Campana Woodworking
Established 1978
Providing the Fox Valley with Furniture Repair and Custom Furniture for your Home or Office 

Woodworking Owner 

and Operator in Elburn, IL



            Often, I am asked, how I became a woodworking owner and operator in Elburn, IL, or what is my background? Ok. I'll give you some background.

             My name is Jim Campana. I am Campana Woodworking.  If you call or come by my shop, I will be the person you talk with. The proverbial buck stops here.   


            Growing up in a family of six children necessitated being resourceful and creative. Building a bicycle from odd parts was common in my neighborhood. It was a right of passage. There were many other handy crafts we employed simply to fill a life need. Finally, as a high school kid, I wanted a car. So, my buddy and I built a dune buggy from parts of two or three old VWs. (Somewhere I still have a picture.) 

            My degree is in biology- specifically: Botany. I have always been one to challenge myself in different ways. When deciding on a course of study in college, I felt that if I could gain a degree in the sciences, I could accomplish any goal I choose. The biological sciences interested me- they were ‘personal. 


After completing my college education, my adventure of life began. Teaching, coaching, and working on personal projects of interest were common. The projects consistently engaged wood as the medium of choice. Over time, I focused on repairing and refinishing furniture for friends, others and myself.  


             My father was a toolmaker for fifty-five years and a great influence in my life. He was a master at his craft, an artisan. (My father made the very first molds for what is today generically called: Tupperware.) Growing up, he passed along his attitudes and insights gained from the countless hours in the shop. Often he would employ me to do cleaning and small projects that required little expertise. Thus, my life in a workshop craftsman business was natural, comfortable.

             We differed in education and background. He learned the old way serving an apprenticeship. The difference was simpler: he worked with steel, I with wood. Both machined the material requiring precision and discipline.


             Having him to turn to for answers to machining problems or shop questions was priceless. He may not have always had the answer to my dilemmas, but he instilled three things in me that I will use every day as a woodworking owner and operator in Elburn, IL.

1.) He taught me that my hands were as important of tools that I will ever have. “I would only get one set. Take care of them.”  His hands were strong, agile and always well cared for.

2.) Work for quality, even when it hurts. As you build things of quality, your craft will only get better. Quality in your work is pride in yourself. Never settle for second rate.

3.) I was to remember that doing custom woodwork constantly presents problems. “There is always a solution. You will just have to find it.” 


              So in 1978, I started my business. I taught the sciences in schools. I coached swimming in my extra time (my second love). However, I longed to follow a path shown to me by my father in the craftsman business. I desired to repair and build true one-of-a-kind furniture.

              Over the years, I learned the trade knowing I had the best advice a person could have. Then, always seeking a better way. Now, forty years later, I still work to reach the level of craft my father had shown me in his shop. Using the education I gained in college to solve problems of construction and design, I forge forward enjoying everyday making furniture that my customers design in their minds or repairing and refinishing furniture they value from their homes.

I am reminded everyday that being human is a blessing. I work with no pretense.

“The apprentice makes the mistake.

The journeyman avoids the mistake.

The master repairs the mistake.

Everyday, I am all three.”  

May I continue on the path of the craftsman.

Thank You for Reading,

          Jim Campana