Photo Essay: Home Base
A finished gun room stands as a testament to the custom craftsmanship of Julian and Sons, whose acclaimed work can be found throughout the U.S. and abroad.
I. The Craft
Whether it's an executive office or a boardroom, a trophy room or a gun room, a luxury woodworking project begins with a conversation. At Heber Springs-based Julian and Sons, the consultation interview sets the scope of the project and is followed by a process that begins with a design proposal and, hopefully, ends with a manufacturing contract. Wood and materials are chosen, designs and budgets are set. Then it's time to get to work.
Raw materials are inspected and prepped. Colors are selectively chosen to maintain project integrity. From station to station, the wood is cut, laid out, sanded and fabricated, with quality checks along the way. The wood is dimensioned to proper thickness, with more sanding, multiple applications of steel wool and Julian and Sons' signature, hand-rubbed Danish Oil finish. This takes a lot of rubbing and wiping before the final coat is applied. "We use machines where we can, but most of it is elbow grease and hard work," says Julian and Sons CEO and President Joe Julian.
II. Shop Talk
A family run operation in business since 1985, Julian and Sons includes two generations as well as a staff of skilled craftsmen with a labor charge of $75 an hour that covers pay, overhead and profit. The company essentially began when Tom Julian left general contracting to pursue his love of cabinet making and woodworking. His son Joe followed him into the business, and the company has done projects for clients throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, Europe, Asia and Africa. The work has earned notice in publications like The Wall Street Journal and Popular Mechanics, among others.
INTO THE WOODS
The type of wood used is chosen based on the client's preference, with input from the experts. Julian and Sons uses an array of exotic woods that includes names like Sipo, Bubinga and Black Limba, as well as domestic woods like oak, walnut, maple and hickory. Opposite page, top: Jared Adams and Larry Wilson. Middle, left to right: Phillip Ronning, Mike Stark and Patrick Ronning; Bottom, left to right: Bill Beason, Joe Julian and Keith Hoffman. This page, top: Josh Illig, Bryce Farmer and Daniel Monroe. Bottom: Joe Julian and Nebula.
III. Finished Touches
Joe Julian says a finished product should help the clients tell their own stories. Whether it's an office, wine room, gun room or something else, the taxidermy and decorations should be places where people display the things they love and be an extension of the homeowner. Julian and Sons staff work closely with clients to make sure these important details aren't missed. The reward, Joe Julian says, is the reaction when they see the completed project.
When it comes to entire rooms, Julian and Sons generally works with local contractors for the building of the sub-structure and coordinating with the mechanical sub-contractors. Once a room or a piece is installed on-site, the Julian and Sons craftsmen will put on one final coat of finish as the product is completed. Whether it‘s a gun room, trophy room, library, wine room, study or kitchen, the job isn‘t truly complete until everyone has signed the inside of a door or drawer on every project the company does. ”Everybody in our company signs it, including the person who sweeps the floors and answers the phones,” Joe Julian says.