Author Topic: anyone make wardrobes (veneered) for a living? What tools and workflow?  (Read 1305 times)

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Offline kifi

  • Posts: 13
hi all

anyone here make wardrobes for a living? The type that are made from veneered panel products?

What is your tool list?

Here's what I am thinking:

1. TS55 with 2,7m or 3m track to break down the large panels and for further sizing cuts.
2. STM 1800 for support of sheet movement and breakdown
3. Conturo for edgebanding
4. MFK700 for trimming edgebanding
5. Vac clamps for work holding during edgebanding operations
6. DF500 for join carcasses
7. Some nice drills for installation.

What you got, what's your workflow?

thanks in advance.


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Offline woodbutcherbower

  • Posts: 308
hi all

anyone here make wardrobes for a living? The type that are made from veneered panel products?

What is your tool list?

Here's what I am thinking:

1. TS55 with 2,7m or 3m track to break down the large panels and for further sizing cuts.
2. STM 1800 for support of sheet movement and breakdown
3. Conturo for edgebanding
4. MFK700 for trimming edgebanding
5. Vac clamps for work holding during edgebanding operations
6. DF500 for join carcasses
7. Some nice drills for installation.

What you got, what's your workflow?

thanks in advance.

I’m a general joiner and I build, amongst a hundred other things, wardrobes - both freestanding and built in-situ. The pics attached started with me in an under-construction house, and a big pile of delivered material straight off the truck - in this case, sheets of 3/4” crowncut oak-veneered ply, plus 4” x 1” kiln-dried solid oak stock, plus 2” oak block countertop, plus sheets of 3/4” MDF for cabinets, plus hardware, plus paint, plus mirror glass, plus tung oil, plus laminate for the floor. The pullout drawer was a yard deep to hold around 0.00001% of the lady’s shoe collection, and the whole build/install/finish/handover took five days end-to-end. If you’re doing this for a living, you have to keep it real and use what you need to get the job done to a timescale and to a standard - and nothing else. Over-thinking it and over-complicating it is fatal business-wise. Taking twice the time means you’re earning half the living;

1 No. As per your previous sheet-goods post, a pair of 1400’s plus an 800 plus two sets of TSO connectors will give you way more flexibility, especially if you’re planning to deliver/install or build in-situ. Long rails will give you marginally greater accuracy in a shop-only setup - but you asked about the real world, and joined, easily-transported rails are accurate enough.

2 No. As per your previous sheet-goods post, a pair of fold-up Toughbuilt steel trestles and two 8-foot lengths of straight, flat 6” x 2” sacrificials to lay your sheets on is all you need. Spend some of what you just saved on a good quality mitre saw so you have something to cut door rails, stiles and general framework with. You’ll also need this to cut crowns, plinths, shelves and similar stuff. Plus - your customers will hate the fact that you’re filling their homes with dust. So spend the rest on an extractor.

It’s none of my business, but you asked the above questions already, and many guys responded with a variety of great answers, both agreeing and disagreeing with your initial thoughts - just how it always is. A piece of solid advice is to put your preconceptions to one side, and draw on the wealth of knowledge here. I’ve been on the tools as a pro for 35 years and I thought I had everything figured out - but there are at least three game-changing tips and ideas I’ve picked up from guys on here which I now incorporate on virtually a daily basis. Plus basic stuff like upgrading my hoses from 27mm to 36mm. Every day’s a school day. But anyway -
 
3 No. Not straightaway at least. It’s a super machine, but wait until you sell a bunch of wardrobes first, to see if your turnover and profit margin will justify such expense. Spend some of the money you just saved on a decent router to cut panel grooves in your door frames, rebates for your hinges, and give you the ability to do flutes, grooves and decorative edge moulds. Check out the Sautershop 32mm shelf pin router jig and save yourself the cost of an LR32.

4 No. Not straightaway at least. It’s another super machine, but for your purposes (trimming banding on 3/4” panels) a little Makita palm router will do a great job at a quarter of the cost.

