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Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd.

Listing #1165   Listed on: 12/27/2010

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WOODWEB Content Editor, Brett Hagstrom, Interviewed John Wiggers in February 2011.

John Wiggers was born and raised in Whitby, Ontario and made it his home for 34 years before relocating his shop twenty minutes north, in the blue collar town of Port Perry. A few years ago, a bent shaft needed to be replaced on a piece of equipment, and after calling the manufacturer, John was told the part would need to be ordered and could take a few weeks to arrive. Rather than wait, John went to a local precision machine shop located “in the woods” and a replacement part was milled for a fraction of the cost with same day turnaround. After this experience, John knew he made the right decision moving to Port Perry.

John’s original plan for moving in 2001 included building a large shop, but a gut feeling at the eleventh hour negated the plan and he bought an existing, smaller facility instead. Ten years and a new paint job later, the cement block facility is still going strong and producing John’s specialty - custom furniture.

Continue Reading about Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd.

Andiroba Humidor (closed)
Andiroba Humidor (open)
Andiroba Humidor (detail)
Ellipse II Table in FSC certified Nero Chaquiro.
Kidney Shaped Desk in Macassar Ebony and brushed stainless steel.
This is the main area of the Woodworking Shop. The finishing area is self contained at the far end.
Precision 5-axis CNC capabilities are critical for some of the custom work we do.
Although most drawings are now done in CAD, we still work with some old school talents such as Vladimir Kagan who have drawings that need to be scaled.
Although now retired, company founder Johan Wiggers still makes time to teach his grandson Kevin some of the finer points of veneer work.
The veneer tape dispenser shown in the foreground came from the shop of Kevin''s great-grandfather.
Putting the finishing touches on an inlaid Macassar Ebony table top.
Company Name:   Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd.
Contact Name:   John Wiggers
Location:   Port Perry, Canada  L9L 1B2
Year Founded:   1967
Sq. Footage:   12,000
Employees:   7
Gross Sales:   N/A

Product Specialties:
    Cabinets - Custom Cabinets
    Cabinets - Kitchen & Bath Cabinets
    Cabinets - Residential Cabinetry
    CNC Services - General
    Furniture - Custom Furniture
    Furniture - Furniture Designers
    Furniture - Furniture Manufacturers

Shop Equipment:
    Scmi - 10' Sliding Table Saw
    Thermwood - Model 67DT 5-axis CNC
    Italpress - 4x8 Hot Press
    Custom Made - Cold Press
    Rockwell - Table Saw
    Grass - Hinge Boring/Insert Unit
    Kuper - Veneer Stitcher
    Sullair - Air Compressor
    Scmi - Veneer Guillotine
    Other - Large Bandsaw (Poitras)
    Samco - 10' Stroke Sander
    Scmi - Wide Belt Sander
    Other - Edge Sander (TT LASM)
    Craftsman - Small Bandsaw
    Holz Her - Edgebander 1435SE PLC
    Custom Made - Vacuum System (Busch)

Viewer Comments:

Posted By: Gary     [01/09/2011]
Beautiful!......How much was it?

Posted By: Joe     [09/12/2011]
Nice shop and beautiful work. I run a small cabinet shop ten minutes north in Manilla. I see the bar has been raised.

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Company Description Continued

John also does inlaid veneer work. Much of his design is contemporary and Art Deco inspired. He incorporates metal, glass, stone, leather, mother-of-pearl, shagreen, and parchment into some projects. Over the years John has completed OEM (private label) work for fine collections including Ron Seff, Dakota Jackson, Brueton, Vladimir Kagan, and Lee Weitzman in addition to custom work for design showrooms that service the interior design and architectural community. John has shipped work worldwide to places as far away as Russia, the Middle East and Japan. A low percentage of work is local, although ongoing efforts are being made to find more work locally.

John's most notable machine is his 5-axis CNC, which allows him to complete complex work in a precise, timely, and cost effective manner. John mentions that “anyone doing any type of manufacturing work in North America on a full time basis will realize that globalization is a reality, and survival (for anyone doing this as a living instead of a hobby) depends on evolving with the times.” He says, “frankly, I do not see the point of making an elliptical shaped top by hand using the old school pencil and string technique when I can make that same shape with more precision using less time with digital technology.” He realizes that some woodworkers scoff at the perceived abandonment of old school methods. For John this is not the case, as most of his work is completed in traditional ways including bench work, veneer work, and hand sanding.

John works with architects and designers, although he finds that many of the newer designers tend to have a different understanding of materials and how things need to be made compared to his own ideas. He mentions that “on one hand designers tend to be so brilliant with CAD tools and virtual modeling that they can easily create entire furniture collections that are little more than conceptual holograms. However, in too many cases these designs have little chance of becoming tangible reality because the designer lacks understanding of material and/or practical cost considerations.”

Projects are built speculatively and on commission. The speculative pieces are done so John can manifest some of his own ideas into reality, however “at the end of the day bills are a reality so you do what you have to do.”

As far as advice for someone looking into constructing a shop, John says, “stay small, and if at all possible operate debt free. Don’t enslave yourself to a bank.”

Wiggers Custom Furniture Ltd. specializes in the design, engineering and making of high quality custom furniture for residential and commercial applications. Great emphasis is placed on the use of environmentally responsible materials and practices, including FSC certified sustainably harvested wood (under Smartwood certificate #SW-COC-000055), non-UF glue and low-VOC finishes.

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The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

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Montrose, PA 18801


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