Conestoga Files Suit Over Federal Health Care Mandate

For those of you who do not know who Conestoga is; Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation is one of the largest cabinet door and cabinet part manufacturers in the country. I received this article in an email this morning and decided to pass it on to you.

Article as follows:

Mennonite Christian owners suing federal government over provision requiring health plans to cover abortion and contraception starting in January 2013.

Three Mennonite Christians who own Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation in Pennsylvania have filed suit against part of the new federal health care law that they believe threatens their right to religious freedom, reports. They specifically object to a section requiring health plans to cover contraception and abortion.

“Being told that we must provide a health plan that includes a provision that violates the Christian beliefs of our family and the Christian values that our company was founded on is deeply troubling,” said Anthony Hahn, president and CEO of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation.

“Forcing Americans to surrender long-standing, deeply-held principles in order to own and run a business is not merely troubling but unnecessary and unconstitutional,” he added.

Hahn is challenging federal regulations that require employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception and abortion along with other women’s healthcare services. Conestoga would be required to comply with the mandate when its insurance plan renews on Jan. 1, 2013.

Increasingly religious employers have become outraged by the mandate, and dozens have filed lawsuits arguing that it forces them to violate their beliefs.

Hahn’s suit was filed on Dec. 4 by attorneys from the Independence Law Center in the U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania on behalf of Conestoga’s founder Norman Hahn, and his sons Norman Lemar Hahn and Anthony Hahn, who manage the company.

Conestoga is a family business with some 950 full-time employees throughout the U.S. They manufacture wood cabinets, doors and other specialty products. The Hahns have always sought to “operate Conestoga in a manner that reflects their sincerely held religious beliefs” as Mennonite Christians, the lawsuit says, noting that the company’s mission statement includes a commitment to “the highest ethical, moral, and Christian principles.”

Given their conviction that “God requires respect for the sanctity of human life,” the Hahns believe, “It would be sinful and immoral for them to intentionally participate in, pay for, facilitate, or otherwise support any contraception with an abortifacient effect,” the legal challenge says.

The family is now asking the court for an injunction to block the enforcement of the mandate. Several other for-profit businesses have secured initial injunctions in similar lawsuits while their cases progress through the court system.

Care For Your Cabinet Doors (Part One)

One of the biggest factors resulting in damage to the cabinetry in your home is a lack of maintenance. Over the years, I have seen everything from the finish peeling off the doors to the upper cabinets nearly falling off the wall. There is a cure for this and believe it or not, it is so simple virtually anyone can do it.

Doors make up the majority of what is seen of your kitchen cabinets. One of the biggest problems with doors tends to be the hinges. Hinges bear the brunt of the motion of the door and the screws that hold them can, over time, work their way loose. Loose hinges screws will soon lead to other problems like a crooked door or marring of the cabinet or the door where the loose hinge is rubbing. If a hinge becomes loose or worn, sometimes it will squeak or click when it is opened and closed. The cure for this may be as simple as tightening some screws. If a squeak continues you may try a shot of lubricant. If the hing is tight and lubricated and you still have a squeak or click, your hinge may need to be replaced.

Another problem I commonly find with doors is that the finish has failed. This may be the result of any multitude of reasons, including but not limited to water damage, children, pets, and old fashioned wear and tear. The three most common places for this type of damage are the doors below the kitchen sink, the area surrounding the knobs or handles on all doors and the lower doors in a high traffic area.

Occasionally, you will have a knob or handle work its way loose which tends to be more annoying than anything. I have seen this happen as a result of the threads on the screw holding the knob/handle in place to be stripped but most of the time it is due to normal wear and tear.

If your cabinets are painted, you may want to keep a jar of matching paint and a touch up brush handy. However, if your cabinets are stained there are a few different options you may choose (each determined by the root problem). First if the door has been scratched or deeply marred to the point of seeing raw wood, you may consider trying to find a stain to match and touch up the door the best you can. If the varnish has been scratched and the color is not compromised, you might try a furniture scratch cover product like “Old English” made by Min-wax. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for major damage like dents and breakage.

