Furniture maker reimagines reclaimed wood

Feb 20, 2014

A box of scrap wood doesn’t look so scrappy once John Nadeau has had his way with it.

The Marion resident takes wood headed for the landfill and turns it into high quality furniture.

“With my furniture, I like to have a story with it. I think people will connect to that,” said Nadeau.

Nadeau has turned an old rectory door from Dighton into a chest with a sliding top, a condemned barn into a bed and a pallet into an intricate desk.

Throwing away useful wood, just isn’t in his DNA.

“My dad was someone who never threw anything away,” said Nadeau. “Things always had a purpose.”

Nadeau turned to furniture making after he began working for his brother, a custom stair maker, eight years ago.

“On the job sites you would see piles and piles of wood going into the dumpsters that would just end up in a landfill somewhere,” said Nadeau. “Anything has potential, so I started making furniture out of things – stuff they would throw away.”

Nadeau also scouts out older material, such as barns being torn down or even old cranberry boxes. He stores the wood in his shop until he figures out the best use for it.

Like a sculptor with a boulder, Nadeau can see a desk, a toy box or a bench in castaway wood.

Nadeau's home reflects his penchant for reimagining what many would see as nail ridden, splintered lumber into something with beauty and purpose. Throughout the rooms, he has a mixture of furniture that he dreamed up and that was requested by his wife, Judy.

“I feel my greatest skill is making up a piece without having a purpose for it because then it doesn’t have any restrictions,” he said.

As he looks to make a business out of his craftsmanship (under the name JNJ Woodworking,) Nadeau said he would like to sell original pieces, but is also up for commissioned work – either from reclaimed wood or new wood.

But Judy definitely has an appreciation for the pieces that come with a history of their own.

“It’s just amazing that stuff like that can be made into something beautiful,” she said. “He’s always thinking.”

Nadeau’s pieces are available at Anthi’s Drawing Room in Marion and Partners Village Store in Westport. Nadeau will also be at Arts in the Park this summer.

His work can be viewed at his website or by contacting Nadeau at 508-344-6103.