Get to Know Dale’s Cabinetmaker: Jim Briedwell of The Cabinetmakers Shoppe
Working with highly skilled contractors has always been business-as-usual for Dale’s Remodeling. We have longstanding relationships with many of Salem’s best craftsmen and women and we recently did a little Q&A with the local Jim Briedwell of The Cabinetmakers Shoppe about his craft and the trends he sees in cabinetry coming our way.
1. What is your background in woodworking and cabinetry?
I’ve always enjoyed working with wood and learned cabinetry on the job years ago while living in New Zealand. I learned a lot about the European style of cabinetry—hidden hardware, as an example—and now I incorporate some of those features into the work I do in Mid-Willamette Valley remodeling projects.
2. Can upgrading your cabinets increase your home value?
There are so many ways designers are finding to increase storage space and improve functionality across the entire room. In cabinetry you’ll find ways to make those dark corners accessible with sliding storage racks or pull out shelves, and drawers can now be installed with under mount hardware, which operates smoothly and looks great.
3. How can these upgrades improve efficiency in the kitchen?
Kitchens and bathrooms give you the most bang for your buck when you’re remodeling, and because cabinets are so prominent in the overall look it’s very important to install ones that complement the room, operate appropriately and are long lasting.
4. How does a cabinetry project start? Measurements? Style decisions?
For us, the job begins with the folks at Dale’s Remodeling. Becky Olsen, Dale’s designer, works up an overall design based on the customer’s requirements and the Remodeling Specialist, Troy Young maps out the path for all of the trade contractors to follow. After that, the on-site lead carpenter sets up the schedule and I come onto the project when they are ready for cabinet installation, measuring and working out the details. Dale’s 7 Step Process is a great reference to understanding how one project flows from start to finish.
5. What differences should I look for in material choices, construction applications, hardware and finishes that will play into my overall design decisions?
Construction of the cabinet is very important and affects the look and functionality for years to come. Look for solid construction and don’t cut corners during the installation process or the work might come undone later on.
6. How difficult, cost-wise and time-wise, is it to customize my cabinets?
It’s not difficult to customize. With input from the client, we work closely to work out the details ahead of time and make sure they get what they want in regards to design and cost.
7. How long and how involved is the typical installation process?
A typical kitchen takes two or three days to complete.
8. What common misconceptions are made about cabinet remodeling?
Refacing. A lot of people think they’ll get the results they want with refacing, but usually come out less than satisfied because you’re really just dressing up an old cabinet with paint and keeping the old functioning the same. And, the cost of new cabinets is competitive with the cost of refacing, so you’re really not saving money.
9. What are some of the most important skills of your trade?
A good eye and a sense of design are the most important, and it’s what I enjoy most about the work I do.
10. If you had to pick a favorite tool, what would it be?
Table saws. New safety features, like saw stops, make them much easier to use now and I don’t have to worry so much about getting hurt.
11. Do you have any trade secrets to share with our readers?
Mostly it’s about how the client feels. I want to walk away from a job knowing that what I’ve done has measured up to the clients’ expectations in every way, so deciding early on what you want and finding the right material is the best way to start off on a project.
12. What is the biggest trend you see in cabinetry for 2017?
Incorporating storage into every corner and endless organizing options are what people are looking for most. Clients also want clean lines and hidden hardware with soft close functionality in their drawers and doors.
Do you have any cabinetry questions? Leave us a comment below and we’ll get you an answer from Dale’s Remodeling’s cabinetmaker, Jim Briedwell of The Cabinetmakers Shoppe.
Check out our video of Jim on the job creating beautiful cabinets for a client’s bathroom.