Ellen Kaspern, a 2003 graduate of the Cabinet & Furniture Making program, is a quintessential multi-tasker who works full-time as a software engineer and part-time as a woodworking instructor at NBSS, with time on the side for custom furniture work. We caught up in late March and discussed the upsides of being stuck inside the house, her goals to teach full-time some day, and finding the balance between technique and inspiration in her instruction.
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.
As far back as he can remember, NBSS alumnus Bob Miller CF '11 has been interested in mechanisms and mechanical devices, in particular older and antique machinery. So when in 2016, a friend and fellow machine enthusiast offered Bob an antique small-scale bandsaw made by the J.M. Marston Company of Boston – while he had no real plan for the machine – he agreed right away. After researching more about its history however, he was determined that the 24" bandsaw should be restored. Read the full story here.
Charlie Flowers CF '22 was just two months into the Cabinet & Furniture Making program – having relocated from Maine after a decade of service industry work and a woodworking apprenticeship – when the pandemic forced the closure of our School building. He found himself suddenly training at a workbench in his home, but despite this fast turnaround, his optimism, enthusiasm, and passion for learning his craft remained steadfast throughout. We caught up with Charlie to see how he's doing.
Aspen Golann CF '19 is ambitious, always setting her sights just beyond what she feels she's able to accomplish. And yet, she does just what she intended, and more. Within just a year of completing the Cabinet & Furniture Making program, she has already begun to make her mark in her chosen field. Watch an interview with Aspen here, sharing her journey to the current moment, her thoughts on the importance of "play," and her take on the value of small objects—like her signature pinstripe brushes.
Cabinet & Furniture Making instructor and alumnus Matt Wajda CF '01 gives a detailed overview of the machine room in his shared shop space in Rollinsford, New Hampshire, located in a historic mill building. Matt, a 2001 graduate of the Cabinet & Furniture Making program and long-time NBSS Continuing Education woodworking instructor, also regularly teaches machine maintenance units in our full-time woodworking programs.
Cabinet & Furniture Making student Kolin Schmidt CF '21 is an artisan who can't sit idle. When he found himself quarantined inside a few months ago, he refocused his purpose as only someone at NBSS would: by building himself a shavehorse, foraging felled trees near his home, carving spoons in a local park, and even designing his own typeface. We talked with him about his creative projects and how he's made the best of an otherwise challenging situation.
"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