Woodmaster Owner Wins Honorable Mention in National Cabinetmaking Competition

Kurt Zolman, Woodmaster Owner, recently won Honorable Mention in a prestigious national cabinetmaking design competition. Here's the centerpiece of his entry, "Celebrity Closet."

Kurt Zolman, Woodmaster Owner, recently won Honorable Mention in a prestigious national cabinetmaking design competition. Here’s the centerpiece of his entry, “Celebrity Closet.”

“Woodworking Network,” a national woodworking industry organization recently held its annual “Top Shelf Design Awards” Competition. Winners were announced during a gala awards reception at the Cabinets and Closets Expo in New Jersey. Woodmaster Molder/Planer owner, Kurt Zolman, owner of Zolman Fine Cabinetry of Cordova, Alabama won Honorable Mention for his project, “Celebrity Closet.” Kurt told us about this achievement, his business, and his Woodmaster.

Here's Kurt in his shop alongside his "business partner," his Woodmaster Molder/Planer.

n

“I subscribe to one of Woodworking Network’s industry newsletters about wood products, kitchens, baths and so on. It’s available to woodworkers free of charge. I opened one issue and saw there was an Expo coming up and also a design contest. This was good timing because we’d just finished an extensive closet installation. We took pictures and sent them in.

SAVE BIG NOW on Woodmaster Molder/Planers – sale prices, online specials

SAVE BIG NOW on Woodmaster Drum Sanders – sale prices, online specials

Shortly after, we were notified that we were finalists in our category. We were up against some amazing projects. I did notice that all but one or two other entries we were prefab installations: laminates and prefab cabinets. Our cabinetry is all hand built. My wife, Andrea, and I build everything in our shop, Zolman Fine Cabinetry. We built this closet cabinetry and installed it in a client’s new home addition. Installation was very challenging because of narrow passageways we had to fit cabinets through.”

Can you say, "Outstanding"? Kurt and his wife, Andrea, run Zolman Fine Cabinetry and have an impressive portfolio of work -- see Kurt's Facebook page!

Can you say, “Outstanding”? Kurt and his wife, Andrea, run Zolman Fine Cabinetry and have an impressive portfolio of work — see Kurt’s Facebook page!

In an online article, Michaelle Bradford, Managing Editor of several Woodworking Network publications, shared Kurt’s notes on his winning installation. “All hand made in our shop using cherry and birds eye maple, this 500 sq. ft. closet features two 4×9 islands with large dovetail drawers and soft close slides, a ‘shoe department’ accommodating 400 pairs, purse boxes with beveled glass, flat screen TV mounted to a hydraulic lift for concealment, two laundry bins, pull-out valet and belt rods and a small sink.

The biggest challenge was the arch and make-up area which was the focal point of the design. We had to make sure the arch was proportionally sized for the room and leave enough leg room and for the sink and TV. I made the decision to use framed cabinets because of the size of the units, and to add that extra detail. All the moulding was made in our shop with our Woodmaster 25″ moulding machine and applied piece by piece using miter cuts on site. My wife did all the painting and glazing by hand for the carvings, appliques and moulding.” Read full article here.

“I wanted a challenge.”

Our shop is a 7,500 sq. ft. facility I’ve had for 20 years. We’re in a small town close to Birmingnam, Alabama where our clients are; that area has many high end homes. I used to do custom paintwork for boats and motorcycles, and restored old boats, so I acquired saws and woodworking equipment along the way. I eventually wanted new challenges and ran into someone who wanted their kitchen redone. I built the cabinetry and really enjoyed doing it. I ended up quitting my job and started my business in cabinetmaking. I visited other cabinet shops to see how others did their work. I got a lot of good ideas but I told myself I’d do it differently and better.

Another beautiful kitchen by the Zolmans. Their customers love the high level of craftsmanship they achieve — sure can't get cabinetry like this at big box stores!

