About James Fecteau

Been a while

Huntington River Smithy has been working pretty hard and really had little chance to do much else but work. Well I’m on vacation now so here is a post.

There were lots of jobs that came through the shop but this by far was the best. The clients were great and the builders are exceptional. Red House Builders is doing it right! A joy to work with. The job site atmosphere  was upbeat and everyone was willing to step up and help if need be. NOT the industry standard! More like it used to be in the trades back in the good old days.

I was asked to create a fireplace screen/ glass panel combination that would slide up and out of site when the fireplace was in operation. This operation was almost effortless and all turned out to the customers satisfaction.

As always I was unable to get true finish shots so I did a heavy edit on these pictures to remove all the tarps, tools, wires, and panels that had not been installed.

Check in 2/27/18

About 4 years ago I was asked to make nails for a boatbuilder. He wanted to meat at my smithy to talk what it was that he was looking to have me make. Turns out he had been studying Japanese traditional fishing boats and had gone there a lot to figure out how they were made, he somehow got cozy with the boatbuilders and gleaned enough info to build them himself. Part of all this learning was a smith that made all the nails needed. Doug went to that smithy and tried to get the old guy to talk about how he was making these nails. He was unable to get much from this smith and left with only a few pictures.
Fast forward to the tsunami that hit Japan a while back. Devastated the boatbuilders and the smithy making the nails.
That is where I come into play. I looked the pictures over and figured out what the old smith was doing and made a batch for Doug. He was and still is teaching a college course at Middlebury College about building these boats. He had the students come to the shop so I could walk them through the process of making and figuring out how to make the nails. I’ve been making these nails for Doug and this class for four years now.
Okay now that you know that I’ve made a boatload of nails…….. , I can get to the best part of all this. I was contacted by a Grad Student (one of the students that came to my smithy!) about the possibility of doing an interview. This interview was part of his  for his final project in his Journalism class. Here it is. He edits really well, made my ramblings sound alright.


A quick checkin 8/23/17

The Moosilauke Lodge guillotine door  and lighting is finished up and I hope that the next time I am there I will be able to snap some pictures of the finished product.
The Bridges Condo job is done and looks great I have some finished pictures of that but you all will have to wait because I am on a well deserved Vacation. CHEERS
Oh I almost forgot the Kenny Project fell through because of timing with contractor on the Mookilauke Lodge job. I tried to get them moving but failed (trying to get big corporations moving is just not my strong suit),  so much so I was working 16 hour days to get the lighting done by the 16th of this month. To bad, the Kenny Project would have been quite the feather in my cap.

HRS Updates 4/21/17

The shop is hopping with work! 3 major jobs are currently under way.
#1: The Moosilauke Lodge job will be starting really soon. I have made a site visit to measure up all that I need to get the guillotine door for the great room fireplace made. The place is magical! Have a look at this 3D walk through.

#2: Bridges Condo is a total renovation of a condo in Warren VT really close to Sugarbush Ski Resort. I was asked to create a stair guard/ hand railing and a fireplace surround. I’m hoping to be done with the surround by middle of next week. The architect will be over to make some finale design decisions on Tuesday.

#3: Kinny Project. This one is a really big job as well 110 feet of railings. Inside, outside, off the house, field stone core drilling for posts, cantilevered…… I’ll have all the bases covered on this job.

St. George hand rail and grill 12/23/16

This commission was a real pleasure to create. The customers were free in their directions and had a great sense of budget. This freedom helped fuel the creativity and flow of the work. My days were short in feeling but long when looking at the clock. I was in the zone on this one! The customer were really happy.

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A long time in between

The shop is full speed ahead! Sorry I have been so neglectful in my postings.
The Moosilauke Ravine Lodge is hit the paperwork wall. They want proof of this that and the other thing and I’ve supplied all I can to keep their insatiable appetite quenched. I believe i’m gaining on it. I hope so! The clock keeps ticking!
I want to work on meaningful things so I decided to tackle a stair grill/ hand railing job that I quickly mentioned in the blog post  “The week of 10/24- 10/28″:

Copper Bronze Steel 55″ by 56″ by 79”

I’m really pleased with the way the textures play the light at different angles.

It really is all about the details. My camera is a tool that I think I’m getting the hang of using!


The hand railing is in progress and I hope to have it done by next week.
I may have a student come to help with the installation (I teach him 2 day’s a week). We shall see how things progress next week!


The week of 10/24- 10/28

Well, my next job is a BIG one! I will be working with Maclay Architects on this one and so far it has been exciting to see what it is that they will have me make:
First is a fireplace screen that will be 6′ 6″ wide by 4′ 6″ tall. It will retract upwards into the stonework. The stoneworks is sure to be incredible as well as the lodge itself.
Second is a bunch of lighting from 36″ round by 36″ tall (great room chandeliers) to 8″ tall by 5″ round (hall way ceiling “down lighting”) to 4″ tall by 4″ round (room lighting).
Third is railings. I’m not sure where we are going on this but it sure would be nice if I were able to create something for Bill and crew. The last time we worked together was the railing on the home page (150+ feet of it!).

Stay tuned for the next installment of my weekly reports as this all unfolds. Interesting times at Huntington River Smithy!!


The week of 10/17- 10/21

The bronze table for NYC is done and will be in rout by tomorrow.

It’s all about the details and finish. The client is happy with the end results!

Just the right lighting for a outside shot before it goes inside till delivery day.

I really wish I could take finish pictures with stone top and in place at clients home but alas I seldom get that chance.

The week of 10/10- 10/14

This week started off with planning for a Blacksmith gathering here at the shop. We have not gathered together in quite a number of years and it was really great to see everyone. I always learn something new. We will meet again in January.
Meanwhile the weather has been great. the leaves were incredible. Love this time of year!!


In getting ready for Open Studio Weekend the tractor broke right in front of the shop! I was lucky to be able to push it out of the way with the truck.

So part of the linkage snapped off. I had to make a new connector. Lathe work and the milling machine were put to use making new part. All went together really well and the tractor is ready to work again.


The rest of the week was spent planning for the bronze coffee table.

The week of 10/3- 10/7

Fall in Vermont is a magical time of year for me. The sky is so blue. The air is so crisp and invites you to take a deep breath. The leaves ah the leaves! Stopping to take it all in ………..


I will be participating in the Fall Open Studio Weekend again this weekend and spent most of the week cleaning and sorting so the shop really is starting to look super nice. Part of the cleaning was done by a new student intern. He and I are getting along and figuring each other out.

Hoping to start work on a bronze table for a designer in NYC Monday. Hoping UPS pulls through and has the bronze here by then, going to be a time crunch if they fail! I’ll try to snaps some shots of the progress. Here is a drawing for now.
50″ x 50″ x 16″