By Sue Meade
Paulding Neighbor Staff Writer
Dressed in suspenders and a leather apron, Mike Doerner listens to Beethoven as he labors in his woodworking haven, the Colonial Cabinet Shop. Surrounded by hundreds of tools, some of them dating back to the mid 1800s, he spends his days doing what he loves. And in turn, his customers love what he does.
This historically-correct woodworker was recently commissioned by the administrators at WellStar Kennestone Hospital to create a unique display case for the lobby of the hospital’s Women’s Center. The Cobb hospital chose this Paulding artisan because of his winning combination of quality, creativity and old-world craftsmanship
“They wanted me to make a display for this etched piece of glass, but they had a lot of specifications,” said Doerner. “They told me, ‘We need to have it protected, lit-up and mobile.’”
Doerner came up with a one-of-a-kind creation out of curly maple (or tiger stripe maple) that is now the focal point of the Women’s Center.
Doerner is accustomed to unusual and unique requests. In fact, he welcomes them. He said he could make anything out of wood that a client wants.
Coming from a long ancestry of woodworkers — he traced back his craftsman roots to 1689 Germany — Doerner likes to do things the old-fashioned way.
“I use the old tools because that is the only way you can get the right look, quality and feel,” said Doerner. “Some of these tools belonged to my ancestors. Unfortunately, today everyone wants to use power tools. These tools are a lot slower, but they are a lot more deliberate.”
After woodworking in other shops for 15 years, he started the Colonial Cabinet Shop two years ago.
“My shop is sort of like Norm Abrahms' "The New Yankee Workshop" of PBS fame” he said.
Doerner attended The Citadel and once planned on being a military historian, but his eyes kept him from acceptance into the military.
Those eyes, however, have no trouble seeing into the past and bringing old-time details of the trade into the present.
His love of history has stayed with him. As he uses his old tools, delighting in the absence of the whine and whir of power tools, he tells of their origins and explains why they are superior to tools made today.
Doerner is not a man mired in the past, however. While working for Raydeo Corporation, he built cabinets for many modern buildings, including the Turner Center at CNN, New York’s Grand Central Station and the World Trade Centers.
For more information on the Colonial Cabinet Shop call (678) 363-7499 or visit www.colonialcabinetshop.com.