Sam Cappo: A Woodworker You Should Meet

Most students in woodworking classes fall into three categories:

1. Diligent but slow learners. This is the biggest category, and I include myself as a proud member. Nothing about the craft comes easy to these people. Yet, if they spend enough time in their shops building things and refuse to give up, they improve inch by inch.

2. Golfers. This is a small group, but they exist. Every so often I want to take one of these students aside and suggest they take up golf. Usually this is because of an unholy combination of a lack of dexterity, a lack of gumption and (most confusing) a lack of interest in the work itself. I wonder if these students have been assigned to the class on work-release from prison.

3. The naturals. I hate these people (no, not really). Every so often there is a woodworker who is so at ease with the work that everything comes quickly to them — even if it is their first time picking up a chisel. They cut perfect dovetails their first time with a saw. Their mortises and tenons fit without any tweaking. Their breath is rosy even after a dinner of garlic chicken.

Sam Cappo, one of my recent students at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking, falls entirely into category 3. By day he works in the petroleum industry. But with every other waking hour he’s working on his house in New Orleans or building furniture in his tiny shop.

His dexterity with the tools and the work was impressive. And while you could chalk that up to previous carpentry experience, I think that would be selling him short. The kid is a natural. While everyone else was wondering how they were going to get their tool chests assembled in time, Sam was playing around with different dovetailing techniques that would make his work require fewer hand motions.

To my delight, Sam has started a blog called It is in its beginning stages, but I hope he will persevere and show us his shop and more details of the historic house he’s rebuilding.

Check out his site, and leave a comment to show more cat photos. It will make Megan Fitzpatrick so happy (Sam and his girlfriend make and sell cool cat furniture).

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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8 Responses to Sam Cappo: A Woodworker You Should Meet

  1. Randy Clements says:

    Great site, Sam. Keep up seeking the knowledge and developing the skills. I’m very much so a beginner myself and am enjoying reading what others do.

  2. Rick B. says:

    A fine and helpful young man as well (I was at the bench in front of him). Good luck Sam!

  3. There he is! Good on ya’ Sam, or as the kids call him, Card Shark Sam.

  4. Samuel Cappo says:

    Thanks for the post.
    I will work on the blog as much as I can – as long as it does not intefere with shop time!!!! Guess I will I have to do it at work – like right now.

    Jonathan – I am always up for helping your son take you down in a game of cards.

    P.S. – I will try to make a section at the top of the blog just for cat pics. Our dogs are going to be very jealous.

  5. You had us at cat furniture — we have our own little herd at home. Best of luck.

  6. Rascal says:


  7. Chuck N says:

    I am not a golfer. I just brought a #3 to a #4-1/2 battle.

  8. Carl Stammerjohn says:

    You’re missing one category which is, fortunately, the smallest group of all. The diligent golfers – a unique combination of an unholy lack of dexterity, a total lack of common sense, and the perseverance of a bulldog. Despite years of botched projects, they keep coming back for more.

    At the community college where I teach, you can count their numbers on one hand, but that’s plenty!

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