Working with wood has always been fun for Maurice Nadeau.
When he was a kid growing up in Lisbon Falls he would help his father, a carpenter, on jobs. “I think he always figured we would go into business together. But that didn’t work out. I knew more than he did. At least, I thought I did. Typical kid.”
Instead, Maurice went into the military. When he got out, he worked for many years as a metal worker, but always had an avocation with woodworking.
“God gave me a gift. I can look at something once and know how to make it,” he said. He sketches out drawings on a notepad that he uses as a set of plans, but most everything he does is from experience and a feel for the wood.
He has made a few attempts at displaying his work, but “the city makes it nearly impossible with all the permits and fees you have to get,” he said.
For now he uses his home on Eustis Street in Lewiston as a showroom. One room is full of finished and unfinished pieces, and most of the furniture that adorns his home was made in his workshop, including some pieces he made from a tree he cut down in his backyard. All of the other wood he uses comes from a specialty wood supplier out of Portland.
While he makes some standard pieces, like end tables, chests and cabinets, much of his work is custom pieces. He has learned some important lessons along the way, he said. One is the time when he made a big captain’s bed for a client in Portland. “When I got it down there, it was too big to get through the door. It took a lot of extra work and material, but it got done. I lost money on that one, but I won’t let anything go unless it is the best quality.”
While it took most of his life, Maurice Nadeau has found his passion.” I can be working on a project and get going and lose all track of time. I’ll turn around and see that it is 3 a.m.” Although business is slow in this economy, he can’t stop making things, often giving it away because he has no place to store it.