Profile: Greg Klassen
Woodworker West|November-December 2018

Greg Klassen of Everson, WA is studio furnituremaker, who’s River® Table Collection has garnered international attention and orders. Here is Greg’s story, in his own words:

I began woodworking while a theology student in college. Getting married at 21, I took a job as a “garbage man” at a door manufacturer to help make ends meet. Among my duties was to recycle wood waste, and I brought home wood scraps to play with. Though I had no woodworking experience (beyond a woodshop class in high school), I was able to construct needed furnishings for our very empty apartment.

In the process, I discovered that I really enjoyed working with wood, and this developed into a passion. I discovered Fine Woodworking, the work of Sam Maloof and George Nakashima, and the writings of James Krenov. This lead me to want to develop my skills, and I enrolled in the College of the Redwoods Furniture Program, after earning my college degree. I also had the opportunity to spend a semester at Capellagården School of Craft & Design in Vickleby, Sweden, founded by Krenov’s mentor Carl Malmsten.

Upon completing this woodworking study, we returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2008 and went into business. Among my first jobs was kitchen cabinetry, and thereafter decided that I did not want the temptation of chasing money and becoming a cabinet shop. Rather, I chose to focus upon one-off furniture projects of my own design. Those first six years were a struggle—as I created rocking chairs, fine cabinetry, entry doors, and the like—but I remained true to only taking on projects that excited me.

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