Monday, December 8, 2014


Goodwin Mill and Cabinet here and today we're taking you on an in depth look at the steps a cabinet designer goes through to create cabinets in your new home.  So sit down for a bit, browse the pics below and read all about how cabinets are designed!

 The very first thing you need is a blueprint.  A plan.  This particular plan was loaded will all kinds of instructions, but we've edited out all of them and left only information that is important to the design behind.  The plans give us a lot of information we need when we start designing.  It tells us where the appliances need to go and what kinds of appliances are going to be in that kitchen.  For example, this kitchen calls for a sub-zero refrigerator.  The standard size for home refrigerators is 36".  This one is calling for a 48" space so we know it's a sub-zero.  We also know roughly where other things like plugs and pipes are going to go because of where the architect puts the sinks, etc. etc.

We're ready to begin.  So after opening our cabinet design software, we immediately open a new room for editing and specify all of the parameters we can.  For example, the owners of this home have chosen to use knotty alder wood for their cabinets.  You can see some of the other details as well.  At this point, we want to get as much information entered as possible.  If the buyer has picked out a stain and finish color, we can enter that here.  If they've picked handles and knobs we can add those as well.

 Next, we need to identify which walls we're going to reproduce and do a rough outline of the work space.  we know which walls we need to reproduce based on which walls are supporting cabinets.  In this kitchen there are three with an additional island wall we will have to build.  I've used red arrows to point to the walls we need to duplicate in our design and I've set up three walls that roughly resemble the walls we need.

Now that we've made the rough figure, it's time to get technical.  Using a ruler and the blueprint scale, we determine the exact length of each wall and we edit our drawing to reflect it.  This is also the time we add anything in the wall that could conflict with cabinets; such as windows, doors, etc. etc.  Of these three walls, only one has a doorway.  We've identified it on the plan and added it to our drawing.  Right now, our drawing reflects the architects exact design of the space.  Keep in mind, once the home is built, we may have to adjust some of our figures.  Framed walls don't always end up exactly the same length as they do on the plan.  We need to be able to adjust for real space before we start building the cabinets.

 There is a fourth wall in this kitchen and using the dimensions specified on the plan, we can plot out where that wall will go.  In this next picture, you can see the island wall is added.  Once again, using a ruler and the scale from the blueprint, we took one point on the island and measured the distance from it to the two closest walls.  In the case of this house, the south and west walls.  Where those two points connected is where the starting point of our island will be set.  So now we have every surface we plan to build on represented in the drawing.

The next step involves a lot of the same activity we've done so far.  The next step is adding the appliances.  Since appliances; like windows and doorways, can conflict with a cabinet design, we need to map them out before we go any further.  This kitchen has four appliance spaces.  A dishwasher, a sub-zero fridge, a cook top and a cabinet designed to stack double ovens with an additional microwave.  We add the appliances and now we can see where the cabinets will go and what they will be next to.

 And now the fun really begins!  At this point, we need to fill the space allotted for cabinetry.  We run basic base cabinets along the walls and then do the same with the uppers.  Now our kitchen is loaded up.  We have a visual representation of the space and how we will fill it.  It's important to understand two things at this point...  1) This drawing generates a cut list for each cabinet.  Therefore, the drawing helps us tell how much each cabinet will cost in materials.  It will generate a figure for a bid.  2) We will re-design it at least three more times before we have our kitchen.  The first time is now.  We will pull up each elevation and adjust it to make it more functional.  The second time is when we meet with the client.  They will go over the design and we will change it to reflect their desires.  Perhaps they want less or more drawers, or maybe they want to add a mini-fridge.  Whatever they choose, we will change it to reflect their wishes.  The last time is when we get a field measurement of the space.  We will adjust our drawing to reflect the true numbers.  This step won't require redesigning, but it can drastically alter your cabinets sizes and cutting list.

