Steve Emmes’ favorite part of his profession is when he can stand back, survey the gleaming wood around him, and consider it a job well done.
“I really enjoy the process, but the end of the project is most gratifying,” Emmes said. “When we can look at the finished product that was created by all of us.”
Emmes has been a woodworker for 40 years, learning first from his dad, Emery Emmes, a high school wood shop teacher. Steve says his dad passed on traditional techniques, but over the years he has incorporated new methods, tools, and materials.
“Quality is paramount,” he says. “The same is true for my business philosophy: fine quality, delivered on time and on budget.”
Steve owned and operated a furniture manufacturing business in Northern California for 30 years, and moved to Orcas four years ago with his wife, Lynn, to care for his aging parents.
After building a 2,000 square foot shop in Olga, Steve has officially opened his new business, Emmes Woodshop.
“We offer the whole gamut of household furniture and small business furnishing,” Steve said. “Kitchens are a big part of our professional life. We’ve done a lot of kitchens in every color and finish you can imagine.”
Lynn works for Orcas Rental and Saw, but also helps Steve design pieces, especially kitchens, and works in the shop when she can.
“I’m an eater, not a cooker,” Steve says. “Lynn is quite a cook, and studied cooking and worked in a high end restaurant. So she’s on top of the equipment and the space needs. She connects with the cook of the house, and they discuss the dreams of what to have in the kitchen. When we’re done, we have a kitchen that fits the owner like a glove.”
Steve particularly enjoys seeing a finished kitchen project.
“Kitchens are a cornerstone of people’s lives,” he said. “The best part of the party is in the kitchen.”
Before launching his Orcas business, Steve took on a few local projects, mainly in mahogany and oak.
“I don’t use stains much, we use a glaze,” he said. “You can control your color far more precisely. It allows you to lighten some areas and darken other areas.”
During his years running a furniture business in California, Steve shipped pieces all over the world. One of his more famous productions was a bed, dresser and nightstand set for Williams-Sonoma.
Steve remembers a $10,000 conference table that he threw tools on to give it a distressed look, “like it was 100 years old.”
“Then we put flyspecking on it, as if the maid had been very neglectful,” he laughed.
Steve is also a lifelong sailor, and has recently incorporated that into his professional life. He’s building a 16-foot wooden outboard in his shop.
“It gives me a little something different to work on,” he said. “If you have any interesting projects you’d like some help with, call us or visit our website. We would love to make your dreams come true.”
To see examples of Steve’s work, visit Emmes Woodshop