Cato Woodworks specializes in custom cabinetry, shelving, furniture and artistic utilities. Jack Cohen is a master craftsman with a background in designing and fabricating musical instruments. For over 35 years he has applied the level of sensitivity and dedication to perfection that is required to create precision musical instruments to crafting fine, custom woodwork pieces for museums, homeowners, contractors and architects.

Jack's reputation rests on a belief in unyielding care and craftsmanship, supported by his own drive for perfection. His meticulous approach to his art results in unique works of outstanding quality and value. With each project, Jack endeavors to create a rhythm of style and function that requires a high aesthetic appreciation and deep dedication to the art. He develops and builds a reflection of your desires. A piece that is custom-built for your needs.


Cato Woodworks has developed processes that have become a tireless endeavor to adhere function to form. Everything Jack crafts is custom-built to order for each client. He solves design and space problems through a process that allows you to become directly involved in your project.

At the beginning of the process the project, timeline and budget expectations are discussed. Jack cannot quote contract prices in the early stages because it is impossible to have enough information to do it properly or accurately.


Just as it takes the bow and the strings to draw resonance from the violin, Cato Woodworks' solutions emerge from a duality of thought and imagination.

Jack can design your custom piece or work from architectural drawings. He may be able to draw the project within a predetermined budget, so you may consider providing a realistic budget for the project. Based on your criteria, Jack can usually determine if the budget is realistic for the work. However, minimum quality standards will always be the overriding factor in his designs.


The goal of Cato Woodworks is to create beautiful, artfully crafted and healthful environments in which to live—an orchestra of line, color and shape that creates a rhythm of utility and beauty.

Most large-scale and all built-in projects will require several site visits, including taking preliminary measurements and installation. Jack takes all pertinent measurements, looks at the architecture and the space and considers a variety of other criteria. At this time, he will consult with you and determine your needs and expectations. Jack will use his expertise as not only a designer but also as a fabricator to make suggestions when necessary.


Jack designs on paper with an overriding inspiration to create a functionality that strikes a tone of sophistication. It is his intention that the piece he is creating for you will help you achieve a profound improvement in your quality of life.

Just as a musician playing a piece for the first time requires sheet music, all Cato Woodworks' custom projects will require working drawings. When the draft copy of the drawings is complete, Jack may be able to quote an accurate contract price. A second meeting may take place for you to review the drawings and cost estimates. Any changes or modifications will be determined at this meeting. If any changes are required, Jack will make them in the drawings and the contract.


In a world where instant has become too slow, the opportunity to witness a master practicing his craft is rare. As you watch Jack build your piece, you will see what you dreamed become what you couldn't have possibly imagined.

Construction will begin when the drawings are approved and the contract is signed. The start date of your project will depend on work in progress and previous commitments. Jack generally works on one project at a time in order to remain focused and provide high quality. He will, however, have several projects going at different stages (drawing/construction/installation) most of the time. Jack will be as upfront and realistic about execution and delivery as he can — it all depends on what he is currently committed to completing and the scope and scale of your project.


How much is my project going to cost?

This is a very important question. The difficulty in pricing custom work is that the piece has never been created before. Until Jack has a through understanding of what it is you are asking him to create, it is illogical to hazard a guess. Pricing will be estimated after the problem has been reviewed, possibilities discussed and design concepts agreed upon.

Will someone come and look at my space to give me an estimate?

Jack will gladly survey your space and offer solutions as part of the consultation phase of the project. However, he would be happy to meet you, discuss your commission and show his portfolio and actual samples of his work. It is important to realize that Jack is not a kitchen remodeling contractor or a furniture salesman. He has an extensive client list and a large portfolio for you to view. When you take the time to meet with him to discuss your project, you show that you are serious and care enough to ensure you will be getting exactly what you want.

Jack can sometimes provide rough estimates if given enough information. The only way to give hard contract prices is to complete the design phase of your project or price-scale working drawings provided by you.

Can someone come to my house/business and look at my space to give me an estimate?

Yes, if you understand that it is part of the design process, and that when proposing solutions and consulting with you, Cato Woodworks may charge a fee for that process.

Jack does not visit just to give cost estimates. If you would like, he can meet you at his studio. There is no charge for this orientation meeting. At his studio, Jack can show you work in progress, actual pieces of wood and an extensive portfolio in one meeting.

How long will my project take?

The time required for the design stage usually depends on the complexity and uniqueness of the project. The scope and scale of the project, availability of materials and installation timeframes will determine construction time. Project timelines may be determined by the amount of work to which Cato Woodworks is currently committed. Clients' needs are always carefully considered, and Jack will always be upfront about delivery times.

How am I going to know that I will like the design after I pay for it?
And what happens if what we paid you to design isn't built?

