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On any given day at the Millwork Outlet in Maple Valley our customers can see three generations working side by side. More than just fathers and sons working along one another, the Millwork Outlet has fathers, sons, daughters, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, cousins and family friends all working together. As a member of youngest generation at the Millwork Outlet I have literally grown up at the Millwork Outlet. My first job was sorting nuts and bolts at the age of five. I then moved up to answering the phones. In college I spent my summers picking up garbage and cleaning slimy, green vinyl windows. Almost every single person in my extended family has put in at least a day of work in at the Millwork Outlet. We joke that if you want to marry someone in our family, you must first put in your day of work as initiation. If you stop in at the Millwork Outlet in Maple Valley around 4:00PM you will probably find myself, my dad and my grandfather chatting about the current news or family drama.
Operating a family business can be tough. There are no secrets. You can't hide your past and everyone has advice on where your future should lead. Planning family trips, reunions and weddings can be tricky because it means the store has to shut down if everyone is going to try to make it. Telling your co-worker to shove it is even more difficult when it is a relative and you have to see him or her at the next family function. And forget about faking a sick day to go spend time at the beach, someone will definitely find out. At the same time, being a part of a family business is incredibly rewarding. How many people get to say that they get paid to spend time with their family? I am always the first to know what's going on in the family; I get all the good family gossip first! When I need to leave early to attend a sister's baby shower, they make sure I get the time off. The best part of working with family is the sense of accomplishment I get when the business succeeds. Working for my family, I know that my successes are shared by the entire family. When I help the business make money it doesn't go into some obscure bank account and into the pockets of complete strangers, it instead goes into the bank accounts of my family. We then get to spend our money together when we get together for family dinners and vacations.
I recently put together the video in our "About Us" section and in doing so went through numerous family photo albums looking for pictures of our family at the Millwork Outlet. Although we only had a few - who actually brings a camera to work to capture family moments anyways - I did find a few gems. I hope you will take a moment to view the video. It is important to us that everyone knows how important family is to the Millwork Outlet, both our family and those of our employees and customers.
I am the last person in the world who should teach wood turning. I stink at it. I’m slow. I don’t do it enough to become proficient at it. But even I can easily turn a leg for a Roorkhee chair using just one turning tool – a full-size Easy Rougher from Easy Wood Tools. Continue reading»
I am the last person in the world who should teach turning. I stink at it. I’m slow. I don’t do it enough to become proficient at it. But even I can easily turn a leg for a Roorkhee chair using just one turning tool – a full-size Easy Rougher from Easy Wood Tools. (Standard Continue reading»
Is it temperament or practice? The matter of inspiration spurred us on last Wednesday at our DESIGN: Open House. Pat Horsley, potter, Greg Wilbur, metalsmith, and Gary Rogowski, furniture maker discussed their own approaches for inspiration. Pat got ideas for pots in the middle of the night and kept a notepad close by to jot [...]
This weekend I finished work on a traveling version of my “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” that will fit in my hatchback and will carry (almost) a full set of tools. The last detail of the entire project was how to store the three backsaws that are essential to almost every kit: the tenon saw, carcase saw Continue reading»
It's no secret that in today's economy there a few contractors out there who have turned to flipping houses to supplement their income while the housing market tries to rebound. We have helped quite a few of our fellow contractors and investors remodel houses that will turn around and be relisted. Shopping in our surplus inventory helps these investors save money which leaves more money in their pocket in the end. If you or someone you know is taking advantage of the slow economy and purchasing an investment house please let them know about the Millwork Outlet. We love discussing our customer's projects and often times our sales professionals can help you find a steal of a deal. Additionally, we are happy to refer other surplus/used supply outlets if we don't carry a product you
One of my first orders from the Lee Valley Tools catalog was for a big supply of these traditional ring pulls. I love this fastener for so many reasons. It is inexpensive. It looks great. It is made in Italy. It works with a wide variety of furniture styles, from Japanese tansu to contemporary. But Continue reading»
I use hide glue for almost everything in my shop (except as a party dip on a cracker), and have tried all modes of this versatile adhesive. But my usual go-to, work-a-day version of this wood glue doesn’t get much love out there on the Internet, and I am bewildered by this fact. Most of Continue reading»
When you write for a woodworking magazine, there are several pat phrases that you use all the time. Such as: 1. Joint and plane all your stock flat and square. Cut all the pieces to the sizes shown in the cutting list. 2. Cut the tenons to match your mortises. (Or your mortises to match Continue reading»
One of my favorite tools is the “English Layout Square” I built for the December 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Heck, I like it so much I put it on the cover of my book “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” built one on “The Woodwright’s Shop” and even had its shape engraved on the sidewall Continue reading»