Scott is a 2018 graduate of the North Bennet Street School’s Cabinet and Furniture Making program where he was trained in the time-honored methods of fine furniture craftsmanship. He has crafted pieces in the Georgian (Queen Anne and Chippendale) styles, mid-century modern, and Shaker Style. “Studying and making something in each of the styles that I did in school gave me a foundation and the skills necessary to create a piece in any furniture style. My own personal favorite is the Shaker style; there is just a simplicity to the design that allows the craftsmanship and beauty of the wood to be displayed.”
After retiring from the U.S. Navy with 20 years’ service, Scott desired a career change. “I had been a paralegal while I was in the Navy; and that job takes a lot out of you. I wanted to put something nice – something tangible – back into society. Something with a bit of me in it.” His decision to pursue an education in fine woodworking was not simply a bolt from the blue; rather, it was influenced by the Grandfather who raised him. “My Grandfather was a wooden boatbuilder on the Maine coast where I grew up; I spent a lot of time working with him and it never failed to impress me how he could make something as common as a Maine Lobster Boat look wonderful. The craftsmanship that goes into those boats is unbelievable.” That influence can still be seen in the shop as Scott inherited his Grandfather’s hand tools and tool chest that he built in 1939 or 1940; this same chest served as the inspiration for the tool box that he was required to make in the course at NBSS.
With a keen interest in history, Scott undertook his training with an eye toward the traditional methods and styles of furniture. “I got a lot of ribbing in school from my class because I like the older tools and methods. There was a joke that I would probably have water-powered tools in the shop because electricity was ‘too new.'” While he does use power machines for most of the stock milling, sizing, and some profile shaping; each piece is ultimately finished at the bench with hand tools. “Nothing is ready right off the machine; you need to handplane the mill and saw marks out, fit each joint with either a plane or chisel, and surfaces need to be planed, scraped, and hand sanded before finishing.” Finishing is also performed in the traditional manner. “Traditional doesn’t necessarily mean slow. It is often faster to perform an operation – whether that is fitting a joint, preparing a surface for finish, or applying the finish itself – by hand than it is to set up a machine and test the cut before finally getting down to work..”
“There is such a difference in the look and feel of a hand crafted piece and something that is mass produced in a factory. The maker’s hand is evident in each step of the handcrafted piece; no matter how exacting you are in layout and execution of a joint, each one will have its own character. Sometimes you have to look really close, but each one is individual. That goes for the piece as well; you can build two things and the same time, but each with have tiny details which differ. Each piece has its own personality. It’s not a piece produced with the idea of making as many as possible with no interest or care about each; each piece becomes part of you, and part of you is in each piece.”