Quest for success - Design and production

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“I’ve done everything to get my name out there,” he says. “Cold calling was something I actually enjoyed. I’ve done magazine advertising and found that I spent a lot of money that I shouldn’t have spent. If you’re not going to design an advertising campaign or just going to run a random ad, it’s pretty easy to spend a lot of money and not land any work.”

Design and production
For the last two years, Levy has used KCDw software to create presentation drawings and CutList Plus for optimization. Previously, everything was hand-drawn, and if there was a minor change in the design, the time to redraw was inefficient. Changes on cabinetry can now be made instantaneously and multi-views can be printed for the client. In addition, it’s a much cleaner and more professional presentation. “Ultimately, we want the client to understand all the details we are providing. In addition to this software, we still show the client actual edge, molding and fluting details.”

Levy also works with architectural drawings provided by architects, designers or contractors. For the designers, his skill set allows him to refine details provided by the professionals, if requested.

When a customer signs off on the final drawings, the shop goes to work selecting the finest hardwoods and veneers. Most of Levy’s clients prefer cherry, mahogany and maple.

The shop features a SAC 3200 sliding table saw, SCMI R9 pin router, Williams & Hussey molder, OMAL hinge inserter, Grass EcoPress, Gannomat Proline 50 for 32mm line drilling, Brandt KD-54 edgebander, Castle pocket machine, Bridgewood planer and jointer, Mini Max 20" bandsaw, and Sunhill Machinery wide belt sander.

The shop has the capability to manufacture most projects in-house, but Levy doesn’t hesitate to outsource. Levy has relationships with nearby shops for larger projects, including one with full CNC capability.

Hudson River Woodworks has tools dedicated for single operations, such as routers with bits for edge details and v-grooving, and a shaper for producing 1/2" groves in cabinet backs.

The shop also features an enclosed spray booth with a Kremlin spray system. Primarily, the shop uses Mohawk stains and custom colors, vinyl sealers, lacquers and conversion varnishes, but can also perform hand-rubbed finishes. Recently, the shop has been certified by the American Wood Finishing Institute (AWFI) and offers more than 300 custom finishes.

“When clients see the finish samples, they are excited about all of the possibilities that are available to them,” says Levy.

Levy, along with other members of the Cabinet Makers Association, attended an AWFI training program to learn the art of creating these custom finishes. Many of the ideas for workflow improvement have come from the com-pany’s involvement with the CMA.

“The CMA has made a tremendous difference in my business, especially when I’ve had to deal with an issue or material that is new to us. For any area of the business, I can speak to someone I have created a relationship with. I have saved myself thousands of dollars joining the CMA. It’s the best $250 (membership fee) I have ever spent for my business.”

The future
Levy says he’s excited about the future of Hudson River Woodworks and its planned growth during the next several years. He is going to be working with more architects and designers in an effort to expand into the high-end market.

“I intend to create more art furniture for the enjoyment rather than as a business venture. In the meantime, I’m fortunate to have a business where we are creative and produce quality work we are proud of.” n

Contact: Hudson River Woodworks, P.O. Box 346, Garnerville, NY 10923. Tel: 845-638-1210.