Greetings John,

Welcome to your custom cabinet shop. I make a lot of sawdust here and as you can see, some of it is quite beautiful. Working with the world’s rarest woods is a real treat. Although difficult to find, responsibly harvested hardwoods make for a most appropriate tribute to a fine stringed instrument.

I’ve built this private page to facilitate your review of my work in the most detailed form available. Large, high resolution images cannot lie. Click on any of the thumbnails to enlarge the image. Some take a while to download. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at any time:
303-973-1128. I am happy to update this page to show you anything you wish to see.

MVFV Cherry
Thank you for your time on the phone last Friday. I am honored to have your interest in my art.

You have requested a pair of Full View Cabinets, as shown here. They will be large enough to host full sized violins including a bow hook and a Hydration System* consisting of a Digital Hygrometer and a Humidifier.

The door and windows will be upgraded with 97% Ultra Violet Blocking materials. Curatorial materials and techniques are employed, nearly eliminating the Volatile Organic Compounds that haunt most wood products. These are Museum Grade enclosures while allowing access and as such, environmental controls cannot be guaranteed. Periodic resupply of water will be required and it is possible that a supplemental humidifier in the room may be necessary to fully protect your instrument(s).

A wide range of fabric backings will be offered toward the end of the project, after the wood is lacquered and its final color is available for review. Images of your installation location and instruments will assist me as I hunt for your fabric.

My proposed price for these cabinets is $1275 each, assuming they are made of common American Oak with a simple Polyurethane finish. I am strongly urging you consider upgrading the Hardwood & Lacquering for this project and here-in, I will present you several options.

Cherry Natural
The cabinets you see here are in a Pennsylvania Red Cherry (upper left) and a Dark Oak (right). Cherry is also available in a natural color, as shown on the left.

Recall that unstained Oak with a simple Polyurethane finish is standard in my pricing. Beginning the list of upscaled hardwoods, Cherry adds $125 to the price of the cabinets. Hand rubbed satin lacquer is included in all hardwood upgrades. The luster and feel of this highly polished finish is nearly impossible to photograph, but I will do my best to show you why these upgrades are worth considering.

have requested a view of a few of my favorite woods to work with. It is a pleasure to present them to you here.

First we have Fiddleback Maple. Otherwise known as Zebra, Flame, Curly ... this is the one of first tone-woods discovered by my Italian ‘relatives’ in Cremona. Violins have nearly always included this Maple on their backs and as such, I recommend it to host your violins. Harvested in the New England region, this a domestic timber. It can be colored to match almost anything, some guitars are outlandishly loud and this is the wood you most often see used.

I recommend a subtle, natural tone as shown on the left. I traditionally prefer clear lacquer on exotic woods. Attempts to color these woods almost always hides its subtle features. One exception is Maple. The character and highlights of highly figured Maple scream when a certain type of dye is applied. After topping the dyed surface with hand rubbed satin lacquer, it becomes a lens that broadcasts a 3D iridescence.

pinnacle of my portfolio is shown here. I wish I had kept this batch of lumber for my own collection.

Maple of this nature is very difficult to find. The character and features vary greatly in the runs that come through the mills but I have collected a fine supply that will certainly allow us to build a pair of Violin cabinets. Fiddleback Maple, with a light coloration and Hand Rubbed Satin Lacquer will add $225 to the price of each cabinet.

Another Maple you may wish to consider is called Bird’s Eye. I have heard it called Marble as well, and after building with it I know why.

On the left, Mr. Lester Polfus’ 1958 “Les Paul / Gold Top” hangs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in a Bird’s Eye Maple cabinet. Bird’s Eye is in the same price range as Fiddleback Maple and also includes a light coloration and Hand Rubbed Satin Lacquer.

Another domestic hardwood in my inventory is Black Walnut, shown on the right. If you like dark woods with rich character in the grains, Walnut is a great choice.

this photo, you see a finished cabinet bottom with a brocade fabric sample for a previous client. Wait a second... who finishes the bottom surfaces of a piece of furniture? Welcome to quality... top to bottom!

Walnut looks best with a French Polish, consisting of an Oil (Teak or Rosewood, depending on the desired color) followed by dozens of layers of Shellac and Wax aggressively rubbed into the wood. This finish looks fabulous as a host for a violin. Note that Violins rarely have a shiny lacquered look on their faces. French Polished Walnut is a nice match.

Walnut adds $175 to the price of each cabinet.

Now, shall we rase the bar a little? South American Hardwoods begin the Truly Exotic tour. I trust you do not shock easily... but some collectors really cherish this class of timbers.

On the left, a wood from Brazil called Jatoba (Wah•Toe•Bah). Often used for flooring, this is a tough wood. I swear I see sparks when I mill it. Although it is a nightmare to work with, it comes out phenomenally.

The cabinet you see here is called a Jumbo Shell, a style often selected for guitars. Note that the gold tones all flip flop as you vary your viewing angle. This wood is extremely iridescent.

