by Christopher Schwarz
You know those chests filled with tools that people give to children? The tools aren’t much good for building anything. But the chests do have another purpose: planting the seed of an idea in the child’s mind.
Such was the case with Freddy Roman. An uncle gave him a box with a complete set of tools – handsaws, screwdrivers, the works. Roman was too young to use the tools, but something about them became lodged in his mind.
“And when I saw Norm Abram and Roy Underhill on TV, I said: ‘I want to do what those guys do.’”
While Roman doesn’t yet have his own television show, he has already created an impressive body of work for a 31-year-old woodworker. His work is on display at the Hamilton Grange National Memorial (Alexander Hamilton’s home in New York), he’s working for the Windsor Historical Society in Connecticut to build reproduction furniture for its buildings, and he is producing for clients Federal-style pieces that would be impressive for a woodworker twice his age.
Despite his young age, Roman’s path to this point wasn’t easy or fast. And he is quick to acknowledge he had some extraordinary help from teachers including Phil Lowe and Patrick Edwards, plus fellow woodworkers such as Bob Van Dyke and Will Neptune. But in talking to Roman and the people around him, it’s clear he’ll go to any lengths to be a successful professional woodworker.
“I am amazed at what he has been able to learn. It is very impressive,” says Van Dyke, who runs the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking and hired Roman years ago. “Look at that Seymour desk – he did two of them (for private clients) – he got the opportunity to make some pretty nice stuff.”
Web Site: Take a tour of the Hamilton Grange, where Freddy Roman’s work is displayed.
Web Site: Visit the Windsor Historical Society.
Article: Discover more about Freddy Roman’s favorite furniture style; it’s about veneer and inlay. To Come.
Web Site: Take a class at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts.
In Our Store: “Make an Inlaid Gallery Table with Rob Millard.”
From the April 2014 issue, #210