This is an example of quick basic design.  This wall is the island wall.  The dishwasher prevents us from having a meaningful cabinet on the end.  These other two can be similar, but the cabinet in the middle is a sink cabinet and calling for a 36" sink.  Therefore, the middle cabinet needs to be the biggest.  One basic rule of design is to create a functional space.  We try and include at least one drawer bank in a kitchen.  The middle cabinet will be a sink cabinet and the final cabinet can be pretty much whatever we want.  For now, we'll leave it as a standard drawer/door cabinet.

 This pic shows the same wall after we've done some simple design work.  We took the small cabinet farthest right and turned it into a drawer bank.  We made the middle cabinet the largest on the wall, drew in a 36" sink to make sure it would fit and left that cabinet a simple door/drawer combo.  We jazzed up the design, made it more functional, kept the appliance where it needed to be according to the blue prints and overall, improved its appearance.  All of that with just a few simple changes.  But we're not done with the island just yet.  The back of the island needs to be covered with a base wainscoting of knotty alder.  Also, according to the plan, that wall needs to be 42" in height.  This means the owner wants a bar on that side and the counter top will extend out over the island.

So in this pic, we added the wainscoting, raised the wall and extended the bar.  We also gave it that arch, just like it appears on the plans.  Usually, you'd save any counter top work until the entire kitchen was done, but since we were already working on the island, I decided to just finish it up.

 The final task is completing a simple design on each surface.  We won't add a bunch of expensive cabinets like garbage pullouts, spice racks, lazy susans, breadboards or utility closets.  All base cabinets will be the simple door/drawer combo.  We will try to use as few as possible because each additional cabinet increases our bid and right now, we're just preparing for the bid.  High end, more expensive cabinets will be discussed when the client has the chance to go over the plans.  So we've kept it light, as inexpensive as possible and we've followed the plan as exactly as we were able.  Are you ready to see the final result?

This is a 3D representation of the kitchen we just designed.  Notice the wainscoting under the raised bar.  If you look closely, you won't find a great deal of variation in the cabinetry.  But this is the starting point we needed to prepare for the client.  Now, we can submit a bid, meet the client to make changes and begin to order hardware.

 Just for fun, I wanted to show the front of the island so you could see the dishwasher, the drawer bank and the sink.  These 3D renderings are wonderful because you can program them to do all kinds of things.  It can reproduce different stain colors and finishes.  It can also show detail like raised panels on doors.  There is an element of animation in the rendering, but if you can suspend disbelief, you can very easily see what your kitchen will actually look like when it's installed.

There is one final think I'd like to mention about the 3D rendering and that is how much you can learn from it.  Take this pic for example.  Sometimes, when you're putting cabinets together, they don't seem to fit.  You can see how that might be a problem here.  The cabinet over the fridge and the double oven cabinet 25.5" deep while the regular upper cabinets are much more shallow.  If I'd not been able to make the cabinets line up and fit nicely together, the crown molding would have returned back to the wall.  Instead, it cuts back and then cuts left again when the next cabinet starts.  Very clean molding lines means a clean fit for the cabinets in that elevation.

Wow!!!  That's basically all there is to it.  Some plans can be more difficult than others to design.  That usually depends on the architect who designs the space.  We've had some plans with angles and patterns...  Lots of crazy twists and turns.  It does happen, but fortunately, those kinds of plans are few and far between.  We do look forward to them though.  There's nothing more satisfying than designing a cabinet layout for a tricky space.  Especially one the builder/owner likes.