Please remember, these are only temporary fixes and you will eventually need to replace or reface your kitchen cabinets. But until then, make your kitchen shine and last longer by first keeping the cabinets clean. (For this I recommend a mild de-greaser like Murphy’s Oil Soap.) Then be sure to stay on top of any minor damage that may occur and don’t forget to keep an eye on the hinges and their screws. Keep a screwdriver handy in a drawer or somewhere near the kitchen to take care of any problems as soon as you see them. A little maintenance goes a long way and can save a lot of money in the long run.

What Is The Best Wood To Use?

Recently, I posed the question, “What would you like to know about kitchen cabinetry and household mill work?” One person responded with: “What are the best woods to use?”

This is not an easy question since the answer would vary according to each person’s needs. For instance, in a home with any number of children, I would not recommend cherry or alder cabinetry or trim. These woods are too soft and too expensive to withstand the constant barrage and abuse that children afford. Oak is a very strong and durable wood which will hold up well to constant use and can be made to look very nice. I usually describe oak to be a very utilitarian wood which lends itself to use in a home that is “lived in” versus a home that is a “show place”.

Maple is a very versatile wood. This wood also is hard enough to stand up to heavy use and, with the exception of the occasional blotch, will stain to most any color. Maple generally has a very straight, smooth grain which does not show when painted.

Walnut is a most beautiful naturally dark wood. It is easy to work with and looks great with or without a stained finish. The biggest drawback to walnut is its cost, often two to three times the cost of other woods. I would recommend saving walnut for the smaller projects, like the grandfather clock, hope chests and jewelry boxes.

Pine is a great wood for building rustic cabinetry. Much like cherry and alder, it is soft and can be easily scratched, dented and broken. Pine is very easy to work with and will make beautiful cabinets as long as you are willing to look at the knots.

These woods are, of course, not the only woods that are available. They are simply the most common and what I see in most homes today. There are of course many exotic, and more obscure woods that may work very well and look amazing in your home.

When it comes right down to it, the question does not have a clear cut answer. So, the generic answer to the question would have to be: “The wood that best meets the needs in your home.” My only recommendation would be to at least try to build using domestic lumber. This supports other American families and capitalizes on the resources we have in our own back yard (so to speak).

I will try in the near future to post some articles concerning the different strengths and weaknesses of these and other different types of wood. But until then, if you have any questions concerning your kitchen cabinets or the mill work in your home, be sure to give us a call, we’ll be glad to help.

Montgomery Fireplace Mantel

This fireplace mantel was quite a challenge on the design side. When I went to meet with the customer, she was uncertain of what she wanted. All she was sure about is that she wanted it white, not too ornate and that she wanted the height and width dimensions to be the same as the existing piece. Her existing piece was a poorly made, warped and very narrow hanging shelf mantel with no decorative legs.


Throughout the initial consultation I asked her a number of questions and observed the styles and designs of her furniture and mill work in her home. This gave me some clues as to how to design the fireplace mantel in such a way to meet her expectations and compliment its surroundings.


I must admit the customer was very skeptical and called me several times throughout the project to question my design. But, when I arrived for the installation, her apprehensions melted away and she was very pleased with what she saw. To see more pictures of her fireplace mantel, go the the Fireplace mantels tab in the Gallery and click on Montgomery Mantel.

Pull-Out Trash Cans

When designing a kitchen, I always do my best to incorporate a pull-out trash can. This line of accessories is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable additions you can add to your kitchen. They not only help to keep the kitchen clean, organized and tidy by hiding away the unsightly and often smelly garbage, but can also be used to create a convenient and simple way to recycle in your home.

Pull Out Trash Can

There are a number of different options available in pull out waste containers. Your first option to consider would be the frame which can be made of either the traditional white wire, wood, or chrome. The decision for your frame will probably be influenced by the style of your kitchen.

The next option is the slide construction. This can be a simple white roller bearing slide, a ball bearing full extension slide, and more recently added to the line has been the full extension soft-close slide. Your choice of slide will probably be guided by your budget since the soft-close slides can be a bit more expensive.

There are several companies that produce these pull-out trash cans. Two of the most popular are Rev-a-shelf and KV (Knape Vogt). They offer a variety of sizes, styles and colors to choose from and cover a wide price range. This makes it more possible than ever for anyone and nearly everyone to have a pull-out trash can in their kitchen.

