Chris Schwarz's Blog

A Visit to the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts

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If you want to learn to build high-end gorgeous American furniture, then Phil Lowe at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts is the guy to see.

He is the father of the modern furniture program at the North Bennet Street School. He is a winner of the Cartouche Award from the Society of American Period Furniture Makers. He is one of the most accomplished hand craftsmen I’ve ever met.

And I’m teaching at his school this week?

Indeed. It’s a dream come true for me. I do feel a little out of sorts because my work is quite pedestrian (by design, admittedly) compared to Phil’s. He has mastered so many aspects of the high styles that it feels weird lecturing on dovetailing pine in his workshop. But I am so happy to be here, that I’m just going to roll with it.

I’m teaching a seven-day workshop on building the Anarchist’s Tool Chest to a group of enthusiastic students from as far away as Cleveland and New Zealand (I am not sure which is further away).

The Furniture Institute of Massachusetts is right on the coast in Beverly, Mass. I’ve never worked so close to the water and the beautiful sea air. It’s a bit intoxicating. Ask me about it tomorrow night, however, because it’s supposed to rain.

During a break in the forced-march of dovetails, I had a chance to take some photos of the school. I’ve included them in the gallery below.

— Christopher Schwarz

5 thoughts on “A Visit to the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts

  1. oakenheartwoodcraft

    Thanks for sharing the pics Chris. Judging by the website NBSS looks like a truly amazing place.

    1. staggerlee

      While NBSS is indeed very nice, the class took place at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts, which is wicked nice!

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