Yellow vs. Pink

We love our OBP community. Come one, come all; everyone has a unique and fascinating story – it’s actually what brings us together. They are awesome and we think everyone should know them, so today, we’re pleased to introduce to you OBP members Amy Glass and Brandon Marshall.

Brandon Marshall was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. He spent the past decade sailing on various wooden tall ships along the east coast between Maine and Virginia. In addition to his sailing experiences, Brandon learned to love wooden boat building and repair, and now specializes in ship’s caulking. When he’s not refitting one of Maine’s many wooden boats, Brandon can be found voraciously consuming audio books, making continual improvements to his chicken coop, reading, sailing, sharpening tools, and wrangling his herd of chickens, goats, cats, and a rambunctious, outspoken fiancee. He also is working on further developing his small woodworking business, martial arts, making traditional nautical tools and cutting boards, mostly for his sailor friends. His longest road trip was from Florida to Maine. However, his time spent traveling has mostly been on boats up and down the coast. His role models are Tom Waits, Steve Martin, Sherlock Holmes, Tony Stark (from Iron Man fame), and Nicole Kidman.

Amy Glass spent her early childhood in the urban jungle just outside Philadelphia before moving to rural Pennsylvania, just a few minutes from the Delaware border (and Brandon, though it would take them years to meet). A young overachiever, she bounced between quiz bowl, the theatre, experimental gardening, volunteering, and traveling before deciding to go to law school. It didn’t take long after starting work at a litigation firm for Amy to realize sitting at a desk all day was not for her. She started volunteering on a local tall ship called the Kalmar Nyckel, where Brandon happened to be working. A typical, “boy-meets-girl” story commenced. Soon after, the captain offered her the job of ship’s cook, and she ran off to sea, leaving the corporate life behind. She now works together with Brandon on caulking projects, makes and tests cutting boards, rescues abandoned furniture from roadsides, and tends her pet goats. Amy’s longest road trip was from the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney, Australia, riding night buses and hitching rides with kind strangers (don’t tell her mom).

Brandon describes himself as mischievous, while Amy chooses the word “plucky” to best describe herself. It’s no wonder they fit right in at The Open Bench Project. They found the OBP when they were looking for a shop to use in the area and a friend that worked in their shipyard told them about it.

When asked what they hoped to get out of the OBP experience, they responded, “Coming to OBP we’d like to learn some new skills and learn to use some tools we’ve never encountered before, and also be a part of a community with people who also enjoy creating and building. When most people need a household item, like a new piece of furniture or a tool, they typically go out and buy it. When we need something, we try to either make it ourselves or find an older piece that we can refinish and give a second life. It’s awesome being in a room full of other people with that mind set.”

Brandon and Amy shared that the biggest risk they ever took was moving to Maine and starting to homestead without knowing if they’d actually be able to get paying jobs to support themselves once they got here. They learned “that if something feels right, even though it’s risky, it will probably work out if you believe you can do it and work really hard.”

As if that wasn’t enough, last year they tore down and rebuilt an over 200-year-old crumbling stone wall that was originally part of an old dairy barn. At the time, Brandon had about 6 months of masonry experience, and the extent of Amy’s masonry experience was making edible play-dough in pre-school. Not only did they build their first stone wall, but they learned a lot about building foundations, setting stones, and the science behind keeping a wall together. They also learned how to exercise self-control when your significant other is driving you crazy and you’re tempted to toss a 50-pound rock at them.

Of course, that’s nothing compared to being asked to engineer and build a fancy goat milking stand, even though they had never milked a goat before. You’ll have to ask them about that one.

When pressed about their time at the OBP, Brandon and Amy hope to learn to use the CNC router and laser burner. They would then use these to transfer some of their designs that they’ve been doing free hand the past several years with a wood burner. They also joked that if they had an entire, uninterrupted day at the OBP, they’d insulate it. Maybe they weren’t joking, though…. Amy would choose bright yellow if given the opportunity to paint the inside of the OBP any color, while Brandon would select… “insulation pink.”