Our Craftsmanship

A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.

-Louis Nizer, lawyer (1902-1994)

-Visit our Funerary Page

Pipe Organ in Conjunction with K.C. Marrin Company

Saint Boniface Parish - Cold Spring, Minnesota

This is one of a number of exciting projects Abbey Woodworking has been privileged to work on this year. Here is the start of a medium sized pipe organ, conceived and designed by Mr. KC Marrin of  Cold Spring, MN. Abbey Woodworking is milling lumber and constructing the main support beams, large wooden pipes, case work and other portions of this beautiful musical instrument.

See the Slide Show.

Chapel Furniture

Saint Paul's Monastery - Saint Paul, Minnesota

We are grateful to the Sisters of Saint Paul's Monastery in Saint Paul, MN for choosing Abbey Woodworking to construct and design portions of the furniture for their new monastery chapel.

The main alter and ambo - designed by Pope Architects of Saint Paul, MN - as well as 62 chairs, prayer leaders stand, credence table, presider's table and candle stands - designed in conjunction with Abbey Woodworking will be placed in a beautiful new chapel designed by Pope Architects.

The Saint John's Bible Cabinet

In 1998 Saint John’s Abbey commissioned a team of calligraphers and artists under the direction of Donald Jackson in Wales to create a beautiful handwritten and illuminated Bible. Using vellum, quills, hand ground inks, and traditional methods familiar to medieval scribes, the team began the process of producing a Bible inspired by our own time and experience; 7 volumes, 16” X 25” in size, bound in quarter sawn white oak and leather, with contemporary illuminations and calligraphic treatments of the kind most of us only see in museums. This creative effort became know as The Saint John’s Bible project.

The Saint John’s Bible project team approached the Benedictine Abbey’s own craftsmen for a cabinet design that could protect and display the Heritage Edition (high quality facsimiles) of The Saint John’s Bible in a safe but reverent way: in a manner friendly to the bindings, with materials and hardware elegant in their simplicity and durability, built to standards equal to the volumes they contain.

The books are too large to be handled and viewed while sitting, therefore the cabinet was designed to show them at a standing height. There is an appropriate element of respect inherent in approaching the Word of God in this more formal way. The result is a cabinet with a 7-drawer, ark-like box to store each volume flat, supported by a combination reading stand and display enclosure for viewing. The leather-lined drawer bottoms have finger recesses beneath the books to assist in obtaining a firm grip for removal.  A volume open for long-term display can be placed in the support cradle beneath the hinged glass top of the stand. The sweeping curves of the 8/4 framework and delicate hexagonal knobs are architectural references to the Abbey’s famous Bauhaus church built in 1960 by Marcel Breuer.

The Saint John’s Bible Cabinet houses the Word of God in a unique and holy way: it is something simple made sacred by how it is used and will be viewed this way by many of the customers who purchase the Heritage Edition for use in their churches, religious communities, and homes. For most, The Saint John’s Bible will be much more than a work of art. Likewise, the cabinet had to be more than drawers and doors. Being a community that practices and values the Benedictine way of life we approach the construction and material of furniture building in a style that is honest, functional, and long lasting. Being constructed in Saint John’s own monastic woodworking shop certainly immerses the Bible Cabinet in the monastic tradition of craftsmanship and care for the vessels of the community that is central to what it means to elevate the ordinary to the sacred.

Design:   K.C. Marrin
Construction:  Mike Roske and the Abbey Woodworking team

Quarter sawn red oak, Welsh oak, ebony,                                brass, leather and glass.   
75 hours prototype R&D
215 hours construction
40 hours of finishing time