A Tour of the Facilities7.23.13
A tour of La Puerta Originals, including the antiques yard, featuring an amazing collection of treasures – antique Mexican doors, Spanish Colonial doors, antique columns and corbels, antique iron work and more
(By Scott’s request, this is an edited version of a previous post.)
We are in what is referred to as, “the old Mesa Steel building”.
I have annotated a screen shot of Google maps to show the layout. You should be able to click on it to see it in greater detail and read the labels (or even print it to refer to as we go along!). And if the light looks a little funny in some of the photos it is because, once again, we have wildfires burning in the area.
The back fence runs parallel with I-25 and the railroad tracks. Along the fence is where metal and some of the wood fragments are stored. Antique pressed tin, strapping, antique hardware, pipes – if it’s metal, that’s where it’ll be.
But mostly La Puerta Originals is about WOOD. Wood, wood, wood.
In the annotated photo, you can see in the middle of the yard, the two sets of row upon row of doors and surrounds. Below is a closer photo of that area.
Further down, closer to where the guys park is the corbel and cabinet area (you can see the cabinets in the foreground, the corbels off to the left there).
Next to that area is a miscellany of antique sugar cane gears from the Amazon in Brazil, canoes, giant mortars, and even a bathtub (I have no idea).
The area with the columns also houses cabinet doors and fragments. The columns line the fence, making the area feel almost like a room.
And when we say that we recycle and use everything, we mean everything. Check out the photo below – all those fragments!
We just received a HUGE shipment of raw material. Wood, wood, wood!
even a trestle or part of a bridge. This thing is massive.
Yes, we heart wood.
Also on the annotated view, I have pointed out the locations of the various shops. Starting from the left side of the building, we have the metal shop.
It is difficult to photograph the interior because of the windows lining the top of the wall.
The top of the table is solid metal. I am wondering if that didn’t come with the building, because I don’t remember anything like that in the old location. Showing the metal shop in use, we have Cristobal welding the edges of one of the antique window grills that I have discussed in previous entries.
This shop is where everything from elaborate grillwork to small clavos are made.
Then we have the two wood shops. Since I couldn’t do it perfectly and seamlessly, I put the photos together roughly, to give you a general idea of the sweep of the rooms. I don’t think there is anything in particular that differentiates them, there just happens to be a door in the middle. Each guy has his own work area and smaller tools, the larger equipment being shared. There are a number of different machines, a dizzying array of saws, sanders, etc., and giant vacuums that suck up all the sawdust.
I don’t know what this is below, but it sure looks mighty scientific with the tubes and wires and all!
There are stations with industrial-sized mechanisms for clamping large pieces of wood while being glued, and a gabillion free clamps in a gabillion different sizes.
And while there are all of these modern, fancy dancy, mechanized tools, there are also a lot of the more primitive hand tools. Much of the work that LPO does has an antique or rustic look to it.
And these are some of the tools used to make that look, not some slick electric tool.
Next to the second wood shop is the milling shop. Above is the pic I showed you before, with the raincoats off to the side giving you an idea of the size of those circular saw blades, and now I want to show a close-up detail of the band saw blade teeth.
The milling shop is different than the wood shops, in that it isn’t someone’s work station, it is more like the various areas in the wood shop with shared equipment, and the area is just used when large pieces need to be milled.
Sometimes it is in heavy use, such as when we are doing a project that has flooring or wainscoting, etc., and sometimes it is empty for days.
Outside of the milling shop is the big silver dome. It’s a great landmark when giving directions, because it is huge.
It is used to store lumber, whether an entire deconstructed barn, or the reclaimed Douglas fir that we use so much.
You can see how huge it is in this photo, as you can see the forklift driving inside.
Across the yard from the silver dome is what I have come to call The Odd Shop. I think is sort of a rougher version of the milling shop.
I have seen chain saws in use there, and the red machine you see in the center of the shop is a sawmill for cutting the really big stuff.
Hopping back across the yard, back to the main building, we have the finish shop. The finish shop is where the magic happens.
Here the guys, true artists, can match any patina, from mimicking one hundred years of use, to giving the wood the look of aged mesquite, to blending five different colors in a finish that has richness and complexity.
As seen in the aerial view, the building kind of looks like two buildings put together. We have covered the back building, housing the metal, wood, milling and finish shops, so now on to the front building.
Coming through the rollup door from the finish shop, or the side door from the parking lot, is Scott’s area. I think of an office as having a door and a dedicated work area, whereas this is an area that serves many functions.
Scott has his work area (the dedicated Campbell by his side there), seen above. To his right there is a long table for client and staff meetings, behind which, across from Scott, there is always a bunch of raw material leaning against the wall for him to refer to when doing his drawings.
Christina’s work area is there, there is another area with an entire wall dedicated to the output schedule for the coming months, and then there is a really large area that is generally used to store finished product while it awaits shipment,
but is also sometimes used for other things, such as a large enough space to assemble an entire kitchen cabinet package for photography.
(We just might be able to get installation pics of this kitchen – it is here in Santa Fe!)
Through a pair of double doors leading from Scott’s area, we have the business offices. These are the CAD, finance, Melissa’s and my offices, all surrounding a little kitchenette with table. Since my office is a part of it, I feel free to say that our area is probably the most boring, so I will move on through.
Rounding the corner we have Craig’s area and then the showroom.
The showroom is always changing because it also serves as overflow of finished projects that are waiting to be shipped. Often we are doing packages for new construction, and they have to be shipped at a specific time when the build is ready to receive and install the items. Often this happens in stages, as different areas of the house get built. It is great to have these items arranged on display, because being a custom builder, we don’t usually have items that people can just buy out of the showroom, and it gives us items to show when people walk in to tour LPO.
And then in the corridor between the showroom and Scott’s area, is the library, on the left (and drinking fountain and restrooms on the right, if you must know). The library had its own blog entry some time ago.
Next to the showroom is Cyndi’s area. Cyndi has both an office and an area, which suits the many hats she wears. Her area is a great one to explore, and she gives me free reign.
And then in Cyndi’s area (as opposed to her office), there are myriad hardware displays.
On the walls, on the tables, in cubbies and drawers, there are all sorts of examples of hardware, new, replica and antique. There are different handles on all the drawers, and each drawer holds a different type of hardware.
The cubbies above the drawers hold samples of different kinds of glass, like bubble glass that is either clear or colored, mirrors that are distressed or beveled, screens ranging from thick and rustic, to fine brass.
It reminds me of playing in my mom’s jewelry box when I was a kid. There is just so much to touch, look at and explore and everything is displayed so artistically, I just love poking around in there.
The finish sample room is in there too, tucked off to the side of the hardware displays.
Like I said, so much to explore, I probably could have done an entire entry on this area.