Before he begins building any piece of furniture — an altar, a pulpit, a desk, a chair — Tom Tosti prays.
He asks God to help him do his best work and help him turn the wood into a thing of beauty and function. But mostly, and always, he asks for humility.
“I pray that it’s for his glory, not mine,” says Tosti, an ordained Catholic deacon who is carving out a reputation as a designer and craftsman of liturgical furnishings.
As his son, Dominic Tosti, puts it: “It’s more than just a cabinet shop.”
Indeed, the name of the family business, housed in a shop 20 yards from the family home in the Summit County town of Oakley, is the first clue it’s not a typical furniture factory.
Tekton Woodworks gets its name from the Greek word for craftsman in wood, metal or stone. Tosti chose the name to honor two carpenters from Galilee: Jesus Christ and his stepfather, Joseph.
On the first day of the new year, Tosti has a presider’s chair with rich tapestry and green marble ornamentation sitting in his office, ready to deliver to a Catholic church at the University of San Diego.
A modern altar with Romanesque arches, made of quilted oak and maple with a medallion of bird’s-eye maple, rests on a dolly. It will be loaded into a van and delivered to the Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Park City later on this New Year’s Day.
Two drop-leaf tables await their finishes. They are bound for the LDS Church-owned City Creek Center project in downtown Salt Lake City, where they will go in condos as sales models.
That commercial work is an offshoot of other work the Tostis have been doing for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tekton custom-designs and builds baptistry desks that the Utah-based faith puts in its temples around the world.
Dominic Tosti, who works with his father and mother, Nancy Tosti, in the family business, says the LDS Church is the company’s biggest current customer.
And, seven years after turning his woodworking hobby into a full-time career, Tom Tosti is still a bit surprised by its success. Business was up 30 percent in 2010, and Tekton has a six-month backlog of orders, including work for several California churches.
Read the rest of Moulton's 'Deacon Tom' builds faith and furniture.