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Architectural Art Carved Out At NK Woodworking

[Photo: Tom Wright] Traditional craftsman quality combined with a modern artistic style. That's the goal of NK Woodworking. Started by Nathie Katzoff three years ago in South Seattle, he and his staff strive to provide clients with furniture that has an everlasting quality as well as being a piece of art for your home.

Immediately as you enter the shop and see some of their work on display, the quality of the work is obvious. The other obvious thing you notice is the good-natured attitude and laid-back feel of the employees. These are people getting to do what they love.

Katzoff started in Maine working on boats. "I started off with boats, and then a friend asked me to build their staircase, and then we won a cool award for it, so we started building more staircases and grew from there,", says Katzoff. As a sailor he gets a joy out of adventure, which ended up bringing him to Washington. "Once I got out here, I really liked the personality and felt I found a home here."

What NK is probably most known for are their staircases and wooden tubs (yeah, we didn't stutter, wooden tubs). Everything they build is completely custom and created in the shop, "some shops will just order stock parts and mix them together, we make everything here ourselves." A lot of the staircases they build have no nails or screws holding them together, just wood joints and interlocking pieces, which provides a sturdier product, not to mention making them more aesthetically-pleasing.

Their most unique item is the wooden tub. Built of sapele, a mahogany wood, it can take as much as three-hundred hours to put together. With a special fiberglass coating, the tub can be treated and cleaned like any normal tub.

"One benefit with a wooden tub is that it's insulating. So you can fill it with warm water and it'll hold that warmth in longer. Most artistic tubs of stone, cooper, or metal, their cold, so yeah the tub might look nice but it's really inefficient."

The inspiration for making the tubs comes from his interest to take his boat-building skills and apply them in an architectural way. While there are a few shops in Maine, Poland, and Switzerland; it is pretty unique and NK Woodworking is the only company in the Northwest making them.

Using mostly hardwoods gives the items they build a better longevity. "Most our wood is milled from arborists or people who removed a tree from their home." While using a wide range of woods, some of the more common ones they work with are maple, walnut, elm, and cherry. The appeal of combing hard woods with their standard for quality is you'll have a piece of furniture that can last and be passed down from generation to generation.

While NK has two locations, one for boat restoration and another for furniture, there is need to expand. In June, they hope to expand the main shop to make it easier to work on spiral staircases and other large projects.
· NK Woodworking [NK}