Call Goodwin Mill And Cabinet for your next cabinetry project and let us show you just how amazing cabinetry can be.  Happy Holidays from all of us!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


IT'S FINALLY DONE!!!  Well, not quite, but they were done enough to start using the trailer.  They registered it the following day after these pics were taken and started pulling it around directly after.  It went with Chris home the very next night and all the final touches were done at his house.
 Installation of the gas lifts was the next step in the project.  Chris did it over the weekend and it fit perfectly on the first try.  The lifts were purchased from a company that had gone out of business and was in the process of liquidating inventory.  They worked great.  He lifted the lid about 12" and the lid slowly opens the rest of the way.  It is easy to put down without any effort at all.  They work better than then the boys ever imagined they would.  
 As you can tell, they had to replace the leather straps on the trunk.  The black genuine leather belt straps broke after the first weekend.  They discovered small print on the belt saying the genuine leather had some man made fibers.  What is really had was a microscopic leather veneer with cardboard interior.  They avoided buying imitation straps the second time.  They also installed some sash locks to pull the lid down tight and keep it secure.
 This is a side view showing how the trailer looks with the trunk complete and closed.  It looks super dusty.  But that's par for the course when it's sitting in the shop.
 The boys installed a lid stay so they could access the box without holding the lid up by hand.  They also put in the battery tie downs so the battery doesn't bounce all over the place.  This pic seems a little strange in it's color because the flash is bouncing.
This is the side view of the completed trailer.  Magnifico!  It looks amazing!  
This pic shows the fold down stabilizers.  There are four, one for each corner.  They will make it nice when the wind blows so you're not rocking all over the place.
This picture shows the undercarriage after it was all sealed with rubberized coating.  They used this coating so it would be easy to re-coat when necessary.

There are still a few minor things left to complete at this stage and they are:
01. Complete the plumbing hook up to the pump.
02. Add a light in the trunk lid.
03. Insulate the ice chest in the front trunk.
04. Complete the oven insulation and slide out.
05. Clean the over-spray off the roof vent.
06. Putty, seal and weatherstrip the door frames.

And that will wrap it up.  Chris commented at this point that all they needed was one free morning and everything would be finished.

For those of you who have read the story, maybe you've been lucky and seen the trailer in Utah or surrounding states.  The boys have taken it all over the place.  They've stopped and given a lot of people a closer view.  They wanted to post a blog about trips they've taken with the trailer.

My next entry will show pics from one of these trips.  You'll be able to see the trailer in action!  Goodwin Mill And Cabinet is where you'll find other amazing craftsman pieces similar to the teardrop trailer.  You can see more galleries of our work and check out more information about the guys who built the teardrop trailer by visiting:

Monday, October 20, 2014


This is a picture I think we've used before, but this next post was actually kind of a vacation for the brothers.  A magazine called "Camping Earth" published an online article referring to our trailer.  It created quite a buzz and our website started getting a lot of hits.  Chris used this entry to answer some questions we'd received.  I feel inclined to reprint them just in case any of you have similar questions.

One reader wanted to know how we were cutting our plywood panels.  And Chris said, "We cut our plywood panels with a jig saw.  We cut the first side and then used it as the pattern for the second side.  We then lined them up and screwed them together so that we could use a belt sander to even them up.  We were very careful to cut slowly and stay on the outside of our line.  This allowed us to sand to the line making two perfectly matched sides.  It isn't rocket science though.  If you make a mistake just take a little more off the pattern, no one will ever know."

Another reader inquired about the completion date and Chris said, "Thanksgiving through Christmas is our busy time.  We don't really have time to work on our own stuff until the holidays are over.  We are going to get it licensed before the first of the year.  We have a short list of things we still want to do but none of them would keep us from using the trailer.  We will put pictures and commentary about future trips.  Again, thanks for your interest.

So we had some people following the progression of the trailer.  I was recently contacted by a magazine asking if we'd be interested in posting the story in their online publication.  That's pretty exciting.  

On a sour note, I was recently informed the trailer is currently out of commission based on a car accident.  However, the brothers have vowed to fix it up and get it back on the road.

Come back soon for another entry soon.

