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.
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, and class hours.
- 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.
- Admissions Info: How to get your application started and what you need to apply.
- Financial Aid: Your education is an investment. Learn about our financial aid options.
- Cabinet & Furniture Making program brochure: Download at-a-glance details.
"The training in both the carpentry and furniture-making programs provided the opportunity to work and excel in areas I wouldn't previously have dreamed possible."
Paula Garbarino CA '80, CF '88View More Cabinet & Furniture Making Alumni Profiles
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.
Making chairs can be intimidating even to experienced woodworkers, and Chippendale chairs are no exception. De-mystify the process with this FineWoodworking article by Cabinet & Furniture Making instructor Steve Brown CF '90. Steve also wrote a bonus master class on compound-angle tenons, a key element in constructing the back of the chair.
Steve Brown CF '90, Instructor in the Cabinet & Furniture Making program, recently published a great how-to article in Fine Woodworking. The classic cabriole leg is a solid design choice for period furniture makers, but even with just that leg style, choosing from a variety of foot styles to go with it can be daunting. Steve helps clarify the process with step-by-step instructions for laying out and carving three common feet for the cabriole leg: the pad, slipper, and trifid foot.
For the last six years, Bob Miller CF '11, small business owner and Shop Technician for the Continuing Education Department, has not made many changes to his private bench space. However, three years ago he acquired what he now considers his favorite and most useful tool: an emmert pattern makers bench vice. "That is by far the most used tool in my shop." he says "It's unusual, rare, and was manufactured sometime between 1898 and 1915, making it at least 100 years old."
Charlestown Furniture Makers is an 8,000 sf shared facility located in one of Boston's last remaining industrial areas. The two-story space boasts a 2,200 sf machine room, spray booth, finishing area, and bench space for up to 20 makers—nine of whom are NBSS graduates.