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

Building and Repairing Furniture 

for Elburn, IL and the 

St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia Area


          What goes into building or repairing furniture in Elburn, IL, at Campana Woodworking? The following story and the complexity of the situation is why I love my job. Please read on and find out for yourself.

           Some years ago, a customer brought in a chair that needed repair. He and his wife had moved, and the moving company broke this chair. It was quite special. He explained it had been built in China and could find no one to repair it. 

           Please understand, Chinese craftsmen build specialty woodworking products in a truly unique way. The entire chair is assembled at once, not in steps. All the joints interlock and support each other eliminating any mechanical fasteners such as nails and screws. Thus, if one joint were to fail, in order for the chair to come apart, many of the joints would have to fail at the same time. This chair was broken but not apart. Hmmm? 

           This got me to thinking about how I build furniture and repair furniture and the techniques employed. What is my work philosophy of quality construction? Is it greater than today’s offerings by my contemporaries? 

           Besides building or repairing as close to possible what the client envisions, I want the furniture to look clean and the detail of cuts and repairs to be sharp. The grain also has to have good clarity when the finish is applied. 

            Keeping these basic requirements in mind when building or repairing furniture in Elburn, IL. I work such that fasteners, glue residue, putty, blade marks or sanding marks are not on visual surfaces. This requires a number of techniques some of which I shall list below. I also want the finish to be appropriate for the use of the piece and as easy as possible to take care of. Finally, the function of the piece must be achieved as per the requirements of the client. 

            Achieving these tasks is not easy. One can fashion a desk out of orange crates but what value is created there? I employ many time-honored techniques that are commonly employed when building or repairing furniture in Elburn, IL, such as: 

1.) Joints are created using dowels, tongue and groove or mortise and tenon techniques. These are the strongest and most reliable. This means face frames are doweled, and leg joints may be doweled or mortised. Furniture carcasses have dadoes and rabbets for strength and good looks. (Biscuits or frame screws are not used.) 

2.) Specialty woodworking products like a properly glued surface give furniture pieces great strength. The use of a screw or nail might be employed to hold the surfaces together as a permanent clamp until the glue dries but is not the main fastener of the joint. I use a good deal of glue blocks inside and underneath the carcass. Once again, mechanical fasteners are not used on A grade surfaces unless absolutely needed as dictated by the design. At times, a part is easier to remake than a repair, eliminating an ugly spot on a piece of furniture.  

3.) When lumber is purchased, it is surfaced to 15\16” for building or repairing furniture in Elburn, IL. However, what does this mean? As an example, it allows the doors and panels to be fabricated substantially thicker than a typical door in today’s market. Moldings are sized for appearance, not the economy. Panels of all types have greater girth adding to the strength and the visual appeal. (The added upside to all this is that the lumber costs no more.) It also allows older repaired items to have the wood match the old dimensioned material of by-gone eras. 

4.) Any repaired and refinished furniture are finish-sanded in-line by hand before staining- helping create a clean look. 

5.) The finish applied is important for looks, durability, and ease of maintenance. Typically, five coats are applied after stain- a shellac coat to stabilize the stain, two seal coats, and two finish coats. If the finish is a polished, high gloss wood finish, as many as five finish coats may be applied before polishing. Note that when appropriate, a finish of simple rubbed wax may also be employed if that is what is right. 

Finally, here is a listing of some other items that may interest you: 

A.) Clients receive detailed CAD drawings to review before beginning new furniture construction. Full-scale molding and part drawings are provided when requested to aid the client in visualization. 

B.) Legs for tables and turned parts are produced in-shop using templates drawn on CAD for dependable accuracy and repetition of design. 

C.) Moldings are produced by Campana Woodworking; adding to the uniqueness of new work. When a part or molding is fabricated as a replacement, it is faithful to the original adding to the quality of repaired or refinished furniture. This control of the process is appreciated by the client.

D.) Clients can pick the moldings, door type, and panel, stain, or wood type from existing samples to help make their design decisions. A good deal of these choices does not impact the cost. 

E.) Doors are constructed in-shop whether a simple, flat-panel, glass-panel or a French country raised-panel just like the moldings and replacement parts. 

F.) Great care is taken when gluing panels to balance the planks by alternating the grain and sizing the planks closely equal or matching grain of new wood to old. 

These are a few examples of the attention to detail helping assure specialty woodworking products. Hopefully, you understand that when you have a piece of furniture built or repaired by Campana Woodworking, you will receive the quality you require and the craftsmanship you deserve.

Oh, and by the way, it was a challenge but the chair was repaired and the client what very pleased.


Thanks for Reading,

Jim Campana