BS&R Group has always been a family business and with father’s day coming up we thought it would be a perfect time to feature our resident father son team, Founder Tony Maderios and his son, Project Manager, Anthony Maderios.
After almost 6 years of working together in the shop, Anthony sat down with us to give advice on the joys and challenges of working in the family business and how working with his dad has been a lifelong pastime.
How long have you been working with your Dad?
I would come to the shop after school or on weekends as a child to play in the trees, have some adventure, and make forts (awesome forts). When I was 11 and old enough to start being productive, I would sweep the floors and assist on deliveries. During school and then university I would spend my Christmas and summer holidays working. I have been full time at the shop for a little over 6 years now starting as a skilled apprentice and quickly moving up.
Why did you come to work at the family business?
Even though I went to school for economics and marketing I never saw myself with an office job. There was always something about being able to create something unique or advancing a standard product like a window or door into something that worked better that had me at hello. Being able to develop something from nothing and using creativity is way more rewarding mentally for me.
Challenges of running a family business?
There is always a bit of disagreement in a family business. Each person has their own view of how to grow the company. The good side of it is that the conversation always revolves around improvement so whatever the outcome is it will be better than where it started from.
Advice for working together?
Communication. Don’t hold back a thought. Put it out there and receive the ones put to you. Even if each-others thoughts aren’t followed considering them is important and makes the final decision stronger.
Did you work on projects when you were younger together?
I would always do my school projects through the shop. My Bermuda project in grade 8 was on Bermuda cedar so I made a cedar cross (catholic school) and science projects I would use the stripping chemical and solvent to determine PH levels and separate single elements that made the chemicals up.
During the summer and Christmas holidays as a teen I would do a lot of assembly and rough milling in the carpentry shop, a heck of a lot of sanding and spray finishing of garden furniture and shutters in the spray shop, and a lot of waxing furniture in the restoration area.
These were great introductions to learning the methods and discipline that go into the basic items of the shop. Spraying shutters are tricky with all the louvers and trying not to create drips and runs – two thin coats are better than one thick coat and always cut your corners first. Rough milling taught me how to dress raw lumber to square components for further jointing forcing you to think ahead and envisioning the product before it is finished – if each component isn’t square from the beginning then the product will not be square at the end. Waxing the antiques got me up close and personal with period pieces and reproductions learning the techniques of French polishing and understanding hand joinery.
Are there certain projects that you still work on together?
We each have our own projects that we manage but we are always involved with each-others work. We are making lift and slide doors at the moment. It is something new for us and is an incredibly smooth piece of hardware. Even though I am managing the project and designing the frame and components to work together my dad is in charge of selecting the cedar that we are using and making sure the door components match each other. A smooth design and good functioning components are important but match the door grain on the styles and the rails is everything for the aesthetics and really shows that no step was taking without carefully consideration. One man cannot do it all in this shop. From top to bottom we are all a team and rely on each other to do better every day.
Tips for father son DIYs?
An easy around the house project that is not hard is a perimeter fence. Any mill shop will dress lumber for you if you want to use something a bit more robust like accoya, Spanish cedar, or ipe. Gorhams also pressure treated boards that are pre machined. Plot and dig a few holes or concrete footings, set your posts into the ready mix concrete while keeping them plum, once set fasten your rails from post to post horizontally, then fasten your face boards to the rails. Adding a few detail here and there is the fun part like a shape at the top of the face boards or making decorative caps for post. Finewoodworking magazine will have a lot of diy project like this as well as sheds.