think I need an email consult...or you could just come on down for the sun and wine, maybe a cocktail or ten? Yeah, that's much better! :D
 
Jan. 2, 2012 3:58 pm
Well, email is cheap. Sure. We might be able to work out something, sun...warmth...sand, oh man, my price keeps dropping!
 
Jan. 2, 2012 4:03 pm
ROFL!!
 
Jan. 2, 2012 4:19 pm
love the work, learning on the go and by the seat of ones pants often result in masterfull items. Beautiful pics, BTW if you have a little time, I am interested in an armoire. Oak would be great:)
 
Jan. 2, 2012 4:28 pm
I remember your work for the boat company, Randy. It is awesome! Now you show me your kitchens and you have me in awe, again. You are a superb woodsmith! Well done, sir
 
Jan. 2, 2012 4:37 pm
Raedwulf Looks real nice.
 
Jan. 2, 2012 7:35 pm
Randy, you work is beautiful, such a skilled craftsman! Thanks for sharing this with us. I love that last vintage-y looking kitchen, perfect!
 
Jan. 2, 2012 8:43 pm
Randy, what a wonderful blog! I love your beautiful work and learning "as you go" sometimes is the best way. My son is one of those who have done that. He is a very good craftsman and does extensive remodels. My dad was a self taught woods man who did beautiful furniture pieces so I have been around that sort of thing all my life and do so admire it! Your photos are amazing!
 
Jan. 2, 2012 8:58 pm
Wow - a craftsman - a writer - and a cook - - I'm impressed!
 
Jan. 3, 2012 6:22 am
I love this! I love wood - - wish I could afford a master wood craftsman. I love that fridge in the last pic, thanks for sharing.
 
Lela 
Jan. 3, 2012 7:32 am
Beautiful cabinets. To be so talented in creating such wonderful kitchens. I especially like the large view of the cabinets.
 
Jan. 3, 2012 8:16 am
Randy, what a wonderful blog! You have a definite GIFT. My grandfather was a master carpenter, my dad could build and create anything and so can my brother and I well, I can hardly drive a nail straight. You would not like me - simply, because when I see furniture/cabinets as beautiful as you have created, I cannot resist the urge - I have to lightly run my fingers over the surface! I love to experience the different smells and visually inspect the different grains in the wood - walnut and cherry are my favorites. Hope you will keep us posted on your future endeavors! Blessings to you and your family in 2012!
 
Mangel 
Jan. 3, 2012 2:37 pm
OMG! First, you are an amazing craftsman and second, my husband sported that same haircut and it's just as handsome on you as it is on my DH:) We have a hobby woodshop and enjoy crafting special furniture additions for ourselves and family (bedside tables, bookshelves,and the like), but nothing we've ever done can hold a candle to your work. Thanks for sharing! If we ever build our retirement home, would you consider coming to the mid-wes U.S. and working for homecooked meals;o)
 
Jan. 3, 2012 4:57 pm
Thank you everyone. I like the work and I think that helps with getting really good at it. For the record, I'll work anywhere in North America for free food and a pound of 100$ bills. Or 2, depending on your tastes lol. I once saw a kitchen that had cabinet doors that took 2 craftsmen 6 months to build, for each door. The doors appeared to be a common 5 piece door but the top rail curved down and became part of the center panel by virtue of being a carved horn of plenty. Amazing work. I'm a hack compared to those guys. Like I tell people, I cut up big pieces of wood into smaller pieces, that's what I do.
 
Jan. 3, 2012 8:11 pm
You do amazing work Randy and I admire people with detailed wood working skills very much. Thanks for sharing/showing this side of you.
 
Jan. 3, 2012 9:01 pm
Wow Randy, I'm in awe. You do amazing work and I love your work ethic, and attitude about just nearly everything. Some of those kitchens really are just jaw droppingly gorgeous.
 
Jan. 5, 2012 3:37 pm
Thanks again, I appreciate the fine words.
 
Jan. 7, 2012 8:36 am
Randy - your work looks absolutely beautiful!! My husband is a woodworking craftsman and used to do custom kitchens and furniture for a living; however now he works for someone else and only gets to do a few sidejobs a year. Being in business for himself just didn't work for him. I love that last kitchen photo!! You truly have a gift!
 
Jan. 12, 2012 7:49 am
Wow I wish you were down here in FL...you are an amazing craftsman. I have a huge kitchen, it sold me on this house...but very old cabinets...they are okay and don't look as dated as they are...but my dream is to have new cabinets. DH is now retired and says he can do it...that scares me. ;-)
 
 
 
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Raedwulf

Living In
Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada

Member Since
Jul. 2007

Cooking Level
Expert

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Southern, Nouvelle, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Low Carb, Healthy, Dessert, Gourmet

Hobbies
Biking, Reading Books, Music, Wine Tasting

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About Me
Let's see, in keeping it to a subject, at age 22 I had a filet doused in Bernaise sauce aboard a train. That was it, I was hooked on fine food. Living in a small town necessitates learning to cook well to maintain that stellar menu.
My favorite things to cook
Oh man, only a thousand characters? My favorite things to cook are items that make YOU happy. I'll try anything and thus far it would be far easier to list those things I don't like than those I do. So far, I hate Cilantro and I'm allergic to green chiles. It's a short list.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My Christmas dinner. Usually in December, sometimes early January. I've a waiting list of people who wish to be invited. Alas, I've only a service for 10. We're talking silver, Noritake, crystal stemware, crisp linens, fine wines paired appropriately and a menu that's usually derived from a theme.
My cooking triumphs
Every smile, every gasp of delight, every accolade, such sweet victory!
My cooking tragedies
A Cioppino recipe I found here. I served it as part of one of those Christmas dinners and the cod was a poor choice. It was terrible, ghastly fishy taste. I've since learned a thing or two about freshness in fish. Prior to that, hmm perhaps when I was 10, I made a spice cake that called for whole cloves....hey, that's what it said on the outside of the bottle, whole cloves....
 
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