Jatoba with a Hand Rubbed Satin Lacquer is priced at $350.

In this same price range, you may wish to consider a deep red wood called Africa Coral-Wood.

Otherwise known as Padauk (Pah•Dah•Uke), the wood appears orange when freshly cut but fades to a deep red quickly.

I selected
the slab you see on the right for its ribbon grains and mottled iridescence. On the left, a rare acoustic guitar is displayed in a Shell built with Padauk.

African Coral-Wood, without any stain or dye, glows with a deep red. It has black grains and highlights. In rooms filled with a traditional furniture style known as Pennsylvania Red / Cherry, Padauk is a great ‘color match’. In grain details, Padauk puts Cherry to shame.

Honduran Mahogany is often imitated. Dozens of countries export Mahogany, but none are as rich as genuine Honduran. Genuine Honduran Mahogany is so fine that it is often mistaken as Teak.

On the left, an example of my “joinery fetish” highlights this photo of Honduran Mahogany. The wood tends to appear Golden Brown with darker pattern grains and deep pores.

Honduran Mahogany adds $375 to the cabinet’s price.

The final timber I will present here is far from the last option on the list, but it is the most expensive. I offer it to demonstrate my range. Several more affordable options also exist in the breach of cost you see proposed here. As you ponder the options shown here, simply ask yourself whether it is a dark or a light wood you prefer. Next, think about how much you can invest in “character” of the wood. Given a budget, I assure you that a thrillng timber can be found.

Invariably, the most expensive lumber explains its value in its appearance. Rare is a loud message and the following timber screams as the most highly sought after exotic wood on Earth. It will, quite soon and quite sadly be unavailable. Consider the class of timbers known as “Rosewood”.

the name Rosewood is in reference to a species unique to Brazil and East India that was once decimated by the perfume industry in the quest for its flowery fragrance. Also praised as a premier Tone-Wood, Brazilian and East Indian Rosewood fetch thousands of dollars when used to build guitars.

of the finest matches for true Rosewood is Cocobola (scientific name: Dalbergia retusa, common name Bolivian Rosewood. Below, a cabinet I ised yto call my own, built with Cocobola.

I am pleased to own a rare and vintage Brazilian Rosewood Guitar, shown on the left. Sadly, genuine Rosewood such as this cannot be ethically acquired in the dimensions I need to build cabinets. I mention this to highlight that all of these opportunities are somewhat fleeting investments in rarity. Five years ago, I could find genuine Rosewood but now it is gone. Even the faux-Rosewoods are disappearing quickly.

Cocobola costs $1150 per cabinet.

have attempted to keep various species of Rosewood as my own cabinets for over a decade, but every one I have ever built is pried off my walls. The cabinets I have built from this timer host the most valuable instruments I have ever seen.

Too many choices? Option overload? I apologize.

This phase of our project takes a lot of
your time. I am notably wordy on the topic of my passion. Thank you for your patience. Forgive me my braggadocio as I proudly present my work. It is a humble craft after all but salesmanship forces me to toot my horn. Take your time as you consider these choices, your project holds an appointment in my shop with plenty of time to research these initial questions.

Thank you for considering my proposals. I am honored to help elevate the tribute, utility and protection that you offer to your instruments.

Play Often,

PS: May I introduce myself? Let me tell you how it is that, after a Master’s Degree in Mathematics & 27 years as an Aerospace Engineer, I view Cabinet Making as a promotion.

Stephen M. Micciche is the name on my driver’s license, but no one can pronounce it so they all call me “Mitch”.

My wife Ann and I are from the Finger-lakes region of New York State. We met there while in Graduate School in the 70’s. We now live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I used to be a Rocket Scientist at Lockheed Martin near Denver. As long as I can recall, my wood shop has been where I spent my leisure time. My career was a bit stressful. As a hobby, wood crafting had always been a pleasure. Now, it has grown to a passion and a labor of love.

Stringed Instruments are a tribute to wood. As an art form themselves, they are unique in that they also - in the right hands - produce art. Music has been an elusive hobby of mine since I was a child, but my career kept me too busy to pursue music seriously. Nevertheless, I played, studied and practiced guitar with a part time passion.

I did not expect my two hobbies to merge, becoming an avocation but that is what has happened. When my wife gave me a rare and valuable Arch Top guitar many years ago, I designed a Curatorial Enclosure to fend off the desert dry air we have in Colorado. When I realized how many people appreciated my theory - that a fine instrument should be
seen as well as heard - I knew I had a good excuse to retire early and begin enjoying my work again. Space faded in luster as my assignments began to include “Management”. Now, I manage to have fun for a living.

Ten years after this all began, my work hangs in fine museums and hosts some of the most valuable collections of guitars, mandolins, violins and harps in the world. The honor of being selected to craft such enclosures is difficult to describe. If you grace me with a commission to host your collection, you will witness a reverence that harkens an old fashioned form of art. Hand crafted, one at a time and customized to your specific needs.