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Back in 2009, I quit my job in market­ing with the hazy plan of making furni­ture. I remem­ber explain­ing to my boss how I desper­ately wanted to work with my hands” — a mighty notion to a white-collar worker, albeit vague and roman­ti­cized. At night, I sketched my ideas in broad strokes, unac­quainted with the details of joinery, mate­r­ial or propor­tions. By day, I admired images of grace­ful tables while hunched over my laptop in a creaky office chair.

I moved to Maine there­after to take a twelve-week inten­sive course at the Center for Furni­ture Crafts­man­ship. I toiled for weeks on my first project, a modest step stool, and although I was steadily absorb­ing a fresh set of skills, I grew discour­aged by the lack of tangi­ble progress. But one day, snap! The stool clamped together squarely and I was able to appre­ci­ate its joinery, mate­r­ial and propor­tions — the very details I had once overlooked.

While at school, I shared my expe­ri­ence on my bygone blog, Woodlearner. That August, I was hired as the wood­work­ing colum­nist for Apart­ment Therapy, an inte­rior design blog with three million monthly readers. For my weekly column Wood­Wise, I wrote about the basics (lumber, joinery, tools) with a heavy dose of anec­do­tal wisdom and chron­i­cled the thor­ough process of setting up my own workshop.

More recently, I went west to Fort Bragg, Cali­for­nia to attend a nine-month program at the College of the Redwoods. There I laid a stur­dier foun­da­tion by build­ing my own tools and enhanc­ing my hand skills. I gained respect for my mate­r­ial and a greater under­stand­ing of its tempera­men­tal nature. As the school’s founder James Krenov writes in A Cabinetmaker’s Note­book, too many wood­work­ers are looking for new ideas rather than at the wood itself.” In prac­tice, this simple notion is quite transformative.

Nowa­days, I’m back at my shop in Connecti­cut, craft­ing one-off pieces and compos­ing a full line of furniture.

Bethel, CT
Professional Status
Member until Jan 22, 2020