I didn’t always want to build furniture. My original career was in music, having graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelors in Music Education. (Tenor sax. Still play, but not as much as I would like…) That turned out not to be the path for me. After a pretty diverse set of life experiences I sort of fell into carpentry. While working as a carpenter I started being asked by clients to fix their antiques. I found that I really enjoyed the finer aspects of working with wood, and became quite good at it. Pretty soon the antique work eclipsed the carpentry, and began doing furniture restoration full time. The fine antiques I was privileged to work on became my teachers. Experiencing on a daily basis their design, construction, and finish shaped my eye and my standards. So when those same clients began asking if I could build something for them from scratch I was ready.
While learning my craft I was able to puzzle through problems in repairing construction issues. Finish was another matter. Matching the color, look, and feel of these old pieces was quite a challenge. Through a chance conversation I was introduced to Mark Adams, a conservator and architectural wood finisher from New Hampshire. It was through Mark I learned much what a good finish could really do, and how to make it happen.
Woven into this path are a number of other significant events. For much of my life I have been drawn to Zen. I studied a zen martial art for many years, eventually even living at the temple for close to three of those years. Zen has strongly influenced the way I look at life,, work, and furniture. Work, in that light, is not only a means for supporting oneself. It provides a clear window and pathway towards self development. I consider my shop and work to be sacred.
And on a purely personal note, I am originally from Peabody, a suburb north of Boston. In the 1980’s I moved with my then wife to Charlemont, MA and started my business and family. I now have two amazing grown daughters, Jenna and Rachel, and currently live with my equally amazing wife Annie in Shelburne Falls.
People often ask me about the meaning of our logo.
In many areas of life, I find I perform best when I am “not there”. This is especially true for me as a musician. Some of my best improvisational solos have come from what feels like somewhere outside of myself. When “I” get out of the way, and just let the music flow through me, magic can happen.
However the only way this actually results in anything worth listening to is having put in the thousands of hours practicing on scales, etudes, breathing exercises. But pure technique is stale and lifeless. Pure inspiration us just random raw emotion. I believe it is in the joining and balancing of these two aspects that the greatest art is created.
We are in the new studio! I will update with some new text and photos soon.
After moving to western Massachusetts, I fell in love with all of the big, beautiful trees that line the country roads and pastures. Many of them are sugar maples that had been planted by farmers over one hundred years ago. They were (and still are) planted along roadways, bordering fields and as backyard shade trees. Eventually, their time comes and they must be cut down. Often I would see these felled trees lying next to the road. I used to assume that someone was coming to take these magnificent old beauties away to be sawn into lumber. But days later it would break my heart to see that the log had been cut into chunks for firewood. When I asked why this was so, I was told that these road trees would invariably contain metal and other debris that would destroy a sawmill’s circular blade. I became determined to find a way to save them. Years later I would purchase my own mill, a Peterson dedicated wide slabber. Built in New Zealand, it is unique in that its main purpose is to saw wide slabs. And when I say wide, it’s a chainsaw mill that will accurately saw slabs up to 5 feet across.
This opens up an enormous range of design possibilities. The large slabs become table and desk tops. Small pieces become interesting serving trays or other accessories. And the truly unique pieces that are not suitable for furniture become wall art.