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Furniture-making unplugged

Patrice Pinaquy relies solely on antique tools and 17th century techniques to keep the legacy of elegant hand-craftsmanship alive.

April 11, 2009|Jeff Spurrier

Pinaquy's passion for the old ways has lured craftsmen-in-training to ask for an apprenticeship, something beyond his guest lectures at Cerritos College's woodworking classes. But he and his wife, landscape architect Karen Adnoff, are planning something more ambitious. Inspired by a medieval fortress construction project in the Burgundy region of France, the couple say they will build a French chateau here entirely by hand, using materials and tools -- ropes, hoists, scaffolding, planes, saws and chisels -- also made by hand.

The dream is to partner with a local school or nongovernmental organization to create jobs for, and awareness of, at-risk youth.

"You are in the right spot in your world when you're doing something like this," Adnoff says, adding that drawings will be done by hand, not AutoCAD. Computers are great for revisions, but "it's wonderful to feel graphite all over your hands again."

Going back to basics makes sense in an economic collapse, but is building a monument to royal aesthetics sending the right message?

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, April 15, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 Metro Desk 1 inches; 45 words Type of Material: Correction
Period craftsman: An April 11 Home section profile of Patrice Pinaquy, a Los Angeles craftsman who uses centuries-old tools and techniques, included a photo caption that identified one piece of furniture as a Louis XIV tea table. The table is actually Louis XV in style.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, April 18, 2009 Home Edition Home Part E Page 6 Features Desk 1 inches; 43 words Type of Material: Correction
Period craftsman: An April 11 profile of Patrice Pinaquy, a Los Angeles craftsman who uses centuries-old tools and techniques, included a photo caption that identified one piece of furniture as a Louis XIV tea table. The table is actually Louis XV in style.

"You have to change the concept that art is a luxury," Pinaquy says. "People need to dream. That's why they go to the movies, to escape the hard reality. This is part of the dream."

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A furniture craftsman at work

For more photos of Patrice Pinaquy's home and workshop, look for the gallery posted with this article online.

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