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Lakefront Log Home Project: Log Home Diary Entry #32, Finishing Work Pt. 6

In selecting their cabinetmaker, our bloggers gain an appreciation for the fine craftsmanship that can go into making quality wood pieces.
by George and Marlyn Curnow

Finishing Work — Part 6

Log Home Diary Entry #32
Credit: George and Marlyn Curnow image | Open Space

Cabinetry Work (Kitchen, Bathrooms, etc.): Now this has been one of the memorable highlights of the building process. We started by sharing our ideas with two kitchen designers. We also talked to our builder’s cabinetmaker, an Amish gentleman from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Although all three were quite professional, quality and pricing covered a very wide range. We found the optimum mix of quality and pricing to be with Daniel, the Amish cabinetmaker.

As with any product or service, it is our belief that your purchase choices are price, service, quality — pick any two. You can only pick two of the three; otherwise, the person supplying the product/service will not survive in business. For us, we gave up a bit on service, as that was the least of our concerns during a long building process. The decision may have been different for a refurbishment where a full turnkey kitchen designer could possibly better handle the whole process.

This decision resulted in our twice needing to make a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains to work with Daniel. Contacts with Daniel were initiated by leaving messages at the general store near Daniel’s woodworking shop. Daniel would call after picking up his messages when visiting the general store, as the Amish don’t own telephones. If we missed the return call, the process started over. This generally is the way the Amish communicate.

These trips to the mountains were eye-opening. Daniel’s shop was a buzz of activity, and the products he had finished or still was working on represented some of the finest cabinetmaking we have ever seen. We now understood why our builder thought we would want no one else. Daniel listened carefully, and his designs were done the old-fashioned way in pencil without the aid of computers with CAD/CAM software.

State-of-the-art woodworking equipment was in use; but how is it powered if the Amish can’t purchase electricity? At the end of our first visit, Daniel unveiled the secret. He apparently received approval to purchase a diesel engine (a bit confusing to us). When Daniel designed his woodworking shop, he designed it with two drive shafts running the width of the building under the floorboards. These drive shafts are connected by belts to the diesel engine in a separate room at the back of the shop. As power is needed for each piece of equipment (saws, planers, drill press, etc.), a clutch is engaged to drive another belt off of the main drive shaft.

Wow — this is old-time American ingenuity at its best! The sanding area requires good lighting. Although the Amish don’t purchase utility-generated electricity, the area was brightly lit with halogen lighting from a series of batteries constantly being recharged from the diesel engine.

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