Utah Stories

J. Thompson Workshop

Joey Thompson found his calling in life building furniture


J.Thompson Furniture-8
Joey Thompson of J. Thompson Workshop Photo by Mike Jones


Ten years ago, if you had asked Joey Thompson what he would be doing in 2015, he might have responded by telling you he would be a lawyer. “Furniture making is something that I started doing to pay for college. I realized that my knack was definitely with wood and not what I was going to school for, but definitely with wood. I was an English major; pre-law.” Joey says.

Joey started working with wood over ten years ago in his uncle’s cabinet shop. “The cabinet shop was a good background but I started taking an interest in design and construction of other pieces. I spent many hours at the public library reading theories and philosophies on furniture and design. An employee at the cabinet shop got me hooked up with Chris Gochnour, a local legend among Utah’s furniture makers.”

Joey took a class at Salt Lake Community College from Chris, who acted as a mentor and pushed Joey to get a job with a local shop called Old World Antiques. “They are one of the better production shops in town. I got a lot of experience from them and after I left, the owner helped me get my start.”

The first shop Jay opened was out a garage. “It was a small space, probably only 12 x 20 ft. I worked out of there for a couple of years.” From there he and his brother shared a shop on 200 west. The need for more space prompted Jay to move again. “The new location is a big improvement as far as space goes, we are excited for the possibilities. In the beginning furniture making was a creative outlet and was just more fulfilling than anything else I could do. I believe in good, honest hard work, it’s a philosophy I live my life by.”

J. Thompson Workshop seems to operate on a if you can dream it we can build it attitude, However, Joey’s personal favorite project is to build a good chair. “That’s therapy to me” Joey says with a grin. “There’s just something about the delicate balance between strength and durability and comfort. The possibilities of design are endless with a chair.”

J. Thompson Workshop is located at 1209 Major Street Salt Lake City,  Utah 801 783-7853.



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