April 27, 2022 // 2:35 PM
Building an Heirloom, Together
Written by Juanita Fox
Collin Corrie grew up with his grandpa, Larry Knepper, living close by. The extended Knepper family spends quality time together working on projects—whether it’s splitting wood at Larry’s farm in Fulton County or building an heirloom table in the Garden Spot Village Wood Shop.
Collin, a college student, and Larry, a master craftsman and Garden Spot Village resident since August 2009, have been working on a once-in-a-lifetime project—a dining room table made of solid red oak.
Collin purchased the kiln-dried oak and enlisted the help of his grandpa. Larry enlisted the help of Rolf Fehrenbach, another master craftsman and Garden Spot Village resident since August 2020.
Collin, a former Garden Spot Village Central Kitchen employee, is set to graduate from Penn State Berks in May as a mechanical engineer, and he hopes to purchase a home nearby. “I really wanted an heirloom table. Having my grandpa and Rolf involved in making it, really accomplishes that goal,” Collin says.
Larry adds, “This table should last through several generations.
”Together, the men invested about 150 hours. “We used just about every tool we have here in the Wood Shop,” Larry says with a smile. He was quick to add, “The table is handcrafted—we built it with minimal use of the machines.”
They used the art of mortise and tenon to make the 7-foot-by-40-inch table. “At this point, except for how the legs attach to the top, there’s not a screw anywhere in the table,” Rolf says.
The men plan to assemble the table in the Wood Shop and then disassemble it for the move to Collin’s house. They anticipate that they will need four men just to move the tabletop because of the oak’s density. Although the density makes the red oak very sturdy, it also makes it very heavy.
The Garden Spot Village Wood Shop offers many opportunities for people of all ages and experiences to work together, share their challenges and successes and explore intergenerational projects that offer purpose and meaning.
Collin and Larry’s project is just one example of the amazing heirlooms that can come from generations of artisans working together.