An environmentally sustainable company, Pyramid Custom Cabinets uses only water-based
finishes and adhesives in the manufacture of all its cabinetry.


Mix pigments or dyes with water. Using a spray gun, apply onto the substrate and allow to dry.

Simple, but effective — and it is what helps set Lockport, IL-based Pyramid Custom Cabinets apart from many of its competitors. Since its inception in 1993, the company has been formulating its own stains and paints.

 
Pyramid Custom Cabinets specializes in cabinetry for
the residential market.

“It gives us more control over the end result,” says David Owen, who co-owns the company with Vic Ryder. “Since we formulate our own finishes, it’s easier for us to control the color, rather than ordering a gallon of each shade to see what we like,” Owen adds.

The company offers 25 “standard” stain and paint colors, as well as custom formulations — all are water-based. “From the beginning, we made the decision to use environmentally friendly finishes,” Owen says. “We were new, but even at that stage of the game, we knew water-based finishing was going to be the future, so why not get ready for it.

“And because everything is water-based, there are no VOC worries,” he adds. “It’s also better for the employees.”

 
Sanding is performed between steps to ensure a smooth
finish.

An air-makeup system is used to control the humidity within the finishing area, which takes up approximately 20 percent of the shop floor. Parts are sprayed in one of two 16-foot booths, then allowed to air dry. In addition to using sample boards, Owen says a formulation sheet is created for each job, which the company then keeps for at least 10 years. That way, if it is a repeat job or customer, “it gives us a starting point for [color matching] the job.”

After formulating the color or tone, the finishing process itself involves five or more steps, depending on the finishing material and application. Stain, for example, involves: spraying, buffing, sealing, sanding and the application of the topcoat. In order to maintain the company’s high level of quality, checks are performed at each level of the process.

In addition to standard stains and paints, Pyramid Custom Cabinets also offers specialty finishes, such as glazes and distressing. “Glazes have become more popular over the past year or so,” Owen comments. “We’re also seeing an increase in light to medium colors, which provide a better contrast against the glazes.” On the other hand, Owen adds, there has also been a slight upswing in the requests for “the darker side of medium — it all depends on [what the customers had previously].”

The company sells its products to consumers as well as builders. “A lot of times, customers will know what they want and bring in pictures from a magazine or see something in our showroom,” Owen says. Until the economic downturn, the vast majority of business — 85 percent — was new construction.

Made to Order
Inside the 36,000-square-foot facility, Pyramid Custom Cabinets designs and constructs kitchen and bath cabinetry, as well as cabinetry for other rooms. Most of its products are face-frame construction using predominantly oak, cherry, birch and maple. The company offers more than 40 solid wood door styles, including Shaker, miter and French Country, with custom designs and sizes available. Pyramid Custom Cabinets also offers laminated cabinetry and white painted cabinets with thermofoil doors.

According to Owen, Pyramid Custom Cabinets’ reputation among builders and consumers has helped it to stay relatively busy during this economic downturn. The company typically has 10 to 12 jobs running through the plant at any given time. Because of the custom nature of the projects, “Once an order is put into production, it takes two to five weeks, depending on the [busy] season.
“Everything is built to order,” he adds.

The company’s cabinetry features mitered wood toe kicks, full four-sided dovetail drawer boxes with solid wood drawer fronts and self-closing drawer runners. Among the accessories offered are: crown and dentil mouldings, cabinet onlays, sink tip-outs, built-in trash bins, rollout shelves, file drawers, pedestals and wine racks.



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