Jack takes a consultative approach to the design process and will not begin design until he is sure he knows exactly what your needs and wants are. Remember, design drawings are easier to change than the pieces themselves.

If you decide not to build what Jack has designed, you will be charged for the design time, and you will get a copy of the drawings.

We don't know what to do with our space. What should we do?

The design phase usually determines the function of your piece. Jack will assess your architecture, furniture, colors and style. His experiences have taught him to ask the correct questions to determine a concept for your solution and a design for your piece.

When can my project start?

The consultation and design phase can start immediately. Construction is based on the scope and scale of each project and prior commitments.

Does Cato Woodworks actually do the work?

Jack is a hands-on craftsman and will be personally designing, building and installing your piece. Cato Woodworks sells his craftsmanship and expertise rather than a piece of wood.

Will you work outside of your area?

Most of the design work can be handled through email, phone calls and faxes. Smaller pieces and freestanding work are easily and safely delivered by moving companies. Moving larger pieces great distances is a bit more difficult than local work. Jack will travel anywhere, so long as his expenses are covered. However, large-scale projects and built-in cabinetry can be more complex, and cost considerations will have to be made.

I saw something I liked at a store — can you make something like that for me?

Cato Woodworks does not, and will not, compete with retail businesses. If you find something you like at a store, buy it. Because while retail production pieces offer great value to consumers, Jack builds handcrafted pieces. A serious cost comparison of the quality and choice of specifics between Cato Woodworks and high-end manufacturers of "custom-built" products verses the handcrafted personal piece you will receive from him will allow you to accurately assess the true value of your piece.


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Most people understand that wood is a biological material unique from all other building materials. What most people don't understand is that solid woods change, and are capable of movement across the grain. That means that any finished product crafted from wood must be designed to withstand expansion and contraction that comes from changing environmental conditions.

A good craftsman understands this organic nature of wood and plans, from the beginning, how to accommodate the intrinsic nature of the material. When trees are harvested and milled into lumber and dried, the cell structure of the wood dries and collapses. Most of this shrinkage occurs in the width of the lumber, because of the long cell structure that appears in natural wood.

As a master craftsman, Jack utilizes several applications to allow for wood movement in his final designs and creations. Techniques such as constructing with the grain of the wood, implementing artistic joinery, and proper use of wood substrates to minimize natural movement, resulting in a finished piece of master craftsmanship unmatched in quality and design.


When it comes to wood construction, most end users would mistakenly think that a piece made entirely from solid wood is superior in quality to a piece incorporating veneers, plywood, or other substrates. A true artist can make beautiful pieces with the appropriate materials realizing that there are no bad materials there are just bad uses of materials. In fact, very few pieces medium- or large-scale pieces are made entirely of solid wood.

Common substrate materials are melamine board (MB) and medium density fiberboard (MDF). Substrate materials are commonly used to keep construction cost efficient and minimize wood movement. A substrate can be made by surrounding a core of structurally stable ply with cosmetically appealing surface material. The nature of layered ply allows wood movement while maintaining its overall shape. This technique is most commonly used in cabinet interiors such as interior shelving, drawers and backs. Understanding the advantages of the best use of materials sets a craftsman like Jack apart from other tradesmen. You can be assured that Cato Woodworks will make the correct choice of materials based on the needs of the project. Jack's experience enables him to select the best materials for the application.


Making the correct choice with thousands of pieces of hardware like pulls, hinges, and handles available. It is tempting to cut corners and cost by using cheaper hardware. Jack's customers have come to expect superior performance from the moving pieces of their finished product and he will not give consideration to using cheaper materials or hardware.


Jack always selects wood that is readily available in solid and ply form to meet the color and structure criteria for the project. It is important to select a wood that accepts staining well and can be stained to give the desired color envisioned in the design. Because staining takes time and money, you may be better off choosing premium dark woods. Many customers prefer a a piece that will retain its integrity and is easy to repair, as such, Jack recommends the use of natural woods. Cato Woodworks will use exotic or unusual woods and finishes; however, there may be extra labor, service and expense required.


The finished look of every project is determined by its appearance on its surface. The color, cosmetic finishes such as simple stains clear coats, and exotic finishes only limited by imagination. All finishing processes come with unique challenges and some provide advantages in construction. Jack will consult with his client so that appropriate, cost effective techniques and materials and used to meet the expectations of the final cosmetic appearance of the finished piece.

Forethought and a vision of the functionality and appearance of the final piece is what set Cato Woodworks apart from the competition. This expertise in seeing the entire project, not just the work at hand, will ensure that materials selected will culminate in an heirloom quality piece that you will be proud of and cherish for a very long time.




215 55th Street
Moline, ILLINOIS 61265-1728