Masters of the Craft

Masters of the Craft

Peter Shepard Turns the Page

comments (18) July 28th, 2011 in blogs

JonBinzen Jon Binzen, senior editor
thumbs up 87 users recommend

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. 



posted in: blogs

Comments (18)

hippyengineer hippyengineer writes: This was a great inspiration! Keep these types of content coming.
Posted: 12:06 pm on September 1st

jeahunshim jeahunshim writes: very inspirational. this coming from a 37yr old in a similar crossroad. Hoping to take a similar path. Thanks for sharing the beautiful work.
Posted: 1:20 pm on August 19th

Tartan30308 Tartan30308 writes: Peter, very inspiring work. I tried to visit your website, but the tabs (portfolio, technique, etc.) wouldn't open. Is there process to enter?

Posted: 3:30 pm on August 13th

lindhrr lindhrr writes: Outstanding set a goal for all of us to achieve. Outstanding craftsmanship.
Posted: 7:33 am on August 13th

hunwin hunwin writes: 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.

Posted: 3:02 am on August 10th

riooso riooso writes: 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.

Take Care,
Posted: 9:17 pm on August 6th

Warren865 Warren865 writes: 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.
Posted: 4:24 pm on August 4th

Maveric777 Maveric777 writes: Enjoyed....
Posted: 7:40 am on August 4th

shakersteve shakersteve writes: 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.
Posted: 12:11 pm on August 3rd

drkarl drkarl writes: 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!
Posted: 9:31 pm on August 2nd

TLM80209 TLM80209 writes: Wow. This guy is really good.
Posted: 7:43 pm on August 2nd

evandene evandene writes: Thanks Peter showing your great designs, you are an fine and professional artist,
Posted: 7:34 pm on July 31st

larry4348 larry4348 writes: 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.
Posted: 6:36 pm on July 30th

PapioPonderosa PapioPonderosa writes: 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!
Posted: 4:24 pm on July 30th

boneplayer boneplayer writes: "Behold the turtle.....he doesn't make any progress unless he sticks his neck out". This is Peter Shepard. I applaud you.
Posted: 11:08 am on July 30th

cwcad cwcad writes: 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!

Posted: 5:20 pm on July 29th

PORC PORC writes: Stunning work. I love the seam up the stocking among other things!
Posted: 9:51 pm on July 28th

JeffB JeffB writes: 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.
Posted: 12:40 pm on July 28th

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