Allied Arts Guild: The Barn Woodshop

Tom, who owns The Barn Woodshop in Menlo Park, noticed me lurking in the bushes with my camera during my first visit to the Allied Arts Guild in March 2009.  He invited me to look around the Barn once I was finished shooting flowers in the garden.

The Barn is 125 years old, and has housed a Woodshop for the past 81 years.  In the Barn, Tom gave me a pin to mark my hometown on a world map he uses to track visitors.  Tom traveled around the world before returning to his family’s business of building and restoring heirloom-quality furniture.  He likes not knowing who will come through the door of his Woodshop each day.  Once, he repaired some furniture for Shirley Temple; she still lives nearby in Woodside.  These days, Tom works on a steady stream of commissions from Stanford faculty and Silicon Valley honchos who trust him to restore their treasures with sensitivity and integrity.  When I told Tom about my hobby of re-finishing discarded tables and chairs, he offered to teach me how to cane chairs.  I didn’t accept his offer right away, even though Scott encouraged me to give it a try.  Now I’m really glad I did as Tom taught me how to weave cane and replace torn sheet cane.  These skills may come in handy the next time I find a broken chair on the sidewalk!  Before we moved to L.A. last fall, Tom fixed a pair of rosewood chairs that I had inherited from my grandfather.  Now, I visit Tom every time I’m in town.

Last weekend, we visited friends in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and San Francisco.  At the Guild, I renewed my contract with the Artisan Shop to consign prints of my photos and accepted Tom’s offer of display space for my photos in the Barn’s new showroom.

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