Tucker, GA — John Paul Monferdini II has always enjoyed tinkering around with building furniture and the finer craftsman style of building. He has worked in carpentry for 18 years and 11 years ago he set his goal of owning his own business in 10 years.
Six months before that deadline, the Tucker resident made that dream come true. Monferdini opened JP Wood and Weld in 2020, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Carpentry has been a passion of mine for a long time and something that I’ve enjoyed and figured out a long time ago that I’ve got a knack for it,” Monferdini said. “Studying and learning from books was always a struggle for me but when I got into carpentry I found a whole world of things that just seemed to make sense to me.”
Fortunately his shop is in his backyard given the pandemic. It seemed that people were staying home and looking at things that could be changed or added to their homes, so he stayed busy, Monferdini said.
“I think there was about a three or four week period in the very beginning when everything first locked down that the phone just stopped ringing and I started to get a little bit worried,” Monferdini said.
With about less than a week’s worth of work left to do, he got several phone calls one Sunday morning and had about another two months of work to do. The business has stayed fairly steady since then, he said.
Monferdini has never been a fast carpenter and some production work, like installing cabinets, which he did earlier in his career, wasn’t a good fit. But furniture making gave him the opportunity to slow down and take his time and be able to send out products he’s proud of every time.
“I think what really brought me to it was the detail aspect of it and the smooth finishes and tight corners and just everything that makes it almost art,” Monferdini said.
One of the biggest challenges Monferdini has faced is helping people understand the cost of custom furniture and that it’s not like furniture found in a big box store.
“I can’t compete price wise with a big box store and I don’t want to. My product wouldn’t be properly represented if I tried to,” Monferdini said.
Monferdini does every part of the building process, except for finish work, which his wife, Noelle, has taken over. Noelle is also a member of the Tucker City Council.
“So we turned a shed in my backyard into a paint shed and she has spent the last year and a half…learning that trade and figuring it out and has really come a long way with her finishes and putting out the type of product that I need to,” Monferdini said.
For the first project Monferdini did he paid a finisher to do the finish work on the bookcases. Noelle saw the cost and thought it would be better to keep that money in house.
“I think some of that came from the pandemic and she’s a photographer and so photography really slowed down with the pandemic,” Monferdini said. “She started slowing down and this looked like a good way to sort of fill the gap in her time. I think that was where it really came from was why are we paying somebody else [for] something that we can do and make that money ourselves?”
Monferdini prefers building freestanding furniture, like tables, chairs and desks, rather than furniture that has to be installed but in the beginning stages of the business, Monferdini will do what needs to be done for a client, he said.
The only thing he stays away from is big projects, like full kitchens, because he doesn’t have the capacity to build large scale projects in his 16 by 30 square foot workshop.
One of his favorite projects was a table and bench he built for Tucker Mayor Frank Auman, as well as a couple of fire tables. He said the fire tables were definitely different and the bench was reminiscent of a church pew.
Once a project is complete, Monferdini will deliver the piece of furniture to the client, making sure he wears a mask, uses hand sanitizer and practices social distancing.
“As far as deliveries and stuff, we’re definitely very conscious of protecting ourselves and the customers from COVID,” Monferdini said.
Anyone interested in having a piece of custom furniture built can email Monferdini with information on what they’re looking for, like exact or approximate dimensions.
“If they have things that they’ve seen online that sort of represent what they want, they can send me pictures of that,” Mondferdini said. “Even if they don’t see exactly what they want online, if they like this part of this picture and that part of that picture, I can sort of piece it together from there.”
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