History of NESAW

Since 1992, woodworkers and aspiring woodworkers have been coming to One Cottage Street in Easthampton, Massachusetts to learn the craft of woodworking.

Originally known as the One Cottage Street School of Fine Woodworking, the school began as a collaboration between the Division of Continuing Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a group of professional woodworkers at One Cottage, led by Michael Coffey. The original mission was to offer adult beginning and intermediate classes in woodworking, but this expanded to include architectural woodworking career training in 1995, at which point Michael sold the business to Steve Squire and Faith Harrison.

Faith and Steve continued to grow the school, changing its name to the New England School of Architectural Woodworking and adding a second session to the architectural woodworking program. During their tenure, they developed the community projects portion of the program, expanded the adult education offerings, cultivated national awarness of the school, and secured a number of equipment donations from companies like Home Depot and Festool. In 2007, Faith and Steve agreed to sell the school to Greg and Margaret Larson.

Greg and Margaret are now working to maintain the level of excellence developed over the past seventeen years. Greg is one of the full-time teachers in the architectural woodworking program and sits on the board of the AWI National Skills Standard Initiative, while Margaret manages the marketing, customer service, and financial components of the business. Their primary goals are to develop more industry partnerships and expand the use of technology in the career training program.

In 2012, Greg & Margaret spun off the night and weekend workshops into a new school, The Workbench. This change offers more flexibility in the types of classes offered and provides more focus in each distinct area of the organization.