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Monty Tech students craft furniture for Statehouse.

FITCHBURG -- Monty Tech's cabinetmaking students have just completed the second phase of a two-year project crafting reproductions of furniture for the Statehouse.

Through an arrangement with state officials, Monty Tech agreed to make reproductions of three period pieces for Statehouse executive offices.

Last year, students, under the direction of Paul Barba, veteran cabinetmaking teacher, made a podium that is used in the Statehouse pressroom. This year, two seniors, Brian King of Westminster and Michael Hildreth of Ashburnham, were selected to make replicas of two antique round side tables. Crafted in the Hepplewhite style that was popular in this country during the Federal period, all pieces were done in solid mahogany.

When delivering the podium last year, Mr. Barba and the students planned to drop it off and head back to school. A state official spotted them in the building and ushered the group into the pressroom, where they were introduced to then-Gov. Deval L. Patrick. They spoke to the governor and had pictures taken with him.

This year's tables feature dovetail drawers and brass hardware. According to Mr. Barba, the tables would retail for at least $1,000 each.

In preparation for the work, the students traveled to the Statehouse to view similar pieces and to take measurements and pictures to ensure authenticity in the reproductions. The work took about six weeks to complete.

The students said they loved doing the work and were proud they were selected. They are hoping to get the chance to meet the new governor, Charlie Baker, when they deliver the tables.

"It would be really cool to get to meet him. I love politics, and I hope to work in that field some day,'' Mr. Hildreth said. For now he wants to major in criminal justice in college next year and possibly do a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps before deciding on a full-time career.

Mr. King, who is ranked first in his class, is headed to WPI after graduation, where he is leaning toward majoring in aerospace engineering.

"Introducing students to the detailed design features specific to these antique pieces has been a bit of a challenge. However, mastering craftsmanship of this level greatly enhances our students' skills,'' Mr. Barba said.

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Title Annotation:Weeklies
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 13, 2015
Words:370
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