“I Feel Confident as a Woman and as a Carpenter,” says Nina

Nina MacLaughlin Photo Credit: Jonah James Fontela

Nina MacLaughlin Photo Credit: Jonah James Fontela

Nina MacLaughlin’s story is unexpected and inspiring. When Nina quit her job as a journalist, she had no idea what she would do next. A job on Craigslist as a carpenter’s assistant with the tagline: ‘women strongly encouraged to apply’ peaked her interest. With no formal training, Nina did apply and got the job! Since then Nina has been perfecting the trade and working as a carpenter in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Now, coming full circle as a carpenter and as a writer, Nina has chronicled her experience in her new memoir, Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter. Nina is busy with the launch of her book, but took time to speak with me about her life-changing experience and why mascara is her new friend …

MKG: How long have you been working as a carpenter? Do you love it?

NINA: I’ve been working as a carpenter for the last six years. I’ve found that the satisfaction that results from building a deck, for example, or a set of bookshelves, is one of the deepest I’ve experienced. Carpentry is consistently challenging, and there is so much left to learn. Some days I love it. Some days are sweaty and dirty and boring. Like any job, there are stretches when it’s incredible, and stretches when it’s tedious. I’m grateful to have the combination of writing and carpentry in my life; for me, the two compliment each other very well.

MKG: What surprised you most about being a carpenter?

NINA: I didn’t anticipate how powerful the satisfaction of building would be. That continues to boggle my mind. I had a sense it would be rewarding, but had no idea how much so. Continue reading

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