Friday, October 17, 2014


 Back again with another installment of the teardrop trailer story.  The next bit of movement on the trailer was hinging the front trunk and strapping it down.  The first pic shows the trunk after it was attached.  At this point, it had been a couple weeks and the boys hadn't been able to do more work because they had other commitments.
This actually completes the outside of the box and really everything that goes on the outside of the trailer.  There were a few things underneath the trailer that needed to be completed, otherwise you're looking at the finished product aesthetically.  
This is a close up pic of the strap buckle.  The boys made these straps from belts.  It was a rather amazing process watching this trailer being built and seeing how they put in all these amazing touches.

As always, it's important to share a link with anyone who admires our workmanship.  Goodwin Mill & Cabinet is a company on the forefront of craftsmanship.  We're constantly trying to be innovative, fresh, exciting and new.  Through our specialty pieces and custom design work, we're always challenging the accepted methods of cabinet making and trying new things.  This teardrop trailer is just an example of the innovation happening in our shop.  

We want to offer our clients the options they want at a good price.  The best way we know how to do that is to continue to learn new ways to manufacture our product, stay open to new designs and create new products to accommodate our customers needs.  Don't hesitate to visit our site and submit your feedback.  We look forward to hearing from you.  Visit us on the web at Http://

Thursday, October 16, 2014


 It's been awhile since we updated the story of the teardrop trailer and in all actuality, the trailer is finished and has seen a lot of use.  But there are still a lot of people looking at the blog posts of this trailer and so we decided to finish the story for you.  Of course we continued to chronicle the construction of this unique trailer and I'll describe what the pictures are showing us.

At this point, the boys covered the top of the trailer with Durabak Truck Liner.  It was messy and as you can see, it wasn't the most professional job but it looks nice.  One of the benefits of this material is that it was extremely forgiving.  They were able to cut off some bad spots and touch it up.  Over all, the boys were happy with the results.  The next step is hinging the front trunk and weather stripping it.  They also plan to attach buckles to keep it closed.  This will allow them to mount the battery permanently and hook it up.

This side view gives you a pretty good idea of how the trailer looks.  You'll have to forgive the look of the shop.  Around that time, we had a storm blow through and it blew all the sawdust out of the bins into the lot and the shop itself.  Then it rained so everything is a sopping mess.
The rear view shows the trunk all completed.  The boys let the Durabak dry over the previous weekend and then weather stripped the inside.  And not soon enough considering the storm that came directly afterward.  There's a short punch list of things to complete but it's close enough to being finished that it can pass inspection and get licensed.  The boys actually pulled it the other day and it tracks very nicely.  At this point, everyone wanted to take it on a trip.  But since winter was setting in, it wasn't exactly the best time to go camping.  

Tune in and we'll continue and finish the story of the teardrop trailer!

And remember to check us out at for more information about the company and our products.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Someone recently asked me, "Why are there such big price differences in the [cabinet] bids I've received?".  I've given that question a lot of thought and I wish I'd responded more precisely.  

I've talked about the competitive building market before, but I'd like to re-address the topic today.  Mainly because there are still so many companies out there who are willing to work for virtually nothing just to get a job. There are dozens of shortcuts you can take to minimize the cost on your bid.  Like many other areas of construction, the cabinet maker makes money on upgrades.  Most will bid the job low and try to catch more money as they sell you finish, design, hinges and drawer upgrades.

The temptation is to buy the cheapest cabinets you can once the bids come in.  But it's important to remember, when you buy the cheapest, you're usually also buying the cheapest quality.  As far as resale value, Kitchens are the easiest way to insure the best price down the road.  However, if you're want to live in your house and don't consider selling it, you should still consider a better quality cabinet as they last longer and you don't want your cabinets splitting apart or feeling rough after you pay for them.  Ultimately, going cheap in the short term can cost you big time in the long term.

There are cabinet makers who offer a quality cabinet for a lower price; but again, I want to point out those lower prices usually come attached to lower quality materials.  So how do you know if the guy is overcharging you for low end stuff, or keeping his costs down by skimping on the materials?

These are some of the ways you can tell if a cabinet maker is giving you a low quality cabinet.

