Shed full of saw­dust

Main Brook wood carver dis­plays a unique set of skills

Northern Pen - - Front page - KYLE GREENHAM

In a shed pop­u­lated with tools and wood­work by the hun­dreds, Bruce Pil­grim has earned a strong set of skills and rep­u­ta­tion with only 10 years at the craft.

In­side “da shed” by his Main Brook home, the shelves, ta­bles and walls are clut­tered with a va­ri­ety of carved and crafted items. With flow­er­pots, model boats, pet dishes, bird­houses, dec­o­ra­tive lob­ster pots, uniquelystyled crib boards and other items, Pil­grim’s wood­carv­ing work dis­plays ded­i­ca­tion and ex­per­tise.

Yet, be­fore Pil­grim de­cided to take up the pur­suit, he says the only tools he’d ever had were a hand­saw and a ham­mer.

“I found my­self a lit­tle out of place when I re­tired, be­cause I was al­ways used to do­ing some­thing,” said Pil­grim, who spent his ca­reer as a teacher and school prin­ci­pal.

“I de­cided then to go into wood­work­ing, but I had never done any­thing like it be­fore.

“Be­fore then I don’t know if I could ham­mer a nail straight or saw a board straight.”

Now the tools in his shed are plen­ti­ful.

With a table saw, plan­ers, scroll saws, ban­ner saws, carv­ing knives and other tools ga­lore, Pil­grim has re-es­tab­lished him­self as a handy­man.

De­vel­op­ing the skill

Pil­grim’s wood­work ven­ture all started with a plas­tic pa­per towel holder that was faulty.

“You would go to pull off a sheet and be­fore you know it the whole roll of pa­per towel was rolling across the kitchen floor,” said Pil­grim.

“So I de­cided I was go­ing to make a re­place­ment out of wood.” From there his wood­work­ing projects grew.

Pil­grim says his most prom­i­nent work in the past few years are the dec­o­ra­tive signs he de­signs and cre­ates for lo­cal home­own­ers.

He of­ten de­signs dif­fer­ent things for chil­dren as well, whether it be wooden tur­tles and ducks, dip nets, lit­tle boxes for lost teeth, or even a “climb­ing bear” toy - with strings at­tached for the wooden bear to climb up­ward.

He is cur­rently carv­ing and paint­ing a bald ea­gle for his brother, and has even de­signed swords.

“It’s just a hobby for me, and it’s ther­a­peu­tic in a sense – it gives me some­thing to fill the day.” - Bruce Pil­grim

Pil­grim is mostly self-taught, and says trial and er­ror is the main method he uses when craft­ing.

“It’s very metic­u­lous, when you got to plot out all the dif­fer­ent cuts, and al­ways be pre­cise to make sure you don’t break tips off,” he said.

“You got to have pa­tience. If it don’t turn out, well then it ends up in the stove and I try it again.”


This carv­ing of the pro­file of a woman was in­spired by a paint­ing in Bruce Pil­grim’s home.

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