Brent Longtin Biography

Brent Longtin is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with several advanced degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. For over thirty years he has participated in the startup of technology companies along 128 and in Southern California. He was one of the pioneers of the personal computer age. An educational software product he developed, called HyperStudio, is used by millions of students throughout the world. Brent's background in engineering is helpful in designing the structural components of larger pieces, engineering a piece for strength, and developing methods to produce furniture with unusual geometry.

Brent is a fourth generation furniture maker. His great grandfather built canoes in Peterborough Ontario. His craftsmanship was so good that he built a canoe for Queen Victoria as Canada's national gift to her on the occasion of her golden jubilee. Brent began working in wood while still in grade school by making decorative wood plaques and the traditional bird houses which he sold door to door. His cabinetmaking activities resumed twenty five years ago when he started making classic Queen Anne furniture reproductions. He is largely self taught. But has also taken numerous courses in furniture craftsmanship and carving from graduates of the North Bennet Street School. His work has been sold in galleries in Natick and Northampton.

Brent works out of a large shop that has taken over most of the rooms of a historic eighteenth century home built by Henry Wilson a vice president of the United States in the center of Natick. One room is the bench room with workbenches and cabinets containing a vast collection of hand tools including many antiques. Some antique planes are used to reproduce detail moldings on period furniture. Another room is for machines such as routers and lathes. And there is a room devoted to wood finishing.

Brent builds period furniture reproductions in the Queen Anne, Federal, and Shaker styles as well as unique modern pieces of his own design. A typical furniture commission begins with selecting a piece or room collection of furniture of your choice in a particular style. Ideas often come from books, magazines, or pieces you may have seen in a movie. The next step is design refinement involving sketches, sizing the piece to fit its environment, and selection of basic wood. Customer involvement can become very intense in the wood finishing phase as dozens of test samples combining stain and surface finish may be prepared for your approval.

When time permits from his furniture making Brent likes to ride horses at Apple Knoll Farm in Millis. This interest has led to a growing sideline of horse related furniture such as tack trunks. Another animal interest is tigers. He helps support the Carnivore Preservation Trust, a great cat sanctuary and educational center in North Carolina. He has "adopted" several of the tigers there whom he visits several times a year. Even his tiger interests turned into a cabinetmaking project when he made name signs in red oak with raised gold letters, some seven feet long, for the tigers.

Another biography of Brent can be viewed in the article from the Metro West Daily News.