Find out how a journalist in her twenties transformed her life by learning carpentry as Nina MacLaughlin presents her memoir, Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter.
Despite being a Classics major who couldn't tell a Phillips from a flathead, MacLaughlin applied for a job as a carpenter's assistant. As she learned to make things by hand, her world view began to shift. In her book, she recalls the people in her new world -- from Mary, her tough carpenter-sage, to grizzled hardware store clerks -- and takes readers into the homes she helps remodel. The history of tools, the virtues of wood varieties, and the wisdom of Ovid are interwoven into this moving story of a person finding her passion.
Nina MacLaughlin grew up in Massachusetts and lives in Cambridge, where she works as a carpenter. Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she has written for the Believer, Bookslut, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan.
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Nina MacLaughlin spent her twenties working at a Boston newspaper, sitting behind a desk and staring at a screen. Yearning for more tangible work, she applied for a job she saw on Craigslist--Carpenter's Assistant: Women strongly encouraged to apply--despite being a Classics major who couldn't tell a Phillips from a flathead screwdriver.