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A Quick Switch from Wordsmithing to Woodworking
After he graduated from college, in the mid-1970s, Peter Shepard spent a decade-and-a-half in publishing. But as his 40th birthday approached, he decided to shift gears–and switch careers. When he quit his job as a book editor he wasn’t sure what sort of work he’d be doing next.
He had no experience in woodworking, but furniture had always interested him, and he thought he might like to do something with his hands. He followed the hunch and began exploring the furniture field, visiting small shops in Boston and asking furniture makers about their profession. Then he took a short course in the fundamentals of woodworking at the North Bennet Street School.
In the 20 years since, Shepard has focused his energy on a dozen or so designs he’s developed, building them repeatedly. In some cases he alters the original, adapting elements conceived for a tall bureau to the design of a lowboy or a nightstand, for instance. More often, he has remade the original piece with very little alteration to its appearance. Even so, he’s always tinkering with the construction process, fine-tuning the jigs or joinery, machining or clamping setups to make building each piece as quick and efficient as possible.
This video, narrated by Shepard, presents an array of his superb designs.
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This was a great inspiration! Keep these types of content coming.
very inspirational. this coming from a 37yr old in a similar crossroad. Hoping to take a similar path. Thanks for sharing the beautiful work.
Peter, very inspiring work. I tried to visit your website, but the tabs (portfolio, technique, etc.) wouldn't open. Is there process to enter?
Outstanding Peter....you set a goal for all of us to achieve. Outstanding craftsmanship.
What an inspirational video. Peter, you have done what I wished I had done many years ago. It's never too late they say!Thank you for sharing your experiences and providing hope for people like me who aspire to be half as good as you.
Thank you very much for the video. I, of course, like your work very much. It is very good to see someone using his talents doing what he likes. I am sure that it has been quite a journey.
Inspiring designs, beautiful work, and a humble attitude.
Bringing these three things with you when you sticking your neck out sure helps. Congratulations on 20 successful years and thank you for sharing.
Beautiful work Peter. Congratulations on living your dream. This gives me pause to think what I might have done when I was 40, 15 years ago. Instead, I am in a soul and creativity crushing "bean counter" job. Alas, my wooodworking projects today look amateurish and show little improvement over what I did 25 years ago.
Peter was my instructor for the intermediate furniture course at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. In addition to being a superb craftsman, Peter is a great teacher. He is unfailingly polite, patient, and able to impart his vast knowledge to us students. Great work!
Wow. This guy is really good.
Thanks Peter showing your great designs, you are an fine and professional artist,
Really great to see someone pursue their dream and be successful at it. I am hearing more and more about the North Bennet Street School.
Beautiful work! To have not only the talent to build such stunning pieces, but to have the eye/mind for the design as well. I've always "dreamed" of doing such a thing, I applaud you for having the courage to live your dream!
"Behold the turtle.....he doesn't make any progress unless he sticks his neck out". This is Peter Shepard. I applaud you.
Beautiful projects! I am happy with just strait and square. OF course I have not accomplished that yet. LOL! I like the videos as well. This one gave me something to shoot for. I have the shop, tools, lumber, and boards but one element seems to be missing...Talent. I will aquire that too!
Stunning work. I love the seam up the stocking among other things!
I love these videos. Please keep them coming. Peter does beautiful work and he has a very good eye for design. I especially like the piece at the very end of the video.
I was cutting some dovetails recently. Here are the tools that I use when I cut them with hand tools.
Fast, fun approach to making a comfortable, casual seat
In this video Michael finishes the first of the three boxes. Gluing-up, planing, sanding and finishing bring a new piece of art to the world.
In this video Michael starts work on the second box, a carved and painted Saddle lid box.
Michael begins carving the saddle lid box with his ripple pattern along the top. Then turns to his 5/30 gouge to texture the sides of the box. This isn't work…
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