Another beautiful kitchen by the Zolmans. Their customers love the high level of craftsmanship they achieve — sure can’t get cabinetry like this at big box stores!

“I told myself I’d do it differently and better.”

I think it’s really a shame that the cabinets that are being installed in half-million dollar homes need replacing in just a few years because they’re just cheap prefab units that only look good on the outside. And the average homeowner just doesn’t know the difference. I set out to do it better. I decided I’d use a minimum of staples and fasteners. I use dado cuts, rabbet cuts, and various joinery techniques throughout. We use ¼” birch for cabinet backs, and we use UV birch — birch plywood that has a durable clear coat on it. I want my work to be a step above others. For finish work, we use conversion varnish instead of lacquer. We spray it on an it makes a finish like fine furniture.

Kurt Zolman fits a carved applique to a section of curved molding he made with his Woodmaster Molder/Planer.

Kurt Zolman fits a carved applique to a section of curved molding he made with his Woodmaster Molder/Planer.

The kitchen is the most important room in the home, the most used room. I get involved with clients when we’re doing designing a kitchen or other cabinetwork for them. Every new job is a fresh canvas for us. I envision their kitchen in my mind and pass my excitement along to them. That’s an edge we have in our business: we’re a small shop, we’re the owners, not a 10-man shop. We’re not afraid to take on unique, special jobs like the closet installation we entered in this contest.

“Better to get the Woodmaster and build it ourselves than try to find exactly what we wanted in stores.”

I got this Woodmaster Molder/Planer specifically to do this closet job. I told my client it would be better to buy the Molder/Planer and do the work ourselves rather than searching and trying to find exactly what we liked. I told him it would definitely pay for itself and it did. Woodmaster looked better than other machines I’d seen. It has more production capability and is better-built in general.

At first it was intimidating to run the Woodmaster, but once you understand how it all works, it’s very pleasant to work with and satisfying to use. I drew up the patterns for custom knives I wanted  using a computer drawing program. I sent the drawings to Woodmaster, they imported them into their system, sent me an approval file, then manufactured the knives. This Woodmaster was the best investment we made and the smartest production decision in this whole project.

A no-brainer

Once I did the research, I saw getting a Woodmaster is a no brainer. I took some time going through the Woodmaster website. I saw I could make curved molding; I read about the availability of custom knives; the production capacity of the machine; I saw I could get a Starter Kit of knives as a money saving bundle. I like that Woodmaster’s made in the USA; it’s got good customer support and no worries. It’s even easy to find replacement wearing parts like belts — you can get them at a good automotive store.

By getting a Woodmaster Molder/Planer, Kurt was able to build what his client wanted AND save him money.

By getting a Woodmaster Molder/Planer, Kurt was able to build what his client wanted AND save him money.

Coming up: Man Cave

I chose the 25″ Woodmaster 725  because I didn’t want to be limited by size, or wish later I’d bought a bigger one. My client has more work in mind — I’m making him a $10,000 mantlepiece with very intricate trim and carvings out of burled walnut. After that I’m building him a ‘man cave.’

Besides custom work like that, you can make a lot of money making quality molding; it’s hard to find quality molding to use in high end homes. Lowe’s or Home Depot are the only places to get molding. Everybody has the same problem – where to get good quality molding. If we never get another cabinet jobs, we could make a good living making molding. This machine prints money!

I’d tell others don’t hesitate to pull the trigger and buy a Woodmaster. It is everything you say it is. It’s a wonderful machine, easy to operate. Regardless of the model you choose, you’ll get the same support and satisfaction from owning a Woodmaster.” See Kurt and Andrea’s work on Facebook: Zolman Fine Cabinetry LLC.

— Kurt Zolman, Zolman Fine Cabinetry, Woodmaster Molder/Planer Owner

SAVE BIG NOW on Woodmaster Molder/Planers – sale prices, online specials

SAVE BIG NOW on Woodmaster Drum Sanders – sale prices, online specials

QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?

3 WAYS we can help you!