For one master craftsman, woodwork bridges past and future

Matthew Bosko has carved out a place for himself in Rosebush, Michigan.


The 36-year-old family man and woodworker owns and operates Masterpiece Custom Kitchens, a small business he runs in a large shop next door to his home. He primarily builds pieces for kitchens, bathrooms, offices, and bedrooms.


Bosko, originally from Ohio, has lived in Rosebush for eighteen years. He acquired his knowledge of woodworking early on from his father who did it as a hobby.


He worked for several woodworking shops in Ohio and eventually moved to Michigan, where he found work at a furniture shop.


Three years ago, he started Masterpiece Custom Kitchens. Bosko said his children were his motivation for that decision. He hopes to work with them and pass along the business when they come of age.


He and his wife Christine, 35, homeschool five sons; Ethan, 12, Gabriel, 11, Christian, 7, Jessiah, 3, and Micah, 1. Bosko says homeschooling allows them to emphasize both academic pursuits and life experience, “Besides their bookwork, they’re learning a lot. Ethan can read a tape measure better than most people."

Three of the Bosko boys play in their Dad's woodworking shop


Bosko and his family attend Agape Christian Fellowship in Farwell, Michigan. Christine was raised Amish, but Bosko identifies as closer to Mennonite. “To me it’s all connected. Serving the community honestly and helping people where you can,” Bosko said, "I see my church and my daily life as being not just a Sunday thing.”


In addition to his business, Bosko has been a volunteer for Rosebush Township’s fire department for four years. He said many members of his family are either a paramedic, a firefighter, or work in the medical field. Bosko was first certified as an EMT at age 18 and he is one of the few volunteers in Rosebush qualified for medical runs.


Bosko’s work can be found throughout Rosebush; notably the town’s welcome sign and the sign for the Isabella Northeast Fire District. The latter he donated for free, another way he enjoys giving back to the community around him.


From start to finish Bosko says projects typically take four to six weeks, depending on the size. He uses a ShopSabre CNC router to cut out most pieces. CNC, short for computer numerical control, is a computer controlled cutting machine. Bosko specifically chose the CNC router because it is American made in Minnesota. It's a tool that brings a lot of advantages to Bosko's work.


With the CNC router, pieces that originally took a week to create by hand now take between two or three days. “Some people consider it not doing as much woodworking because the machine is doing a lot of it, but in reality, it’s safer and it’s doing some of the monotonous stuff that doesn’t require a lot of skill,” Bosko said.


The machine cuts down on not only project time and material waste, but is also a safer method of cutting smaller pieces which are more dangerous to cut on a table saw. “It’s sad to say but it probably does take the place of an extra worker in the shop,” Bosko said, “But it works when I work - even at two in the morning.”

Matthew Bosko works in his shop


Bosko enjoys working directly with his clients, talking to them about their expectations and the ins and outs of different options for their homes and businesses. Sometimes Bosko even has the opportunity to keep people a little safer in the process. “While in the end it’s still their decision, they might not think about the fact that putting a tall cabinet right next to a stove could cause a fire,” Bosko said.


Educating customers who aren't familiar with the work is rewarding, but can be a challenge in our modern world. Bosko said people tend to only see the price, but there are many differences between mass-produced cabinets and those he makes in his shop. Everything from the hardware to the way it’s built, or the materials that are used can be drastically different.


Currently, Bosko is considering whether or not to expand the business, but woodworking is a specialized craft and talent isn't easy to come by. “I’d have all the work that I need if I wanted to go bigger, but then I’d have to hire some people and that’s harder yet. Finding people with the experience or the interest,” Bosko said. “That’s the crossroads I’m at right now.”


In the meantime, he has plenty of work to keep him busy. “It’s encouraging that, in the three years, I’ve already done second kitchens for people,” Bosko said. “I guess you could say they like the work.”