The apprenticeship of a woodworker begins at childhood and ends with his last breath.

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BENJAMIN JACK PROWELL

ben prowell

1990

Accessorized with an Illinois apron and hammer belonging to previous generations.

Ben Prowell

2005

Finally, an apron that fits him.

ben prowell woodworking

1993

Building something. Who knows what. But he has his own toolbox and his own leather apron and his own hammer. Building something

ben prowell

1993

Watching and learning.
He would spend endless hours doing just this–watching it done once, and then seldom forgetting.

ben and charles prowell

1993

Tolstoy’s Anne Karanina and Too Hot to Handle.

1995

Blue ribbon winner at the Sonoma County Fair for his redwood table.

ben prowell furniture at 8

1999

On-site installation for one of the original fence styles #1 in Ross, CA

1999

Three houses down the same street, setting the gate hinges.

2002

The generational continuum of one apprentice to another
(Ben Prowell and cousin Parker Prowell).

Parker Prowell, finishing his bench.

2004

With his older brother Sam Prowell, on the right, for a family gathering at the Beach Chalet in San Francisco.

2005–Considering a procedure

2004

At work on gate Style #51 for an historic Georgetown site in Washington, DC

2007

Ben and Parker

2007

A marketer’s dream: Five Prowells in the shop at once. Ben giving a few of his cousins a little time in the shop. Left to right: Jackson, Ben, Parker, Asa, and Soren.

prowell apprentices

2007

Coming up with a new Patio Table and Bench product

A typical Gate subjected to Quality Control Test #32—the Sonoma coast

prowell wood fence

2008

Geared up with his headphones for music and ear protection; his high tech battery operated dust filter; and the special woodworker’s gloves.

ben prowell

2008

The Jaguar’s caliper-like hands at work.

ben prowell

2009

ben prowell

2010

Showing an in-progress of Prowell’s 2-teired Post Cap.
And the finished assembly.

ben prowell
post cap

2018

As a photographer and videographer, Ben began creating a series of artistic woodworking videos on YouTube a few years ago, Titled Romancing the Craft.

romancing the craft 2018

2010
NORTH BENNETT STREET SCHOOL of FURNITURE MAKING

Founded in the mid-1800’s as a vocational institute for immigrants, the school remains in the same building in Boston’s historic North End. Considered by many as the nation’s most prestigious furniture-making guild, while also offering a curriculum in violin-making; and traditional timber carpentry.

North Bennet Street School

2010

On the rooftop in Boston’s North End. An area used, among other things, to expose clamped glue-ups to the sun and air.

ben prowell at North Bennet Street, boston

2010

The first visit. The second visit lasted a week during late October of the same year and ended, not surprisingly, with the arrival of the first nor’easterly of the season. Charles instantly took flight to the temperate west coast.

north bennet street--ben prowell

2010

The third floor shop, reserved for second-year students.

north bennet street woodworking

Below, two pieces created at North Bennett Street

2012

The Demi Lune Table

demi lune table

The Serpentine Table

serpentine table

2012

NBS Diploma

December 2012

Returning from Boston, Ben drives cross country yet again. In Colorado he is joined by his older brother, the inimitable Sam Prowell. They detour the last stretch by visiting Bozeman, Montana, below. Then on to Idaho to cross the panhandle following the Lewis and Clark route to drop down for a visit with their Aunt Sarah Prowell in Portland, and down the northern Californian coast.

sam and ben prowell

June 2012

In June Ben returned to his beloved Boston to rekindle a few friendships and attend graduation.

The North Bennett Street graduation ceremonies were held at Boston’s historic North Church, next door to the school and built in 1723– the oldest standing church in Boston. Known to most as where, in 1775, the church sexton climbed the steeple and held two lanterns as a signal from Paul Revere that the British had were marching to Lexington. Two lanterns, as by earlier arrangement, in the phrase you will all recognize: One if by land, Two if by Sea

Below, the graduates linger in the family pew boxes. Originally, families had to purchase the pew boxes on a grading scale, with those at the front and center aisle being the more expensive than those in the rear and upper galleries. As long as the dues were paid, the families had exclusive use of their boxes, and would decorate them with fine fabrics and furnishings as an indication of social status. Families arriving in the colonies late might also reserve a more expensive pew in the front, and when available, essentially move up in society. Hence, some of the more notable citizens, such as British General Cage, had to sit in the far rear pew.

Below, Ben peering up, among a few of the graduates gathered in typical pew boxes.

north bennet street school graduation

June 2012

There are several craftsmanship schools within North Bennett Street. Here, Ben with those fellow graduates from the Fine Furniture-making curriculum.

But also present are those graduates representing: Violin-Making; Bookbinding, Jewelry-Making; Locksmithing; Preservation Carpentry; Piano Technology

historic North Church in Boston

June 2015

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Fine Woodworking Tools and Shops
November 2019
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Fine Woodworking Tools and Shops 2019. Ben Prowell

Sonoma County’s Press Democrat
1992
Click here for the full pdf download

Landscape Architecture Magazine
2002
Click here for the pdf download

Woodwork Magazine
1993
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1989

Somewhere, somehow, within this contraption hides a glorious secret.

ben typewriter