January 29, 2018 The Wonderful World of Wojciech Wasilewski
Over the past year of rehabilitation, the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm has benefited from many talented craftspeople, and Wojciech Wasilewski of WW Woodworks is one who merits some attention. General Contractor MJ Mawn hired WW Millworks to restore the Fowler Clark barn windows, make new window sash for the farmhouse to fit the frames built by North Bennet Street School, build new doors where needed, and recreate exterior trim that was missing or damaged.
Originally from Suwalki Poland, Wojciech Wasilewski came to the United States in 1983 as a political refugee at the age of 23, bringing with him woodworking skills he acquired working in his father’s preservation carpentry business, which specialized in historic churches. While Poland’s communist government at that time frowned on private businesses, because much of his family’s work was in religious structures, they were allowed to continue operations. Building materials were in short supply in Poland in the 1980s, as most supplies went to Russia. Carpenters were forced to work with what was available, and Wojciech and others learned to make do with what they had – such as straightening bent nails so they could be re-used.
Wojciech’s political activism opposing the communist government landed him in an internment camp for 11 months during a period when martial law in place; he was given the option of leaving the country or facing likely long-term imprisonment. We’re pleased he landed in Boston, where he worked for other woodworking shops for a year until he was able to open his own business, WW Millworks (formerly WW Woodworks), located in Brockton (web site is a work in progress).
While we treasure our historic buildings in Boston, to Wojciech they are relatively new compared to the centuries old structures he and his father restored in Poland. But Boston has provided him with many challenging preservation projects, including the recreation of the portico of the Dillaway Thomas House in Roxbury, the windows of the salt and pepper towers of the Longfellow Bridge, and the restoration of the Executive Suite, including the Governor’s Office, at the Massachusetts State House where he recreated wainscot, crown molding, window seats, door headers, etc. (photos)
Once his work at the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm is complete, HBI is hoping to enlist Wojciech to rebuild the front doors at the Eustis Street Fire House. We’re confident he will build doors that will last for centuries to come.