I am one of the lucky people that was fortunate enough to find my passion early in life. As a young boy, I could often be found out in the garage building anything from push go carts, to stilts, to chicken coops. The more I learned, the more challenging the projects became. In high school, my first car was a 1946 Mercury “Woody”. It wasn’t long before I began to disassemble and replace all the damaged wood. Early on I found I was drawn to difficult projects, particularly, those made from fine materials.
In college, I built my first classical guitar mostly with hand tools. While studying Industrial Arts at San Francisco State, I also discovered fine furniture. Until then I thought furniture was just something you sat on or ate off of. It was during this time that Art Carpenter Espenet taught a class in furniture design as a guest instructor. I soon learned furniture could be more than “just furniture”. After college, I started selling my work on the streets of Berkeley as a “street artist” and later in small galleries and craft fairs.
For the last forty years I’ve been lucky enough to make my passion my profession; working in the fields of furniture building and design, cabinetmaking, boatbuilding, patternmaking, home restoration, remodeling, and general construction. It is this diversity of overlapping skills that has served me well throughout my career.
These days the passion is still as strong as ever with the emphasis on building more, learning more and sharing this knowledge with others. Our classes are structured around students learning new skills and building useful objects, pleasing to the eye and touch. Our belief is that the satisfaction that comes from making things, only increases as our skill level grows.
Watch a short slideshow of Dugan building this 46′ wooden sailboat.