Justin Kauffman

Craftsmanship is a true calling for traditional woodworker

April 28, 2011 // 0 Comments

‘People used to be more satisfied in their daily tasks and occupations’ by BETH ALTENA He uses 100-year-old tools, paper, pencil and patience to create furniture the way it was made in early America. Justin Kauffman is following his calling—and he means that in the theological sense that he is doing what he believes God meant him to do. Kauffman studied Bible and Religion at Anderson University in Indiana and then completed two masters degrees in Old Testament and one in Biblical Languages at Gordon-Cornwell Theological Seminary with plans to become a professor. While dating his future bride, her grandfather introduced him to woodworking as the two men constructed a hope chest. That introduction to woodworking 10 years ago would change the course of Kauffman’s life. Their landlady in Boston allowed him the use of a dusty, dank basement to use a few poor-quality tools to practice the craft, and Kauffman came to believe that working with his hands and wood was what God meant for him to do. He went back to school—this time to the county’s oldest trade school, North Bennet Street School, and began to follow God’s will in a different direction—not as a teacher, but as a furniture maker. Today Kauffman is commissioned to re-create a set of lyre-backed Duncan Phyfe chairs circa 1810. Few men today are capable of such an undertaking.