A retired member of the Carpenters Union, Jim Guillman of Jefferson, still enjoys creating trim from native lumber.
Just take a peek in his garage. It’s a wood shop filled with lumber in various stages of becoming the trim on a cabinet, a countertop or a window sill.
“I work mostly on the older homes that need some work. A lot of them have the Craftsman-style trim. Much of it was made in mills in the ’40s and ’50s,” he says. “I worked in custom mill factory for a while, and that’s where I learned to clean up the wood.”
He’ll often work with a homeowner to match that style. Guillman also works with homeowners to match trim to a new countertop or new cabinets.
“I do a lot of kitchen and bathroom remodeling. I’d say about 90 percent of the trim work I do has been molding for kitchens and bathrooms,” he says.
Matching enough trim boards to make enough of a desired trim can be tricky. Each piece of wood has its own grain, particularly when it’s cut from a different piece of wood. That’s why Guillman tries to cut as many trim boards as possible from the same piece.
“The wood looks so good after it has been cut and cleaned up, that I hate to stain it,” he says. However, the stain added to wood quickly brings out the natural grain, which can also be eye-catching. Every piece of wood stains differently, he says. He brings samples of different stains and woods to help people decide what they want, whether matching a countertop or some other wood or material.
Guillman says he prefers working with wood over just about any other material. He’s worked with plastics and metal, but it just isn’t the same.
“This day and age there are a lot of things made out of plastic or metal, but I don’t like working with those materials,” he says.
He primarily works with oak because it has a nice grain and stands up to wear. Poplar is another hard wood that is used, often if the piece is going to be painted. Clear white pine is a pretty wood to use a clear coating on to let the natural wood show through, he says.
Although Guillman swears he’s semi-retired, he keeps himself very busy.
“And once I retire from this work,” he says, “I want to make furniture for the family.”
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