The Barn Woodshop's Tradition of Fine Furniture Repair Complements the Rich History of its LocationThe site of The Barn Woodshop was originally part of a Spanish land grant known as Rancho de las Pulgas. When the barn was built in 1885, nobody assumed it would one day house a furniture repair business. In 1929, a group of artists purchased 3.5 acres of land and established the Allied Arts Guild to promote the arts and handicrafts in California. They preserved some of the original buildings at the location and the barn gained new life. At that point, Martin Nelson, wood craftsman and sculptor, established the business and a tradition of excellence began.
Nelson obviously believed in the time-honored system of apprenticeship and employed a young man by the name of Albert Kieninger. Al had served with distinction, in WWII, aboard a U.S. Navy tugboat in the Mediterranean picking up survivors from lost ships and airplanes. Nelson recognized in Al the type of talent and work ethic worthy of his mentoring.
Al apparently learned his lessons well and took over the business in 1974. By then, also believing in the value of apprenticeship, he had begun to train his son, Tom, and eventually the reins of the tradition were handed to Tom in 1987. Today, the tradition lives on as Tom has begun the apprenticeship of his son, Luke, ensuring that another generation of customers benefits from the special furniture repair knowledge and skill passed down through the years from The Barn Woodshop's founder.
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