Earlier this spring, Luke Keuneke and Nick Recker of Cutting Edge WoodKRaft, won the $4,000 first place cash prize in the 2017 Bluffton Center for Entrepreneur’s Ropp Triplett Business Plan Competition.
Two words describe their business: Custom woodworking.
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Luke and Nick met while working for a local construction company. In 2012, they started producing custom carpentry on the side in Luke’s pole barn on Phillips Road.
In 2014 they struck out on their own, forming Cutting Edge WoodKRaft – capitalizing the K for Keuneke and R for Recker, as an added touch.
Soon they left the pole barn to purchase an empty restaurant, near the State Route 103 Bluffton I-75 interchange, converting it into their office and shop.
As custom cabinet builders, the two specialize in interior fine carpentry where they work with contractors or directly with customers.
They see themselves is a one-stop shop producing kitchen cabinets and trim, bathroom vanities, organized closets, bars, interior doors, trim, staircase finish work and fine hardwood furniture.
“Our work with a customer always begins with a conversation,” said Nick. Luke adds that the conversation also starts with a blank canvas.
After listening to the customer’s needs, Nick and Luke take on-site measurements and develop two or three design ideas.
After the customer looks over the proposal - sometimes offering incidental changes -the partners provide a quote. Once the quote is approved the work begins.
Most of the pieces are constructed in the Cutting Edge WoodKRaft shop.
With their business plan prize money the partners purchased an edge bander. Its primary use is putting finished edges on panels in closets and commercial cabinets.
As a one-step glue and trim process, it saves time in a job previously completed by hand.
As their business continues to grow, they’ve added customers from Findlay, Ottawa and other Putnam County communities in addition to Bluffton.
A completed project gives Nick and Luke a great feeling of satisfaction. They added that it’s a great feeling to see the final piece and the reaction to their work from their customers.
Nick says the coolest thing is a rack of wood. “Give me a day and you’ve got something,” he said.
Luke agrees, saying that is a great feeling to build something from nothing.
While their working hours focus on construction, both have family-related away- from-work interests.
Both coach their own children’s youth soccer teams. Nick is a 4-H advisor and Luke directs the Christian education program at Bluffton Trinity United Methodist Church.
Cutting Edge Woodcraft
851 State Route 103
Bluffton, Ohio 45817