My career as a wood worker began in 1962 when I was in the second grade at Star of The Sea Parochial School in Marblehead, MA. Before school, my gang and I, thinking we were tough, made a game of kicking out the pickets of the convent fence. Our crime had not been well thought out and we were caught.
Our parents were called in and we were all summoned into Mother Superior’s office. Scared and remorseful, it turned out we were not as tough as we had originally thought. There were 12 of us delinquents and we were each on the hook for $11.60, the cost of replacing the pickets. The task of earning this vast sum of money was squarely placed on my seven year old shoulders.
Luckily for me, Jimmy Sharbor, a kindly carpenter, was working in our home. He was dismantling a screened in porch and putting on an addition in its stead. Jimmy hired me for .50/hour to pull nails off of old boards, so that he could salvage them. Every day I would run home from school, change into my working dungarees and proudly get to work. After two weeks my debt to Mother Superior had been paid off. I begged Jimmy to let me stay on, but I was dismissed. Down and out and out of work, I was forced to go back to playing in the woods, but I knew that when I was grown up I would be a carpenter.
At 14, I got a job washing dishes and what money I earned was spent on candy, tools and woodworking books. I began to teach myself the trade. I often skipped school to hang around with old timers in their shops. I saw what it was that I wanted to build, but was frustrated at not having the skills to build it. In 1974, I discovered the North Bennett st. Industrial School in Boston. I enrolled in the traditional furniture making and design program and by the time I graduated in 1976, I had gained the needed skills to work in any professional shop. From that time forward, I have been a full time professional woodworker.
In 2008, I moved with my wife and son to Lunenburg, NS (Canada) and in 2013 I established The Lunenburg Furniture Co. I have never been happier.