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
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.