First, you'll want to see an example of work before you hire them.  The eyes are the first line of defense.  If it looks run down and bad, chances are; it is.  Reach out and touch a finished side of the cabinet, if it feels flat and smooth than the cabinet maker is using a better quality finish.  A custom Cabinet maker will almost always use a higher quality material.  Pre-manufactured cabinets are produced using thinner materials.

Second, pay attention to the layout.  If you're not using a bid service to create a layout for cabinet makers to bid, you'll get a variation in layouts from the different companies you get bids from.  Some will design a layout that is functional and makes use of the space provided.  A bid from a cabinet maker who is only interested in providing the lowest cost may produce a layout that is cheap, but not practical.  

Drawer banks are more expensive than shelf banks.  A great way to save money when you're bidding a Kitchen is to cut out the drawers.  If your layout is missing drawers, you know their only interest is the price. 

Another shortcut cabinet makers will take is minimizing doors.  Sometimes a cabinet is too big for one door.  The hinge isn't made to support the weight, but one door (even if it's bigger), is cheaper than two.  This is an area where you run the risk of having doors falling off their hinges over time.

One of the best ways to get a fair idea of what a cabinet maker really offers is to level the playing field.  You can hire a cabinet bidder to design a layout.  You go through the process of picking out where you want your drawer banks, and what cabinets you want in different areas.  You can also pick out the wood species you want and even decide what kind of finish you want, i.e. stain, glaze, paint...

Now, take the design with all the specifications and collect your bids.  With the option of only bidding for what's already been decided, you can gather together a comprehensive idea of which cabinet maker will offer you the best deal.  Without taking shortcuts.


A lot has happened since I last wrote.  We've been so busy I haven't had time to sit in the office and put some stuff together for the blog.  In fact, I haven't had much time to take pics and show you some of the exciting things we're doing.

Let me talk about the trends we're seeing in woodworking.  This past year we've seen a rise in paint jobs.  Paint jobs are cabinets with paint finishes rather than stain or glaze finishes.  In some ways, a paint finish is harder to do because paint surfaces are less forgiving than stain or glaze.  Stain and glaze surfaces are accentuated by the natural color changes in wood and small imperfections, (especially discoloration), can be easily covered up.

Paint surface can't have small nicks and dings in it.  It needs to be flat for the paint to be consistent.  So there's some prep work involved in making sure the surface is flat and smooth.  This is usually accomplished through sanding.  However, if there are places where deep nicks are present, we use a wood putty or bondo to fill it and then sand again until the surface is completely level.

I think a paint finish would be harder to keep clean as well.  Because the surface is rather unforgiving and any flaw is highly visible.  If you have children, painted finish will really show every tiny imperfection.

On the other hand, paint finishes offer people something more traditional finishes can't.  The color options are far more varied.  You have the ability to match your cabinets to other color schemes more successfully with a paint finish.  Your cabinets can become part of your color scheme rather than merely a color compliment.

And I think this, more than anything else is why paint finish is becoming so popular.

We've invested in a new CNC router.  I'm sure you remember reading posts about our router a while back and I'm pleased to announce, the router made a huge difference in our ability to produce work.  We've increased our output by leaps and bounds.  We've also hired additional crew to handle the increased amount of work we're producing.

In addition to hiring new crew, we've said goodbye to some as well.  We saw one of our long time employees retire last year in September.  That was quite a milestone as we haven't had someone retire with the company in years.  We wish John continued success in all of his endeavors and look forward to seeing him from time to time when he stops in to say hello!

We've done other things this year as well.  We've redesigned the shop and moved equipment around to facilitate a more productive assembly line.  We have areas designated as holding areas for different things like doors, drawer boxes and cut material.  As we refine our prep process, we increase the speed with which we assemble boxes and stage them for delivery.

Right now we're working on ways to increase our productivity even more.

I'll try to post some new pics soon and you can check out some work we're doing around town.  Thanks for sticking with us and keep checking back with us.