Fred Hean, Professional Handmade Cabinetry & Furniture, Custom Cabinetry & Furniture; Located in Charlottesville, Virginia

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Hello & Welcome To My Website...

Whether you are a homeowner, a design professional, or simply a lover of fine woodworking, I invite you to browse my online portfolio. In it you'll find examples of the variety of work, and the quality of the craftsmanship, that I have done over a span of 30 years. And if you are interested in discussing some ideas of your own, I will be delighted to have that conversation with you.

Fine woodworking, attentive to your goals

Once you decide to commission a special project with me, be it a complete set of custom cabinetry, a hand-crafted front door, or a single piece of heirloom quality furniture, we embark on a collaborative design process. This involves our consideration and thoughtful refinement of your ideas in relation to the spectrum of possibilities. We soon arrive at our design goal, balancing form and function, timeliness and expense, to create a beautiful piece of custom woodwork, that enhances your life today, and which may be treasured for generations.

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Planning, Designing, and Developing Your Ideas

Regardless of whether it is solid wood or plywood, each part is selected for the most pleasing appearance of grain pattern and color. This can take a little time, but, however subtle or striking the result, it definitely raises the finished piece to a higher level of visual delight compared to just throwing the parts together without regard for their visual harmony.

Parts are then cut and fit together using whatever joinery is most appropriate for the function and for the stresses the piece will bear. Many types of joints are centuries old, and based on the evolved practices and observations of skilled artisans accustomed to building for long term durability. Now we have more power tools than ever, and they enable us to produce work with repeatable accuracy more quickly and with less reliance on the ancient combination of long practice and sheer physical effort. But they cannot do everything, and the best of woodworking as a fine craft still relies on the use of hand tools as well, guided by an artisan bringing all his best skill and effort to the endeavor.

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Furniture

Free standing furniture I make from primarily or entirely solid wood, depending on the design, size, and budget for the piece.

Where solid woods of any substantial width are used, considerable care and attention are given, both in the design and the construction, to ensure the necessary freedom of movement in response to seasonal humidity changes, in order to maintain structural integrity. The importance of this principle, of respecting the inherent nature of wood as a material that truly interacts with its environment, has long been recognized by wood artisans. It is violated at risk to the longevity and durability of the project.

Kitchens

Casework, on the other hand, such as kitchen cabinets or built-ins, includes both solid hardwoods and veneers over plywood. Each is used according to its most suitable purpose, and in keeping with the economics of the job as established by the client.

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The Finishing Details

The finish may be one of several choices, depending on the project and your preference. My personal favorite for most furniture is a custom blend of oil and urethane, hand rubbed and quite durable. Or perhaps you would prefer the classic look of a painted kitchen or library, in which case an oil paint can be sprayed or brushed, depending on your preference for surface appearance.

Water-based finishes as well continue to improve, both in appearance and durability; thus, depending on your personal color preferences, they can be a great choice and make the process much friendlier for the craftsman and the environment.

Whatever unique set of choices you settle upon during the design process, the result will be an especially beautiful architectural feature, set of custom cabinetry, or piece of handmade furniture. Your ideas will give birth to an original design that will be made for you by a craftsman who, in the enduring tradition of the artisan, takes pride in his work and loves working with clients who appreciate his efforts.