Going with the Grain

September 19, 2012 | By | Reply More

Zak Yannarella is resurrecting a bygone era in his Carversville workshop. But it’s not to be fashionable or even distinct. He’s doing it this way because it’s all he’s ever known.
By Scott Edwards

The hills that surround the tiny historic village of Carversville keep the outside world at a safe distance. Here, it’s easy to imagine that the homes, the general store, the inn, even the landscape look much as they did 100, 150 years ago.
Along one of the sloping roads sits a modest workshop. A massive wooden entertainment center-in-the-making takes up almost a third of the space. The rest is filled with a weathered workbench, hand tools hanging from a square pegboard and a few freestanding machines, the newest of which is a band saw that dates back to 1945 or 1947. The table saw is one of the first that Craftsman ever made. Every visible surface is covered in varying degrees of sawdust.
Custom furniture and cabinets are constructed here by a craftsman and his apprentice, who, even though business has been brisk, make a point to drop everything at least once a week and go fishing for a few hours because, the craftsman says, “There are a lot of other parts to life.”
Zak Yannarella started working as a craftsman-for-hire in 2008, when he was 26. He rented space on a farm a mile away. There was plenty of room to grow, which he did, but the basic utilities were unreliable or nonexistent, and Yannarella couldn’t bear the thought of working through another winter without heat.
As the chill started to evolve into cold a couple years ago, he spotted this workshop. The woman renting it explained that it and the building in the back belonged to her father, who made furniture and clocks. Yannarella’s workshop is his former showroom. His uncle works upstairs, repairing antique clocks, of course.

Lying in wait
Yannarella comes from a long line of craftsmen. His great-grandfather helped construct 10 Rockefeller Plaza. It was his idolization of his uncles and his profound respect for his grandfather that drew him into his grand-

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