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The Focus on Faux blog is a free resource for professional decorative artists. The blog provides tips, advice, insights and information geared toward helping artists succeed. For more in-depth information and feature articles, subscribe to the Focus on Faux online magazine.

In cabinet finishing, speed and efficient are the key to your success. So says Atlanta-based artist Henri Menendez, known to the industry as "The Cabinet Master" for his informative classes on cabinet finishing. Sure, it's important to use the right products and to hire the best people when you need to get a job done, but your most important focus should be on having a system that boosts productivity.

Menendez is the owner of DeHuelbes Design. Originally a faux finisher and muralist, he pivoted to a career in cabinet refinishing when the market for murals in Atlanta dried up. Since then, he's built a successful career as a cabinet finisher with jobs expanding from northern Georgia all the way into Florida around the Gulf Coast area.

“Some people think the reason I can finish a job so quickly is because I use fast-drying lacquers and have a crew, but there’s much more to it than that,” says Menendez, who will be speaking at the upcoming IDAL Convention, being held in conjunction with the 2016 Concrete Decor Show, Sept. 25-29 in San Diego.

“I do have a crew working for me, but I never put more than two people on any given kitchen refinish job. It’s because of the system that we’ve developed and fine-tuned over the years that we are able to work so quickly and efficiently and effectively.”

Henri's classes provides in-depth teaching on the system that he and his team have developed. Hre’s just one little tidbit: “If you’re spraying doors, stack them already in the position that you want to spray them in—with the back side up, for example. It will save you several seconds per door.”

A few seconds may not sound like much, but imagine if the job consists of 150 doors and shelves with each piece having to be sprayed four times on each side. “If this saves you a few seconds per door, you multiple those seconds by 150 pieces times four times each, and you end up saving about an hour or two of time,” Henri says. “You save an hour here, an hour there, and you’re going to cut down your project time considerably.”

One concern that Henri hears from finishers about making money with cabinets is that the field is  too competitive. “If they would just streamline their system and try to get more into a production mentality, they would see that they could really increase their profitability.”

Read more about Henri Menendez' career in the Focus on Faux online magazine (Subscription required):

A Master of Transitions

Learning Cabinets from "The Master"