Three years ago, Mathew Blubaugh was carving wood in his garage with hand tools. Now, he’s the owner of one of Bellingham’s premier woodworking businesses.
Northwest Woodslayer specializes in custom cabinetry mainly for kitchens and bathrooms. Woodslayer has its own designer and its staff is equipped to install any project. The workshop features state-of-the-art machinery and tools that help get projects done typically within a couple of weeks.
A third-generation woodworker, Blubaugh says he had always worked for someone until he decided to quit and start his own business.
“Going back to my garage was a huge step back for me,” Blubaugh says.
He says having his own workshop with high-quality equipment was his five-year goal and he’s ahead of schedule thanks to hard work. Woodslayer has five employees and is booked six months in advance, says Blubaugh.
Blubaugh says they’ve recently worked on kitchens that are valued at $15,000 and $60,000. Typically, he’ll have a site meeting, then sit down with clients and review design plans several times before anything goes to production.
“It’s a little bit more involved than just cutting a bunch of stuff out,” Blubaugh says.
While Woodslayer doesn’t stray far from the cabinetry realm, it will do projects such as custom tap handles for clients that have already done work with the business, Blubaugh says. Woodslayer also helps local businesses that don’t have the same equipment in their workshops.
“A lot of the bigger contractors in town know our work,” Blubaugh says. “There are probably six or seven small cabinet shops in this area that bring us stuff to cut or edgeband.”
Most of Woodslayer’s work is done on three machines: a table saw, an edgebander, and a powerful computer numerical control machine, or CNC for short.
The table saw is a Martin T60C that cost Woodslayer $40,000. Blubaugh calls it the “Lamborghini of table saws.”
However, he says a lot of Woodslayer’s work is done on the CNC. It can be programmed to make precise cuts on flatwork that might be difficult to make manually. Their in-house CNC, the C.R. Onsrud M-series, costs about $150,000.
The CNC has mostly eliminated the table saw’s effectiveness because it’s as simple as plugging in the specifics of the cut into the program, placing the wood slab on the vacuum-powered surface so that it can’t move, and then pressing start.
“It’s fun having a robot employee,” Blubaugh says.
From there, the wood is streamlined to the edgebander, a Holz-Her Uno that cost $40,000, where the edges get sealed off and prepped for building.
Oh, and did we mention the workshop has an axethrowing station? Blubaugh says employees use it as a stress reliever and clients are welcome to give it a whirl.
I gave it a try and on my second toss saw an axe slam into the wooden target and instantly felt less stressed.
If you need custom cabinet work done, we highly recommend Northwest Woodslayer. And make it a point to throw at least one axe.
3965 Hammer Dr., Bellingham
360.734.0643 | woodslayer.com
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