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."
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.
"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
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.
Nine graduates of the Cabinet & Furniture Making program are among the community of woodworkers at the two-story Charlestown Furniture Makers shop, established in 2012 by David Ambler CF '11. "Like North Bennet Street School, one of the things we offer is a culture of excellence," explains David. "There's a real enjoyment being among people with shared interests in the valuing of craft."
"When you find your career, it tends to be an amalgamation of things as opposed to a finely focused event." Read about the successful maker's path and insights of John Mulligan CF '02, who now runs the open-concept work space Lawrence Lin Makerspace at UMASS Lowell.
In this 13-part series, we will spotlight each of the makers in the "Conversations in Craft" collaborative exhibit, and share their creative process. Paula Garbarino CA '80, CF '88 created a stand with marquetry, which was inspired by a tilt-top stand ca. 1810 from the collection at Fruitlands Museum.
What happens when 24 students in two different programs swap benches for a week? 6 matching cabinets, 18 unique tables, and a whole lot of perspective. Read more about this enlightening experiment from our Cabinet & Furniture Making and Carpentry programs.