5 No. A bunch of Irwin 6” trigger clamps will do just fine.

6 Yes. It’s a tried, trusted and 100% proven solution. But only if you don’t want to build in-situ and you’re OK renting a truck to take large, fully-built and finished items to site. And wardrobes usually go upstairs ….

7 Obviously - but you said ‘drills’. You only need one. IMO other brands are way ahead of the game compared to Festool. Just my opinion, and others on here will likely disagree. We all settle into using tools we’re comfortable with, and which work for each of us as an individual.

One other important thing to consider is that some of the equipment on your list (especially the Domino) involves a steep, often time-consuming learning curve to get the best out of it. Keeping it simple means that you’ll be up and running way, way quicker. Apologies if the above isn’t what you wanted to hear, or if it comes across as being blunt. It’s not. Just honest. But hey - it’s your money to spend as you wish. Good luck in your future endeavours.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2022, 07:11 AM by woodbutcherbower »

Offline woodbutcherbower

  • Posts: 308
I forgot. There was enough material left over to build a window seat for the little girl’s bedroom and I had a day spare costed into the job. Her parents told me she had always wanted one, so I did it for free as a surprise and didn’t tell anyone about it. Take care of your customers and make them happy.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2022, 08:23 PM by woodbutcherbower »

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3817
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Don’t most people who do this type of work for a living go through some form of apprenticeship?
Birdhunter

Offline kifi

  • Posts: 13
Thanks word butcher that are really informative and useful answer. Your honesty is refreshing actually. Which three were the game changing tips?

Online DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1431
@woodbutcherbower that is some excellent advice and work. I could never be that efficient and I have almost all the tools on his list and some others that aren't that are pure luxury for this type of work. There is simply no replacement for experience and passed down knowledge. I would love to be able to spend a month on the job with someone who does this stuff professionally I'd imagine I'd learn more than in 5 years teaching myself.
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline woodbutcherbower

  • Posts: 308
Don’t most people who do this type of work for a living go through some form of apprenticeship?

@Birdhunter Technically - yes. But the sad state of the UK construction industry is such that our college apprenticeships are 100% geared to fast-paced new-build, and young guys come out the other side with just enough knowledge to hang cardboard-cored doors, and with the ability to fire a nail gun into MDF. A more meaningful route in, is to hope that a newcomer can join a company and learn a specific craft there - such as the stellar work which @Crazyraceguy turns out. But times are tight, and companies most often don't have the finance or time resources to spend several years training someone who will then potentially leave the company and strike out on his own. Most of my work, however, is on heritage buildings, doing all the old-school stuff which no-one is taught how to do any more - anywhere. I got lucky 30 years ago, and was taken under the wing of an old boy who'd been a joiner since God was a kid. He taught me almost everything I know, and it was a full year before he'd allow me to use any power tools whatsoever. Since I'm now getting older and I'd love to do all of that for someone else, I've spent the last 10 years trying to find a kid who I can train up, bring on, and pass all the disappearing skills onto. I've been through a dozen kids, and I've yet to find someone who will get out of bed in the morning. They all think they'll get rich by becoming an Instagram influencer instead. Sad but true. The best way to learn in my experience is to take a 'how difficult can it be?' approach and figure it out for yourself. Roll up your sleeves and have a go. Early mistakes are what teaches us most everything.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2022, 07:03 AM by woodbutcherbower »

Offline woodbutcherbower

  • Posts: 308
Thanks word butcher that are really informative and useful answer. Your honesty is refreshing actually. Which three were the game changing tips?

Thankyou for your kind words @kifi - and good for you for staying so open-minded. The three tips;

1 A fellow member introduced me to the Sautershop jig I mentioned. Fabulous, accurate, and 100% site-friendly. Note the 6" x 2" sacrificials, trestles and Irwin trigger clamps  [big grin]
 


2 A fellow member persuaded me to take the CT-VA-20 seriously for site work. I'd instantly dismissed it as a ripoff plastic box on its release, but the subsequent bag savings enabled it to pay for itself inside nine months and I wouldn't be without it.

