Architect-ready: Windows respond to high-end demands

When architects want to wow a high-end budget client, giant windows and craftsman doors can make a satisfying statement about status, taste and function. Loewen Windows and Doors of Steinbach, Man., has been working with wood for over a hundred years when the original Loewen family business made church pews and beekeeping equipment for Manitoba […]

Another box builder? No.

Quality hums at custom cabinet shop Nestled in a leafy family neighbourhood in Winnipeg, Man., custom cabinet shop Mosiac Millwork has been serving the local high-end residential market for 13 years. Co-owners Randy Gunnink and Dan Nobel both have Red Seal Journeyman Certificates in Cabinet Making and have an easy way to remember just how […]

Old world technical ingenuity at home on the prairie

The land in southern Manitoba may be flat as a billiard table, but the ambition here is a mountainous as the Rockies. Over generations, Germans and other immigrants have exercised their wood craft skills to create scores of successful businesses, large and small. Here in Winkler, Man., 20 km from the U.S. border at North […]

Barns reborn as custom furniture

Wooden antiques are not always hidden away in upscale shops and grandparents’ homes. Sometimes they hide in plain sight, littering rural roads across Canada and the U.S., those once-functional buildings that helped settlers put down stakes across the continent. For antique restorer Blayne Wyton, the dilapidated barns he saw driving with his young family across […]

Door and countertop production driven by people, technology

When Fernand Belanger opened his Montreal, Que., business in 1965, he was a countertop pioneer working with particle board and laminate. Fifty-plus years later, cabinet doors have been added to the mix at this thriving shop in Boucherville, Que., a suburb of Montreal. Today, this location of Belanger Laminates is a manufacturer of postform countertops, […]

The shop of the future – now

When a wood shop wants to automate its manufacturing operations, often one or two processes get a high-tech upgrade. Not so Muskoka Cabinet Company of Alfred, Ont., down-river just east of Ottawa. “Every inch of space is planned, equipment racks, shelving and ductwork is designed to be flexible to suit the changing needs of production […]

Premium commercial grade

Commercial work is the primary goal for custom architectural millwork shop Western Millcraft in Edmonton, Alta. Owner Greg Clark is quite clear about that. “It is very rare that we do any residential work,” says Clark. “It is not a market I have any interest in. Just commercial that is only premium grade.” The 10-man […]

Millwork and upholstery go hand in glove

Next time you tuck into a stack of pancakes at an IHOP restaurant in Alberta, chances are you’re sitting in a booth created by a company with a 60-year-plus legacy. Ryan Neumann, owner of Onsite Group of Companies in Edmonton, Alta., is part of a family tradition that has combined the manufacturing expertise of upholstery […]

Northern lights-out productivity

When your shop is 33 kilometres northwest of Edmonton down an unpaved side road, a visitor begins to wonder if they have made all of the correct turns along the way. Rest assured on this crisp fall morning, Palladium Products Ltd. in Sturgeon County, Alta., finally comes into view and the iPhone GPS can safely […]

Systems, incentives, accountability, productivity

Flying high can be costly when you are logging hours to be certified as a helicopter pilot. That’s what Cory Brightwell, ceo of Woodwork and Pub Interiors in Edmonton, Alta., found out pursuing his dreams and later, his management philosophy. Nowadays, Brightwell — while he earned his helicopter pilot’s license — is well grounded in […]