Andrew Coholic is the owner of Joe Coholic Custom Furniture Ltd., a custom cabinetry and furniture business. The company operates out of a 6,000 square foot shop in Timmins, Canada. Andrew runs the business that was started by his father Joe back in the early 1970’s. Andrew said, “My family has worked with wood for generations. My grandfather was a carpenter, and my Dad a home builder and cabinetmaker.” He switched his focus to the cabinet work in the 1970’s when Andrew was a child.
Andrew came to his current career a bit circuitously. “After high school, I went to university for math and science, but began to realize that my true interests are in design and working with my hands.”
Andrew said that he learned CNC technology during a 3-year woodworking program in Ontario, which afforded him the opportunity to visit many different woodworking facilities. “My classmates and I all dreamed of buying a CNC tool like a ShopBot. But none of us could afford one then.” When Andrew started leading the business, he had a 4000-sq-ft facility with a couple of employees, and no space for a CNC tool. “I sold that shop in 2010, moved to a larger community, and got a larger shop.” In 2012, Andrew purchased a 48″ ShopBot Buddy with industrial spindle and 6-foot Powerstick. “In hindsight, a full-size tool might have been an even better choice, for working with larger cabinetry pieces, but I’ve been thrilled with the Buddy.”
Surprising benefits of CNC
With his past knowledge of CNC and its capabilities, Andrew knew that the technology would bring greater efficiencies to his business, but the extent of this benefit continues to grow.
“The ShopBot has met and exceeded expectations. We’re able to perform repetitive tasks such as making the parts of tables, chairs, benches, and cabinetry much faster than before — so of course it saves us money. And there are some areas where CNC has afforded other benefits. For instance, I knew that we could do decorative carvings using the tool, but hadn’t really intended to do much of this work. Well, I’ve found that I’m doing more and more of it, because clients are really liking the work.”
“Also, the ShopBot allows me to create prototypes for my customers very quickly, and this is a huge benefit,” said Andrew. He gave as an example, a recent project involving designing an original idea for coffee tables and end tables. “If I were to draw these and cut full-scale mock-ups in plywood by hand for the client, would have been very time consuming. With the ShopBot, I can make the prototype and execute small tweaks to the design while the customer is sitting with me!”
Another benefit that Andrew has found, is that he can use the ShopBot Buddy to cut out templates for use on his traditional shop tools.
Here is some more of Andrew’s work:
The love of the work.
Asked what he enjoys most about his work, Andrew said, “I like having a business where I’m responsible for the product from end to end. With a custom shop, you get to experience all facets of the business, from design and engineering, to building, finishing and installing the work. It can be very satisfying to touch all aspects of a project, and at the end of the day, have made a solid object that’s both beautiful and functional.”
Andrew said that when it comes to incorporating CNC into woodworking, “you sort of have to take a leap of faith. You know intellectually that it can bring many benefits, but if you’ve been brought up with the traditional technologies as I was in this family business, you are partially going on faith. It’s been nothing but a great choice for us!”