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  • Last modified 82 days ago (March 1, 2018)

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Carpenter crafts Victorian corbels

Staff writer

When Mark Whitney, owner of Peabody Hardware and Lumber, was approached about doing some specialty pieces for a Victorian house in Peabody, he jumped at the opportunity for a new challenging project.

“The people who actually own the home live in Texas right now but plan on moving here in July,” Whitney said. “We (my wife and I) kind of took them under our wing.”

Whitney says after searching nationwide, the couple from Texas found exactly what they were looking for in a beautiful Victorian house, in the 400 block of Walnut St., because it still had the unique Victorian feel along with modern amenities.

“We met Mark and Ginger the second time we went to the house,” said homeowner Kathi Ingersoll. “We went to the hardware store and started talking to them, and later went to their house for dinner.”

Ingersoll says she feels Whitney has been a Godsend, completing a lot of odd jobs for the house, and has felt nothing but welcomed on each visit to Peabody.

“Everybody we’ve met in Peabody so far has been very warm,” she said. “They’ve all welcomed us 100 percent.”

So far, the couple has replaced a limestone porch on the property, and asked Whitney if he could help them with the corbels for the porch, as their goal is to keep the home as Victorian style as possible.

Corbels are intricate decorative pieces of wood, that jut out from a wall to support the structure above it.

Whitney says the pieces were originally intricately cut out by hand by using a coping saw, and although more modern power tools make it a bit easier, it is still a process.

“You have to look at the original to see what all the different components are,” Whitney said. “These corbels consist of three main components. Then you visualize how they were made and that gives you clues as you go on.”

Whitney has used a powered scroll, table saw, band saw, wood lathe, and router to turn pieces of pine into the finished project for his customer; the originals also were made of pine.

“He originally asked me to do 10, but once he saw the first one finished, he asked if I would do 16 total.”

By the time Whitney completes the project, he will have put approximately 60-80 hours of labor into it.

“I’m always willing to look at something,” he said. “We do all kinds of things. I’ve also done Victorian screen doors, whatever anybody needs, really.”

Whitney says that customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from various projects he’s done over the years.

“I’m really fortunate to be a businessman who also gets to do what I love doing,” he said.

Last modified March 1, 2018

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