Contemporary Woodworking & Design
By Mike Bartell / Woodcraftsman

Custom Cabinetry & Furniture     by Mike Bartell     Master Craftsman 

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Solid wood is what all of us woodworkers would like to use but we must not discount the use of contemporary materials that make large scale designs possible and affordable. I recomend the use thermally-fused melamine panels or MDF core veneer panels for cabinet boxes. I prefer custom veneered, flat panel doors  Also, the use of metal, glass and laminate are incorporated into many designs.


Whether it is hinges, drawer slides or convenience hardware, all hardware is thoroughly researched and selected for each application. One trend that has become nearly standard is the use of soft-close hardware for drawers and doors. Some of my favorite brands are Blum, Grass, Accuride, KV and Rev-a-shelf. For decorative hardware, I shop online at several sites. As you might expect, anything can be found in any style. A welcome addition to drawer contruction is the use of metal drawer systems, especially in contemporary cabinetry where solid wood has less of a place.

Custom Veneering

I specialize in custom veneering. It opens up design possibilities, not available in solid wood and pre-manufactured panels. I use raw, unbacked veneer. It can be seamed and oriented in any fashion utilizing highly figured woods and burls that are not practical in any other way.  Consider using "green veneers", see the Sustainability Page.


All clear-coat wood finishing is done in-house with high quality spray equipment.  I now use post-catalyzed Conversion Varnish on tables and cabinet work for its high water resistance and non-yellowing properties.  For most chairs other projects that are difficult to spray, penetrating oil finishes are applied by hand with a final coat of satin wax. 

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