New carving school set to open in Maine

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Reproduction furniture maker William Francis Brown is opening a new woodworking school, Maine Coast Workshop in Camden, Maine, in May. Workshops will concentrate on classical high-end carving, 18th-century Chippendale, Queen Anne, Federal, and 19th-century Shaker projects.

Brown, 62, lives in Virginia and works full-time as the director of anesthesia at a North Carolina hospital. He’s been a carver and reproduction furniture maker for the past 40 years. He wants to share his knowledge and passion for woodworking by creating this school.

“I have really accomplished everything I’ve set out to do with my own work,” he says. “I mean there’s always more, but it’s a fairly solo activity. You’re in a shop by yourself all day long, and when I was learning I just really enjoyed the camaraderie and having people around. I just thought it was a lot of fun.

“I’ve been thinking about it for years and I’ve been in this long enough where I think I can do it. If I can do it and make ends meet, this will be my way to phase out of medicine. Anesthesia is very stressful. I’m up at night a lot and it’s not easy. I do these stretches and I’m like a zombie when I’m done. It’s getting harder to keep that up. And I’m definitely looking forward to scaling back.”

Classes will run May through October, beginning with four-, five- and six-day project classes, and one-day sharpening classes. Brown has called on some of his peers to teach, including Alexander Grabovetskiy, Graham Blackburn, and Alf Sharp.

“There’s a niche for what I’m doing that doesn’t exist,” adds Brown. “I’m pretty much strictly sticking to traditional 18th century American furniture with carving.”

For more, visit www.mainecoastworkshop.com

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