In Interviews

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I built my wedge-shaped workshop twelve years ago. It’s 470 square feet, which is too small, as every woodworker knows, but my options were limited, because the shop had to fit between my house and garage. I love how the windows flood the space with light.

My biggest challenge has been to make my stationary tools fit the space. For example, my tablesaw and jointer/planer face a pair of French doors, which I have to open to process long boards. I store lumber in the garage.

I built all the shop cabinets and augmented them with other pieces, such as the antique type chest that stores all my nuts and bolts. The cabinets are filled with old tools that I’ve collected. I keep them all in working order and use them regularly. I enjoy the quiet nature of working with hand tools, and one of my favorite occupations is using them to restore old furniture pieces. I’ve become expert at repairing wornout drawer parts!

I also like to build replicas of period pieces: Nightstands, bookcases, chests of drawers, etc. I recently completed two Chippendale-style bureaus made from 100-year-old, 21-inch-wide cherry boards, although I can’t take all the credit. I always receive lots of help from my able shop assistant, Gussie the cat. -Erik Lessing

This article originally appeared in American Woodworker Magazine #130.

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