Alan Kaniarz founded A.K. Services in 1983 and is the company's sole proprietor. He engages in and oversees all aspects of full-service custom woodworking. He designs, fabricates, finishes and installs kitchens, furniture, doors, and assorted case- and millwork.
Alan's company specializes in inset door and drawer cabinetry and stained glass fabrication and repair. He has a special place in his heart for antiques, often buying, restoring and repairing antique furniture, stained glass and lighting fixtures. Some of his furniture is in use at the Detroit Institute of Arts in the Modern wing. You may also find some of his restored pieces available for sale on this website.
Alan currently holds the post of Adjunct Faculty at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, in the Foundations and Crafts Department, where he teaches both wood and metal shop classes. Alan also has a position as Adjunct Faculty at Wayne State University, also in Detroit, where he teaches a furniture design course for the Interior Design Department.
Alan won the grand prize in an international design competetion in December, 2011, for his "Motion Chair." The competition was sponsored by States Industries of Eugene, Oregon, which is the maker of ApplePly, a furniture-grade plywood. Alan received his Grand Prize trophy on January 11, 2012 at the headquarters of All America Plywood in Detroit.
Prior to 1983, Alan worked as Director of Product Development for Inland Craft Products, where he was named Vice President in 1982. While at Inland, he developed an assembly line, designed a national trade-show booth, oversaw show logistics, and acted as company spokesperson, engaging in national and international sales calls.
This article, by Karen Vazquez, was featured in a recent issue of Ambassador Magazine. Click on thumbnail below to see larger version of the image
Alan Kaniarz is something of a mad scientist. Upon entering his massive 6000-square-foot workshop, you are greeted by the woody smell of saw-dust and the heady scents of stain and varnish. With twinkling eyes and a bevy of antiques and wood planks behind him, the moment you step into his shop, the madness is apparent – in a very good way.
Kaniarz is the mastermind behind AK Services Inc., a woodworking shop located in the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit. From there, the company offers design services, custom doors, stained glass, antiques and custom cabinetry that would put almost any modern cabinet to shame.
Kaniarz sets himself apart from other woodworking shops in the area by specializing in inset door and drawer cabinetry and stained glass fabrication and repair.
By way of dedication to his art, Kaniarz has come across a few once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, most recently the chance to re-create furniture for the Turkel-Benbow House, a Frank Lloyd Wright creation on 7 Mile in Detroit.
He’s even found Maranti wood and re-created the exact color of the stain used throughout the rest of the house.
Of course, he had to obtain original blueprints from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and only received permission to produce a limited number for the home, but all of that is just a glorious detail for this man on a mission.
“It’s kind of a sickness,” Kaniarz says, glancing up at the cluster of vintage lamps overhead. All o the lights, some Tiffany, are in various stages of repair, all to be painstakingly restored to their original splendor. “But that’s what this is really about – attention to detail.”
He isn’t kidding. In the recent creation of a Miter Mullion bookcase for a client, Kaniarz used antique hinges, screws and even glass to highlight true Arts and Crafts period details.
Yes, it may have taken between 15 and 20 hours for him and his employees to make three, but who’s counting when it comes to craftsmanship?
AK Services Inc. does not mass produce anything. Kaniarz, an adjunct faculty member at the College for Creative Studies Foundations Department, can’t produce cabinets at the speed of light, but he finds great pleasure in taking his time. “I like the freedom to pursue what I want to do,” he says.
That kind of meticulous commitment to craftsmanship is what makes his 24-year-old company one of Detroit’s premier woodworking shops.