Sources Critical for Library Project

Accu-Trim Custom Woodworking called on its hardwood veneer and lumber sources for help on this residential library. The project won the Design Portfolio award for architectural millwork.

By Beverly Dunne

When Accu-Trim Custom Woodworking Inc. agreed to provide millwork for a Winston-Salem home, it had no idea how much background work would be involved. The project, which included a two-story library, living room entertainment center and basement entertainment center won the Design Portfolio Award for architectural millwork.

Brazilian cherry, which ranges from russet to reddish brown and features dark streaks, was chosen by the homeowners for this two-story library.

“The first challenge was procuring the materials for the 18-foot by 24-foot library,� says Chuck Hoose, president of the Cooleemee, NC, company. Having selected Brazilian cherry for the floor, the homeowners wanted to use the species for the architectural millwork. Yet, neither Accu-Trim nor its supplier, Charlotte Hardwoods, had worked with the species before.

Charlotte Hardwoods located a source for Jatoba (Hymenaea courbaril) that needed a minimum quantity order of 24 sheets and a lead time of eight weeks. This two-month delay pushed the envelope for the completion date and had to be approved by the clients, who had left for Germany for six months.

Once designs and schedules were okayed (via international telephone calls and Federal Express), Accu-Trim ordered 24 sheets of Brazilian cherry plywood and 1,000 board feet of Brazilian cherry hardwood for the library alone.

“The first thing that amazed us when the material arrived was the weight and density of Jatoba,� Hoose says. He says his staff also became concerned with “the machining characteristics of this wood and any other problems that we might have encountered. Aside from the aches and pains from carrying the wood itself, we were impressed with how well the wood worked while machining,� he adds.

Mouldings were run on a Williams & Hussey planer/moulder, which was modified slightly to enable the shop to make several passes. “We found that the density of Jatoba caused the moulding knives and router bits to dull quickly if too much material was removed at one time, so we modified the moulder,� Hoose says. Tooling was supplied by Bonyman in Massachusetts.

The project included entertainment centers in the living room and basement, made of paint-grade MDF and poplar.

Radius cuts and fluting for the fireplace and trim pieces on the upper library cabinets were performed on a ShotBot CNC router. Again, several passes were required to get the desired results, Hoose says. The raised panel wainscotting and cabinet doors were fabricated using the Freud door system and were cut on a WoodTek shaper.

The bulk of the sanding was done on a Woodmaster 38-inch drum sander with the balance of the sanding completed on Bosch 5-inch random orbit sanders.

Fabrication of the library was running on schedule, when the homeowners returned from Europe and changed the specs, presenting another challenge. “In our original design considerations, we had discussed allowing the wall color to show in the back of the cabinets to allow for more color, and to reduce the cost of the project,� Hoose says.

WINNER PROFILE

Name: Accu-Trim Custom Woodworking Inc., Cooleemee, NC
Year established: 1990
Annual sales 1999: $350,000 for woodworking segment
No. of Employees: 2 full-time, 2 part-time
Shop size: 1,600 square feet
Specialty: Installation of interior trim and building and installing custom cabinets and entertainment centers, as well as the production of other specialty millwork items.

Now, the homeowner requested that the shop make the cabinet backs from solid Brazilian cherry. While solid wood could be used, it would make the cost out of reach. Plywood could not be ordered due to the quantity needed and lead-time required. Calling on several sources, the shop located Cramer Wood Products in High Point, NC, which supplied it with the needed veneer. Accu-Trim was able to produce enough material using its vacuum press, from Quality VAKuum Products, to make the backs of the cabinets solid. Final installation of the library took about a week.

The entertainment centers for the living room and basement were much easier to fabricate, Hoose says. Paint-grade MDF and poplar hardwood were used in these areas. Similarly constructed, the MDF was cut to size on a Powermatic table saw. Radius mouldings were made on the Williams & Hussey moulder/planer. The radius cuts and radius-raised panels were done on the ShopBot CNC router.

The cabinet doors are made out of MDF, produced on the ShopBot as well. Accu-Trim used Accuride pocket door hardware to hide the TV when not in use. The shop also provided the stair components for the project, including heart pine stair treads with fluted newel posts and balusters made from poplar hardwood.

The final cost for the entire project was in the area of $50,000, Hoose says. “The photographs give a glimpse of the finished project, but can in no way capture the final beauty and uniqueness of this marvelous home,� he adds.

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