Chris Schwarz's Blog

European Dreaming: A Visit to Kent Adkins’s Shop

In May, Senior Editor Glen D. Huey and I went to visit Kent Adkins’s new shop in St. Louis. Kent, an avid woodworker and surgical urologist, has spent the last few years building a custom shop from the ground up and filling it with best and safest machines he could find. Finger safety is particularly important to surgeons.

The shop is, in a word, fantastic. And I’m jaded.

I wrote a story about our visit for the February 2011 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, but you can get a taste of the European awesomeness by watching this brief slideshow.

— Christopher Schwarz

42 thoughts on “European Dreaming: A Visit to Kent Adkins’s Shop

  1. thernly

    Since Kent went to the trouble of researching alternatives in great detail before building his shop, I for one would love to know more about the choices he made and why: Design and layout, size, lumber and tools and supplies storage, dust collection, hvac, insulation, floor materials, doors and windows, access, electric service, compressed air service, smaller tools he chose, where and how he does finishing work, bench and vise choices, assembly tables, veneering setup, what would he do differently if he were starting today, etc. Most of us can’t afford Martin equipment but I’m sure there are many lessons we CAN learn from Kent’s painstaking research and experience.

    Sorry about the folks who resent Kent’s success. They either can’t comprehend or don’t care how hard he has had to work. The process of becoming a surgeon requires more years of torturous, grueling apprentice (slave) work than I could endure. And I wouldn’t wish it on my own children. There are certainly easier routes to earning a good living. But since Kent is one of that rare breed who can focus like a hawk on a subject for eons, and he has applied his talent to the study of woodworking shops, please tell us much more about what he has learned!

    Could you ask the good doctor himself to contribute an article or blog entry about this? He can rest assured the vast, silent majority among us will be most grateful for his contribution to our hobby.


    I’ve been subscribing to Popular Woodworking for about a year now, having purchased an issue here-and-there for the past several. I attempted a career in woodworking starting with the academic end after high school, but I just never made it to the destination. So, for me, my interest of late in the craft is resurgent, having spent the last 30-some years in the real estate business, and next-to-none on woodworking (although reading is a beautiful thing – it allows many to experience the craft vicariously). I thoroughly enjoy each issue of Popular Woodworking, the works of Lost Arts Press, and the sincere efforts the editors, writers and staff put into preserving hand and machine work. It’s obvious they have a passion for both the subject and the craft. I’ve never paid much heed to blogs – actually this is my first post to any blog. Chris Schwarz makes an excellent point about knowing the person; others about spending the fruits of one’s labor as they see fit. But here is what I see as the crucial flaw of blogging (forgive me if that’s a misnomer): The detail provided gives only a foretaste of what is to come in the full article, which can lead to misconceptions, "jading" one’s opinion if you will. So perhaps we are better off just sitting tight and waiting for the next issue to arrive. I’ll bet that most of the audience to this blog, are already fine woodworkers, and subscribers to Popular Woodworking. So, is the crux of blogging to increase interest in the next issue, or to open intelligent dialogue on the subject matter, or both? I would likely never set up my shop like Kent Adkins, but I sure do like the equipment, and would love the opportunity to visit, and to actually meet the man responsible for this fine wood shop. And, please forgive my jading – but anyone who fails to author their work, shouldn’t be posting. Anonymous content is watery gruel at best, and often childish diatribe. ~ Don Mueller

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