By Laura Quesada News Review Staff Writer
Working wood with hand tools is one of the most ancient human practices that spans across almost every continent and the Ramos family wants to share those skills. To that end they have added teaching classes to the services that 3R Woodworx offers. “We feel that there should be something for the younger generation,” says Angel Ramos. “We feel like there’s a disconnect on the trade aspect for jobs.”
The brothers Ramos, Angel and Edgar, learned their trade from their father, Jose, who had a construction company in Houston where he built track homes. But the brothers gravitated toward Finish Carpentry. Angel tells us, “As kids we built our first kitchen. I think I was 17. We milled the lumber from rough lumber all the way down to have a finished product. My dad had a small shop that was attached to our home. That’s what started it.”
With their experience they realized, “We can make it fun and teach tools and power tools, up to more modern tools that we have to bridge that gap.” Youngsters could learn to see carpentry as a relevant skill.
Not too long ago they quietly offered their first classes and word of mouth spread like wildfire. They began fielding so many calls and receiving so many emails they needed to come up with a plan. Angel, Edgar, Jose and Brian Sandoval run the classes and four staff members run the plant operations. They are excited and have lots of great ideas and projects to share. They are working on a master calendar for 2023, but you don’t have to wait until then to get started. Class sizes are limited and you will need to take a safety class if power tools are involved. Nobody is allowed on any equipment until they are confident and trained.
“We’re going to have a full calendar year of progressive projects. So whoever joins from the beginning will get the most out of it.” There will be courses broken down by age levels. “We’re planning on having a free class once a month for the little kids. There will also be paid for classes scheduled for the kids as well.
“Our first major class is scheduled to start next year,” says Angel. This will be a four month class with meeting times projected to be every other Saturday. “We’re going to be building a Teardrop Trailer (mini travel trailer).” They chose this project because many different tools and skills can be learned. “There’s a huge variety of tools we can use: CNC machines, laser machine and tools. There’s going to be classes on low voltage wiring. Somebody can learn a lot in four months without having to just build one chair or a bench or something. And then at the end of the class we’re going to give away the trailer to one of the students.” They will build two Teardrops at the same time so the students can have enough elbow room to work.
“For kids, we are going to make little stools and tables. We’re open to suggestions but we’re filling up. There will be beginner, intermediate and advanced in every age group. We are already getting a lot of people that want to start doing projects. Some of the guys want to make a guitar and we have the tools needed to do it. But they need to take a safety class in order to do that”
Safety classes are thorough and not merely a lecture and advice to wear glasses. It will be a 4 to 5 hour walk-through of how to use each tool properly, guidance for proper work clothes, and hands-on learning.
In the production end of 3R Woodworx, they design and build custom cabinetry for all uses. For residential customers they have been specializing in custom cabinetry in kitchens; for business clients they can design whatever is needed. “Custom cabinetry, which includes kitchens, bathrooms, mantles staircases. Anything that’s got to do with wood, and finished type of woodworking,” explains Angel. They have designed and built for hospitals, gas stations, restaurants, office spaces to name a few.
If you tour their new spacious facility you can see that their commitment to efficiency can be well executed. They have been outgrowing work spaces and this isn’t their first move. Angel says of their new location, “This was the biggest we could find for what we’re doing. We wanted a lunch room and we have a gym that we’re putting together. We had our workout stuff outside and it’s either too hot or too cold. We have a bunch of bathrooms for everybody and storage space.”
They have been developing systems to streamline production, which keeps the prices down for their customers. “We’ve gotten our kitchen process pretty good to where we can turn them out in a week,” says Edgar. You can be assured your individual tastes are reflected in their work: custom as opposed to prefabricated. “We custom color match paint, we do stain, we do all kinds of different things. Everything we use is water based. We use the newest latest ingredients, no chemicals – no nothing. We really like it; it dries amazingly fast,” Angel tells us.
With their recent move to the large facility at 1127 W. Reeves, they have been able to expand their business to include selling specialized woodworking tools, leather working tools, exotic wood: walnut, zebra wood, purple hardwood.
The clear skies, mountains, stars and beauty of the desert plus the small town feel of Ridgecrest captivated and drew in this family business. Angel was the first to the desert. He was hired in Trona to work as a welder. He decided to stay. Edgar came for a two-week visit and hasn’t left yet. Eventually the whole family relocated from Texas.