About R. Cantwell Woodworking
R. Cantwell Woodworking began as a one person shop dedicated to the concept of producing quality custom cabinetry and fine furniture. RCW opened it’s doors in July 2001 on Fort Street at the Fairhaven Shipyard, Fairhaven, MA and since then has grown, adding highly qualified craftsmen. We have recently moved from our beloved shipyard shop to a more spacious workspace in a renovated mill located at 611 Belleville Avenue, New Bedford, MA.
We work hard to exceed our clients’ expectations.
We pride ourselves in our abilty to produce work at the highest level of craft — quality cabinetry and furniture that will last for generations.
It is always hard to leave a place that you are fond of. RCW was outgrowing the Fort Street space and needed to make a change. After much research and a desire to stay close to the New Bedford area, we came upon a 13,000 sq. ft. segment of the Joseph Abboud factory. The light, space and easy access made the decision to move more palatable. We love our new shop and are excited about the possibilities it brings. In addition to R.Cantwell Woodworking, 611 Belleville Avenue, is workspace to a community of artisans that compliment each other. North Light Studios, A Creative Cooperative is where we all come together for the common good and inspiration.
In 1986, fresh out of high school and searching for a direction in life, I was hired as a shop helper by a custom wood shop servicing the high-end sector of Long Island's Hamptons. Playing part in the interesting jobs being commissioned and fueled by my interest from high school wood shop — I developed a penchant for handworks. Realizing that, the hook was set. Hungry to learn more and eager to go away to college, I enrolled in a Wood Technology Program studying the characteristics of wood as material; structural properties, rough mill sawing, kiln drying, wood identification, lumber grading. I toured several sawmills and mid-size furniture factories. While it provided me a solid basis of understanding, it also helped narrow my search to the creative woodworking field of furniture making. I dug into all things furniture and became absorbed in the field of studio furniture. I spent 2 years in a Fine and Creative Woodworking program in North Carolina building on a newly developing interest and skill set. We covered period furniture making, steam bending and even instrument making. My time in the south and subsequent portfolio of work landed me in the Furniture Design Program (BFA) at the School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology. I thrived there — my work finding its way into Student Honors shows. After graduating from RIT, I headed West to Seattle and worked for a studio furniture maker who was a graduate of Boston Universities' (now defunct but overwhelmingly influential Program in Artisanry). It was there, working in the field, perfecting techniques and procedures (that are still with me today) I felt I was ready to take a shot at it myself. In 2001, I headed back East and set up shop in the south coast of Massachusetts. I have taken on an interesting mix of projects over the past 9 years from high-end cabinetry to custom furniture and some pieces that would fall between the two — striving for excellence in all I do.