3 A fellow member made me take a long, hard look at what had become my jaded lack of humility after I went on a wild rant about how pro's know everything, and amateurs know nothing. It was embarrassing. Not work-related obviously, but an important life lesson reminder which I realised had gradually been bludgeoned out of me over time. I'm more grateful for that than anything else.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2022, 06:39 AM by woodbutcherbower »

Offline woodbutcherbower

  • Posts: 308
@woodbutcherbower that is some excellent advice and work. I could never be that efficient and I have almost all the tools on his list and some others that aren't that are pure luxury for this type of work. There is simply no replacement for experience and passed down knowledge. I would love to be able to spend a month on the job with someone who does this stuff professionally I'd imagine I'd learn more than in 5 years teaching myself.

@DynaGlide Thankyou. You're right - see my reply about apprenticeships. As an aside, and just to confirm how correct you are - I also do a lot of kitchen and bathroom fitting. On becoming frustrated at constantly waiting for plasterers, plumbers, floor layers and tilers to show up, I asked a few trade buddies if I could ride shotgun with each of them for a week. I learned enough basic skills during those weeks to do all of that stuff, and now, fifteen years down the line and with plenty of practise under my belt, I'm able to deliver full cradle-to-the-grave finished projects to customers. They love it.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2022, 07:09 AM by woodbutcherbower »

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 1578
@woodbutcherbower I really appreciate the compliment. It means a lot coming from a guy with obvious skill and experience.
I agree with a lot of what you said. A "newbie" should not have to feel the additional burden of the cost of tools too. The barrier to entry itself is bad enough. It's not like high-end tools can hold you back or anything, and if you can afford it whatever, but that is not typical.
I have been doing this, in a commercial cabinet shop, for almost 20 years. I spent the first 2-3 in the assembly department, working next to the guy who was a combination of foreman and "special projects" builder. (that's the "official name" of our custom department) I was always aware of what he was doing and learned a lot by watching and helping. It was an "accidental" apprenticeship of sorts. They moved me up into a hybrid of custom builds and still keeping a big cabinet press in my area, for the times I could pitch in there too, along with the occasional install. I had to be ready for nearly anything. After a while, that big press was just in the way, so I moved to a bigger/more open space.
All of that to say, I did it for years with Makita 18v drills and impact drivers, Bosch Colt, and Milwaukee routers. I didn't have anything that I would call, even slightly high-end. Over the years of learning about Festool (and not being able to afford it), I bought in with a DF500. It was a game changer for my workflow, but that is years in. It wouldn't have done anything for me back in the beginning. I stepped up to Rotex next, probably mostly because it was the only one I knew about like that. Also huge improvement. I saw Festool as the brand for unique tools, not as a "competitor" with the others. That is what brought me to track saws. Until just a couple of years ago, they were really the only one in that game, at least here in the US.
The company had a TS75, years before I got my TS55. I used it a few times, but it was just too heavy/bulky for the way I use the TS55 now. I would never use a TS75 as an "only" saw. It's great  , for what it does in thicker stock, but awkward for everyday use.
Most of what I have/enjoy now would be considered luxury, because there are other ways. To be honest, I have them because I can, but it is kind of a snowballing thing. I can afford them because of the work that I have done with the first few. The speed and ease increase that came with the DF500,MFK700 and TS55 have been valuable, to me and those I work for.
To me, those are the top 3 and I would go with TXS next. If I was forced to whittle down that far, that would be the ones.

Also, you can't miss the irony of using a "cheaper shelf pin jig" with an OF2200..... ;)
CSX
DF500 + assortment set
PS420 + Base kit
OF1010
OF1010F
OF1400
MFK700 (2)
TS55, FS1080, FS1400 holey, FS1900, FS3000
CT26E + Workshop cleaning set
RO90
RO125
ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)
TS75
Shaper Origin/Workstation
MFT clamps set

Offline woodbutcherbower

  • Posts: 308

Also, you can't miss the irony of using a "cheaper shelf pin jig" with an OF2200..... ;)


Well spotted [smile] and a typically interesting reply from you. The jig slots are set up to accept a 17mm guide bush - and the OF2200's accessory kit just happens to contain one. How lucky can a guy get ??
« Last Edit: June 19, 2022, 01:47 PM by woodbutcherbower »