If you would like to know if a pull-out trash can would work in your kitchen, please give us a call and Procraft Woodworks will be glad to help.

Bower’s Kitchen Update

Here is a kitchen which has seen some magic from Procraft Woodworks. When I walked in, the kitchen was dated and in desperate need of an update. The owners didn’t know exactly what they wanted, but they knew they had a budget and wanted to get the biggest bang for their buck.



We added end panels to their lower cabinets, built a raised panel back to cover up the paper covered particle board back that was on their island and made new side panels for their double oven  and upper cabinets.We could not add a larger crown mold because we were limited in height by the soffit. 

We also removed the window at the sink and framed it in with trim that matched the cabinetry. We added light rail around the bottom of the upper cabinets and new toe kicks under the base cabinets.img_6113


They had a desk adjacent to the kitchen/dining room that they wanted to incorporate more fully into the kitchen. We built an upper cabinet with glass doors and now they are able to use it as their china cabinet.



img_6117We then replaced their old laminate counter tops with granite and installed a tile backsplash. This has really transformed their kitchen at just a fraction of the cost of tearing it all out and building new.

Integrity, Simplicity And Value

When searching for a professional to perform any sort of service in your home, you should of course, look for a few certain characteristics that set them apart from the status quo. No one wants to pay for shoddy craftsmanship or poor quality products, so when looking for the right person to do the job, what do you look for?


Does this person/business stand behind the product or service they provide, or do they simply sell you something and quickly move on to the next customer? Do they have a reputation for caring for their customers and fixing any problems that may occur? Integrity goes beyond the product and service in the way someone acts and performs in your home. Are they honest, clean, and professional and do they treat you with the respect you deserve as their customer?


As a homeowner, simplicity can be hard to find in such a complex world. When you are able to find a professional who can simplify your life by taking care of all the worrisome tasks and headaches that often accompany any project, you have found a gem. Hiring a truly skilled business person can make your part of any project much simpler.


Too often in today’s world consumers mistake “inexpensive” or “cheap” for value. Though value is associated with the cost, it sometimes has nothing to do with money. Think of this; if it costs $250 for a car with no engine or wheels versus a $2,500 for a car that runs and has good tires, where is the value. The value is, of course, in the good car with the good engine and tires. You are able to more efficiently use the good vehicle. Similar principles apply to projects in your home. Do not always look for the cheapest and quickest turnaround. Quality, integrity, and simplicity create value. And though value may cost more, you will find it is worth it in the long run.

Kitchen Work Table

I just completed and delivered a work table for my neighbor. I built it to match the hardwood floors in his kitchen and the style of the table matches his dining room table.

Kitchen Work Table DSCN4938DSCN4937

The table was made of maple, distressed and glazed.

A New Dishwasher In An Old Kitchen

I often take a phone call from a distressed homeowner who has just installed a new appliance and for one reason or another it doesn’t fit or something is drastically different and needs modified in order to look right. I recently made this new dishwasher look like it was original to the kitchen.

Dishwasher Door

You can see more pictures of this project in the “Custom Color Matching” gallery.

Kitchen Cabinetry Price Vs. Value

When it comes to your kitchen, where do you get the greatest value?

Many people today find it difficult to identify the difference between value and price. Often the budget dictates the parameters of the price one is willing to pay. So what can you do to get the greatest bang for your buck and best value for your kitchen?

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Usable space – custom cabinets allow for the maximization of usable space in your kitchen.
  2. This is especially helpful in a small house where space is at a  premium.
  3. Durability – many manufacturers use the cheapest topcoats they can get away with.
  4. Poor quality topcoats lead to the finish fading, chipping, or gumming up much sooner than
  5. the better quality finishes.
  6. Color – when you shop the big box stores and cabinet dealers, you are limited to what they
  7. offer. A custom cabinet maker is often able to match any color and finish style you want and
  8. give you exactly what you are looking for.
  9. Value – depending on your tastes and style, custom cabinets can usually be built and installed
  10. in your home at about the same cost as a high end manufactured cabinet. Combining the most
  11. usable space with the durability and quality throw in a little personal customer service and you
  12. have a winning combination.