Millworks duo crafts business life in Mancos

La Plata Millworks keeps running with the accomplishments of the following people: from left, Brandon Smith, cabinetmaker; Les Likes, molder; Ed Mooney, co-owner; Myles Rockwell, cabinetmaker; Kendall Baker, co-owner; and Kim Steiner, carpenter. Not pictured are Spencer Lake, cabinetmaker; Duffy Baumgartner, cabinetmaker; and Steve Richards, cabinetmaker. Enlargephoto

Mancos Times/Jeanne Archambeault

La Plata Millworks keeps running with the accomplishments of the following people: from left, Brandon Smith, cabinetmaker; Les Likes, molder; Ed Mooney, co-owner; Myles Rockwell, cabinetmaker; Kendall Baker, co-owner; and Kim Steiner, carpenter. Not pictured are Spencer Lake, cabinetmaker; Duffy Baumgartner, cabinetmaker; and Steve Richards, cabinetmaker.

During these unsure economic times, La Plata Millworks seems to be doing fine.

Kendall Baker and Ed Mooney have been owners of the business on Main Street in Mancos since November 2010, but, they said, it’s been a woodworking shop for 30 years. (It was called Custom Woodworking before Mooney and Baker had it.) The two co-owners both had woodworking businesses in Durango and used Custom for some of their work. So when the opportunity came up for them to purchase the business, they said, “Why not?”

Between them they have over 40 years of experience in woodworking — Mooney with 17 years and Baker with 30 years.

Most of what they do is custom high-end work, making moldings, or trim, both decorative and plain, doors and cabinets for homes and businesses. “We do the stuff that you can’t get anywhere else,” Baker said.

In order to exactly match the moldings or the doors, they have to use a cross-section of the old item to make comparisons. Part of the deal when they bought the business a year ago was an upscale molding machine that can be programmed to duplicate the design that was on the original trim. The machine enables them to turn out beautiful shapes, and match many that they wouldn’t normally be able to do. Only Mooney and one other person is trained to use the machine, they said. This particular one is only 10 years old, but others last much longer. They don’t take much upkeep — just maintenance and cleaning.

Machines of this type, said Mooney, are few and far between.

“There are only two others like it in southern Colorado — one in Durango and one in Montrose,” he said.

They have done woodworking for a few older buildings, such as the county courthouse in Telluride, Baker said.

“It was a really interesting job,” he said.

They hope to be able to do more of those.

In the shop itself, there are eight employees, plus Baker and Mooney. They get out there and work right alongside the others. All of the guys in the shop have woodworking experience and are good at what they do.

“We really like it here in Mancos,” Baker said. “The community has been very supportive and welcoming.”

La Plata Millworks is located at 141 S. Main in Mancos and can be reached at 970-533-7037.

Jeanne Archambeault/Times
Les Likes shows how the molding machine works. Enlargephoto

Jeanne Archambeault/Times Les Likes shows how the molding machine works.