Jim Vorst was just out of high school when he founded Vorst Custom Cabinets in 1998. And while the Findlay, OH-based company may have started small, it didn’t stay that way for long.
Initially housed in a 3,000 square-foot building, the manufacturing area was what Vorst now calls “bare bones” with basic equipment. “Table saws and manual equipment got us started. Eight years later we installed our first CNC router,” he says. “During that time we added on to the original building three times for additional manufacturing space and twice to open and then expand our showroom.”
In 2011, Vorst Custom Cabinets moved to a new facility, complete with a 3,600 square-foot showroom and 17,000 square-foot shop space. “From the first we have been a custom operation with a wide range of services for our clients,” Vorst says. Along with manufacturing and installing kitchen and bath cabinetry in the mid- to high-end range, the company also offers consultation and design services.
“The majority of our work is cabinetry, but we also do millwork and we primarily work with hardwoods of some sort. We design, manufacture and install a wide range of products, including entertainment centers, movie theaters, fireplace surrounds and mantles, bars, millwork, stand-alone furniture and specialty commercial work.”
Additional services include cabinet refacing and the company’s CNC capabilities “allow us to offer business-to-business services, including the production of nested cabinet parts,” Vorst adds.
Among the key equipment used in the shop is an SCMI Pratix CNC router and a Brandt edgebander. “Since we purchased the nested-based CNC router, it has been a great addition. We use it to cut all our cabinet parts,” he says.
“When we started the business in 1998-99, we did face-frame cabinetry and most was cut by hand. When we changed to a frameless style, we needed new equipment. The SCMI CNC router was purchased in 2004. It has changed how we do business — it has offered a lot more capabilities and opened a lot of doors.”
Vorst estimates the SCMI CNC router enables the firm to produce cabinetry five times faster than the previous method. Also having a positive impact on the shop’s productivity has been the Brandt edgebander.
“Our Brandt edgebander has been a tremendous addition as well. We have used four other edgebanders before this one, beginning with an entry-level hot air edgebander. The Brandt is versatile and affords a range of capabilities, whether working with wood edging on plywood or PVC 3 mil for commercial casework. The Brandt will band round corners, first applying the edge and then routing the corners. It gives a nice finished product from the machine alone, with no hand work needed,” he adds.
In addition to its expertise in the machining area, the company excels in its finishing applications. Since moving into the current facility, Vorst has invested in technology that not only provides a high-quality finish for the products, but allows for flexibility in the operation.
The company chose the Mito system from Cefla Finishing. “It fits in well with our needs and it provides flexibility, productivity and quality,” Vorst says. “We can spray in one-fourth the time what it would take us to do manually. A panel cleaner is incorporated with the machine and we use a paper conveyor belt with disposable paper rolls.”
The belts provide good edge coverage, he adds. “I have been amazed at how evenly it does on the coverage of edges.”
And in the past when fatigue would have been an issue in the manual spray process, Vorst says, “The machine can be spraying all day and produce consistent high quality. We are also happy with the transfer rate, and are not seeing overspray.”
Another nice feature of the finishing technology is its exhaust system, he adds. “We can spray a large quantity of product in a small space — routinely five gallons of paint in two hours — without haze, overspray or a mess to our facility.”
Providing in-house finishing allows Vorst to offer a complete package to customers. “Customer’s appreciate that dealing with us means they are dealing with a company that has the ability to take a project from the idea phase through design, manufacturing and installation. We don’t send them off to have to worry about details — we take great care.
“Every kitchen is different and every element, down to the faucets included, is important. We feel we distinguish ourselves for delivering the ‘up close’ quality they are looking for,” Vorst adds.
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