Stewart Brannen Millworks – Making doors, windows and shutters with QuickCAM

Managing Growth — Making doors, windows and shutters with QuickCAM software

Near Statesboro, GA, Stewart Brannen Millwork Company zeros in on high-end entry doors designed for Hurricane Alley — and it’s paying off.
By Anthony Noel


Year Founded:1989
Employees: 50
Shop Size: 43,000 sq. ft. – 3,995 m2



Stewart Brannen Millwork is dedicated to providing you with the finest custom wood doors and windows.


“We looked at routers for eight years,” says Lewis Stewart, co-founder of Brannen Millwork. His desk overlooks the manufacturing floor at Brannen Millwork, and probably not coincidentally. It affords him a bird’s-eye view of the company’s two Routech Record CNC routers.


“The software just wasn’t there,” he continues. “They had it for the cabinet industry, but it wouldn’t work for us. Until I found QuickCAM Systems, where I could take what I already had going in spreadsheets and incorporate that” he says. Stewart says the software, marketed in the United States by Ross Bloom Associates Ltd, was the primary factor in the door manufacturer’s decision to join the CNC revolution. “I went with QuickCAM because we were already sort of spreadsheet oriented, and we used our spreadsheets to quote parts lists,” he explains.


Making doors, windows and shutters with QuickCAM


“QuickCAM was originally set up for the cabinet industry, and it has a lot of stuff that would be really great if I were in the cabinet industry. But I’m not, so it’s worthless to me. But,” he quickly adds, opening a spreadsheet, “I can go over here and choose a product. “Say I need to build a panel door. In there I’ve got five panel, equal panel, four- and six-panel. And I put in the height and the width and then I can tell it how many panels wide, tall, and then my stiles, I’ve set them up as variables, top rail, bottom rail, lock rail, profiles,” he continues, entering numbers into the spreadsheet denoting his choices.


Making doors, windows and shutters with QuickCAM


A double click or two, and he’s done in QuickCAM. Now I’m going to run it,” he says, with a couple more clicks. “If I have a number of panel doors, all different sizes, it will just keep re-reading it with those variables and collect that all as one package. Then it will send it to the machines.”


Stewart demonstrates, and within two minutes he has programmed three frame-and-panel doors. A minute later, he has added an arch-top door with a glass insert to the package. Stewart Brannen Millwork purchased its first CNC router last April. So sold on the possibilities was Stewart, the company’s production manager, that another was bought just a half-year later. “When I got into this, I didn’t understand that really, what are you doing when you program a router? All you’re looking for is a set of coordinates” he says.


Making doors, windows and shutters with QuickCAM


“So, how do most people program a router? They draw [the job] to prove their coordinates, then they use those coordinates out of the drawing, and then they have to put it on the [router] table. Really, all [they] wanted was the coordinates, so why draw it?” he asks rhetorically. “It’s a little bit daunting to begin with because when you have something so incredibly powerful, you’ve got to figure out how to use it. But once you get through that, you are only limited by your own intelligence,” he says.


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