Our Cabinet & Furniture Making students craft new pieces of furniture using historic designs as their guide, but every once in a while, they are asked to recreate an exact replica of a historic piece. In 2013, two then-current students reproduced the writing desk and chest of drawers used by renowned poet Emily Dickinson. Woodworker's Journal revisited the story in their March/April 2019 issue, relating this one-of-a-kind opportunity for graduates Boyd Allen CF '13 and Caleb Schultz CF '13.
Cabinet & Furniture Making
Our two-year Cabinet & Furniture Making program teaches fine craftsmanship through projects incorporating 18th- and 19th-century furniture examples. With these traditional models as a foundation, you’ll be able to design and build furnishings of any era you choose.
As a custom furniture maker at NBSS, you’ll learn how to use and maintain both hand tools and power equipment. You’ll estimate costs, choose materials, and prepare working drawings for each project. You’ll cut various joints, turn, carve, and bend wood, apply marquetry or veneers. You’ll develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to create thoughtful furniture pieces to exacting standards.
The expansive program space includes a large bench room, demonstration area, library, and finishing room. Students take regular field trips to view private and museum collections, and to visit the shops of prominent local woodworkers.
- Curriculum: Investigate what students learn over the course of the two-year program.
- Facilities: Virtually walk through the program space and bench room.
- Faculty: Meet our talented instructors, who are experts in their field.
- Tuition: Check out tuition, costs, class hours, schedule, and program length.
- Careers: Explore the wide variety of careers available to Cabinet & Furniture Making graduates and the employment outlook.
- Profiles: Read about our alumni, including how an education at NBSS opened doors for them.
- Cabinet & Furniture Making program brochure: Download at-a-glance details.
Admissions, Financial Aid, and Employment Information
- Admissions Info: How to get your application started and what you need to apply.
- Financial Aid: We're dedicated to helping you afford the cost of your education. Learn about our financial aid options.
- ACCSC Graduate & Employment Data: View the 2018 Report here.
For Beth Ann (BA) Harrington CF '95, carpentry was the family business. Being the daughter, granddaughter, and sister of carpenters inspired a career in woodworking and furniture making, and she is nurturing a new generation of woodworkers through teaching others. While her life and career have taken her in many directions, BA's dedication to NBSS remains a constant. "I've been to many schools, but North Bennet Street School will always have that sense of alma mater and hallowed halls for me," she says. "Foundationally, everything I do in my practice and my teaching comes from NBSS. That's why I believe it is so important to give back."
Open to beginner and experienced woodworkers alike, NBSS offers an in-depth, comprehensive furniture making course to build a solid foundation in the most essential woodworking skills. It is designed for beginners just starting their woodworking journey and lifelong enthusiastic hobbyists looking to build expertise – and everyone in-between. Read what recent students have learned by taking the course.
When one of the nation's premier museums of American decorative arts wants to include your work in a special exhibition, you're doing something right. If you're furniture maker, carpenter, and NBSS alumnus Rob McKeown CF '88, that something may be more like everything. The Garden at Winterthur Museum now features fanciful architectural structures called "follies," and two were designed and built by Rob.
Throughout their daily work, NBSS artisans are constantly readjusting their approach and drawing on their environment and history for inspiration. This was made perfectly clear through a special exhibition in 2018, Conversations in Craft: Furniture from The Trustees Collection and North Bennet Street School Artisans. It featured newly-created, original pieces of furniture made by thirteen select NBSS faculty and alumni, alongside "four centuries of furniture" from The Trustees' historic collections.
Toy-making was a special occupation of the the School's former kindergarten program in its earliest decades. The training offered young, mostly poor children not only brand new toys but also a set of usable skills. Today, with support from Thos. Moser, NBSS reflects on this legacy with a limited edition of 10 "Little Folks" Rockers lovingly handmade by School artisans. These charming collectors' items will benefit the Toys for Tots program, bringing joy and new toys to less fortunate children at Christmas.
"The best part of my education was finding myself in the craft. I was developing technical skills and my own personal style in tandem."
Aspen Golann CF '19View More Cabinet & Furniture Making Alumni Profiles