The Underground Carpenter is owned and operated by Antonio "Devon" Thibeault (pronounced "Tee-bow”), a custom cabinet and furniture maker.
I work closely with each client to determine your specific needs—to get a feel for your tastes, and how you imagine the final result. Then, I design a combination of style, form, and function that not only fits your particular space, but also fulfills your vision and needs.
Sometimes this involves coming up with an entirely new design; sometimes it means looking at an old space or existing unit with fresh eyes, in order to repurpose it, and make it new again. Each project has its particular challenges. Each poses its own set of options. My job is to work with you so that you know what those options are.
I have spent years learning the skills of my craft, and deepening my understanding of the woods I use. Wood is a material that continues to react to its environment years after it has been turned into a final product. If a woodcrafter doesn’t understand these interactions, the piece will warp, crack, or have its glue joints fail prematurely.
In virtually every piece I make, I integrate modern woodworking methods, power tools, and materials, with centuries-old and time-tested hand tool and woodworking techniques. I aspire to the Shaker ideal of building pieces of quality so that they last, do not need to be rebuilt in a few years, and require little to no maintenance. After all, I never want to have to rebuild my own work!
I have owned and operated my own business since 1997, but have had a passion for woodworking since childhood. My training began when I was old enough to hand nails to my father. I spent years expanding on that knowledge, beginning with a part-time job in the 1980s working for the contractor who remodeled my parents' house, and going on to learn different aspects of my craft from more experienced woodworkers.
In 1999, I spent a period of intensive training at the North Bennett Street School (NBSS) in Boston. I studied fine woodworking with Dan Faia, who was also head instructor at Mike Dunbar’s Windsor Institute; advanced woodworking techniques with Steve Brown, who headed NBSS’s Cabinet and Furniture Making Program from 2001 to 2010; carving with Janet Collins, who headed NBSS’s Workshop Program; and furniture restoration with Robert Walker, who was a conservator with the Museum of Fine Arts for 30 years. I have since done further training as well in Japanese woodworking techniques and complex joinery methods.
As a voracious reader, I have studied countless books related to woodworking and design. I regularly experiment with new skills. Finally, trial and error is how most techniques are embraced or discarded, and I’ve had my fair share of both.
People sometimes ask why I call my business “The Underground Carpenter.” Years ago, when I was first trying to come up with a business name, I was working out of a basement in a local apartment building. I was also looking into making Shaker-style, plain wood coffins, to provide an alternative to coffins sold through the funeral-home industry. Finally, I lived (and live) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sometimes referred to as “the People’s Republic of Cambridge” — a city with a long and proud history of basement coffeehouses and underground initiatives! In hearing all of this, a family friend said, “How about The Underground Carpenter”? My wife and I looked at each other, and said, “That’s it!”
I am a member of several woodworking groups and associations, including the Association of Revolutionary Turners (A.R.T.) since 2001, and the American Association of Woodturners since 2004. Each fall since 2002, I have done woodturning demonstrations with A.R.T. at the Topsfield fair—I may have seen you there, while turning a children's top! I have also taught wood-carving classes at Woodcraft Supply, founded in Boston in 1928 and now one of the nation's oldest and largest suppliers of woodworking tools and supplies.
In short, there is little about working with wood that I don’t love. I bring these skills to each job I do (even when it comes to protecting the trees at my mother-in-law’s summer cottage from deer and beaver!).
I very much look forward to working with you, and hope you’ll give me a call!