Rossin melds simplicity and precision in woodwork 1

Forest Hills woodcrafter Richard Rossin poses with his creation, “Lady Liberty,” composed entirely of wood, save the arm and face.

Upon entry into his Forest Hills home, one is greeted in Richard Rossin’s vestibule by his craftsmanship: a wood wall, no trim, smoothly sanded to a point of glimmer.

Enter through to the living room, and one will find a bookcase and a TV stand, made to look like they were floating, finely crafted with a naturally dark wood.

On through into something of a sunroom, and one will find what appear to be wood tiles, all designed to come apart to access whatever infrastructure and piping lies beneath: a Lego set come to life.

All told, Rossin says about 25 percent of the interior of his home was crafted by his own hand.

“I just think differently and look at things differently,” he said. “When I’m talking to you or when I see things, I’m seeing a lot of processes. When I see the toaster, I see 50 million pieces to the toaster.”

Despite their complexity, Rossin makes his wood creations using one tool: a table saw. He says he only deals in straight angles because rounding his materials off introduces an element of uncertainty into his work.

When Rossin is working, he sees his creations as the product of a science, not born out of a whim. He ideates, he colorizes in his mind, he draws and he creates, all with meticulous precision.

“I do care what other people think, but I really don’t care,” he said. “I care what I think. In other words, when I’m doing anything, the competition is myself.”

Math is a necessity because it creates certainty. Whether it’s bringing pieces into and ultimately fixing them into place in a kitchen, as he did in his career prior to focusing on his art, or laying out a piece of artwork, if the math doesn’t work, neither will the creation.

“Let’s make believe I made a kitchen, and I just made the measurement off; it wouldn’t fit,” he said. “Then you got to go back and start ripping it apart.

“I stick to the math, otherwise the art won’t hold up.”

Rossin started his career in cabinetry, and when he left the field in the mid-1990s, he says he had been booked for two years straight. But the work he was doing, when he was doing it for other people, was too restrictive.

“‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that, don’t stick to this, this is our place, this is what works, this is what doesn’t work,’” he said. “So, I’m running into confinement constantly, that’s always been happening in my life when I work for other people.”

With his art, he says he sets no limitations, least of all for difficulty. Even for his largest piece, a ship called “Sea Wolf” measuring 59 by 53 inches, made up entirely of pieces of wood put together with plastic blue and yellow panels to make it pop, his only concern was with making the idea in his head come to life.

“I use my hands with my head, not just looking at a computer,” he said. “As I’m physically drawing it, I’m getting involved with the piece already. If you look at something just on the computer, you’re not really involved.”

“You got to have magic when it’s done,” he added.

Those interested in more information about Rossin’s art or in commissioning a work may visit his sites or