If you’re looking to manufacture your own kitchen cabinets, where do you begin? For award-winning kitchen retailer, Stoneywell Kitchens, the process of bringing its complete manufacturing cycle in-house began with the purchase of a Striebig Compact vertical panel saw from TM Machinery.
“I’ve been designing kitchens for over 20 years and during this time, I’ve always outsourced my kitchen cabinets from large-scale cabinet maker,” explains Paul Durant, MD of Stoneywell Kitchens and Stoneywell Cabinetry. “For smaller businesses and start-ups, it makes sense to do this. I was getting a good quality product and reliable service but as my kitchen designs became more bespoke and demand for unique cabinet sizes increased, my supplier could no longer accommodate my needs. Mass-production cabinet makers are simply not geared up for what my business needs and as a result, I had to pay a premium and wait longer to get it.”
Paul and his team were not the only ones in this position: “We knew several kitchen fitters and independent retailers who were experiencing the same problem and needed a more flexible service that offered premium quality, bespoke sized cabinets more quickly.”
It was this that led Paul to start a second company, Stoneywell Cabinetry. “It was clear that I needed to gain more control over my production. I needed continuity and the guarantee of quality products that worked around my schedule. This could only be done by manufacturing my own kitchen cabinets,” explains Paul.
The shift towards cabinet manufacturing required the Staffordshire-based company to source new machinery. “I’m fastidious when it comes to researching products,” admits Paul. “I want to know everything there is to know about a product before I buy it. I started looking at sliding table saws but I soon realised that space in my 1800sqft workshop would be an issue and the team would struggle to handle and cut jumbo Egger boards easily due to their size and weight.”
A vertical panel saw seemed like the best option for the business. It not only fit into a 70sqft space but would cut 18mm-50mm thick boards quickly, accurately and cleanly thanks to a rigid, self-supporting frame, powerful 3.9kW motor and scoring unit.
“After reading about Striebig’s vertical panel saw range and watching videos of the machine, I knew I wanted one before I saw the machine in action at TM Machinery’s showroom,” says Paul. “Like my kitchens, Striebig is a premium brand and that comes at a price but my customers are buying a high-end kitchen in the region of £45,000 and expect a high-end finish and service to match. I had no intention of skimping on the machinery I was buying because I didn’t want it to impact on the quality of product I wanted to produce.”
Installation and training on a Striebig Compact soon followed. “It’s extremely simple to use,” says Paul. “My team has little-to-no experience using woodworking machinery but they picked this up extremely quickly. It’s second nature for them now to cut jumbo sheets to size on the Striebig before feeding each panel through an edgebander and performing horizontal and vertical drilling on a Blum MiniPress. It’s an extremely effective, streamlined production cycle that allows us to complete two kitchens a week and still have time to fulfil cutting lists for smaller companies looking for a high-quality cutting service.”
Paul explains, “After my own experience, the idea of offering smaller retailers a design consultancy and cutting service made complete sense and has proven to be a great revenue source. After all, I have become well versed in the design and manufacturing of my own kitchens purely because there wasn’t a more personal service available to me.
“Now, thanks to the introduction of machinery like the Striebig, I can deliver standard and custom cabinetry, cut-to-size in a concise timeframe for both myself and others. What’s more, the service I offer is human. In the past, if a part got damaged or a mistake was made, waiting for a replacement panel could delay the completion of a kitchen by three to four weeks. I understand how costly this can be. That’s why I offer a flexible service and help to rectify any problems quickly. It’s the service I always wanted and its proving to be very successful.”
Paul concludes, “By investing in a Striebig vertical panel saw, I now have control over my manufacturing processes and I’m busier than ever. The saw is certainly not running to capacity but it doesn’t need to be machining constantly to be a cost-effective addition to my workshop. It’s a great piece of machinery that requires very little maintenance. It’s well built, accurate and is helping me create beautiful, bespoke kitchens to an exceptional standard.”
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