Walking through today I was impressed by some interesting work and materials. On one assembly table Flor had a simply enormous and complicated hood cabinet he was building out of alder. The functional design of this cabinet is quite impressive. It will be interesting to see how it installs in the kitchen.
Douglas Fir Linen
On the next table Jim had a simple linen, but it was the Douglas Fir material that was striking. The hearty straight grain of the Fir will be beautiful on this tall cabinet. I'm excited to see these cabinets when they're finished and installed. Updates to follow...
There is something about the dovetail drawer that connotes quality. A dovetail is a type of woodworking joint. To quote Wikipedia: "A dovetailjoint or simply dovetail is a joint technique most commonly used in woodworking joinery. Noted for its resistance to being pulled apart (tensile strength), the dovetail joint is commonly used to join for example the sides of a drawer to the front. A series of pins cut to extend from the end of one board interlock with a series of tails cut into the end of another board. The pins and tails have a trapezoidal shape. Once glued, a wooden dovetail joint requires no mechanical fasteners."
Dovetail joints have been around for as long as people have skillfully been working with wood and are used in instruments, furniture, and most commonly drawers. We offer dovetail drawers in a variety of materials, from plywood to solid maple, with side mounted guides or undermount soft-close guides, in our custom cabinets. The dovetail drawer is not necessarily stronger or nicer than our standard white drawer, but they are certainly a bit, shall we say, "classic".
It is easiest and most compelling for us to take pictures of our big custom cabinet installations. In part because we dedicate a lot of time and energy in terms of innovation and research to the custom cabinets in the bigger and high end homes, and in part because they photograph well. As a byproduct we may give the impression that we only want to build and install cabinets for the high end or large home. However, this is not the case. We exist to make cabinets and to help home owners, remodelers, and builders create excellent modern and convenient kitchens regardless of the size. We have resources available for the remodeler, the do-it-yourselfer, and the high-end custom builder.
The models at Concerto Lofts in Playa Vista, CA feature cabinets by W.L. Rubottom Company. We built these cabinets in a modified flush overlay style with a frameless box. The benefit of this construction method is that it is economical because it utilizes our frameless manufacturing methods, but sophisticated and modern in its styling. This is a cabinet we can produce for a custom project, a remodel, or a large project such as Concerto Lofts.
Our founder, W.L. Rubottom, was a master woodcarver before he was a cabinet manufacturer. Throughout 1950s and 1960s he put his carving on hold to focus on growing the business, but in the 1970s he picked it up again. In part, I think, it was due to spending less time at work as he neared retirement and handed more of the work over to his sons and son-in-law. But I like to think it was also pressure from the family to dedicate himself to put to use his amazing skill. There was nothing we loved more than to see his creations come to life from an unlikely lump of wood.
True to the way he conducted his cabinet business, he took over the carving scene in Ventura County. He loved to teach aspiring woodcarvers, including me, and spent much of his carving time thinking of ways to educate people about tools, techniques and materials. He was the authority on woodcarving in the area and enjoyed passing on his skills.
Around this time one of Ventura's most important landmarks, the concrete statue of Father Junipero Serra in front of City Hall, was disintegrating. The statue had been commissioned in 1935 during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA was an organization with the mandate to provide work to the unemployed, and between 1935 and 1943 it provided jobs to almost 8 million people.
The sculptor, John Palo Kangas, was commissioned by the WPA and Ventura County to create a statue of the Fransiscan missionary, Father Junipero Serra. The Finnish-born sculptor used concrete (which in itself is a feat worthy of consideration) to create the statue. However, over the decades the combination of the materials used for the statue, the salty ocean air of Ventura, and some minor vandalism had set the statue on a course of inevitable decline and disintegration.
In the 1980s the city of Ventura, led by Councilman Russell Burns, set on a course to recreate the statue. Because of the frailty of the original, there was no way to remove it or create a cast of it and so, in the creativity characteristic of their generation, it was decided that an exact wooden copy would be carved and then used to create a bronze casting. Keep in mind, the status is over 9' tall! As you might guess, Wilbur Rubottom was tasked with leading the team of volunteer woodcarvers to complete the project.
Carving on the Father Serra statue began in February of 1987 and was completed on July 21, 1988. Wilbur recorded 9,361 hours of work by all carvers involved. I like to imagine my 5 or 6 hours made it into the tally, but it more likely created more work for everyone else fixing my mistakes.
We're very proud of W.L. Rubottom's involvement in the project and our legacy as residents, volunteers, and employers here in Ventura. Our custom and production cabinet making business has been in Ventura since the 1950s. Most of our cabinet work in the area is put to use everyday in thousands of kitchens around Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo counties, but when we drive by the Father Serra statue overlooking downtown Ventura we look with some pride on a visible symbol of our handiwork.