by William Sampson
Diverse products and
automation build business
Studio L shows that custom
work and CNC production
go hand in hand to make
for a vibrant business.
Some shops seem to think that true custom work and automation are mutually
exclusive, but at Studio L, the automation
actually drives the custom work.
David Lehmann uses his Omnitech
CNC router and various software packages to solve problems and develop creative
new products to meet the needs of customers and build business beyond simple
furniture and cabinets. The result is a very
diverse product line and a shop that has
fared better in the down economy than
many of its regional competitors.
This bench is an example of the
custom furniture work done by Studio
L in Teaneck, N.J.
Traditional, but with curves, this
kitchen is tailor-made for the CNC
custom approach used at Studio L.
Products at Studio L begin with cabinetry and custom furniture but expand
the boundaries of those areas. One of
the first areas that the Studio L custom
touch can be seen is in the sample door
offerings on the wall of the shop’s Teaneck, N.J., showroom. While the shop
does outsource some doors to Walzcraft,
most are built in house. Lehmann sees
doors as a big opportunity.
“I like doing doors that are unique,”
he says. “A box is a box. With a door you
can change it up.”
Some of door options on display
include complex textures manufactured
on the CNC router. There are also doors
in unusual materials such as bamboo and
metal. Glass options abound, and the
CNC comes to play a role in developing
unusual door configurations that effec-
tively highlight glass.
The Omnitech CNC router at Studio L has a 5x10 bed and an eight-spindle tool
changer for maximum capacity in custom work.
Beyond doors, the shop has expanded into a number of architectural
millwork areas, again with its CNC
capabilities carrying the load. For example, a recently added new product
is wainscoting that is made on the CNC
router using MDF. The painted product
is ready to install and looks like complex fitted panels from yesteryear.
By using the CNC machine to
machine complex products out of
engineered materials instead of using
hardwood and complex joinery, Leh-
mann can compete in a wide variety of
areas. One recent example was a set
of half-circle windows, again manu-
factured on the CNC router with MDF.
Lehmann says that once properly
finished, the complex windows will
work just as well as their fitted solid