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A collection of antique tools hangs above the entrance to a workroom inside Littleton’s Ackerman & Sons Furniture Workshop—and to owner Mike Ackerman, they tell a story that informs the company’s work restoring furnishings of all periods and styles. The tools originally belonged to Ackerman’s great-great-grandfather Balthazar, who emigrated from Luxembourg in the late 1800s, settling in Minnesota with only the clothes on his back and woodworking know-how. At his first job as a cleaner for the local undertaker, the industrious immigrant built a handsome walnut casket for his employer’s display window. “After that, nobody wanted to bury their loved ones in pine boxes, and our business was born—through the art of craftsmanship,” Ackerman says. Balthazar later opened a furniture shop with his earnings. Today, Ackerman is the fifth generation to run a version of Ackerman & Sons—his parents opened a Colorado outpost in 1970. “I keep the original tools over the entrance to our workshop to remind everyone who works for us that craftsmanship isn’t just knowledge or experience,” Ackerman says. “It’s coupling that expertise with focused care for each project.”