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Maine Sleepaway Camp for Wannabe Furniture Makers

201005_moserchairjpgThos. Moser, the furniture-making firm, many of whose handmade pieces have achieved American icon status, runs a Customer-in-Residence program that could make the perfect Father’s Day gift for the would-be woodworker in your family.   Never mind bringing home an ashtray or lanyard from camp—graduates of this weeklong program come home with a piece of furniture that they’ve built under the tutelage of a master woodworker.

The lucky five carpenters accepted into each session (applications are considered and previous Moser customers are given preference on the waiting list) are put up at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine, land of the outdoorsy outlet shop.

Participants in the program begin by selecting a Thos. Moser design for their camp project.  Then, working with a professional cabinetmaker, they learn, step by step, how each signature piece is made, all the way from selecting the raw materials to rubbing the last coat of oil into their finished project. Over the course of the week, the apprentices log about 30 hours of shop-time alongside their mentor on the piece, learning the tools and techniques of artisanal woodworking. The Customers-in-Residence also get to meet and discuss their hobby with Moser family members, many of whom work as designers and artisans in the business.

201005_moser_blogjpgThe cost of the Customer-in-Residence program starts at $3,500, plus the retail price of the item you select to make.  The rate includes nightly accommodations at the Inn, daily breakfast and lunch, plus two group dinners, transportation between the Inn and the woodshop in Auburn, additional excursions, and the instruction.  And, of course, you get to bring home the piece you create, signed in a special ceremony at the end of your stay.

Only the November 7 session still has openings, but the company has scheduled eight sessions in 2011, from April through November.   For more information or to put a name on the waiting list for the program, please visit Thos. Moser’s website.

Ann Shields is senior online editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photos courtesy of Thos. Moser.

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