If you’re reading this you could easily consider a shop full of Laguna Tools woodworking equipment an earthly paradise. Now, consider that same shop on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui. Almost beyond description, isn’t it? But that’s exactly where Greg Davidge of the Maui Trading Company, kitchenremodelmaui.com (MTC), finds himself every day. Davidge has been owner and president of MTC since 1987. Over the years his company has served clients as far away as Florida, producing quality cabinets, doors, windows and furniture for everything from small residential projects to large custom houses and commercial jobs. MTC has also begun to produce custom acoustic guitars and ukuleles.
MTC does many of its jobs using one of the largest stocks of Hawaiian hardwoods currently available. MTC’s inventory of koa, mango, mahogany, pine, ohia and other woods, many found only in Hawaii, is hand-chosen from salvaged trees, then dried in the company’s own kiln and turned into fine building materials. Davidge, a native of Bend, Oregon, says his involvement with turning fine wood into fine work was inevitable. “I was born with sawdust in my veins,” he laughed. “My grandfather owned sawmills. So I grew up around the sights, sounds and smells of woodworking.”
Davidge made good use of that background in central Oregon, where he built custom homes with passive solar heating. But he was also an inventor. While visiting Hong Kong looking for production help for a shower shaving mirror and a car-top lock for bikes and skis, he learned about a wind surfing company on Maui that was for sale. He quickly put together a business plan, obtained financing and began operation. After a few years, the wind surfing industry hit a plateau. So he built a professional woodworking shop, equipped it with Laguna Tools machinery and a few vintage tools once used to build Howard Hughes’ all-wooden Hercules airplane (the “Spruce Goose”) and began to produce fine cabinetry, furniture pieces and custom interiors. Davidge’s shop currently uses a Laguna Tools Bandit 4/8 Edgebander, Laguna 2700-Pro panelsaw with Tigerstop, and an LBM-200 Laguna Mortiser.
“The interior designers, architects and home owners we work with expect only the highest quality. Our Laguna Tools equipment helps the Maui Trading Company deliver exactly what they want.”
He first saw Laguna Tools equipment in operation at a Las Vegas trade show. “I met (Laguna Tools President) Torben Helshoj at their booth and saw the advantages a Laguna Tools’ edgebander offered my shop,” said Davidge. “The one we were using back on Maui required constant adjustment to get it to do its job right. “Still, there’s a difference between seeing a tool demonstrated by an experienced operator and relying on it every day in your own shop,” he continued. “You really don’t know until you get it back home and run the thing day-in and day-out whether you’ve made a good decision. The Laguna Tools edgebander has turned out to be a blessing for our operation. When you’re building a kitchen that will run well into five figures, anything less than complete precision just isn’t acceptable.” Davidge is also highly satisfied with his Laguna 2700-Pro panelsaw.
“We never had a sliding table saw before, so its accuracy has made a big difference in our shop. The scoring blade makes the first cut before the big blade does its job. So there’s no tear-out on the back side of the panel. That’s especially important when we’re cutting veneer and need highly precise alignment from both blades to cut the same curve. I’ve worked with other saws where the alignment was difficult to maintain. That just isn’t the case with the 2700.”
Asked about Laguna Tools mortiser, Davidge also responded enthusiastically. “It’s improved the quality and productivity of our door packages, especially where large mortises are required. We used to use a big router for those jobs, but the mortiser is much more efficient. It’s a very precise and dependable tool.”
Davidge also has high praise for Laguna Tool’s customer service. “We’re a long way from the mainland,” said Davidge. “So we value responsive customer service very highly. The few small problems we had early on couldn’t have been addressed more quickly. In this day and age that means a lot because you don’t get that with everybody. When you buy a piece of equipment from a reseller there’s no guarantee that they really know the tools they carry. So it can be a real challenge to get detailed technical advice. That’s not the case with Laguna Tools. They understand the fine points of their equipment and the tools used with them. It’s a real plus the way Laguna is set up.”
“Laguna Tools’ accessories have also improved our quality and productivity,” said Davidge. “Their ceramic guides have really made a difference in my old band saw. Not only did the guides give the old boy new life, but Torben’s band blades cut straight with a very thin kerf. When you’re cutting $156.00 a BF Koa you get more yield. Yes, I love Laguna Tools’ blades.” Davidge’s support of Laguna Tools even extends beyond his own operation. He recently recommended that a retired friend equip his personal shop with a host of Laguna Tools’ equipment, including an LT18-3000 bandsaw, an 8″ Jointer, 16″ Planer and a Dovetail table saw. “I steered him to Laguna Tools machinery for their dependability, accuracy and great service,” he explained. “If they’ll do the job in a commercial setting, they’re sure to perform well in a homeshop.” Concluded Davidge, “The interior designers, architects and home owners we work with expect only the highest quality. Our Laguna Tools equipment helps the Maui Trading Company deliver exactly what they want.”
Maui Trading Company
- LT18 3000 Series Bandsaw
- 16″ Planer With ShearTec ll
- 8″ Wedgebed Jointer ShearTec II
- Platinum Series Tablesaw w/ Dovetail Left-tilt
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