Since 1952, the Zapata family has stood out for the art of making wooden furniture from a modest structure, located on the PR-312 highway, in Cabo Rojo, named Comaco.
The space, founded by the Hilton brothers and Julio Zapata Pérez, has managed for more than 70 years to position itself among the best furniture manufacturers in the western area of the Island. From there, custom pieces are made, by hand and in wood, such as furniture, pillar beds, kitchens, wardrobes and armchairs, among others.
“We make our furniture to order. We have a catalog and many come from all over Puerto Rico and others from the United States. People who ask me for merchandise and it has been sent there. Some are Puerto Ricans who are there and buy a house here, then they buy the furniture here and have the kitchens built as well,” said Exón Zapata Collado, owner of this unique company since 2002.
Almost a dozen men do the crafts daily, testing their creativity and capacity for innovation to please their customers. “They ask me for details of carvings, engravings, types of mirrors with carved ornaments. Each client is something different. Here they make straw furniture, medallion-style furniture from the 1940s, Creole furniture, Creole medallion furniture; The pillar beds, the wardrobes, the room sets, custom kitchen cabinets are made, but everything is to the client’s taste. We use woods such as mahogany, cedar and pine. They are like typical furniture, but according to the client’s taste”, highlighted Zapata.
“Right now the most they ask me for are the sets of fourth pillars and the kitchens They have different prices because it depends on what the customer wants and the size. They are custom made in mahogany with compartments that the customer can already move with things to the front for comfort, in case he goes to pick something up, ”he added.
Another of the jewels made by the hands of these Caborrojeños are the medallion room games with the straw in the middle; Some of these have reached government offices and even La Fortaleza, since Comaco attends to the demand of government suppliers in this market. “We make them to furniture stores and they put them up for sale,” said Zapata, explaining that they also supply some businesses in the area.
The work that is done in Comaco is done by hand, without machinery; only with the necessary tools to cut the pieces of trunk or smooth wood and the sandpaper to keep the piece as polished as possible. “Some ask us for initials, flowers and even a nautical star they asked us once,” said the owner.
Once inside the factory, among pieces of wood, sawdust and paint, We are Puerto Rico spoke with Alberto Vargas, a cabinetmaker who has been in the place for 27 years and whose hands are responsible for most of the designs that are carved into each piece of wood to make up the requested furniture.
“The wood arrives, after I take the measurements of the furniture they requested; the wood is rough cut here and cut lengthwise on this saw. Then you have to brush it and straighten it. Then it is cut on that table that is there (points). It straightens up again here and then it goes to the other planer and straightens up and then sands it down. Then one cuts the length to go tying and make the furniture. After this process, that is where the details of the lines and designs come little by little”, explained the man who is also in charge of painting the pieces.
If in one of these processes the piece is damaged or the design they carve does not fit as they wish, what do they do? asked this newspaper. “You start over, at zero. That man who is there (pointing to the owner) checks every piece that leaves this area and everything must be as requested”, replied the cabinetmaker, highlighting the quality controls in the factory.
The factory is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm For additional information, you can call (787) 851-1865.