Front desk and stairs collaboration

Functional Art

When you walk in the front door at Makers Mill, the community makerspace and vocation hub opening soon at 23 Bay St. Wolfeboro, NH, you will be standing in front of a collaborative, functional piece of art that reflects the mission and values of this nonprofit organization.

The front desk and main staircase are not only pleasing to the eye, but the story of their construction embodies so much of what Makers Mill stands for – creativity, collaboration, upcycling, economic development, and community. 

Repurposing takes time

Volunteers Dave and Dennis pictured here patiently de-nailing all the old floor boards

That story began with the decision to salvage the 2’x6’ boards from the upstairs floor that had to be replaced.  The easy thing to do would have been to toss those boards in the dumpster.   Instead, each board was de-nailed by volunteers with the intention of repurposing them for the front desk and stair balusters of the main entry.

Partnering with Career and Technical Education Center

Students from Lakes Region Technology Center fabricated and installed all of the sheet metal and steel posts

The reclaimed and de-nailed boards were then brought to Lakes Region Technology Center (LRTC) where students in the Construction Trades class taught by Tyler Reed proceeded to rip the boards into 1.5”x1.5” slats: the future balusters.  Volunteers then continued the project by sanding and oiling these slats with a naturally derived Heritage Oil finish. 

While the construction trades students were busy making the balusters, the Precision Manufacturing students, led by Scott Meserve, were fabricating the angle iron posts and cutting the sheet metal in their classroom. Last winter and spring, the school bus dropped the students off on Bay Street late morning, a few days a week, where they would setup shop and chip away at the metal installation – fastening, bending, grinding, and welding for many weeks, finishing up just in time for summer vacation. 

“Partnering with LRTC was one of my favorite parts of this entire construction project, It was especially fun watching the Construction Trades students collaborate with the Precision Manufacturing students to create what will be the first impression of anyone entering the makerspace for many years to come.  We hope this is just the beginning of an ongoing partnership with LRTC around workforce and career pathway goals.”

Josh Arnold, Makers Mill Executive Director.

“This was quite a project for our students and staff. LRTC will continue to support the efforts and the mission of community partnerships like this one.”

Kathy Tetreault, the LRTC Principal

Welder in-residence arrives

Cody Fosbrook spends the week fabricating and installing a handrail on site

After the students’ scope of work was complete, Cody Fosbrook, a metalworker who used to volunteer for G.A.L.A. many years ago, made the voyage from his current home in Vermont to weld the handrail: something that needed to be “graspable” per code regulations. 

Front Greeter’s Desk takes shape

Jim Perkins takes all the reclaimed and ripped floor boards and uses them for the stair balusters and front desk

Cody then passed the baton to master craftsman and volunteer, Jim Perkins.  Jim took it over from here installing the balusters and building the front desk, which incorporated oak slabs as the countertop that were once the sides of bookshelves at Wolfeboro Public Library before renovations, adding to the upcycled theme of the entire project.

The outcome is stunning.  Anyone walking into Makers Mill will be met by this functional art, made out of reclaimed wood from a version of the building now barely recognizable, prepared and fine-tuned by so many different people along the way, oozing with character and creativity, saying “welcome, come on in”.  This feature will be appreciated for many years to come and set the tone for what is possible within these walls.

Come see for yourself!

If you want to see this feature for yourself, open house tours will be occurring on a weekly basis, every Friday morning starting September 2 and the first Saturday each month starting September 3 from 10 to 11:30 am Registration is required and can be done at makersmill.org/events.  Makers Mill is also seeking volunteers to help finish building out the workspaces and teach classes this fall. For more information call the office at 603-569-1500 or email info@makersmill.org.

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