Made in Kansas: Going with the grain at a Kansas woodworking factory

What started off as a couple of guys making cabinets has now turned into a major employer in St. Marys where more than 160 people are busy helping people get the remodel of their dreams.

“We go into the home and we talk about what the project looks like. What the customer really is looking for. And we’re really good at getting into the details of how they actually use their home and what their intentions are,” explains Kevin Gray, owner of Custom Wood Products in St. Marys.

Kevin took me back through the shop, which is over 100,000 square feet of woodworking amazement. Technology has made such leaps and bounds over the years and the folks at Custom Wood Products are using that to build even higher quality cabinetry. The laser-guided cutting maximizes the wood so that they cut down on waste.

But just because the saws and the various machinery are cutting more boards more quickly, doesn’t mean they don’t highly rely on their quality staff.

“Honestly, in our business I believe that we’re only successful as we are because of where we’re located in Kansas. We have a great pool of employees and we have so many who have been here for so long,” added Gray.

He shows how the doors of the cabinets are made and on to the building of the cabinets themselves, usually done as one large piece right there in the shop. After it’s all built and tested to make sure it’s the right size, it’s taken back apart and sent to be finished. Traditionally, the cabinets have been stained and glossed to give that true custom wood cabinet look, but over the years more and more people are choosing to have painted woodwork in their homes and they have an entire area devoted to painting cabinets and even some of the more intricate distressing of the wood to give it an antique look.

And when it’s all ready, they aren’t boxed up and sent in small pieces or sent in pieces with instruction on how to build in yourself, they deliver it as whole pieces of furniture ready to change the look of your home.

–KSNT Storm Track Chief Meteorologist Matt Miller

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